As I sat in the hotel room looking at attractions in Venice, I decided to flip to the section about Rome. After all, I was basically a Roman local at this point – I’d lived in the city for almost two months! I could practically write the guidebook myself. Then I realized that I haven’t even seen a fraction of what Rome has to offer.
My first reaction was to panic about how I’ve wasted two months in Rome and how I really needed to buckle down and create a vigorous sightseeing schedule.
After a few deep breaths, I took a step back and realized that while I may not have seen everything that every guidebook recommends, being in a city for an extended period of time creates different opportunities. There are some things you can’t find in a book that have filled my days and would certainly be highlights if I wrote a Roman guidebook.
1. Ordering fish at the morning market and seeing it masterfully fileted and deboned to order.
2. Forming relationships with neighbors and salespeople and hearing their recommendations and observations about Rome.
3. Catching a pick-up soccer game in the park behind the Castel Sant’Angelo at sunset and lingering around to watch.
There is a lot of pressure (both external and internal) to see every corner of Rome and every major city in Europe during these four months abroad. During this mid-life (in Rome) crisis, I realized that being able to check off guidebook entries doesn’t make for a meaningful experience. Experiencing Rome as it comes is much better.
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<p>Amanda is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Economics and Contemporary European Studies with a Philosophy, Politics and Economics minor. After graduation, she wishes to travel frequently while working with international trade and diplomacy. Her idea of a perfect day is enjoying an Orioles victory at Camden Yards followed by fresh crab cakes in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. She is excited to achieve Italian fluency,visit every Roman museum, find the perfect scoop of gelato and argue about soccer with locals at the neighborhood café.</p>