T-minus one week, and the last minute scrambling has commenced. My final American haircut has been scheduled, a new suitcase has been purchased, and I’ve finally finished unpacking from college so I can start packing for Rome. By this point I’ve pretty much gotten used to listening to everyone I’ve ever met gush about how unbelievable Rome is, and I’m largely in agreement, seeing as how I can barely believe it myself. As my little sister goes through my closet, trying to convince me to leave various dresses and sweaters behind, it’s finally starting to sink in—I’m going to Rome! And at any given second, this is a supremely wonderful/completely terrifying concept. Preparing for the trip has been interesting, to say the least.
When I was first thinking about study abroad, I decided that I wanted to find a program outside my university, to really get out of my comfort zone. Not being a Temple student, however, there were some extra steps I needed to take, sorting out finances and transfer credits and whatnot. Coming from outside Temple definitely required some extra coordinating on my part, but it was absolutely worth it.
Rationally speaking, I know I’m ready. I’ve conferred with half the professors in my department about my course schedule, I’ve done a Yelp search for all the gelato shops in walking distance of the student residence (there are 28), and there’s a newly stamped Visa in my passport, complete with a hideous picture of yours truly. The Catholic chaplain on campus showed me his Rome Facebook album (twice), my Italian professor has given me a crash course in vulgar Italian phrases (“If a boy tells you he wants to do that, leave and never speak to him again!”), and I’ve been brainstorming nicknames for my soon-to-be best friend, the Pope. In other words, I’ve covered all the necessary bases.
Emotionally speaking, however, I’m feeling slightly less confident. I only just learned Italian—what if I confuse my words, and accidentally say something dreadfully rude? And what if I forget something really important at home that I can’t replace in Italy? And what if everyone hates me AND I fail all my classes AND I spontaneously become both gluten and lactose intolerant, therefore never getting a chance to eat Italian pizza?! (Okay, I’m willing to concede that that last one might be a little far-fetched.)
All catastrophizing aside, I’m mostly preparing for the inevitable: stumbling upon my own personal Paolo, an Italian superstar, and discovering that I’m a blonde replica of his former girlfriend and singing partner, Isabella (if it happened in The Lizzie McGuire Movie it can happen to me, right?). On the off chance that doesn’t work out though, I’m not worried—I’m going to Rome! After all, this is what dreams are made of.