Rome Wars Episode 1: A New Home

(These titles are a play on Star Wars, since I realize that’s not clear. I forsook using the title of episode 1 for this, my first post, because I’m saving it for “The Phantom Venice” in two weeks. Forgive me)

So, I’ve set off on my excellent journey, studying abroad in the Eternal City. I arrived on January 6th, so I’m now in the throes of my 4th week without McNuggets, subzero temperatures, or Keystone Light (miss u Darty). Why haven’t I been blogging since I arrived? Excellent question, my non-readers. I don’t know. I think that instead I’ve opted for writing overly detailed email updates to my Dartmouth friends and vacillating between pining for the States and pretending that they don’t exist. No more of that, though, as I’ve decided to post my email updates here! Yes, celebrate, all two of you!

This isn’t really a travel blog, and I’m not really a travel writer. All I can do, though, is share the experiences that I’ve had, good, bad, and hilarious, and let you laugh at my expense. I was nearly hit by a motorino this morning. A blessing of not speaking enough Italian to say so is that when a middle aged man on a Vespa curses you out in the middle of the street, you don’t know how embarrassed to be.

I complain a lot. I do it because it’s funny and self deprecating, and less obnoxious than a play-by-play of the inside of the Colosseum. I have my extensive Facebook photo album for that. I assure you all, I’m having a great time. As proof, here is a photo of me petting a sanctuary cat in Largo Argentina.

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But I do complain a lot. I complain much more than I explain all the awesome places I’ve been and gelatos I’ve eaten, so if you want to read a cool blog about “the experience” of Rome, you’ll have to find that elsewhere. WordPress tells me that there are like 13945tq0345876 of them (yes, I just used t and q as numbers. That’s how many travel blogs there are). What you’ll find here isn’t about “The Rome Experience,” it’s about my Rome experience. I make no apologies for that.

(I do apologize for the fact that I use sub-perfect grammar and punctuation in the emails. I’m trying to assimilate myself into the “online lingo ‘hood.” I apologize additionally for the egregious smiley face usage. It’s a front, I promise. You guys know the real, ice-hearted, stoic-expressioned me. Scout’s honor).

Thus, with only this much further ado, I give thee: (The Minorly Edited Version of) Overly-Detailed Email Update Numero Uno:

I’m not sure how seriously you meant the “send me updates” thing, but it’s 7 a.m here and my host mom assumes I’m going to be sleeping for the rest of the day, so I’m sending you an update! 🙂

First, some cool things:

There is a man who sings opera in an apartment near ours. I could hear him through the window last night as I was falling asleep. That really happens.

Apparently “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is a thing here as well, because I hear it right now and I’m not sure where it’s coming from.

Instead of a shower in my bathroom (I have my own bathroom. It’s about the size of your armoire, but it’s all for me 🙂 ) I have a tub-like contraption that apparently you’re supposed to sit in and use the hand spigot to shower. There’s a mat in it so I don’t fall down, and it has little fleur-di-lis cut outs in it so the water can drain. Consequentially, I now have a fleur-di-lis stamped on my ass. Shoulda been a Kappa. Also, I got water just everywhere. There is no curtain. It’s a sight.

I had my first glass of wine with dinner. Which was spaghetti. And was delicious.

I’ve already seen the Colosseum. Casually. There was a guy dressed in gladiator costume outside. He was wearing work boots. #SoOldRome

Now, a more sensical telling of my arrival:

I had to wait in the plane from Boston for an hour while they de-iced the wings. I made friends with my Greek seat mate, Marilyn. We totally chilled in the Frankfurt Airport, and by that I mean she waited for me after passport control, so basically we are now besties. She was going home from visiting her half-Greek half-American boyfriend. She visited Maine. I was also the only one who talked to people in the airport while we waited, and I met Meghan from Champlain College and we discussed study abroad plans. She’s going to Scotland. Then I met this guy and his wife. He’s a private school guidance counselor going to Germany on a recruiting trip. I was terrified trying to get through security bc I was like oh no I have to take my shoes off and get out my liquids and put my laptop in it’s own bucket and aalfghaldfjhjalf, but that went fine too. I got selected to be x-ray screened. Perhaps they were suspicious because I was wearing eight thousand layers. The airplane food was not as disgusting as I thought it would be, and the toddler to my left was actually fairly well behaved and did not cry at all. His name was Thomas. I told his mom she was a champ on the way out. In Frankfurt, I had to get from Terminal Z to Terminal A, which was basically a marathon inside a maze. But, my buddy Marilyn was going the same way, so we braved it together. I was waiting in the terminal for maybe seven minutes before we boarded. It was awesome. The flight to Rome was beautiful, and I got to see the sun come up while we were flying over the Alps. It was gorgeous. I also tried to eat German yogurt. It was incredibly sour. I was taken aback. Not in Kansas anymore. My friend Matt was supposed to meet me in the airport, but that got all screwed up and I was pissed at him for being late and absent and not on top of his shit. Blah. Whatever. I took a train to the Termini in Rome (I walked into the train station and this girl was immediately like “do you need help???!??!!?” I must look very lost all the time) and then ate my first piece of Italian pizza (it tasted pretty much like American pizza, only I was starving so it was basically nectar of the gods). Then, we walked around the city some, which I was not really down for at the time. It was nearing 24 hours that I’d been up, and I was carrying my 27 pound backpack, and I was wearing every clothing item I owned and sweating my balls off, and worried we wouldn’t get back in time. All in all, non-optimal. But, eventually we got back to the train station and met up with our host families. Doriana is excellent. She is old but still cool, and she told me I was pretty, so I like her already. 🙂 My house is awesome, and quite near the center of the city. I have my own room and my own bathroom, and there is a balcony that looks out over the house of the British ambassador to Rome, Villa Wolkonsky. My host mother tried to explain that to me, but I for the life of me could not understand, though the power of Google later enlightened me. I also could not explain the word “fun” yesterday. It was a low point for my fluency. Beyond that, there is not much to say yet other than that I’m quite excited, and I know it’s going to be a great term 🙂 I have a welcome party later today where I will get to see my school. I hope that you enjoy your time in Hanover as much as I enjoy my time here. I miss everyone back home, keep an eye on them for me 🙂

Pounces,
Stacy

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