Nuances of Roma

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Following on the smell of honeysuckles, there are many other details of the city that are slowly coming into focus. Once the fear of being a recognizable American fades (let’s face it, once you speak people know anyway. They’re either nice or mean, either way you will most likely never see them again unless it’s somewhere you frequent) I felt a lot more comfortable just walking and thinking about where I am. Anywhere you go, you will most likely smell pizza, bread, some spaghetti, or other Italian specialties. This is one of the biggest differences from home. In Philadelphia especially, there is such a huge range of food specialties to choose from. In Italy, there’s a wide range of pretty similar stuff. I’m sure that I’ll unearth some more variety while I’m here, but thus far I’ve been finding the Italian cooking. It’s funny that even though this food is delicious, I still find myself craving a pulled pork sandwich. I’m sure I could find one here, but I feel like I don’t really want to waste a meal on something I’ll be eating again soon enough (although, we did stop for some Burger King fries and a drink two days ago. I know..I know…)

One of the best decisions that I’ve made so far since we’ve gotten here is to walk with no destination in mind. We started at the residence and moved to Vatican City, from there, I’m still trying to figure out where we went. We discovered some nice little back streets that led up to a beautiful tree covered area where we saw the sun go down behind the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was nice because there weren’t many people around. It seemed to be a lot more of a true Italian section of the city. I like going to places like this, even though I feel like an outsider looking in. It’s nice to observe a different culture in their daily lives.

There are other pieces that keep popping up. Sometimes we’ll just be walking and I catch a colorful mess on the ground. There are some areas in the cobblestone where there’s left over confetti that’s stayed from the last celebration. I like to imagine what it was for and I see people in the streets throwing confetti on each other as their laughing and hugging. It’s funny how ripped up colored paper is such a happy thing.

We kept walking and it got darker and darker. Eventually we made our way down to the river and it was beautiful. The lights on the bridges lit up and reflected in the water. It was really amazing. From the side of the river, we could still see sections of the crumbling ruins, churches, and domes. There again, were not many people down there, though a surprisingly bigger amount of rats. I guess this could also count as observing things in their natural habitats. We did a lot of observing that night. The rats seemed to not really notice we were there.

Once we came to the end of our little journey, we had to find our way back. By this point it was late..and I was hungry. But I’d made a promise to myself to not spend anymore money that day. We started heading back and the brightly lit food trucks were like bug lamps. You can’t help but be drawn to them..until you realize that they’re most likely tourist traps and your spending 10 euro on a bag of chips and a drink. On the way back we found a park and sat in it for a little bit talking about the walk we’d taken. It was definitely a walk worth taking.

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