I want to say something first:
This is a blog about being a student in Rome and I do not want it to degenerate into a blog about Rome. I am not here to post Facebook statuses intended to make you envious, brag about my adventures, or Instagram Italian food porn. Nor is this blog a personal one. It would be inappropriate for me to treat it like many students treat their own blogs: simply as a journal for the documentation of daily, albeit extraordinary, life abroad.
It has taken me a while to think about this and to decide what course of action I will undertake in writing this blog. I am struggling with finding ways to experience Rome sans media interface whilst also finding ways to generate material to share with you – and I do want to share with you! But what is the best way to do this, keeping in mind the above realizations? I think the best I can do is give you honesty.
Let’s start conversationally, hmm?
How are you? Doing well, thanks. Tired. Stressed. Elated.
How was orientation week? Tiring, stressful, elating, and perhaps best described by that feeling of suspense one experiences when walking up the stairs you find all over the hills of Rome: working hard with an uneasy inkling you might just slide off since the flat run of each step is bowed, oblique with age.
What classes are you taking? Inside Art: An Approach to Conservation; Politics and the Philosophy of Power in the Land of Machiavelli; Forma Urbis: The Archaeology of Ancient Rome; Archaeological Excavation: Field Methods and Practice (an internship and seminar at the American Academy in Rome); Italian 303! More info and anecdotes to come.
How is the homestay? Exciting and full of possibility, culturally illuminating. Also uncomfortable and isolated.
Have you made any friends? Like I said, isolated. Most students live in apartments together, and hey I’m an introvert, but give it time.
Are you having adventures? Yes! Big and little: getting delightfully lost in art and city, but also feeling lost in everyday interactions, at the supermarket and dinner table.
And that means I’m doing it right! You learn the most when you are lost; I already have a highly-developed mental map of the Centro Storico, built up through (un)controlled wanderings and misguided turns through the darn picturesque alleyways and avenues. Small victories – finding my way to the Capitoline, ordering a tramezzino/sandwich without using “inglese,” successfully navigating the overstimulating terror of a marketplace (see pictures below!) – give me the confidence to keep losing myself in this city.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I’m your standard artistic mutt, head on the ground, feet in the clouds, brought to you by a serious case of wanderlust. Small-town Minnesota girl, ex-expat of Singapore, international traveler, art history major, varsity fencer, opera singer, aesthetics junkie, curious soul, gelato votary, far from home at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, making distance and immersion my teachers during a year abroad in Rome, Italy. You can follow along as I happily consume art and carbs in la bella città, but be warned I might not stay in one place for long!</span></p>