I can generally find a way through troubled waters in 99% of challenging situations on my own, or I ask for help, or I brainstorm with others to find suggestions and solutions. To prepare for this trip, I attended every zoom meeting, picked the brain of various persons who had lived in Italy and even ordered an Italian CD to listen to. I felt well prepared, fully and completely… or so I thought.
The challenges that threw me off my groove were those I did not prepare for: the door lock fell out of the front door of my apartment and I was locked in my apartment. When I was finally able to jiggle it open, I went to class. When I returned from class it was a 30 minute battle of the wits with the door, but I finally took command and was smarter than the door. The radiator heaters and water heater began to not work the day after I arrived and I haven’t showered in two days. My iPhone plan with my phone company does not work, I specifically changed it for my trip to Europe; therefore, my connections to family, friends, schoolmates, google maps and general communication system is out of commission. So I bought a local phone to at least communicate with the school and teachers. After purchasing, and arriving back at my apartment, I tried out the phone and cannot reach any of the Rome numbers. And to top it off, the washer/dryer that was broken by the previous tenants will be installed later in the week.
Needless to say, I sit at my desk, writing my blog, in dirty clothes, unwashed hair, doing homework based on what I could gather from my housemates until 3:00am. I feel stressed at not being able to access the website where I need to download my homework, anxious because I cannot contact my family and friends, neither by email, text nor phone call, and tired from lack of sleep because of the time difference.
This was a crash course in critical thinking and problem solving. Yet, It is also a reminder that I am not alone. All of the students have had challenges, all valid and ready to test our ingenuity, creativity and ability to flow with the Tramontana (North wind-when it blows its pretty chilly).
In spite of these challenges, I have begun to experience some of the eternal city’s beauty and majesty. We took a lovely walking tour of the area around our apartment. We are eating wonderfully delicious food and I am listening attentively to the melodious native language of the Italian people. My house mates and I have begun the steps in creating and bonding together in friendship in a foreign country.
Today is day three. Rome is beautiful, it is layered with history. I can walk out of my apartment and see a little bit of each time period with the naked eye, imagine what I will see once I understand the history and culture a little more. I am finding that challenges bring people together. Best of all, the Italian people have been so kind and helpful, the food is fabulous, the art and architecture mythical … and it is only day three.