Its finally here, we have arrived in Rome! After a nine hour flight, navigating through the airport, and a rather crazy taxi ride, we are now settled into our new home. It has been quite an interesting first few days, but so exciting. Here are some things I have noticed/learned so far:
When first stepping off the plane, I noticed a few things that were different than I was used to. First, the language of course. My Italian is, well lets say pretty limited. It was very strange to be surrounded by people not speaking my native language. But, I would say though that the airport is very accommodating to English speakers. There are many signs in both Italian and English, so that was very helpful. Second, Italians dress much different from most Americans. I thought we would slightly blend in, but when the airport workers start with ‘hello’, I knew we stuck out as true Americans. I recommend learning some basic Italian words like please and thank you, the Italians will really appreciate it.
As previously mentioned, the driving in Italy is a little more chaotic that I am used to. There is a lot of lane switching, getting close to other drivers, and mopeds and motorcycles in between all the cars. Despite our initial thoughts, we arrived at the apartment safely and began to get settled in. The apartment is very spacious and adorable. We got unpacked, bought some groceries, and were soon exploring the nearby neighborhood. Although I am sure we will get lost throughout the next few weeks, we are now able to point out certain landmarks and road names to get around the area. I can say we have successfully made it to the Trevi Fountain and back, so I would count that as a win.
Living in America, I am very used to an always on-the-go culture where we quickly eat then run to work then run back home then run to the grocery store and so on. Italy is very much opposite from what I have observed. They start their day a little later than in America and everything is pretty pushed back from there. I am accustomed to eating lunch around noon where here its about one or two o’clock in the afternoon. Secondly, the style of the locals is much much different than that of the U.S. If I see someone walking down the street in sweatpants in America, I wouldn’t bat an eye, but here everyone is very well-dressed. The men wear nice suits, and the women are in stylish clothing with heals. This really sets apart the locals from tourists.
Another large difference in culture is the women come across as very strong and independent. I know in America women are working, driving, and owning businesses, but it is a different feel over here. The women really stand up for themselves and are extremely confident. There also seems to be a high respect among genders as well. The last culture aspect I have noticed is most locals are very accepting of tourists, especially those who do not speak their language. I used to have the mentality that if you are in America, you should speak English. This has really showed me that if the locals here can respect my language, I should also respect theirs in my home country too.
My friend and I tend to be rather adventurous, so we have definitely put a few miles on our shoes so far. We have explored the surrounding area where we have found local restaurants and shops. We have also seen the Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Pantheon as well as a few smaller sites along the way. I find it so amazing to look at the architecture and wonder how it was built without modern equipment. Its also extremely beautiful, so plenty of photos have been taken. I am very excited to visit some more areas in the upcoming days and weeks.
So far my time in Rome has been very eye-opening and exciting. I think the culture is so interesting and I can’t wait to learn more about it as I explore the city. Thank you for following me on my adventures so far, stay tuned!