Monday, July 2, 2012

Breaking Free

July 1, 2012

"A mind is like a parachute. If it is not open it is not working." - Frank Zappa

One of the first things someone said to me after I settled into my room and stepped into Rome was "hey, you are not an a-hole." Why am I sharing such a comment with the public? Because once she explained herself, it made so much sense. After I looked at her with a confused look, she went on: "You're from New York. Everyone in my state thinks that they are all horrible people. You're actually really nice, and very easy to talk to. I guess I'm going to have to forget everything everyone has told me and just experience everything for myself now, instead of just believing in these stereotypes." What a great first conversation to have with a fellow student! 

After that, we decided that we have to be extremely open-minded in order to have a wonderful experience in Rome. The three of us that had arrived to the airport later than the rest decided to explore on our own in order to find food and just check out the city. We found a little pizza place where I personally was not happy with what I got because it was difficult conversing with the server. Look at this...

It was still a fun night because during dinner, Italy won against Germany (as I said in my other post)! The rest of the evening you know about...we just walked around, watched everyone, went by the riverside and then sat at "the steps". I'm sure I'll be talking about them a lot during the next five weeks so here's a picture of them:

We have been to these steps at all times of the day...between 8am to 3am. And honestly, they are pretty packed all the time! During the day, there are families and tourists that rest and just look at the city from these steps. Around 10:30pm, the crowd becomes a lot younger. But seriously, no one really does anything here. They just sit and relax...which is something you don't see in a town like New Brunswick or NYC. Luckily, these steps are right by our school! They are conveniently located between the two campuses so we pass them so many times a day. This works out well because if we make some local friends, we are likely to see them again on random days by these steps! It's pretty cool. Rutgers needs a place like this!! 

Speaking of local friends, here's a quick story! On our first night, we made a friend named Frederico because we wanted to know more about Rome. His English wasn't that advanced, so he called over his friend Gabriel who had actually been to the states. We spoke to the two of them for awhile, learning what everyone does all day and all night. We all struggled to speak to each other, but a combination of English, Spanish and Italian helped us have a 2 hour conversation with them. After saying our goodbyes, we were sad that we would never see them again but hopeful knowing that we could speak to people! We used this experience to motivate us when we met others and realized that we don't need to know every word to speak to someone as long as we care enough to get our message across. With this attitude, we've spoken to many others and it makes our day better! Luckily, we ran into Gabriel the second night as well and he recognized us! He took us around town to meet people (we were being very safe, I promise) and we had so much fun. 
So much more I could say, but I have to get out and do more so that I can share even more with you! Tonight is the final soccer game against Spain and it will be wild if we win! We're going to grab a nice dinner and then go watch it out in the open with 1 million will definitely be an experience. I promise to take pictures (I don't promise that they'll be great). My class starts tomorrow so I'll share that experience with you as well...

To recap: Rome is amazing. I am in love with it and its people. I really need to figure out a way to eat because I typically only eat once a day around 8 or 9pm...which is very unhealthy. But I stay hydrated all day which is good! Overall, I love it so much that I don't think I'll be happy in New Brunswick once I'm back!! 

*I apologize for any incomplete sentences and my child-like writing. Being out of the country is extremely exhausting and I am struggling to stay awake and write this, but I REALLY want to share my experiences with you all! I wish there was a better way of expressing my feelings and learnings, but I don't know what else I can do. Please give me feedback (especially you, Anj) because I really do want to express all of this better. Should I post more pictures? Should I post more conversations? What should I do? What would help me transfer my thoughts to you better?!

So long :)

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