Since the day that I landed in Rome until this past weekend, it has felt like every waking moment has been jammed-packed with activities, new sights, and new experiences. I don’t have classes after 1 p.m. on Thursdays and have been able to take advantage of these long weekends to explore parts of Italy and Europe.
I feel so fortunate to be able to see so many incredible places. However, so much traveling can truly take a toll on you. Between trying to keep up with schoolwork, making time for friends at home and while abroad, and exploring new places on the weekends, I have been left feeling a little strapped for time and incredibly behind on sleep… which leads me to this past weekend — one filled with sleep, movies, and lazy walks around Rome.
My laid-back weekend was impromptu, as the plans my friend and I made had to be canceled. But I welcomed the free weekend with open arms and the knowledge that I would be able to get a full weekend of both satisfying sleep and quality time with my roommates.
To kick-start my time, two of my friends and I headed to a small movie theater near the Spanish Steps that was playing A Star is Born in English. Stepping in from the rainy weather that Rome has been experiencing for the past week and into the dry warmth of the theater was the perfect way to begin my weekend. The movie was incredible and engaging, and for a brief moment after the movie ended and the lights came up, I thought I was back home and not in the middle of Rome.
The rest of the weekend was filled with similar laid-back activities. My one friend and I treated ourselves to a manicure, justifying that we deserved a little self-care. My roommates and I were able to try a new restaurant and end our night with a fresh donut from a local 24/7 bakery and a night in watching a movie.
Two girls from my university back home who are studying abroad in Spain were visiting Rome for the weekend, and for most of Saturday afternoon, we brought them to some of the major monuments and a few of our favorite food locations. It was exciting to be able to bring these girls into a city that we’ve become so comfortable navigating.
The restful weekend was much needed and offered time to reflect on the past two months of new sights and places. However, there was a slight feeling of guilt that came along with the time off. Because living in another country is not a common experience, I have felt a pressure to squeeze in as much as possible to fully take advantage of every moment abroad. Taking time to have slow weekend mornings and lazy afternoons felt slightly wasteful.
The reality is that although studying abroad may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity filled with adventure and new places, it is also a time when life continues on in a new place where you must create a new routine. And part of every natural routine is rest and time to recuperate. Even in the midst of studying abroad, it is important to find that time, and I am so grateful I was able to have some good rest and relaxation over this past weekend.