Ciao! I have to start by saying that the last month in Rome has been a series of incredible experiences. Unfortunately it’s been an extremely busy month, hence my sporadic and pretty much nonexistent blog posts. I’m going to do my best in this one to get completely caught up, and up to date so I don’t have as much to try and fit in from here on out … which means this is going to be a ridiculously long post.
First I feel like I should tell a little about my day to day life since I got here. One of the best things about this program is that we get to live in a four star hotel. All of my lifelong Eloise dreams have come true. My room is a really good size, and has a view of the Pantheon, which is awesome! The Hotel Tiziano is centrally located and is about a two minute walk from our classroom building, and Pascucci’s, where we eat some of our meals. We are literally in the heart of Rome! A lot of the most famous places in the city are within walking distance. We spend time wandering all over the place, but since it’s so close, the Pantheon has become a favorite place for studying, eating lunch, and people watching.
Generally we eat four or five meals a week at the hotel, and the rest are at Pascucci’s. We are given a weekly allotment of 27 euros in tickets (which we call food stamps) that we can use there for capuccino, panini, cornetti, etc. I’ve come to the conclusion that figuring out how to ration them out and still get enough food must be an art form. I’m usually out of food stamps by Thursday, and have found myself on food stamp welfare, taking donations from my fellow students, more times than I’d like to say. Our meals at the hotel are generally really good. Lasagna night is every other Tuesday and it is the most fantastic thing in the world, my Tuesday’s in America will feel empty without it. My whole life I have said that if I could live in a world where I ate nothing but bread and sweets I’d be the happiest girl in the world. Oddly enough, that has kind of become my life and I’m so very sad to say that I was wrong. Our diet here is essentially all carbohydrates, and don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty amazing most of the time, but oh what I wouldn’t do for some grilled chicken and vegetables. Small complaints aside, the food here is pretty great, and I’m trying to remember that I’m living the dream with this diet, and I’m sure when I get back to America there will be a million times when this will be reversed and I’ll be saying, “oh what I wouldn’t do for a cornetto from Pascucci’s!” So with that in mind, I’m making an effort to savor it all!
Classes are much more difficult than I expected, and require a lot of work. My mind seems to be unwilling to accept the “study” part of “study abroad.” It feels like such a waste to be sitting inside reading books when you’re living in one of the greatest, most historical cities in the world. Keeping in this mindset, I’d like to include as little info as possible about classes in this blog. So, moving on.
Rome is definitely beginning to feel like home now. In probably the second week here I got asked for directions three times in one day, so I hope that’s a good sign that I’m blending in fairly well. I’d like to say that I’m beginning to know the city like the back of my hand, but that would be an absolute lie. Getting lost has become a very frequent occurrence, but it’s a good way to see new parts of the city, and find things I otherwise wouldn’t, and we’re lucky to live where we do because no matter what, I can always just ask how to get to the Pantheon and I’m essentially home. Between school and work I’ve been keeping extremely busy, but I try to go on walks with friends at least a few nights a week after dinner. On our evening strolls we’ve made our way to Piazza Navona, Vatican City, Campo di Fiori, the Trevi Fountain, and my absolute favorite place in Rome, The Spanish Steps. Up until the moment when I visited the Spanish Steps I had been feeling like something was missing from my Rome experience. Not that it wasn’t absolutely lovely, but I felt like somehow it wasn’t what I had expected it to be. It wasn’t until I arrived at the Piazza di Spagna and began climbing the steps that I realized I was finally experiencing and seeing what I’d been hoping for. I still can’t really put my finger on what it was, but everything about the moment was perfect. The weather that evening and the palm trees made me feel like I was in San Diego, the sky and clouds seemed to be glowing, and as I looked out over all of Rome from the top of the steps, I was absolutely amazed.
Since arriving in Rome I have been trying to make an effort to speak Italian when possible with the few terms I know. While that sounds really awesome, I’ve been doing pretty terribly and manage to completely butcher the Italian language at least once a day. Aside from randomly throwing in Spanish and French words, I also just say absolutely ridiculous things. At the urging of many, I’ve compiled a small list of some of my major screw up’s which have been the source of a whole lot of laughter in our group.
-I frequently order berry flavored yogurt and pastries for breakfast. Many of the berry flavored things I’ve seen have said Frutti di Bosco. Apparently I subconsciously assumed that I’m skilled enough to make my own abbreviations and shortened it to just bosco. For weeks I have been ordering bosco flavored things, and it wasn’t until the other day that I was finally informed that bosco means wood. Hmm. That would explain the confusion of the Pascucci’s workers, seeing as I was ordering wood flavored yogurt and it also explains why they never seemed to give me the one I was asking for.
-The Italian words for peach and fish are very similar, so one day at Pascucci’s I decided to ask how to say peach, to avoid the mistake of ordering fish on accident. So I pointed to the peach to help make my point clear and said, “Che significa ‘peach’?” My friends started laughing as the man who worked there stared at me completely bewildered, and they informed me that I said, “What does this peach mean?” … Needless to say, the staff of Pascucci’s surely thinks I’m a complete idiot.
-In Italian class we were going over our homework and I happened to get called on to give my response on a section I hadn’t completed. I sat there for a minute trying to look through the list of options and figure it out the best answer, but she was clearly getting impatient, so my friend Mary just pointed to a random one, and I figured her guess was as good as mine so I said it. I knew immediately that it was the wrong choice when my professor started laughing. Apparently I answered with “I have a stereo, but I do not have children.”
Mistakes aside, I’m speaking the language as much as I can, and hopefully by the time I leave I’ll be much improved! So apparently I’m not going to get completely up to date with this blog entry today, but I’m making progress! More to come very very soon.