This week has been a whirlwind! You’d think I had temporarily moved to a foreign country or something! Oh wait..
Rome is magnificent. I’ve walked more in the past three days than I have in years, and there’s still so much to do and see! It’s a weird feeling, living in a foreign city. On one hand it feels a lot like American cities. It’s busy, filled with gorgeous old buildings and you can walk everywhere. But there’s no mistaking Rome for Philadelphia. Beyond the fact that everything’s in Italian, people just behave differently. Some buildings are hundreds of years older than America! Even the trees look different, with all of them trimmed to the top.
I think I witnessed the best example of the Italian way of life that I’ll see. Yesterday, I watched a man get hit by a car. There was a green walk sign, so the driver was clearly at fault. The car wasn’t going very fast so it wasn’t bad at all, the guy didn’t even fall all the way to the floor. He got up angrily, yelled something in Italian at the driver, and then checked to see if his sunglasses had broken. As soon as he had confirmed they were fine, he waved off the driver’s concern, shook his hand, and walked off. There was no yelling or threats of calling lawyers, and it was all resolved before we made it all the way across the street ourselves. That’s so mind blowing.
Another glaring difference for me between Rome and Philadelphia is the graffiti. It’s everywhere here! From just scribbled tagging to anniversary messages, there’s graffiti all across the city.
I’ve been worrying about my Italian skills (or lack thereof) since they’ve kind of deteriorated since I hadn’t really been speaking it frequently. Thankfully, it’s not a big issue. Everyone has been super nice and understanding! The Italians really are just happy you’re making an effort. When you try to speak Italian with them they’re incredibly helpful, telling you words you don’t know and helping with pronunciation.
I just bought some stamps to write letters home. I’ve been keeping in contact with people through facebook and email, but there’s something more real and personal about a letter. The tangible experience of putting thoughts on paper feels entirely different than typing online. I wasn’t feeling very homesick until I started writing letters. I really like doing it though! It feels more personal than emails, like I can reach across the distance and still be connected to my family and friends back home. Italian mail is famous for its slowness, though it’s apparently become more efficient, but hopefully I’ll be here long enough to exchange a few letters!
Well that’s all for now! Ciao!