I’ve been in mourning these past couple of days because I just got back from Rome last night. These four weeks have flown by, and it was very tough to leave. When choosing a study abroad program, I thought that one month would be the perfect amount of time- I would have almost two months of summer after I got home, and I would get to spend time with my family for the rest of my last summer before I graduate. I was wrong, though, because one month felt way too short. The trip kept us on our feet all day every day, so time flew by. I will miss everyone who was on the trip with me and the amazing experiences we had, but here are some things I won’t miss. And, let’s get straight to the point because thinking of the negatives might help me feel better:
1. Bread and water aren’t free-we’re spoiled in America. Bread and water come endlessly to our tables without thought to the point where we stuff our faces so much with bread, we forget we have our whole meal coming. In Italy, I assumed that water would have a charge, but it took me a few meals to realize that the breadbasket I didn’t touch was eight euros. Italian servers play games with the bread, too, as if the price of a breadbasket isn’t enough to get you hot and bothered. At first, I just let the charge happen because I felt rude turning homemade bread down. However, once I started consuming embarrassing amounts of pasta on this trip, I realized the extra bread had to go. It sounds easy to refuse, but it is beyond difficult. I guarantee they will do three things with the bread before you can leave the table charge-free. 1. They will sneak the bread to you- you won’t even realize that the bread is on your table at all. I swear they have better slight of hand than most magicians. 2. You say you don’t want the bread? Sorry, I don’t speak English. Yes, yes you do, you explained the whole menu to me with flawless English. And 3. Give you offended looks to make you feel like you disgraced their entire lineage by turning down their bread.
2. Walking as if you’re still in NYC-I thought I was done with my days of pushing past people after getting off the subway and getting annoyed at the fact that I was turning into one of those angry New Yorkers that thinks they should be the only one on the street. But seriously, in Italy walking is worse than anywhere I’ve been. For the most part, I noticed this outside of Rome, you know, where people took it easy all day. I was extremely jealous of their lifestyle, but come on people, I have a tour of the Pompei ruins in 10 minutes; let’s get it together. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only two people on the street and on opposite sides because they will find a way to cross and run into you or even worse, cross in front of you and stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Just put your game faces on because it’s rough.
3. Bread and water aren’t free- Seriously, this got to me.
Even though cultural differences added some hiccups to the trip, here are a couple of things I’ll miss more than anything- because let’s be honest, the positives outweigh the negatives.
1. We don’t have that kind of history in America- The closest thing we have to the Coliseum is the Dallas Cowboy’s football stadium, and if you think about it George Washington really isn’t that old. But the Roman Forum and the Vatican? Now that’s history. Our hotel was right outside of Vatican City, and it was amazing to have that kind of culture in your backyard. We even got the chance to attend a blessing by the Pope, and he’s pretty old. Just kidding, his role in the Vatican is very old, and it was an honor to hear him speak. How many people can say that the Pope has blessed them? It was incredible to see how relevant the Pope’s role is in Rome after centuries of time in power. This particular Pope is a huge rock star in Italy right now because he’s making a conscious effort to keep with the times and keep the Catholic religion relevant. It was interesting to see so many different cultures gathered to see Papa Francesco speak.
2. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- This goes without saying, but I will also miss the art throughout Italy. Even though I’m going to be tired of Renaissance and Baroque art for a few years after going to so many museums, seeing most of the art we’ve studied in Art History was an incredible experience. Needless to say, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael killed it.
3. The food- Before leaving for Italy, everyone I talked to told me I would gain tons of weight from the abundance of pizza, pasta and gelato. While I did indulge in these quite often, I actually found that my favorite food in Italy was any type of seafood. Instead of going crazy with bread, I went a little wild with squid, octopus, all types of fish, mussels and clams. Everything was outside of Rome was relatively cheap, so on my weekend excursions with Nik, we thoroughly enjoyed seafood feasts together. Now that I’m back home, I get to show off that I actually lost weight from all of the walking we did mixed with all of the healthy seafood we ate—not too shabby!
Being back in America has it’s ups and downs, but now that I’m home, I’m happy to be around friends and family for a couple of months before I head back to Philly. I still plan on writing about Italy for the rest of my blog posts, though, because I plan on heading to the beach and doing next to nothing for the rest of my summer break. Time to go relax!
Cacio e Pepe with Mussels
Super cool Vogue Italia fashion week edition San Pellegrino bottle
(I snagged two and will be using them as flower vases!)
This is an example of how you order water at restaurants in Italy,
I am now addicted to sparkling water and will forever be a water diva because of this.