Study abroad comes with so many wonderful opportunities that can demand a lot from you. Anything from studying late in your classes to traveling to different countries on the weekends, can be very overwhelming. I spent a weekend all by myself for the first time since I'd arrived in Rome where I'm studying, and it was just what I needed.
Often on days I don't do too much, especially while I'm abroad, I feel as though I'm wasting my time here. I only have so much time, but a million things to see. This is not the right mindset to have. Once I let go of that it became easier to do less during my days, but still feel fulfilled. One way I can step out of this perception is taking myself on a date for the day.
First, I decided I wanted to go shopping in Prati and the Fashion District of Rome for my day. Outside of this, I had no other plans. So I slept in, made myself some breakfast and a nice cup of coffee, and took my time getting ready before setting out on my day. I dressed in something comfy cute: jeans and an oversized sweater to accommodate the warming but windy weather.
I took my time walking over to the shops I was hoping to look through, listening to music and stopping to take pictures of statues along the way. I did mostly window shopping, but got to see some new stores I hadn't been to before and explore new areas of the city. When it began to drizzle, I ducked into a random restaurant for a small cheese plate and a glass of wine, while I listened to an entire podcast from the corner of the establishment against the windows so I could people watch.
After, I ran a few small errands, picked up some groceries, taking my time to go the long way up and down small ancient alleyways before heading home where I made some dinner and did a movie marathon in my apartment.
The next day I tackled Trastevere. I really hadn't taken the time to wander through the area which has funky art scenes, vintage stores, and restaurants a plenty. After following a similar routine as the day before, I set out on my day in Trastevere shaped around one appointment: my tattoo.
I wanted to get a tattoo to match my others and define my time abroad. I sketched up a little design and reached out to a local artist who was excited about my ideas. We met together that day and while I was anxious and felt a bit lonely, they made me feel so welcomed and I had a wonderful time getting it done. I felt really proud of myself for doing something like that alone even though I was nervous. In a way it taught me that my thoughts or feelings about something don't define the experience, only my actions do. It was a really incredible experience I am very grateful for.
This weekend offered so many opportunities for me to sit with my thoughts, take pictures, journal, reflect, and make a mental plan for the second half of my semester. One goal being to spend some more time with myself.
I love my friends. I do. New and old. Believe me, I love them. But, some days you need a few hours to yourself, completely disconnecting. I found I appreciated the sites more and noticed new things I had never seen before because I was centered and had no agenda which is rare for me. Especially on hectic weekends, leaving for the airport at the crack of dawn, rushing to and from museums or monuments, getting in dinner with friends, and collecting souvenirs can be overstimulating. It's a lot of pressure to feel as though you've successfully conquered a weekend.
But I can say with complete certainty that I did nothing this weekend and that has never felt so good to say.
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My name is Tatyana Masters and I'm from Washington D.C. I can often be found with a book to read and camera on hand, looking for a new adventure or stranger to meet. I go to school in New York City, so in my free time, I like to ride the subway to different areas of the city and interview interesting people I meet for stories!