Senatus Populus Que Romanus. The Senate and the People of Rome. This Latin initialism is plastered, painted, cast, and carved into the city. You see it on distinguished ancient monuments and equally undistinguished objects of the mundane: the Arch of Titus, a manhole cover, Trajan’s column, a fire extinguisher, the plinth of the Marcus Aurelius equestrian statue, that ornamental bottle opener I nearly purchased last week...I wonder how many unfortunates have such a drunken tattoo, and I will eat my socks if there isn’t an ”SPQR” board somewhere on Pinterest.
Whether inscribed by the people of ancient Rome, Mussolini’s propagandist regime, or current campy tourist trappers, this designation speaks strongly to the identity of the city and its citizens.
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A city can mark you. I saw myself and my fellow students altered, stretched, warped just a little by our surroundings. The locals are so owned by the city that they take its name, identifying as Romans, but in reciprocity they take ownership of the place. Nine months gone and I feel like I can claim a little piece of Rome. And that makes me happy. This has been a dry run for my “adult” life; I’ve tried the city on, seen how I look in it, seen how it looks on me. I am confident now that I can live and function in a different country, and I can’t wait to see where I go next...Firenze! Venezia! Milano!
Thanks for listening to me all this time. I hope you found substance in what I had to say, and I hope most of all for prospective students who read this, that they may find even greater adventures in Rome than I did.
In an effort to ward off the mopes here are some things I’m looking forward to when I eventually get back to the States:
sleeping in beds larger than a coffin - proper baths in bubbly bathtubs - using a clothes dryer, because true civilization is fluffy towels - stores that have everything in one place - drinking long coffee (even if it has no taste by comparison) - bagels - MY DOG!!! - and, I suppose, maybe my American family and friends.
Grazie, Roma! Bella cosa tosto è rapita, quindi dico arrivederci e spero di rivederti presto. Stai nel mio cuore.
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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>