The fact that my time in Rome ends in 43 days, 8 hours, and 53 minutes makes me just want to stop and savor every little second I have left. I want everything I see and feel to last forever…and if it only lasts for the moment, at least I’ll have that moment forever preserved in memory. I walk past this building or that fountain every day on my way to school or to the grocery store or to the residence…they may not have any significance now, but I know I’m going to miss the smallest of seemingly irrelevant details. The other day after slaving away for hours in the library, my friend and I went down the street from school to grab lunch and eat in Piazza del Popolo. We picked a bench near the outer wall and just talked about how much we’ll miss being able to do something as casual as eating, while basking in a historic and beautiful view. Views that I think a lot of Romans take for granted. Rome is such a unique city in that it is everlastingly ancient. It simply can’t be modernized to rival new and bigger cities, like New York. And I don’t think it should or needs to. Take Rome for what it is. Sure the lack of fiber optics and high bandwidths can be frustrating at times, but having the colosseum or the forum or the Trevi Fountain at your disposal outweighs the bad.
It’s crazy how fast time is flying here! The weather is beginning to heat up, spring break is over, and school is heading on the downward track towards final papers and exams. I am definitely starting to feel the push and pressure of the countdown. I still feel like there’s so much more to do and see. One thing I am happy that I’ve done, however, is met a lot of Italians! There’s honestly no better way to learn about a city than to talk to locals. I think a lot of students are intimidated to converse because of the language barrier, but a good amount of Romans do speak English and like learning about Americans! Even if Italians say they don’t speak English well, they are sometimes just embarrassed to speak it because they don’t want to mess it up! “La bella figura” is an Italian philosophy that literally translated means “the beautiful figure.” Italians want to emphasize beauty, proper behavior, and a good image. So you shouldn’t be hesitant to practice the language with them…they can be just as insecure! Any time that me and my friends take a cab somewhere, we always engage in conversation with the driver. And almost always, the drivers are impressed that we speak Italian, and want to know what we think of Rome. They are happy to talk to us and recommend their favorite sites in the city.
There are plenty of places to meet other people our age, but the most connections I’ve made have been in discotecas or in popular hangout spots like Campo de’ Fiori, which is known for attracting a lot of Americans and students. Me and my friends, for instance, met two Londoners who run a pub crawl here in Rome, and became friends with them. Now me and my roommate have a trip planned to England next month! I’ve also met a couple of people who actually did not speak or understand any English, which was really good practice for me. I had to rely solely on my Italian skills, which was fun…I’m hoping to be fluent by the time I leave. Just being open to meeting new people opens a lot of doors. You’ll learn so much more about the culture of the city!