Classes ended last week and finals ended on Thursday. There was a farewell pizza party at school last night and my flight back to Philadelphia is on Sunday. Leaving is becoming a reality and so is the fact that I need to pack up the last three months of my life. There are things that I brought that I never used and things that I didn’t bring that I wish I had. Instead of staring at my empty suitcase for another hour, I’m going to make my packing procrastination productive by blogging about the ins and outs of the packing to come to Rome process.
On US Airways, you are entitled to one checked bag for international flights whose price is included in your ticket. You pay for each additional checked bag and for overweight/oversized bags. Instead of cramming everything into one giant suitcase that would have been overweight, I checked two, carried on a duffle bag, and used my backpack as my personal item. A lot of students actually ended up checking two bags, which made me feel much better about my tendency to over-pack.
Apparently it was unseasonably warm this fall. It was unbearably hot for the first couple of weeks we were here and we were wearing shorts, T shirts, and sandals until the beginning of October. In October, it cooled off to a point where I switched my shorts out with jeans, but it was still warm enough to get away with T shirts and sandals for awhile. It didn’t really start to feel like fall until November, which is when we really started to pull out our long sleeves and boots.
Even now, in the beginning of December, Rome is not cold by Philadelphia standards. If you study abroad in Rome during the fall semester, you do not need to bring a heavy winter jacket or gloves (unless you’re planning on traveling to Switzerland or Germany during the semester). I’ve been consistently comfortable in a lightweight jacket or hooded sweatshirt. I was really glad I brought my denim jacket and my roommate got a lot of wear out of her leather one so something along those lines is sufficient outerwear for Rome in the fall.
I did not realize that fall (particularly November) is considered Rome’s “rainy” season. The month was not characterized by consistent rain by any means, but I did wish I had brought rain boots with me. I always carried an umbrella and wore my waterproof jacket more than I had expected.
A lot of people warned us that Italians don’t like to use the heat and it is only turned on for a couple of hours during the day in the Residence, but it hasn’t been cold enough for me to be particularly bothered by that. Even at night, I’m comfortable wearing a t shirt and sweatpants. I have a feeling that spring semester students probably have to bundle up at night to go to sleep though.
Before I came, I bought enough toiletries to last the semester. I had heard that shampoo and conditioner were more expensive in Rome than in America so I brought enough of everything to avoid having to pay for it here. I’m really grateful I did that because the space my toiletries occupied in my luggage coming here is the space which my souvenirs and gifts are going to fill going home.
I stressed out about packing for Rome way more than I should have. I must not have realized that I could buy whatever I didn’t have/forgot when I got here. It turns out that Italians have the same basic needs and desires as all other human beings. A nice thing about staying at the Residence is that they provide sheets and towels so you don’t have to worry about that when you’re packing to come to Rome. I do wish I had thrown a jar of peanut butter in my suitcase before leaving though.