Well today is the day. By the end of today I will be jumping into my moms arms, trying to hold back tears from missing her so much. Well maybe. But I will be back in the beautiful state of Washington and I’m not sure what to feel.
Rome has been my home for the last two months and now it is forever a part of me. I remember the first week here and all I wanted to do was fly home. The language barrier was unbearable, I didn’t understand how to buy apples, and I didn’t even like the program I came on.
Nine weeks later, and I wouldn’t have changed anything for the world. While I still don’t really know Italian, I know how to get by, and really a smile and gratzie is all you need.
I’ve got the hang of grocery stores now, and apples are forever at my beck and call. I’ve had some of the most amazing food here. I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to Pizza Hut, Dominos, or even Diorgiorno. I’ve become a pizza snob and I’m proud of it. I’ve also become a dessert snob and ice cream will just never taste the same. Even American gelato won’t taste the same.
When I first realized that I had signed up for a creative writing program, my heart dropped. I knew what that meant: lots of sharing your creative writing in front of everyone. Not only do I not like to write creatively ever, but as you all know, I hate talking in front of people. Especially about personal things that I have written. I don’t like feeling that vulnerable. However, I would not have changed this program for anything. This program really opened my eyes to poetry, and I’ve realized that I actually do enjoy it. Some of the writing assignments, I’ve had a lot of fun writing. A curse, a song, a Terza Rima; I’ve been really surprised at what I’ve been able to produce.
This past week was our “finals” week if you can really call it that. We kicked off this week with final presentations on Monday and Tuesday ( I went Monday). I did mine on Aqueducts, which are really cool! I don’t want to bore you with the details, but they work solely on gravity alone and transport a ton of water! Right after my presentation, I also recited two of the three poems that we have to do; Ode on a Grecian Urn and Archaic Torso. Nailed it. Since they are forever ingrained in my brain, I would be more than happy to recite them to any of you 🙂 Since both Monday and Tuesday were a bit tedious, we spent Wednesday at the beach in Sperlonga. ALL DAY. We did go to a museum, but we also got to go into Tiberius’ Grotto so it was worth it. I got even more tan. It was a good day all around. Thursday we visited the Protestant Cemetery where Keats is buried and then had our final banquet in the evening. Which means it’ll be a while before I see any of these people again…sad face.
When I think about going home, I’m so excited (I’ve been packed since Monday!), but then I’m also extremely nostalgic about leaving this magical place. I feel like assimilating myself back into American culture will be semi-difficult.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be saying ciao, and gratzie for a long time after I get back. I’m also pretty sure that loud noises are going to scare the crap out of me too. The sirens here, while loud, are very different than sirens back home. They aren’t as shrieking and ear piercing as ambulances and fire trucks are in the U.S. I’ll be jumping ten feet high.
A few things I am excited for when I get back to Seattle, 24 hour supermarkets. Why you ask? Here, grocery markets are only open from like 10am-8pm with about a 3 hour siesta closure from 1pm-4pm. This drove me crazy. For the most part it was fine but sometimes you just want some gummy dinos at 10pm and you can’t. It was a problem.
Sidenote: Gummy dinos are my favorite candy here. They are basically gummy bears but in the shape of dinosaurs and THEY ARE SO GOOD. Way better than any gummy candy I’ve had in the states.
I’m also really excited for Red Robin. I know, I know that sounds really lame, but that is the one thing I have craved the entire time. I mean if they can have Hard Rock Cafe here, why can’t they have Red Robin? Unlimited fries? YES. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it. If they had a RR here, it would be over. I’d get a job there, live here forever, and eat all the fries I wanted. Sorry Mom.
One thing that I will miss here is everyone saying “Ciao, Bella”. Who would’ve thought that being hit on could sound so beautiful. While sometimes it’s a little creepy, for the most part it’s all harmless. The restaurant waiters just want you to eat at their place, so they try to flirt with you.
