After living in Rome for almost 3 months, it’s easy to forget about the grandeur of the city that captures visitors’ attention every day. I’ve developed a routine throughout the week and adjusted to my bed surroundings. The shock and awe I felt when originally taking in the unreal amount of history, architecture, and art that surrounded me have worn off as Rome has developed into another home for me rather than just a city to visit.
Throughout the month of November, I’ve been able to show off my new home to visiting family and friends. It’s been beyond exciting to be able to welcome familiar faces to the city I’ve been living in since the end of August. Obviously, spending quality time with loved ones is always good, but being their personal tour guide has helped remind me of the way I felt when I first arrived in Rome.
Taking each person who’s visited me and watching their breath catch a little when they walk up to the Coliseum or being able to explain a Caravaggio painting to them allows me to see Rome all over again through their perspective. When one of my best friends visited me from Spain the other weekend, she commented on how much she loved the trees that lined the streets of Rome. And as she mentioned that, I thought back to the first couple of times I walked through the streets with the towering oaks and how much I was initially comforted by the subtle way they reminded me of home.
I love being able to see Rome with a fresh perspective while showing everyone around, but bringing my friends and family throughout the city has also helped me realize how much I’ve changed since first arriving. For example, before living in Rome, I didn’t think I could handle living far away from my family or that I could handle navigating a foreign city. However, confidently guiding my friends and family to each major monument was a gentle reminder that I could both live far away from my family and that I could fairly easily adapt to navigating and living in a new city.
Proudly showing off the city I live in made me reflect on how privileged I am to have the opportunity to study abroad and see so many new places. The other weekend, my grandma and her niece were with me in Rome. They had spent the previous week and a half visiting other parts of Italy before ending the last couple of their days in Rome with me. For my Lola (grandma in Filipino), her trip to Italy was the first time she had ever been out of the country. She loved her time abroad and was eager to begin thinking about her next potential trip. I’m so thankful she was able to see me and to see so much of Italy, but it also helped put my experience in perspective. To be 20 and to be able to live in another country is kind of a big deal, and I don’t want to forget how fortunate I am to experience this time abroad at my age.
Lastly, showing my friends and family around has been a nice reminder of what I have waiting for me when I return to the States. My mom is currently with me for this week, and I know that it’ll feel strange to have her leave and know I won’t be leaving with her. Living in a new country isn’t always easy and being able to reach out to family members or friend back at home has confirmed that I have an incredible group of people to welcome me home. I wish I could take all of my loved ones around Rome to teach them all of the incredible things I’ve learned about this city.