Sunday, September 13, 2009


Over the past three days I've learned a series of really important lessons about myself, and my life and place here in general.

Lesson #1: I can have just as much fun on my own

I had the day off from school on Friday, and wanted to do something fun. I decided to explore the city on my own, to test myself and see if I could do it.

Best decision I could have made.

I busted out my bus maps and my city guide, found the location of an English book store in Trastevere (a neighborhood of Rome about 20 min. south of me), figured out how to get there by bus, and got up and went.

Trastevere is beautiful. Honestly when you think of Rome, you're probably thinking of that neighborhood. Winding streets, cobblestone roads, tall buildings painted (and peeling) with rusty warm colors, little shops scattered everywhere. I used my map to find the bookstore, had a great conversation with the Irish guy who ran it, bought a new book, explored the Church of Santa Maria, and bought a gelato in Italian.

Lesson #2: I am capable and resourceful

Bolstered by my success in navigating Rome on my own, I decided to take a day trip outside of the main city the next day mostly just to see if I could do it. I chose Ostia Antica, the ruins of the old port town of Rome before the Tiber River silted up and ruined them thousands of years ago.

Using maps and internet directions I took the bus to the metro, transferred to another metro, then got on a train and finally made it there. It was HUGE. But impressive looking. Ruins of fountains, bath houses, churches, temples, schools. I walked around forever in it. You could get lost.

Lesson #3: Follow your gut. And Rome NEVER sleeps. Ever. (But that part I knew).

After getting back from Ostia Antica I decided I wanted to go out into the city that night. I left with a group of people who I had lunch with once, but got a very good vibe from (as opposed to the people I've usually found myself hanging out with) and am very glad I did. They were probably some of the sweetest people I've met at this school so far. I wore the wrong shoes for the amount of walking we did that night (which I'm suffering for this morning, believe me) but it was still fun.

Pizzeria at midnight by the Trevi fountain, meeting up with other people we know in Piazza Navona at 1am, popping into an Irish pub at 2am, hanging outside with a crowd of people at Scholars (a huuge and well known American bar) at 3am.

Honestly it's impossible to tell what time it is in this city because the amount of people you see out and walking around at 3:30 in the morning looks like the amount of people you'd see at 12:30am at home. You can stop at a restaurant at midnight and order food and hang out for an hour if you'd like. You can gather with a massive crowd of the moderately buzzed (and the very drunk) in Piazza Navona or Campo de Fiori at 2am. You can get a bottle of wine and watch the sun come up on the Spanish Steps with groups of Italians and lovers scattered about. You can get home at 6 in the morning and have that be normal.

This city is insane. But amazing. And I feel like I'm finally starting to find my place in all of it.

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