Temple Rome Temple Semester Tyler Valera

Familiarity in Unfamiliar Places

Sometimes I really just miss home. I miss soft pretzels, my mom’s cooking, my friends, and so much more. For me, I feel homesick in waves; I feel fine throughout the day and then I think of a joke I want to tell my mom, and then everything hits me all at once. As I have said before, all of these emotions are normal when leaving your home for someplace new, but I have also talked about ways to combat these feelings. You can socialize with your Temple peers and vocalize your struggles, take part in activities that Temple Rome offers, or even go out for gelato with your roommates.

After having a stressful week of studying, reading, and keeping up on my classwork, I was feeling the homesickness bad. So, I decided that I was in need of some relaxation. This past weekend two of my roommates and I went to Santa Severa, a beach with a castle not too far from Rome to rejuvenate ourselves for the upcoming onslaught of assignments.

Now, I should also mention that this was the first trip that I did that was organized by myself (and not Temple), so I was a little nervous in the beginning. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing, but we knew we needed a break, so we just went for it. We actually went to school to do all of our homework on Saturday so that we would be able to go to the beach on Sunday when it was sunny (really sounds nerdy that we actually went to campus on a Saturday now that I think about it). And our forward thinking worked; the students in our group were the only ones there so we were uncharacteristically productive.

On Sunday, Duong, Alyssa, and I (my roommates and myself) took the metro to Termini Station to catch a train to Civitavecchia, which stops at Santa Severa. It was a little overwhelming trying to buy the right tickets and finding the platform, but it was so worth it in the end. As soon as we saw the ocean from the train window, we were in heaven. Excitement was practically vibrating off of us, we were just itching to get onto the beach.

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One of the nice things about going to Santa Severa is that the whole town is basically one road, so it is near impossible to get lost. You just have to avoid the mountains and follow the smell of salt water. The air is also amazing! You can feel just how fresh and clean it is as soon as you exit the train.

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I was a little skeptical when I found out that there was a castle at this beach, but there is one! It is actually right on the beach, not even inland. So, it was nice to get a relaxing day by the ocean, but also great to experience some local history too. The area is great for pictures, especially with the waves crashing onto various rock outcroppings and the castle highlighting the shoreline; how many people can say that they have been to a castle while they were sunbathing on the beach?

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After we laid out our blankets and applied ample amounts of sunscreen, I felt completely at home. The effect was near instantaneous, my homesickness was gone. Spending the day on the beach has always been something my mom and I do on hot summer days, so by going to Santa Severa, I felt like I was at a much nicer version of the Jersey Shore (I know that is a terrible comparison, but I’m just going to stick with it) just hanging out as per usual. The blue-green, salty water felt beyond refreshing; I felt like a whole new me. The pebbles and rough sand rubbed away my stress and worries, taking my mind off of reality for a bit.

My roommates and I really enjoyed getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and I think taking time for some R&R will really make your time in Rome that much more amazing. This week I feel more energized, productive, and healthy; I am a more positive person and don’t feel the effects of homesickness as much as last week.

Finding your own niche, or a familiar space, can definitely improve your overall mental health. You begin to feel less lonely, and become more comfortable in your new surroundings. This adventure also made me realize Rome offers you more than just gorgeous historic sites, there is so much more to explore that you may have never thought to go to before. And it is these small events that take you by surprise and really make your Rome experience memorable.

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