When I decided to study abroad last fall, I expected to have a once in a lifetime experience. Yet what I did not realize is that I would, quite literally, fall in love with Rome.
To say the least, life in Rome was beyond my expectations. I am still daydreaming about the endless open-air markets, homemade pasta dishes, ancient ruins, and arguably the world's best espresso. As I sit here sunken into my living room couch, I envy the locals that have the privilege of living in Rome. I would give up my entire summer just to have one month, even one week, back in Rome.
The ultimate reason why I would return to Rome is for the Roman lifestyle. Romans only stay in their apartments to sleep, eat a meal or two, and recollect their selves throughout the day. They much prefer to be social and out and about, rather than seclude their selves in their homes. In Rome, I constantly was around other people, even when I was technically wandering by myself throughout the city. I felt more at peace drinking a cappuccino alone at a café, than I ever have lying around browsing the internet at my house back in the states.
Not only is the lifestyle more social and active, the city itself caters to every personality. If you are a history buff, there are an abundance of ancient ruins from the Coliseum to the Baths of Caracalla. If you just want to relax, you can spend the day lounging in the Borghese gardens or at a café in the Piazza Navona. If you want to shop, Via del Corso has some of Europe’s best shopping and Trastevere is home to Italy’s largest open-air market. And if you love cuisine, well you really cannot go wrong with any of Rome’s countless authentic restaurants. Life in Rome is simple and that is what makes the eternal city so captivating. I do not even have to hope that I will return because I know that when I go back to Europe, Rome is still at the top of my list.
After a long day of classes, all I wanted to do was buy a freshly made sandwich from Brothers’ Deli and hang out in the American University of Rome’s garden. Brothers’ Deli is a shop right by AUR that makes the delicious Italian style sandwiches. To my disappointment, I found the shop’s doors closed with a sign that read “chiuso per riposo” (closed for the midday siesta). Needless to say, I was devastated. Like every other Roman, the brothers close the deli from around 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm every day. This time is set aside to return home, make a nice large lunch, and relax for a little. Even though Brothers’ Deli is technically a lunch place, the brothers like to close the shop during this time and go to the gym.
Roman culture is extremely different from that of the United States. As exemplified by this experience, they are very laid back. Romans enjoy taking their time, which means they tend to walk at a much slower pace and are almost never in a hurry. Even when they eat or get coffee they will sit for hours and just talk. In contrast to Americans, who are always in a rush and even prefer to buy their coffee on the go. Large department stores in the United States are open practically twenty four seven and we almost never have to work our schedules around their lunchtime. Although I miss these conveniences, I respect the Roman way of life. Romans appreciate living in the moment and do not take time for granted.
Admittedly, I am a victim to the fast-paced and consumer-driven American culture. In the United States, I often find myself neglecting to appreciate my surroundings. But in Rome, I have learned to take my time and think rather than do. The walk from my apartment to the AUR used to take me less than fifteen minutes, but now it takes me well over twenty. Now I take the time to look around me and appreciate how amazing it is that I am in living in Rome. My transition into Rome’s culture has been a slow one, but every day gets easier and every day I notice something new.
Watch my video blog from Rome:
When In Rome
Two of my most cherished hobbies go hand-in-hand. Writing is my favorite way to reflect after traveling to a new country. I have kept this blog ever since I studied in Rome to share my travels with families and friends. I hope you enjoy learning about my experiences and getting a sense for my writing skills. If you have any questions, please reach out!