Rome Wars Episode 5: Revenge of the Myth

Friends, we’re nearing present day — only one email update to go! Since my last post, all that’s happened of note is that I ate gelato by myself in the rain, in a moment that was either a huge success for my independence and the feminist movement, or just really depressing. This email update was shockingly long, so I won’t add much more forced-witty intro, and will instead just attach a photo of the Colosseum (They didn’t actually feed Christians to the lions there, apparently. Whu knu. Also, it’s impossible for Nero to have fiddled while Rome burned, because the fiddle wasn’t invented yet. Get ready to foist that one on your pretentious, fake-literary neighbor the next time he tries to act all superior at the joint-hosted dinner party your wife makes you throw every year to “foster community”).


Lions, yes. Martyred Christians, no.

Anyway, Overly-Detailed Email Update Numero Cinque, leggo:



I’m sure you miss hearing me say that ad nauseum (likely you don’t), but alas, there it is.

In my infinite wisdom of having been here nearly 2 weeks, I have realized several things:

Always be prepared for rain — I had to buy an umbrella from a street vendor on Friday. He spoke English THANK GOD, business interactions are still totally iffy for me in Italian. Case in point, the flea market I went to on Sunday.

As part of class, we also had to go out in pairs to interview random citizens. I, of course, fates, was paired with a football player — the less articulate one. It was marv. I had to approach people (bad) and talk to them (bad) in another language (bad) and understand what they answered well enough to write it down (impossible).

Another revelation: if I aggressively jaywalk instead of making my way to the carefully lighted and metered crossings, I can cut off like 3 minutes of my walk to the bus stop. Perhaps this is why I always now seem to arrive 38 seconds too late. Literally the bus was still at the stop on Thursday, but it had already closed its doors. It couldn’t get anywhere because of the traffic, but I still couldn’t get on. Such is my relationship with public transport here. If I’m not lost, then it is somehow failing me in another way.

Possibly the worst revelation: it is possible to get sick of carbs. Tonight, I had pasta for dinner, and actually had trouble shoving it into my face, because I realized I’ve been eating the same things for two weeks. I really just want some SmartFood. Or a milkshake. Or a fucking steak. There is so little meat here. I ordered fried fish chunks for lunch today. It’s that bad. I also think that I crave cheese. Or milk. Drinking wine with dinner has actually become the bane of my existence. Hidden and repurposed Coke-bottle-filled-with-water is now my secret weapon.

Classes suck balls. There’s a part of my mind that knows I’d be doing this much work, if not more, at Dartmouth, but also it is incredibly frustrating to just feel like an idiot while completing every single homework assignment. It takes me an hour to read like a page, and I’m not used to feeling stupid. Fortunately, there are still the football players.

I was horrendously homesick this weekend, especially because none of the people here wanted to go out and do anything. Their excuse was that a they hadn’t started the homework and needed to get working. But, shocker, today they still had not done any of the homework. Like, just get it out of the way and move on. They wallow in the amount of work we have. It’s obnoxious. They’re obnoxious. I miss hanging out with people I can ugly cry in front of or who tell me my boobs look saggy (never going to forget that one, Sarah >:| ).

We’re spending this weekend in Florence, so maybe that will actually be fun. If this were a lifetime movie, it’d be our opportunity to all bond as a group and then we’d all stop sucking to one another and become friends. More likely, I’ll either end up sitting next to Andrea Dutterman in the world’s most boring game of Kings, or will just go to bed at 9 to avoid them all.

I’m getting better at using the hand shower. The blast radius now extends only to just beyond the toilet (this means about six inches from the doorway, given the size of my bathroom).

My body is definitely changing, and I can’t tell if I’m getting skinnier or fatter. Worrisome.

Petted a cat today. It had literal inch long fangs and got dandruff all over me.

I’ve worn basically all of my clothes already. No laundry protocol has been made clear to me. You all know that this won’t become a problem for like 4 more weeks, but it still seemed of note.

Toured the catacombs. My face did not melt. Though the tour guide had a British accent and was pretty cute. Such a waste that he’s in training to be a priest.

Had the king of all awkward dinners with Doria’s son and nine year old grandson. Doria was not home. I had to try to explain both lacrosse and mock trial to them. My success was nebulous.

I’m attempting to arrange a haircut scenario here, overseas. Theoretically, I just want a trim, but given language barriers, if I come back with a fro-ey pixie cut, you’ll know what went wrong. Promise you’ll still hang out with me?

There are ambulance sirens at all hours. I have realized that not only is this because I live near the hospital, but also because cars just do not care to get out of the way when ambulances are behind them. Cars also drive on the train tracks. I saw a car pulled out horizontal to the flow of traffic today, just waiting. It’s anarchy over here.

I finally realized that I look like a homeless man in my big army jacket, but today I also fit an entire full water bottle in the pocket, so tradeoffs I guess.

Doria finally let me wash dishes for the first time yesterday. I broke nothing. Success.

I miss you all ferociously, hope the term is going well, and that Jingya wasn’t too intimidated to read this email.

Love you ALLLLLL can’t wait to get back,



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