Today I don’t have the day off.
Bianca was unfortunate enough to contract the chickenpox from some friends at school so today I need to stay home with her. This won’t be an everyday thing as usually Juliet is at home with the children if they are sick but today Natalia needed me and truly I don’t mind. Right now I’m watching Bianca play imaginary with cars in her brothers room while I am on the computer listening to Christmas music. She is so cute.
It’s the holiday season in Rome. A lot of streets are lined with beautiful blinking lights and many large Christmas trees have been decorated all around the city beside major landmarks. The weather turned at the beginning of November going from unbearable heat to only a few degrees above freezing. This past weekend it has been better though as it seems as if we are having a warm front. I welcome this definitely as the temperature is about a comfortable 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.
I’ve been in Rome 3 and a half months and I feel settled here. I have quite a few friends and we are all one big group that just gets together to hang out and do whatever we want when we want – on the weekends. Often during the weekend I sleep at a friend’s house or a friend comes back to my place. And I rarely spend any time at home as well as we are always doing things around the city. It’s cool because my friends are from America, Wales, Germany and Austria so we all come from slightly different backgrounds but what brings us together is our love for travelling, our jobs as Au Pairs, that we are starting a new life in a big city, and are looking for friendship. Because of these connections we all jell together very well and I feel as if I’ve known them much longer then just 2 or 3 months. It will be weird being separated from them these next few weeks as we all take some time off for the Christmas break because we have spent so much time together recently. At least we will get to see each other in the new year!
You all know that it has been difficult for me to adjust in Rome. When I arrived here I expected it to be as magical as I remembered it from 2009 but unfortunately the magic wore off almost the moment I got here. There are many things about Rome, and even just Italy in general, that are hard to get used to. The traffic, the times people eat, the way the people interact with each other, the language, the busy city-life, the constant waiting – I could go on. Despite this, I want to tell you the things I love about being in Rome because there are many.
1) The history. I walk by the Pantheon every time I go in to the centre. I drive by the Colosseum on the way to my friend’s house. I can see breathtaking paintings any time I want. I have seen the Trevi Fountain more times then I can even count. This city is old and has layers of history. When I think about it sometimes it takes my breath away that I live in such a city. I really love this.
2) The food. Pizza, pasta, pastries, olive oil, garlic…delish.
3) Walking. Because I don’t have a car in Rome I walk all the time. Sometimes walking somewhere is easier than taking the bus their because of the crazy Roman traffic. Walking also helps me maintain my weight as we all know that pizza, pasta, and pastries taste good but aren’t good for you.
4) The Italian language. It is a beautiful language and it is literally music to my ears. Despite this, I know very little of it as I haven’t been making much of an effort. Many people make fun of me because of this but the thing is – learning a language is a lot of effort requiring money for classes and a lot of time. When I came to Rome my goal wasn’t to learn the language but to have an amazing experience living in a different country, making a life for myself, and learning new things. My sole purpose wasn’t to learn Italian. This being said, in January I plan to attend classes part time. I think it is a bit pathetic that I don’t know anything.
5) My friends. I’ve already said a lot about them so I’ll leave it at that.
6) My church. Although Rome Baptist Church isn’t exactly like what I am used to at home, the people have been so welcoming and it is nice to go in to an English speaking environment every week. Some of my friends go as well which makes it all the better!
7) My bible study. On Thursday mornings a group of up to 15 ladies meet to discuss the book “Lord, I Want to Know You” by Kay Arthur. I am the youngest – the ages range from the early 20s (me) to 80. The ladies are so loveable and have been so loving to me. I am thankful that I decided to join the group and it is something I look forward to during the week.
8) Buses. Although they are not always reliable and I can find myself waiting for 10, 20, 30 minutes at the bus stop, for the most part they are actually very convenient. I have a night bus that goes from Piazza Venezia to my home, there are 2 buses that go into the centre not far from my home and there are 3 buses that go from my house to the tram making it easier to get to a different part of the city.
9) The street markets. Almost anywhere you go you have people selling clothes, shoes, makeup, books, etc for very cheap. Although you cannot always guarantee the quality, often you can find good deals (like my pair of leather boots I bought for only 35 euros – bargain!).
10) I freaking live in Rome! – enough said.
And there you have it; the things I love about this crazy city I call home.
Until next time – Merry Christmas!