Originally written August 18, 2016
The first couple of weeks were filled with crazy adventures, learning a lot about Italian culture/everyday life, and trying new things. So here’s a few different things I came to realize within my first couple of weeks in Rome! Gelato is actually as amazing as people say. It really is. You will try it once and then it will become second nature that you go get some gelato after every meal…or as a meal! No matter how hungry you are, there is always room for gelato!!! Italian pasta is completely different than American and trust me that is such a good thing. Although you will long for Italian pasta every day when you get back to the U.S. Say goodbye to caesar, Italian, ranch, and any other dressings because there’s no such thing as salad dressing in Italy–you just put oil and vinegar on your salad! You can get 3 bottles of wine for 5 euro here…just 5 euro!!! Oh and a bottle of Amaretto for 5 euro as well. If you’re wondering what to order as an antipasti (appetizer), bruschetta is always, always, ALWAYS a good idea. Oh and Italians don’t eat dinner until around 10, so its totally normal to still be finishing up your dolce at 12:30 in the morning.The Italians do this pre-dinner outing they call aperitivo in order to hold them over until dinner time. Aperitivo is just a small antipasti and glass of wine after work to socialize and unwind after a long day.
Like I said before, air conditioning is not a thing here so you beg your landlord for extra fans just so you can sleep 4 hours a night. Dryers aren’t a thing either so you just wait a patient 2 days for your clothes to dry. Your purse will get snatched off of your shoulder (my roommate can attest to that) and Italian men are nothing short of aggressive like they say! Your straightener will blow in the foreign socket and you will have to buy a 13 euro straightener that doesn’t work so you end up wearing your hair in a granny bun pretty much every day. Wi-fi will work when it pleases and you will want to wear the least clothes as possible if you’re here in July. You may roll your ankle on the cobblestone streets, develop environmental asthma (who knew that was a thing), and contract a bacterial infection on your leg. Actually I think those crazy things would only happen to me. Holding your bags anywhere you go is absolutely necessary and you will hear “ciao bella” from random people everywhere, everyday, every moment. You will have really awkward interactions with Italian locals that think you speak Italian that end up with you pulling out your google translator app and them looking at you like you’re a literal idiot. Going to dinner with more than 6 people is difficult for a couple of different reasons: a.) Italians do not go to eat in large groups so there usually aren’t tables set for more than 4-6 people; and b.) Italians don’t do split checks…they don’t even know what a split check is. So it was always fun trying to all put exact change in.
The transportation system in Italy, specifically Rome, is unpredictable to say the least. The bus sign may say that bus 75 is 2 minutes away but then it may never show up and change to 40 minutes away. The drivers take breaks and show up when they want..which is basically how all Italians live. Bus 44 from school may not be the right bus 44 but you’ll tell your friends to get on it anyways and end up 3 miles outside of Rome. Then proceed to get on 2 more wrong buses because you’re directionally challenged. Then you’ll see a nasty Burger King on the way home and decide that you and your friends deserve fries for all the walking you’ve done only to get nowhere!!! I do have to say that the tram that stopped all throughout Rome and ended in the city center was so clutch and always an interesting experience to say the least. It is true though…Europeans don’t care for deodorant too much and that was never more prevalent than it was when we got on the tram every day.
I could probably go on and on about all of the Italian ways I learned to love and I’m sure I will think of more later on. Each of these experiences, pleasant and not so pleasant, contributed to my love for Roma and for the Italian culture! In my next post I’ll tell you all about restaurants and places to see in Rome!
Ciao for now!