Somehow it’s already my last week in Rome. Even writing that out doesn’t quite feel real. Oddly, I feel like I’ve been here for either years or days . The past few days here have been some of my favorite since arriving. My roommate and I decided to get flights back a few days after the program ended, and having these few extra days to say one last goodbye to the city without the stress of finals week overwhelming everything has been wonderful. Still, as the remaining days turn into hours into minutes, a growing pressure continues to weigh me down. Suddenly, every statue I haven’t seen, every restaurant I haven’t eaten at, and every coffee I haven’t tasted has changed from an opportunity into a responsibility. I keep finding myself questioning whether or not I’ve made the best of my time here in Rome with so much left undone.
For some reason, this fear of missing out has controlled my thoughts over the past few days. I keep remembering new places or experiences people recommended to me during my time here that I never did. However, after some minor internal turmoil and processing, I’ve realized that thinking this way only hurts me and my remaining experiences here. For every “thing” someone else has recommended to me that I’ve missed, I’ve had an equal number of experiences on my own that were unforgettable — like the Fleetwood-esque restaurant Magick that was stationed right on the Tiber river, or the incredible pizza place Da Michele inside of a children’s museum down the street from my apartment, or Big Mama’s Jazz Club in Trastevere with Beatles and Led Zeppelin cover bands.
It’s no question that my favorite memories and spots in Rome have been at places I stumbled across with friends that I had never heard of before coming to Rome. After finishing a dinner out, my friends and I would often walk past spots and write down the names or addresses of places we found interesting, which is how we discovered Caffe Bohemien, a little tea room and reading spot. Although there are definitely things that would have been fun to do or places I would’ve gone had I been in Rome longer, I don’t regret spending my time the way I did (yes, including my night in watching Twilight).
With my last few days abroad coming to an end, I’m spending my remaining time walking around and enjoying the Rome I’ve come to know and appreciate, not anyone else’s Rome. Don’t take this post as a list of recommendations or can’t-miss spots in Rome. While I did love all of these places, there are plenty of other people who did this program with me that never stepped foot into any of these spots and they had just as wonderful and meaningful of a time. Instead, know that these are all places that were never on my radar before arriving here. If you’re reading this in preparation for your own adventure studying in Rome, forget all of the names I mentioned and go find your own corners of Rome. I promise it’s worth it.