Cabrini student takes Rome by storm

By Megan Bernatavitz
September 24, 2009

Shannon Keough

As I walked off the plane towards baggage claim I thought to myself, Hello Rome! I am finally here and I hope you are ready for me (quite a Lizzie McGuire Movie moment). Thoughts of all the amazing adventures that I would soon be taking swirled through my head. Before I knew it, 55 minutes had passed and as I started coming out of my daydream I noticed that I was the only person from my flight still standing at the baggage carousel.

It is alright, it was only your bags that got lost, one little hiccup at the start of your trip, you are still saying “watch out Rome here I am.”

‘Prossimo, prossimo!’ Oh, I was daydreaming again, and I think that ‘prossimo’ means ‘next,’ which is why the lady behind me is shoving me towards the counter. I walked up to the lost luggage counter and wrote down ‘prossimo’ as my first Italian word learned. I soon found out that this language barrier was going to be a little more difficult than I thought it would be.

No, my bag is not black, it is brown. No, ma’am look at the color of my pants my bag is the color of my pants, same color, B-R-O-W-N. Yes, yes, brown as the lady at the counter finally checks off the brown luggage box.

So, I have to wait one day for my luggage, I mean Megan, you are in Rome.

After finally making it through customs and to my adorably quaint university, my mood had improved and I was ready to go.

First thing on my list, find myself some pants to wear for the next day. So I hopped on a bus that would take me to my off-campus apartment, but I decided to take a detour to get some pants.

I know I know, your first day in Rome and you got off at a random stop by yourself? Do not worry- I paid for my stupidity.

I finally found a pair of pants, jumped on a bus to what I thought would take me to my apartment and thought, look at you Megan, so independent.

Thirty minutes later, still on the bus, look the Spanish Steps! They are so beautiful. Wait, I thought that the American University tour guides said that I did not live near the Spanish Steps.

So the worrying begins. Permesso, parla Inglese? How does the bus driver not know how to speak English? That is right I am in Rome, not America. Finally I found a very nice, yet somewhat creepy, man to tell me what bus to get on to get to my apartment.

Thirty minutes later, I had made it. Needless to say my first day in Rome was intimidating, frightening, horrific and almost made me get on the next flight back home.

Once my luggage came the next day, everything changed.

The second night in Rome, I took an evening walking tour of the city. I was in awe of where I was; it was the most incredible thing I have ever done. I saw the city light up when it started to become dark. The Coliseum was lit up and people just sat outside of it talking and relaxing.

I decided from that night on I would enjoy every second of my time abroad and take advantage of all the opportunities I was given.

My first weekend one of my roommates and I decided to do a little sightseeing. Let me tell you what, I looked like the ultimate tourist. All I needed was a fanny pack and I would be good to go. In one day we went to the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and for the second time I saw the Spanish Steps.

I also get to go to “on site” classes at the American University of Rome. I am taking a history class called Caesar, Cicero and the Collapse of the Roman Republic. For our second class we were able to go to the Roman Forum. While we were there we reconstructed what the Forum looked like during the Republic.

The school also organizes weekend trips for students all around Italy. Next weekend I am going on the AUR weekend trip to Tuscany. While there I am going to be able to take a wine tasting tour and a Tuscan cooking class.

We also take independent trips. This weekend, four of my roommates and I will be traveling to Capri, Italy. In October I will be traveling to Florence, Venice, Barcelona and London.

I mean, when am I ever going to be given this opportunity again?

The main thing I want to do while I am here is to just experience. I want to experience different countries, new classes, my family that lives here and the Italian culture.

The culture here is what makes Italy so beautiful. I wake up every morning walk across the street to a farmers market(yes there is a farmers market right across the street from me) pick up some fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese for lunch and dinner. Then I just walk around, trying to take everything in.

When we go out to dinner, people just sit at the restaurants for hours. Drinking, eating and just enjoying each others company. The waiter does not bring the check until someone asks for it. I could definitely get used to living this life. Nothing is rushed and everyone is so relaxed.

My favorite thing about Italy so far is the people. The people I live with, attend school with and have encountered along the way of this remarkable adventure.

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Megan Bernatavitz

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