My first two weeks in Roma have been a complete whirlwind! From starting classes, to buying groceries in an Italian market, taking the metro, getting a gym membership, and visiting numerous sites across the city, I have already been placed in so many unfamiliar but exciting situations. Highlights to look forward to include a three-day class trip to Venice, a walk across the Aurelian wall, theatre night, and a cooking class with an Italian family. However, the main highlight of my trip thus far was our concluding orientation trip—a class trip to Todi and a fourteen-course meal to close out the day at a castle.
The trip was fantastic—we began off the day boarding buses bright and early at 8am, arriving in the gorgeous, picturesque town of Todi, Perugia by 10:30am. The city looked like a fictional city one would only come across in a graphic novel or Gilmore Girls. It was quaint, simplistic, and architecturally stellar.
We had one hour to explore, so we hit the ground running (literally—because it was absolutely frigid outside) and explored the town’s many beautiful churches, nooks, and shops. We stopped in for coffees at a bar, warmed up, and continued exploring. The highlight of our day—ironically—came when it was time to head back to the buses to our next fourteen-course destination. Some friends and I had gotten caught up exploring the breathtaking architecture of some of the town’s churches and found ourselves completely removed from the center of the city and effectively lost. Some of us began to panic a bit, as none of our phones worked to contact our friends or navigate back, but a huge smile grew across my face—we were lost in a beautiful, tucked away foreign city! We were given a map and attempted to direct ourselves back to the buses. After a few wrong turns and many failed conversations in broken Italian and English, we found a local man who gave us incredibly helpful directions. We were a tad late to the buses, but not late enough to miss out on the delicious wine and multi-course meal that awaited us at the castle in Umbria. The day was incredibly exciting because we explored without any inhibitions. Of course, I am not advocating for getting lost in a foreign country, but if you do end up lost, make sure you’re with six other friends and have a map handy—and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask people questions! You’ll be so surprised at how much you can learn from someone else, even if they don’t speak the same language as you. Most importantly, an obstacle can bring you closer with those around you! My lost peers and I bonded over our poor sense of direction, and we definitely have a hilarious memory to share now.
So, to my dearest new friend Italia, you’re rough around the edges, in the sweetest way. You smell of tobacco and history. You are crawling with Vespa’s and excitement. It seemed apparent that we would be compatible at first glance, but the results of our matching have been even more impressive than I expected. Thank you for housing me for 104 days—I cannot wait to get more acquainted!