my crazy, beautiful life
The longer I am here the longer I want to stay. Part of me feels like i’m doing everything that you’re supposed to do abroad out of order. I’ve only had moments where I feel like i’m in the “oh shit” phase of study abroad, and for those who don’t know that’s when you start hating everything about the place you’ve been loving. It starts with honeymoon, then oh shit, and then comes acceptance. Unless I really am still in the honeymoon phase, I feel like my oh shit was when I first got here. I wasn’t able to eat, I was hardly sleeping, I was frustrated with the language and I didn’t know when the anxiety would ever go away. I was afraid I wouldn’t make friends and that my roommates would hate me, and I was nervous to even leave Rome for a weekend trip. It took a week and a half to two weeks before I finally felt comfortable and now every time and Italian asks me if I like Rome I look at them like they’re crazy for even asking such a question. Do I like Rome?! Are you crazy, I never want to leave! They look at me with wide eyes and continue to point out, the trash, the disorganization, the political system but despite these things I’ve fallen in love with this culture, this way of life, and the friendliness of the people around me. Does this mean everything is perfect for me here? Of course not. I’m frustrated CONSTANTLY. Why is everything closed on Sundays, sometimes you need to run to the market to pick up some chicken or something to eat for the rest of the week but NOPE I guess I have to wait until Monday after my lessons and after my internship to finally get food for the rest of the week when i’m supposed to be doing homework. Or the fact that literally everyone is so much better at speaking Italian than I am, and all of the Italians are like “I’m so unbelievably sorry for my less than perfect grammar, it’s truly a difficult language” and i’m over here like “uh anch’io…il mio gramm….shit it’s uh… la mia grammatica…screw it, non parlo italiano.”
Some days are better than others, like usually when I’ve had a glass or two of wine. I guess i stop focusing on how poor my grammar is and just start rambling. They say in every language that you learn you have a different personality and I think in Italian i’m a mix of shy and aggressive, not quite sure how that works out but i’ve certainly embodied my inner nonna when someone is bothering me trying to sell me a selfie stick or give me a flower. I DON’T WANT YOUR FLOWERS. Rant over, i’m still in love with this place and have severely thought about getting my citizenship. My mom is a dual citizen so it’s pretty easy for me to just get my citizenship since I have Italian relatives, and I wont need to be tested on my knowledge of Italian history which i’m starting to feel like I know more about than I do American history…On the other hand i’ve made some pretty dumb mistakes. Like buying a Roma sweatshirt for the AS Roma calcio game to have my Italian friend make fun of me since the sweatshirt has an eagle on it…apparently the symbol for Lazio (AS Roma’s rivals). He took a picture to send to his friends and everything. I guess the longer i’m here the more I freak out about going home. HOW am I supposed to go back to ordinary cups of coffee with processed vanilla coffee creamer, mozzarella that’s $8, and running around a restaurant where everyone claims to be gluten-free after all of THIS!? How am I supposed to go back to a place that doesn’t care about who you are and what you’re doing, to the smelly subway stations, and the ridiculous political system? How am I supposed to go back to running mindless and mundane errands and try to focus on school work in such a boring less than lively town. How am I supposed to go back to nights where we go out by 11 and get back by midnight because the party has been busted for a noise complaint and everyone there is under the legal drinking age? How am I supposed to go back to a normal daily routine? There are some things I do miss about America. I facetimed my mom the other day and she was making coffee and I missed only a little bit getting to sit with her in the morning and finish our large cups together and chat. I miss seeing my friends and although I do not miss the working aspect of my job and the pressure I miss the people. I miss being able to explain how i’m feeling in more than three words and I miss being able to explain my allergy in less than 15. I miss seeing my friends when I get home from work and hearing their stories about their day and I miss going to Michael’s diner at 2am for pizza fries and as bad as it sounds I miss being able to order really bad american pizza with wings. And of course I miss dinners at home with my family and spending time with my little sister, bonding over doctor who and the latest trends, however, anytime I have these moments though when I miss home, something amazing happens here. Something as simple as our local market owners saying “Buona Sera” as we walk by or our favorite gelato man who gives us free mandarin oranges. New and exciting things are happening every day here, and i’m learning a lot, I think I just wish I could learn the language a little bit better.