We all know that water is precious because it makes up most of the planet and composes 75% of our bodies, but the Romans REALLY love their water. They take pride in their ancient aqueducts and crisp, clean water. You can literally drink your fill on the streets, out of random fountains. I know, I gave that the side eye too but then drank some on a hot summer’s day and wooooo so delicious! We leave our bottles empthy and seek OUT the fountains to refill!
Fleace has a very creative eye and while walking around Rome, I was able to see how she views buildings, and how she photographs them in a way to bring out the story within the photo. I also learned that Fleace’s Samsung Galaxy phone takes way better photos than my iPhone!
The Roman Forum
Today, I visited the beautiful site that used to be the center of all Roman public life. The Forum is whats left of the capital consisting of ruins of ancient government buildings, shrines, temples, and much more. The Roman people used to gather here for public elections, to criminal trials, and it even acted as a marketplace. Sometimes referred to as one of the most celebrated meeting places in the world, The Forum earned its title and was completely breathtaking.
Like What You See?
Italian men can be very bold with their looks/stares. They have been blunt about their attraction and super obvious, going so far as too sit near us with a smile and stare or do gestures indicating their appreciation of our figures. Interesting, to say the least.
What I learned today was the importance of being able to step outside of yourself and what you think is right and be able to listen to the ideas of others. Many times we get caught in our idea of how things are supposed to work and block out the idea of taking direction from those around us. I myself, am learning to be more open to the idea that I am not always right or in charge and sometimes have to step aside and let someone else take the reigns.
What I learned today – Do what you love
Today I learned that its true what they say about choosing a job that you love, because then you will never have to work a day in your life. Fleace obviously loves what she does, and she’s not stressed or bound by the rat race. To be able to witness this gives me hope. And it is even rubbing off on me. When I was back in the states I couldn’t get home fast enough, and could barely garner the energy to wake up for work. Now that i’m here, working on a mission that I believe in, I can work until 3am and then wake up at 8am to do it all again. So I learned that the quote, Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” is not a cliche, it can be a reality.
Italian Food? Maybe
Dining out in Italy is totally different than expected. The food is incredibly delicious but if you come seeking “Italian food” that you’ve been groomed to think is comfort food, you’ll be far off the mark! Fettuccine alfredo? So not a thing. Spaghetti with meatballs? Nah. Lasagna heavy with ricotta? Not so much. Check out the video for other things:
The Love of Family
Today in Rome I got to witness first hand the love and appreciation Italians have for family. In the United States we always see movies and shows that play off of this, however to witness it first hand was a different feeling. Italians are very loving and soft people. It was amazing to see what an American might consider embarrassing or awkward come so easily.
Today, a taxi at the Colosseum didn’t want to run the meter, Fleace told the driver she would call the police and he promptly wanted us gone. We found an honest driver who agreed to run the meter, and as you’ll find out in the video, the cost of the trip was much less than €35. So if you’re taking a taxi from a location that is common tourist spot, or if you’re taking a taxi from a club/bar, always make sure that the driver runs the meter.
Peace Be with You
It was extremely peaceful and lovely to visit one of the ancient catholic churches of Rome. An incredible feeling of calm and meditation comes over me in these religious facilities even though I don’t subscribe to any of them; I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Vatican, various churches, and the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Maybe I do have a soul after all 😉 I learned that the churches take themselves very seriously, dress code to enter and all. It was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop. I said a quick prayer, lit a candle, and accepted the peace.
Watch Out for PickPockets!
Today I learned to beware of the pickpockets! As a top tourist location, Rome is known to have one of the worst pickpocket problems in the world. Before we headed out to Via Del Corso – a popular tourist location for shopping, Javonne, Sarah, and I made sure we thief proofed our bags and secured all zippers and buttons. We learned that it is almost impossible to spot a pickpocket, sometimes they can go as far as to dress up as nuns! However, I’m happy to say we returned safe and sound with all of our belongings. Be safe out there!
Flopping Around Rome
Today I learned that Rome’s summer heat and her cobblestone streets are a bad mix for my cute little $5 thrift store shoes. If you will be visiting Rome, do yourself a favor and invest in some quality comfortable shoes. I had to walk home with my shoe flopping, and my toes hanging out! It was so embarrasing!
It’s All in WHO You Know – Javonne
We keep saying that it’s a small world and man, is that evident everyday! First Sarah happened to meet one of Fleace’s exes and today while at lunch with her friend, she was mentioning people and I realized that I knew them or she went to school with them! What are the odds?
