Every now and then I have to remind myself that I’m really in Roma, Italy. This place is quite magical, so much so that it often seems that my experiences are rather surreal. I constantly find myself surrounded by layers of history and monuments that are architecturally astounding and aesthetically pleasing. In the past two weeks that I’ve been here I have seen the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. I have also been able to see and hear Pope Francis address the public from a window of the papal suite. And this is just the beginning!
Everything is incredibly new and exciting; there is always something to learn about everywhere you turn. Nonetheless, it’s starting to sink in that I won’t just be here for a few weeks; I will be living in Italy for the next five months. This past Tuesday I had to fill out the “permesso di soggiorno” form, which is an application for a permit that is required for non-citizens when living in Italy for a substantial amount of time. This required that I go to the post office and turn in my form along with the necessary payment. Logistically this seemed rather straight-forward to me until I went to the post office and remembered that I can’t speak Italian very well (or at all). I ended up having to go to the poste twice that day for the same errand. The first post office I went to was near the IES center. And despite my efforts to communicate with the woman who was assisting me, she seemed to grow increasingly frustrated at my inability to effectively speak Italian (and so did I). But later that day, I went to a post office near my apartment. And fortunately, the woman who assisted me at this poste was incredibly kind and patient. She spoke slowly and repeated herself often. And somehow, in my broken Italian and in her broken English, we were able to complete the transaction in just fifteen minutes. I thanked her several times, but I wish I could say more than grazie to her. I was so grateful for her help and her willingness to help me through my own impatience and frustrations with my learning Italian. I walked away from this interaction feeling confident that one way or another things will work out and there will always be people willing to help along the way. I also walked away with a very keen realization that it’s time to really make Italy my home. It’s time to immerse myself in their culture and in their language. Here I go.
Abigail (IES Student) and I at the papal address on January 12, 2014
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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);">My name is Natalie Maria Reynoso and I am currently a junior at Wheaton College, Norton, MA where I study religion and psychology. I am a passionate Catholic and an avid reader and writer. I have always loved writing because it provides me with a way to better understand the world and my place in it.</span></p>