Now that all the philosophical, mythological whose and whatnots about love are out of the way, let’s get real and talk about love in the 21st Century Rome, and love while studying abroad.
Let it first be known that when I was skyping with my family last night, my Uncle asked me “so what are the Italian women like? Are you studying-broads?” Get it? I told him they were in hibernation. Seriously, I’m convinced. The proportion of Italian men to women here, at least our age, is much more on the male side. Doesn’t matter either way, I’m taken.
But just because one is taken in Rome does not mean that other shenanigans do not go on in a study abroad program. That’s all I’ll say. To each his or her own. Just a word of advice if you do plan on studying abroad while in a relationship based on friendships I’ve seen (and this is not at all to be preachy, seriously, I’m not judging); talk about it with your boyfriend or girlfriend before you go. Talk about how you feel, good or bad about the whole thing. I don’t know, it helped my relationship at least, it may not work for everyone. Also know that because you’re traveling, there might be a heigtened sense of dreaminess or idealization. Your feelings might be true, but remember to keep yourself in reality and not to get swept up in the romance of it all.
You would think that a program of 250 people is large enough so that not everyone knows everyone else’s business or love life. False. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just know what you’re getting yourself into. Hooking up happens, if someone were to draw a map of everyone in the program, there would probably be a good deal of overlapping. Some of this has caused some drama. If it does, whatever, don’t let it ruin your trip. So what if you made out with your roommate’s cousin’s second ex boyfriend? Talk about it to your roommate. If it’s a huge problem, ignore it and let it be water under the bridge.
This seems to be how the Romans do love: extremely openly. There is absolutely no shame, it’s hilarious. It’s somewhat disturbing on the one hand, and cool that they’re so open on the other. I can tell you one place I will not be venturing tonight: Villa Borgehse. This is the Central Park of Rome, and is probably even bigger. I’ve only been there twice, but both times there was a couple every 10 feet along the wall. I’ll leave it all to your imagination, but it seems that on Valentine’s Day, there will be enough raunchiness in the park to satisfy both Tiger Woods and Prime Minister Berlusconi together. Too soon?
As I said, public display of affection is practically encouraged by the Romans. Age makes no difference. Last week, my friends and I went to the top of one of the seven hills of Rome, and I saw people that were practically my parents age full on making out in public. But hey, it’s cool that they’re so open and that the relationship is so strong. Three of my friends and I were also invited to an Italian friend’s birthday party last week. So much fun, but in the car on the way back, I was forced to listen to the smacking sounds of huge wet kisses from the back seat. Not even my broken Italinglish conversation with my friend Andrea and the blasting of the Black Eyed Peas could drown it out.
But you know what? It’s cool. It’s encouraging to know that in a time with so much divorce, there is so much love around. Watch out for Cupid, he’s well known in these parts.