2015 Spring Jessica Benmen Temple Rome

Are you there, Wi-Fi? It’s me, Jessica.

All in all, the residence is a pretty convenient place to be as a Temple Rome student. It’s not exactly in the center of the city, but the immediate neighborhood has everything you need. For example: my foremost basic need is coffee, so I’m lucky that there is a bar (café) right downstairs and across the street. They make a mean cappuccino, didn’t judge me too much when I asked for double espresso, and the men who work there even speak some English (emphasis on the “some”—one day I asked them, “What do you call this in Italian,” pointing to a pastry. “Call?” he said, and very generously offered me the telephone).

Next door is a tobacchi shop where you can get passes for the bus and metro, candy, notebooks, and a wide variety of pipes, if you’re into that sort of thing. Across the street is a restaurant and a sweet shop, the latter of which I’ve been trying to avoid in a (probably futile) attempt to not become obese by the time I come home (I’ve decided that between me and my suitcase, only one of us is allowed to be overweight on our return flight).

If you venture out a few minutes further you’ll find the Carrefour market for all your grocery shopping needs. It’s pretty much your average American supermarket, the one main difference being that it is crucial that you weigh your produce before getting on line to pay, as you cannot do it at the register (my roommates and I learned this the hard way when we forgot to weigh some oranges—the cashier got up and did it himself, delaying the check out process by about 5-7 minutes, and consequently earning us the most positively scathing looks I’ve ever seen from the formidable line of Italians behind us). There are also a few restaurants and minimarkets nearby, which have all proven to be very helpful throughout the many instances of our late night snack cravings. On a related note, the most useful Italian sentence I’ve learned so far has been: “Scusi, voglio comprare questi dolci”; translation: “Excuse me, I would like to buy these pastries.” Trust me, this is valuable knowledge.

Doesn't get much better than this
It doesn’t get much better than this

A few blocks away is the Cipro metro station, which is pretty easy to navigate if you have any experience with subways whatsoever—coming from the New York subway system, the two line Italian metro is a breeze. There are also a few bus stops nearby, and a cabstand.

Easily the gem of the 10-minute walking radius around Temple is the Mercato Trionfale, one of the largest markets in Italy. Open Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., there is a huge selection of items for sale. Most impressive is the market’s selection of food, from fresh produce to eggs to meat to cheese, but you can also find anything from home and kitchen supplies to clothing and shoes. It can be a little overwhelming as a clueless American in a sea of determined Italians, but the delicious dates and clementines I picked up on my first trip made it completely worthwhile.

Il Mercato Trionfale
Il Mercato Trionfale

The only real complaint to be made about life in the residence is the immensely temperamental Wi-Fi, which is moderate at best. In all fairness, I was warned about this well in advance, so it’s mostly just disconcerting to realize how reliant on Internet access I normally am. In a way, though, it’s proven to be a hidden gift—with no one to talk to but each other, my roommates and I have gotten really close. Keep posted for more of our misadventures and late night snacking escapades!

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