Orientation & the First Supper
In the middle of the night my roommate Emily arrived! It was an interesting, half-awake first conversation. Now we were just waiting for one more roommate.
It felt like in the first couple days that I was in Rome I learned more about the United States than I did about Italy. Most of the schools people said they were from I had never even heard of before, but I guess its not like anyone knew of SUNY New Paltz either…of course they’d heard of New York. For the first couple of days I was here I didn’t meet a single person from NY but I met people from Oregon, Illinois, Texas, Minnesota and…well some other states that are located in central America that I cant remember. All I know is that I thought to myself, “Wow, people live there?” (I’m terrible, I know). Point is, I was really exposed to my east coast mentality for the first time. It’s cool to think about other places even within the United States, but who knew I’d be experiencing it in Rome.
The first couple of days in Rome were governed by a long list of orientation activities including obtaining a permit to stay, a campus tour and a very quick walk around central Rome to get a gist of how to use public transportation. All the activities were surprisingly… uninformative. We all really had to learn these things by just getting out there and doing it ourselves.
This are a few photos I took on our way too fast walk through the center of Rome. Later I went back with my roommates and actually took it all in.
On the ruins of the building where Julius Caesar was murdered (“Et tu Brutus?” yeah that guy)….well now, there’s a cat sanctuary there. Being a crazy cat lover, I couldn’t have been happier. I heard someone say that there are Italians that think it’s disrespectful and are trying close the cat sanctuary. I vote that it stays…think of the kitties. (Unless of course when it closes I can take them all home).
I’m not going to go into depth about what these building are right now because at the time I took these pictures I had no idea what they were either. I’ll talk more about them when I post better photos later.
Rome is full of the types of things you would see in NYC. Some common sights around both cities are street performers, vendors selling knock off bags and iPhone cases, homeless people, graffiti and the likes. Although it wasn’t a total culture shock for me, I was still taken back. I guess I’d never really thought about what Rome was like outside of its most famous monuments (how naive of me). As we approached the Colosseum I felt a big wave of disappointment flood over me. Somethings just aren’t how you imagine them to be from the medias portrayal of them…see below:
First, understand that Gladiator is one of my most favorite movies of all time. I know that this movie is completely fictional but its the best visual representation of ancient Rome that I can recall. Not only was the Colosseum surrounded on all sides by city but it was under construction. Poo =[ I know this is the way it always was, even in ancient times. To me it almost felt disrespectful, like a flower in a garbage can (thats a dramatic metaphor but the first one that comes to mind). Don’t get me wrong, the Colosseum alone is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my entire life but taking into account the surrounding landscape…it initially didn’t live up to my expectations…thanks popular media.