Go go go! Get to class, to the market, across the street, to bed, to the bus! Quickly! Let’s go!
Where is this? It’s not Rome, it’s Washington D.C. This is how I, among many others, have come to structure my life at school. However, in Rome this behavior is barely acceptable. You don’t need to leave the house dutifully or in a rush, you can leave with an outlook that says, “I’m just looking to live.” Though it sounds like a tourist’s mentality, I see this behavior in Italians throughout Rome. It is simply living the Italian way. If you get lost downtown, if you stay at a restaurant for three hours, if you get caught up in a conversation at the market, who cares? And despite all of this, Romans still find time for their afternoon siestas.
|Outskirts of Vatican City|
So far, my Roman study abroad experience is teaching me what it really means to relax and enjoy what a city and its inhabitants truly have to offer. We talk a lot about the big sights and sounds a city like Rome has; but I am coming to relish even more each moment I am able to experience real Italian culture. Whether this comes in the form of venturing down a dark and sketchy alleyway in the Trastevere neighborhood or socializing with the comedic waiters at a restaurant right outside Vatican City, this is the Italy I will remember.
|Chai and Coffee|
Some advice: "When in Rome," it is important to not see only the big picture or to focus your trip on what you think is most important; get down and dirty and experience life in the oddest places. Furthermore, be the culture; be an Italian! See and explore the Vatican, the architecture, the historical district, the gelati, the alleyways, the language (go ahead and slaughter the pronunciations of a few phrases while you’re at it), the ristoranti, and the siesta. Just make sure you don’t take too long with that siesta, you’ve got Italy to experience.