It’s Friday night at 8pm, or should I say 20:00 if I’m pretending to be European. I’m snuggled under my covers, about to watch one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies – Twilight. My pajamas are on and I have a spoon and newly purchased jar of Skippy peanut butter by my bed to snack on when I inevitably get hungry halfway through the movie. It’s a night I’ve had before (although the movie changes) and it’s a night I’m sure I’ll have again. A night for me to relax, spend a little time alone, and recharge. Usually, it’s a night of comfort and warmth, but tonight there’s another feeling hanging above me – guilt.
In the past, when I’ve had these nights, I’ve been at home in Richmond or in my apartment in Philadelphia — both places where I’ve spent a lot of time in the past and I know I’ll have plenty of time to explore in the future. But this night, I was in Rome, the eternal city and a relic of ancient history. And instead of wandering around this beautiful, historic city, I was sitting alone in my room as I heard my roommates getting ready to walk to the Colosseum to explore the area at night. We had spent the day walking around Trastevere – a trendy area of the city with all kinds of little shops and cafes. Earlier in the week, I scouted out a bookstore that sold used books in English and Italian that I wanted to check out. After an afternoon of getting lost a few times and walking a total of 8 miles, I didn’t know how my roommates still had so much energy.
I tried to get out of bed so I wouldn’t miss out on making the most of my time abroad. But I couldn’t pull myself away from my cozy movie-watching spot. Even if it was hard for me to recognize it, my body knew I needed to stay in and have a night to myself, especially because I had a small day trip planned for Saturday and a lot of homework to do on Sunday. Still, I found it difficult to validate wanting to stay in for a night. As I said bye to my roommates, I felt like I was wasting what little time I have in Rome.
However, I tried not to think about that as I started watching the movie. To answer a few questions up front: yes – I know Twilight is incredibly cliche and cheesy. No – I do not think Bella and Edward have a healthy relationship. But still, the thirteen-year-old in me can’t get enough of the overly-dramatic, cringeworthy vampire franchise. As soon as I got settled in, I knew that despite my apprehensions, staying in was the right call. I’ve barely gotten a moment to myself since getting to Rome, and it had been much too long since I had last given myself time to recharge and relax.
Although I think it’s important to recognize and be grateful for the opportunity to study abroad, I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s equally as important to recognize that I have limits – even in Rome. Just like I know I have plenty of nights of Roman exploration ahead of me, I also know that I have more than a couple more nights of staying in. If anyone has suggestions for what I should watch during my next movie night, let me know – even a die-hard fan can only handle so much Twilight.