Login Unavailable This Friday-Saturday

While we work on some upgrades to our website, login will be unavailable for about a full day this Friday night through Saturday, September 30th. You will still be able to peruse the IES Abroad website, but will not be able to access your MyIESabroad account during that window. You should be able to get back into your account by Sunday, October 1st. 

Give as the Romans Give

Kelli Hallmark
August 5, 2015

Italians are known for their passion, their family-oriented lifestyles, their interest in community.  Maybe, knowing those things, I should have anticipated the generosity, but I am certain I expected Romans to be cold towards Americans.

The first time I went to the grocery store on my own was certainly not as disastrous as it could have been.  I found my way there - although it was a mile walk and at one point I feared I passed it without knowing - I mostly knew the words for which I was searching, and I eventually sorted out how to purchase fresh vegetables.

While stacking my items on the conveyor belt, an elderly woman looked me up and down with a sweet smile on her face.  I did not think much of it.  My American street clothes were considerably less dressy than those of the local residents; I looked and felt like an outsider.  Presumably sensing my foreignness, the woman took out a small sheet of paper, peeled off eight stickers and placed them on my groceries.  Each circular sticker proclaimed "20%", indicating the amount of discount given.

I recognized the coupons from when Clara, my Italian student companion, explained them to me.  They were a promotion on the part of the store for every amount of money spent (for the life of me I cannot remember how much, but my head wants to say fifty euros).  The woman had earned and paid for these coupons and the gave them to a stranger for no reason that I could understand.  

I was, and am, amazed.  Even in Texas, the land of the unreasonably kind, I had never unquestioningly received money from a stranger simply for looking out of place - and I can assure you that I always look out of place.

But ultimately Roman generosity is more than a cultural quirk.  It means something to them.  It is a quiet affirmation that says "you are out of place, but not so much as you think."

Kelli Hallmark

<p>My name is Kelli Hallmark and I&#39;m a Trinity University student studying abroad in Rome for the summer. I first came to Italy when I was in junior high and fell deeply, madly, in love with the warmth and joy of Italian culture. I am currently double majoring in Religion and Art History, with aspirations to go into museum programming. In my free time I like to read everything in sight, write poetry and fiction, and make my own cosmetics.</p>

2015 Summer 1, 2015 Summer 2
Home University:
Trinity University
Art History
Religious Studies
Explore Blogs