Several attempts at making my own espresso and some confusing stares later…
We’re almost through our second week here in Rome! Each day it gets easier living here. I’ve found myself more comfortable around the Italians, conforming to their ways (doing as the Romans do), and getting better at speaking and understanding Italian. It’s outstanding how much independence I’ve gained just by two weeks in Roma. Some of our classes began this week such as Italian (102!) and At Home In Rome and i’ve found such a comfort in walking back to either my apartment on my own or taking a stroll past the Basilica San Paolo, wandering into Bars (coffee shops), or stopping for pizza, and of course stopping by my new favorite place to grab a panino after class! The other day i successfully ordered in italiano: a hot panino on ciabatta bread with tacchino and provolone (turkey and cheese). It certainly is a rewarding feeling, and the other day I had a small conversation with the owner of a small pizza shop on my walk home near the Basilica. Of course, the pizza was amazing. My roommate Emma and I, have discovered that no Italian food is bad food. Everything is fresh and tastes so good. One of my own personal achievements is just being better at taking care of myself and preparing proper meals.
I’ve made some great friends here. My roommates are amazing as i’ve said before, we are so lucky to have a great and fun group of girls that are easy to get along with. We’ve been hanging out with the guys apartment a few streets away too. Together we all cooked an Italian dinner. I made my own pasta sauce from scratch which is something I pride myself on and we had some wine a cheese beforehand too. If we’re doing anything right on this trip to Roma it has definitely been eating as the Romans do. I’ve also become good friends with some locals. Jeanette, Francesca, and Gisella are really great to hang out with and sometimes I tell them they can speak Italian to me (Piu lentamente! -s l o w l y) so that my ears can be accustomed to the language, so far so good. I’m understanding a lot more than I expected!
With my new friends, we’ve gone to see the Trevi Fountain which is absolutely unreal. You wont know how grand it is until you see it, just like the Colosseum. Yes, I did make my wish in the Trevi and yelled at a man in Italian who i’m sure was trying to trick me into a pick pocketing scheme, but we had a great time making videos and taking pictures and proceeding to walk around the area.
We ended up at the Pantheon and WOW it was beautiful. Pictures and explanations really do not do these famous places any justice. The feeling you get when you see them for the first time is an exhilarating experience too.
We had a day in the countryside as well which was cool to see the farm and learn a little bit about sustainability, we also had a nice meal that lasted nearly 4 hours! In Italy you have antipasti, primo piatto, secondo piatto con contorno, and dolce! So that’s an appetizer, first plate (usually pasta), second plate with a side (usually a meat/fish with vegetables), and dessert! Also salad is always eaten after your meal, that’s how my family has always done it but in America it’s common to eat salad before your meal begins. Eating this way has helped me conform to the ways of the Italians. I’ve learned not to stare, to keep calm and quiet in public areas, to eat well, and to only drink espresso after noon.. Not to mention, i’m even wearing a coat and scarf like the italian do even on 60 degree weather afternoons because here they dress for the season not for the weather. It’s a lot to think about, but it all becomes second nature.
My first full week of classes is about to begin as well as my internship at A Buon Diritto. A Buon Diritto is a human rights association, and my work will be comprised of doing research, making presentations, and working closely with migrant and refugee women. I’m excited to have experience in a field that interests me, but I am a little nervous for something I have never done before. I was telling Emma that I kind of feel like i’m a baby or in preschool again especially in Italian class because of the ways we are learning by observing and repeating.
My weekend will be spent with a good friend from Arcadia coming to visit us from London and celebrating carnevale (a huge celebration throughout the month of February similar to Mardi Gras), going on a scavenger hunt throughout the town of Garbatella, and preparing for my first full week of classes!
Ci Vediamo Presto!