First Impressions of Rome

Emma Seiwell
September 29, 2019

I've been in Rome for four weeks and the city still feels very large and unknown to me. I've intentionally and unintentionally found myself standing in front of the things that people from all over come to see: the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Vatican, and the Spanish Steps. The Trevi Fountain was so much bigger and even more beautiful than I expected it to be. What has left the biggest impression on me so far, however, has been the people here and their warm disposition.

So much of everyone's daily lives unfold very openly on the streets - more than anywhere else I've lived. The general lack of privacy and the social nature of Italian culture makes for a sort of human display on every street corner. As a foreigner and as someone that's seeing this place for the first time, I'm able to watch ordinary things more perceptively. When I'm alone I find myself basking in every small occurence or relation I notice on the streets. I take these moments and weave them together mentally to create my idea of Rome and of Roman people. This idea of mine certainly has some gaps, and while it might be partially a product of preconceived notions and slight generalizations, I have only been here four weeks.

Rome is just as big as New York City but the interactions I witness make it feel like a small town. Seeing a younger man leaning on the doorframe of his shop waving hello to an older man passing by - I get the feeling that they cross paths this way every single day. I don't speak much Italian but I never once felt looked down upon or dismissed because of this. The other day I stumbled upon a flea market and I found a pair of earrings I liked. The woman selling them was trying to tell me they were porcelain in Italian and I didn't understand. She smiled and pulled out her phone to translate it to English for me. This general inclination to help one another (even foreigners) is something I've noticed here. People here are not only willing to take the time to help you but they seem to want to. In one of our classes, we had a guest speaker who explained this tendency very simply. She said something like: once they see that you're human, they set all differences aside and do what they can to make sure that you're alright. 

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Emma Seiwell

<p>I am 20 years old, and I study journalism and visual arts at Fordham University in Manhattan. I love the quality and slow process of film photography. I have been shooting film for 4 years now. I also shoot digital as well. I love to writing, collecting records and books, and playing the guitar. I hope to be a reporter one day.</p>

2019 Fall
Home University:
Fordham University
Hillsborough, NJ
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