Living like Romans do

By Christina Michaluk
September 11, 2008

Shannon Keough

After all the planning, packing and ridiculously long travel time, I was finally in Rome. The airport looked like any other airport. It wasn’t what I wanted to see once I first got off the plane.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Rome had a story all its own waiting for us to discover it.

I was excited to be outside of the states with my two best friends taking some classes for school. It was a mini vacation from ordinary classes that I could take back home at Cabrini.

I don’t think the reality that I was living in Rome for the next six weeks had set in until one day when a group of us found ourselves in front of the Colosseum after getting lost after our art history class.

Then, it hit me. I’m definitely not in Philly anymore. I stood there in awe of the massive object that stood before me and all the history that it represented. The beauty of that site will be one of my finest memories from my trip.

For the first two weeks I struggled trying to understand not only the language, but the culture that I now found myself in. People were too close for comfort and speaking a language that I couldn’t speak let alone understand.

While most of my friends started to worry about all of the differences, I embraced it. It was time to try to pay attention to what was right in front of me. How often do you get to be in Italy for six weeks and learn about something that I hadn’t a clue about before?

Seeing all the sites and sounds of Italy was indescribable. I was in love. No longer was I just some student on vacation, but an actual resident of Rome. No maps were needed to find my way and I didn’t struggle to get directions to the nearest metro stop. By the end of my trip I had the bus and metro stops down by heart.

We even found our favorite places to grab lunch like the pizzeria next to our residence where our favorite pizza man Fabio worked and then down by the metro stop where someone discovered the tastiest Kabob’s and the friendliest owner around.

Two weeks had passed and my friends and I decided to branch out to see the other parts of beautiful Italy and venture to France for a stop in Paris. We visited Paris, Ventotene, an island off of the island Capri, hillside towns around Rome, Pisa and Florence. No matter where we were I always found myself feeling a bit “Rome sick.”

My friends and I coined the term “Rome sick” because no matter how interesting and beautiful the other places were, nothing could compare to where we were living.

We always felt at home in Rome. The history was long and rich and the sites were an architects dream come to life.

The streets of Rome were always crowded with such an array of diverse people from all over the world. The city never really seemed empty. You could always find interesting people willing to talk no matter where you may find yourself. Rome had so much to offer.

I would find myself aimlessly walking around the city just trying to explore everything that was around us. Some of our best adventures came when they weren’t planned at all.

It was more rewarding to make a discovery in Rome that only the residents knew about. We wanted to step outside of the travel guides and see the city through our own eyes. I preferred leaving everything to chance.

Despite setbacks such as spider bites, getting lost and the ever popular bird poop falling from the sky, I can honestly say that I was living my dream. The memories that were made this past summer are phenomenal. I got to spend my days discovering something that was completely unfamiliar to me with some of the best people around.

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Christina Michaluk

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