I have been in Roma for 11 days and it has been such an adventure already! Arrival day and the first few days afterward seemed like a blur. Exhaustion, jet lag, and appreciation of the beauty here was quiet overwhelming and it felt like a dream.
I’m living with 5 other flatmates here in the city and I was the first one here. During the tour of the space, I was in shock. It felt unreal to finally be in Rome. Generally speaking, it has been a calm and easy immersion.
I also just finished the first week of classes. During the next 3-4 months here, I will be taking 6 classes. These classes are Art of Rome, Italian Sketchbook, Introduction to Poetry, Playful Subversion: Understanding the Postmodern Text, Magna Graecia, and Italian Language. From first impressions, I think I’m going to really enjoy all of them.
Art of Rome and Italian Sketchbook are both on-site courses and we will be going to locations like the Colosseum, St. Maria in Cosmedin, Museo Nationale Romano, Palazzo Barberini, and Piazza Venezia. I’m really looking forward to living amongst these locales and exploring them through my studies.
So far Introduction to Poetry has been a great recap of poetry classes I’ve taken in the past and the syllabus highlights a lot of poets that I’ve never read before. Magna Graecia and Italian Language are both helping me a lot already with adapting to the culture and understanding the land. I’m most excited for my Playful Subversion course where we will be reading postmodern theories and applying them to postmodern novels.
The university is about 20-25 minutes away from my flat and it’s a beautiful scenic route. Every day I have to climb up several cases of stairs and the first case just so happens to have a beautiful painting of Scarlett O’hara on them. At first, the image resembled the actress Sarah Paulson which I’m familiar with from American Horror Story. But is indeed, not Sarah Paulson on these historic stairs, and instead, Scarlett O’hara who is a character in the 1936 film Gone With the Wind.
I have experienced a great deal of culture shock. My shopping experiences have been a little difficult since I’m not fluent in Italian yet. I only know numbers, greetings, and basic phrases. Most cashiers have understood and helped me even across the language barrier though.
This is also my first time living a big city. I’m originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado where the population is about 465,101. And Kalamazoo, Michigan where I go to school has a population of about 75,984. Here in Rome the population in 2016 was recorded at about 3.8 million. As you can imagine this alone has been quite the shock. My neighborhood does seem to sleep at night though. The streets aren’t completely silent but it’s different from the sounds of home.
The city has been treating me well so far though, for which, I’m extremely grateful. I’ve been indulging in large amounts of pizza, gelato, and pasta. I’m excited to continue my Roman adventure.
Until next time,