Two Months Deep, Bella Chaos, and Looking Forward to Looking Back

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Celebrated my 20th birthday up in the Alps of Interlaken, Switzerland!

Hello, it’s me.

Yeah, I know, it’s been awhile. It turns out that studying abroad in Rome is very distracting to the whole goal of writing a blog about studying abroad in Rome.

But these past two months have been AMAZING! I have so many stories to share—
Some humiliating, a few strait up hilarious, and many that will make you smile. And while in general I have stayed safe, there have been some borderline frightening and unbelievable moments that I can’t wait to write more about.

A few highlights include my ever-raging battle with public transportation, several near-successful dog attacks (and a few sadly successful eaten sandwiches), a flirtatious Italian guard, many failed attempts at the Italian language, and a few memorable confrontations with some ballsy Roman pickpocketers.

Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot.

Is it too late now to say sorry?

In my prolonged absence from both blogging and posting photos on Facebook (they’re coming, I swear), I’ve been busy traveling and exploring my new “homa” (see what I did there?) I’ve traveled from Rome to Sicily, Berlin, Florence, Tuscany, Venice, and Interlaken, Switzerland. My parents came to visit for a week in February and my aunt Sheri and Grandma Joyce are currently here traveling all over Italy with me for Spring Break. It’s been a blast.

As I write this, the three of us are currently on a plane back to Rome from Catania, Sicily, where we rounded out our exploration of this great Peninsula in 65 degree weather. My grandmother doesn’t get around well due to her recent hip surgery and double knee replacements, so they boarded us first with assistance onto the flight. We then had the pleasure of sitting in the second to last row and watching the now all-too-familiar Italian pandemonium ensue.

A plump woman wearing a fur coat and far too much lipstick chats loudly on her phone behind us. “Pronto? Ah si, certo…” she babbles on, talking with whomever will listen throughout the entire plane ride, starting right before we take off. A man with a few days of stubble looks genuinely harassed and angry while he attempts to place his bag in the shrinking overhead compartment and get to his seat. His expressive face and poignant hand gestures demonstrate that Italians are exceedingly open with their emotions and he is very unhappy with the present situation. A baby lets out an ear-piercing wail a few rows forward. An Asian tourist is confused with the seating arrangement and gets a lecture on Italian numbers by the unhappy man, who frustratingly points at the number on the empty seat in the middle while reiterating “uno, due, tre…” An accented European lady (British, I dare say?) snippily comments in english that the boy needs to sit down so that the rest of the flight may get on with it.

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the Colosseum / il Colosseo 
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mmm…gelato!
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Villa Doria Pamphilli-my favorite Roman park!
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Bell Tower in Venice
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View from the Bell Tower in Venice
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View from the Duomo in Firenze (Florence)
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463 steps later!
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our faces when we finally saw each other! thanks for visiting mom & dad!
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Piazza Navona in Roma
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Flowers in the Mercado Campo d’Fiori (open air market)

 

 

 

Will this flight ever make it to Rome?

This is all to give you a small window into my life at the present moment: bella chaos, they call it in Italian, or beautiful chaos. Yes, my life is full of times such as these where I am a spectator in a mad, mad world. Italy is a constant overload of extreme senses- bright colors, overwhelming smells, loud noises, and delicious tastes—and I get to experience these each and every day as an avid people watcher and curious explorer. In fact, every moment is an adventure just waiting to happen when you’re living in Rome.

So whether you almost get run over by a Vespa on the sidewalk in your neighborhood one night, you’re delivered a plate of the most disgusting looking pasta you’ve ever seen (squid, anyone?), or you spend another morning’s bus ride with your face in yet another Italian’s stinky armpit, I’ve learned that most importantly here in Italy, you just have to roll with it.

As you may have gathered from my first blog post, rolling with it isn’t always easy. There have been many frustrating moments this semester and I’ve been tested in more ways than I ever could have anticipated. I’ve struggled to make and keep friends, I have come across random health problems, and I have had to fight constantly to remain spiritually fed in a alarmingly “satisfied” world. Studying abroad certainly isn’t all instagrams and peachy memories- no, it a legitimate trying of the mind, body, and soul. There have been days where I’ve just wanted to throw in the towel (that I have to hang dry, mind you) and book my flight back home, and then there are other days when I think of every way to stay abroad as long as possible and can’t bear the thought of leaving my beloved Rome.

So this here is to the last two months of volatility and exploration, two months I have spent finding my way by losing it, wandering the many alleys, villas (parks), libraries, and gelaterias of the Eternal City of Rome in the most wondrous and chaotic land we know as Italia. If you keep checking back here on the website, I will have more blog posts about my adventures and mishaps with each passing day. I can’t wait to share them with you.

Here’s looking forward to looking back!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

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