I’ve had an ongoing flirt fest with one of the guys in Campo, right below the building that the UW Rome Center is in. For awhile I was straight ignoring him because I thought it was creepy. He would always sing “Why you gotta be so rude” to me as I walked away. Sometimes I would smile back. Once he gave me cherries. I ate them and didn’t die so I think he might be semi-okay. But alas, he’s too short so it really doesn’t matter…
I’m going to miss my favorite place in the world: Doria Pamphilij park. I haven’t been able to go as much as I wanted to but I’ve never been to a more beautiful place. I made it out there one last time on Tuesday and had a picnic with Cierra. It truly is a heaven on earth and even the greenery in Seattle doesn’t measure up to this place.
Speaking of Cierra, I’m so thankful for the friends that I’ve made here. They know just how to lift my spirits up (Gummy dinos usually do the trick) but they also understand that I’m an introvert and sometimes I don’t have the energy to be social. And they don’t hate me for it, which is the best.
Cierra is the nicest person I’ve ever met in my life. She literally doesn’t hate anyone and can deal with anyone. I on the other hand, you can read my emotions on my face very clearly. If I’m not in the mood, everybody can tell. But she puts up with me. It’s going to be really weird not living with her. I’ll miss our pathetic dinners (I eat a big bowl of broccoli, she eats a block of feta cheese and then a bowl of cereal). I’ll miss her trying to catch me snapchatting her ridiculous looking selfies of myself (she never catches me). She loves nutella, miniature things, moss, and water. Oh, and mosaics. Ask her how she wants to be “buried” when she dies, you’ll see just how much she loves mosaics. She’s the best. To think that we’ve had about 3 class together before this and I always thought she was smarter than me and..I don’t know what she thought of me. She puts up with my wild mood swings and showed me how amazing berry colored lipstick is. I’m so thankful she’s in my life.
Caitlin. When I first met Caitlin I was beyond intimidated by her. She is one smart cookie. But somehow we became really good friends….despite the fact that we are COMPLETE opposites. Our friendship began when I gave her gummy dinos to comfort her grocery shopping anxiety. (I told you, gummy dinos fix every situation). She also gave me the very best goodbye present: she got Snapchat…just for me! If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. Now, while she’s in Wales all by herself, I can snapchat her funny pictures..and she can snapchat me pictures of hot Welsh men and give me proof that she’s still alive. She also taught me that it’s okay to not share your food with other people. I always felt like I had to, but truth is, I bought it, so I plan on eating all of it. Thankfully she’s the same way so I never have to worry about her asking to try some of my food.
Luckily for me, I get to take classes with both Cierra and Caitlin next quarter. Italian Renaissance Art? So. Excited….But not really because that doesn’t sound interesting to me at all. They peer-pressured me into it, but I like them, so I’ll suffer through it.
Then there’s Emily. The first time I ever really got to know Emily, we peed together in the trees in the park. WHAT PARK DOESN’T HAVE BATHROOMS?! I mean kids play here, you KNOW they can’t hold it for that long. Apparently, neither can we. So we took turns guarding each other while the other one did their business. If that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is. She also gets my frustration with people, which is good. Really good. She braids my hair really well. And she has the best facial expressions.
Lastly, there’s Maddy; my other roommate. She makes the best
dinners and she loves cats. There is a cat park in Rome, where all the stray cats live and someone feeds them periodically, but you can just go there and play with cats. That’s where you’ll usually find her; she loves them. She’s pretty hilarious. Greece would not have been quite as much fun if she hadn’t been there. Making fun of our neighbors and walking numerous miles would have been quite lonely by myself.
Now that I’ve made it sound like I have girl crushes on all my friends ( I don’t I just think they’re really cool), here’s a little recap of my favorite experiences on this trip:
1. The Villa Doria Pamphilij Park
2. San Gimignano
3. Tivoli at Villa d’Este
These past two months have been the best two months of my life in so many ways. I’m so thankful for the friends I’ve made, the skills I’ve learned, and the things I’ve been able to experience.
I plan on continuing this blog when I get back to the states, but if you don’t hear from me soon, it’s probably because I’m stuffing my face with Red Robin.
Arrivederci a Roma!