You never know who is watching you or knows people that you know so keep your behavior ethical, don’t burn bridges, and cultivate contacts by being a good contact. Your next opportunity could be in the palm of someone’s hand with six or less degrees of separation!
Anything’s Possible – Jareyah
Today learned a bit about the history of public transportation here in Rome, specifically the tram car system that arrived in Rome in 1865. Some years later the Roman government decided to switch them out for buses just to later realize the tram cars were more fuel efficient and put them back in place. Today, tram cars start a little later than buses and run later in the evenings than Subways. I also learned that a job is not always an excuse as to why you can not do what you desire. Many people assume they can not travel the world or up and leave when they want because of their jobs, but a select few make the effort to present proposals to their employers requesting to work from home and are actually successful. Many have utilized the site Remote Year to help in their proposal planning. This just further shows that anything is possible! If you want it, go for it.
An Alternatives to Teaching English or Au Pairing While Living Abroad – Sarah
Today we met up with one of Fleace’s friend, Latrese. Latrese is preparing to make her big move to Rome this year. We had the opportunity to ask her questions and speak with her in depth about how she was able to facilitate the move. She, like Fleace, has a business that she can run from the internet. We all had a great discussion on being clear about your wants and needs, and then going after them. I learned that if you can find a way to use the internet to do your job online, then you can probably live almost anywhere in the world. During our conversation with Latrese, Fleace emphasized that whatever we do, it must make us happy and we must be disciplined so that we are not distracted from our work by whatever amazing environment we live in.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow…
Within 24 hours my life changed to get this internship and I almost didn’t apply because my passport was out being renewed!! I was FREAKING out because I didn’t realize the timeline would be that short so I hung my head and said I didn’t have time for it to come back PLUS it wasn’t a pay week….my coworkers almost slapped me and said DUH, just expedite your passport! Call them and give credit card number! WHY didn’t I think of that? Because we put LIMITS on ourselves and want to put off things, procrastinating against destiny. I called that day, had my daddy give me the money for it, went home and jazzed up really quickly, had a glass of wine and SLAYED the video that day instead of WAITING like I usually do and figuring that I have time. I wanted to be FIRST in line and VOILA, it worked out! If an opportunity presents itself, do EVERYTHING that you can do to make sure that you stand out and are first come, first serve.
Check out the video to see how that applies to the Roman lifestyle:
The Gorgeous Tiber River!
Today we spent our evening along the beautiful Tiber river for the annual summer festival. I learned that once these tents go up for the festival that is their official symbol that it is Summer! I also learned that the river can flood up to 20 feet high in the winter time. And like many countries, the less fortunate tend to live along the river within this flood zone. So this river, though gorgeous, can be deadly for some.
It’s a Small Rome After All.
Tonight the girls and I went out for the first time. We took a lot of pictures and recorded so many videos! We also met a ton of guys while out; they LOVE black girls here. There was one particular guy who was really tall and spoke good english, which is a hot commodity. He insisted on dinner near a beach and the date was set for Sunday. We learned just how small Rome is once we arrived home and showed Fleace the footage from our night out; it turns out that, out of the 1.5 million or so men that there are in Rome, Fleace dated this guy! Contact deleted!
Impossible Literally Says “I’m Possible”! — Javonne
Learning to balance my sleepy, lazy persona with Fleace’s bubbly, energetic persona was a life lesson that made me want to even apply for the internship; if one never creates challenges, one will stay stagnant and I was tired of being stagnant. Her whole being is against excuses , “Impossible is nothing.” She lives that and I’m taking notes on how to as well. Exciting stuff, I tell ya!
Also, keep your eyes on and butt out of the road lmao! Don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉
Customer Service… Non Existent at Closing Time — Sarah
Today I learned not to expect the internet service provider to care about my WIFI issues when rolling up to the store 15 minutes before closing. Italians (unlike many Americans) work to live and once its time to go, they’re ready to go!
Another observation that I’ve made is that ,the stores here have specific purposes for specific things. So if your Samsung phone isn’t working, then you wouldn’t go to your service provider, you would go to the Samsung repair center.
Fresh is Best! — Jareyah
I learned that Italians are very big on fresh food. Left overs and entire month bulk grocery shopping (common American practices) is pretty much nonexistent here in Italia. More updates coming soon!