This past week, I had the pleasure of having my parents visit me in Rome! Long awaiting their arrival, I had many activities planned for them. They have visited Rome in the past, but I wanted to show them the city from a different point of view- MY point of view.
I no longer consider myself a tourist in Rome, since I have now been living here for almost seven weeks. However, when I was with my parents, it was hard to not appear as one. Spending time with them allowed me to experience Rome in two different perspectives: through my parents’ eyes as tourists, and as a growing member of the Roman community.
I understood that tourists have difficulty communicating. In fact, there is a stereotype that Americans expect everyone to know and speak English, which is, of course, not the case. When I first arrived in Rome, I knew very little Italian, but I used it anyway. I did not want to seem ignorant, and I wanted to learn the language. The first night I went out to dinner with my parents, they ordered everything in English. Afterwards, I kindly explained to them that next time they should try to order in Italian. I began to teach them simple phrases, like “where is the bathroom?” and “the check, please.” This was just one small step closer to making my parents feel a little more immersed in the Italian culture.
While my parents were visiting, I was very eager to teach them some Italian customs. For example, one night we ordered some delicious pizza, and my parents’ first instinct was to cut it into slices and pick it up and eat it by holding the crust. I told them that it was customary to eat pizza with a knife and a fork, and to cut it as you eat. Also, I taught my parents how to use the Metro. By doing this, I was able to better orient my parents with the layout of Rome. Instead of just taking a taxi everywhere they went, they began to familiarize themselves with the city and learn their way around. That way they could see and experience even more of Rome!
The weather this past week was beautiful, so my parents and I took advantage of spending time outside. We did a lot of walking, and my parents had many questions. I was able to explain what different monuments were, who built them and how old they were. I showed them Temple, the Residence, and the many places where I shop and eat. I was able to give them a good idea of what my life is like in Rome!
I had such an amazing time with my mom and dad. I was definitely spoiled- we went out for dinner every night! We went on a tour of the Colosseum and Forum, the Catacombs of St. Agnes and St. Priscilla, and we got to experience Carnival in its height. I was so happy that my parents traveled so far to come see me- so in return, I gave them the best Roman experience that I possibly could.