Reminiscing about Roma

I was thinking today about  how I’ve all but abandoned this blog since moving back from Rome. Sure, Rome was a profound and unique experience for me, but it can’t stop there, right? Life can be profound and interesting elsewhere and I’m going to try to bring you profound and interesting things and keep this blog up better. Maybe I’ve been hesitant to blog because I know that nowhere can compete with Italy, at least for me.

In Rome, the beauty was in the buildings, the people, the trees, the air. You’re spoiled by it and haunted by it and most of all, mesmerized by it. I sometimes joke with people that living in Italy ruined me for life. All jokes are half true, you know? The experience of living in a place where Disney princess fairy dust floats through the air is indeed mind altering. In my old apartment in Trastevere, which is one of Rome’s oldest and illest areas, I’d work sitting by an open window. Everyday, like clockwork, the smell of fresh baked bread and the most delicious candy you can imagine would waft in on a gentle breeze. I’d look up at the little angel statue carved into the building across the street and the groups of ivy crawling up the wall beside her, and then I’d look down at those charming, uneven cobblestone streets and shake my head. how is this real?

I’m fully aware that Italy has more problems than not. Especially now. What I’m referring to has nothing to do with national debt crisis, or the backwards politics, or the illogical bureaucracy or the bunga bunga bullshit. It’s more the fabric of a culture that was built around living for pleasure. Once you’ve experienced living in a place where they want to enjoy everything they see, taste, smell and touch, it’s hard to come back to concrete sidewalks and frothy, burnt cappuccinos. 

It’s also hard to compete with the pizza. Pizza is the best thing Italians ever invented, in my opinion, and I do enjoy it in all of its forms. But I’ve actually been thinking about Italian pizza all day. The thin crust, the simple punchy tomato sauce, the mozzarella. I’m officially salivating. I will return to Italy one day and the first thing I’m doing is getting myself a pizza. 

Pizza Margherita, love of my life

Speaking of beauty and enjoying life, I just witnessed two construction workers have an uncontrollable giggle fit in my back alley. It was pretty beautiful. 

All Roads Lead to Rome

Dear Rome,

The last time I wandered your streets, I was an 18-year-old, obsessed and overcome with you. Ancient buildings, girls in Prada dresses who looked like supermodels riding Vespas in their 4-inch stilettos, golden God-like men walking with a swagger and whistling at women, people smoking like it would never go out of style, people drinking wine, people drinking art, people drunk on life. Cars honking. EVERYWHERE. People in cars yelling at each other. Cars bumping into other cars, into buildings, into people. Pedestrians-narrowly-avoiding-death-by-car. It’s a hustle to cross your streets. A hustle I thought I might not survive. But alas, ancient, eternal city, you protected me then. Your people are fiery and passionate, with confident style. Your language, with its boisterous inflections, enthusiasm and romance – your language sings.

Oh Rome. Your streets which have been walked on by emperors and kings, peasants and prostitutes. The gypsies in the subways and on the sidewalks with their screaming babies trying to earn their daily bread. Gross men who slapped my ass as I walked to get a gelato. Me not minding so much once I was eating the gelato. The gelato was worth it. Your food, Rome, your food. Your food could be my last meal and I would die happy.  Food lives up to its hype in Italy. Never again (for a long while, at least) will I have to argue with a Starbucks “barista” about how to make a proper cappuccino, because you already know, Rome, you know better than I do.

Rome, I plan on soaking you up and savoring every moment, every pizza, every museum, every warm night, and every sight. I may no longer be a naïve neophyte,  but I’m still a dreamer. And Rome, you’re the eternal city. The eternal dream.