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Tag: Roma

Arrivederci Roma!

Arrivederci Roma!

Arrivederci Roma! We sang that song three times at our Voice concert celebrating the end of the semester on Monday, April 23rd. There were a lot more people in the audience than I expected. (Many of us had pleaded with our friends not to come.) They came anyway, and we laughed and stammered through a few classic Italian songs, including our solo pieces. Most of us were not singers, but we had fun with it, breathing sighs of relief in between phrases because the semester was almost over, we were almost on our way back home.

 

Street art in Prati, Rome

 

     Early on in the semester, I read a blog post written by a former JFRC student, she warned future students not to spend too much time wishing they were home. She wrote that during her semester, she never really stopped missing home, but that’s okay. I too found myself stubbornly missing home and looking forward to going back all semester. I never woke up one day no longer missing home at all. When I read her post, I realized every moment spent wishing I was home was a wasted one. Soon, I knew, I would be writing this last blog post, from my own kitchen table in Chicago. I think after I read that, I was more motivated to make the most of each day, and I did that the best I could for the rest of the semester.

 

A guitarist plays on a curbside in Rome

 

     Looking back, I loved my semester. Even though it wasn’t perfect, it was my own, unique experience that I wouldn’t change. I traveled to Poland and Switzerland, I toured Auschwitz and jumped off of a mountain. I had pizza in Naples and gelato in Florence. Saw the David, the Trevi, Botticelli’s Primavera, and dropped coins in the hats and cases of dozens of street musicians.

 

St. Peter’s Square

 

     Not only am I lucky to have been able to take this trip, but doubly lucky to be able to come home to a place I love. Friends and family, and a whole list of things I missed. Less than 2% of American college students study abroad, an even smaller percentage gets to study abroad, all the while looking forward to coming home, while still enjoying their experiences in the host country. Needless to say, I have a lot to be grateful.

 

Snowfall in Rome!

 

     I got home Friday, April 27th. It’s been a relatively smooth transition. Three months is long enough to grow and change, but not enough to forget what home is like.

     Next steps: Have a fun summer, and hopefully work a good internship related to communications. Next year I will be an RA at Loyola University Chicago, living at the water tower campus near Michigan Avenue. One more thing: I can’t wait to travel like a tourist in Chicago. It’s time for me to see more of my city, and my country!

 

One angle of Amsterdam

 

A hungry scavenger waits for a meal above a fish market

 

Artwork on display during the WWII trip

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t turn back now that we’re here

Don’t turn back now that we’re here

Heart don’t fail me now, courage don’t desert me, don’t turn back now that we’re here…

Well, folks I made it to Roma! After a quick jaunt across the Atlantic Ocean, a connecting flight in Zurich, and a bus ride through Roma, I finally made it to the John Felice Rome Center. It’s odd to think that this campus and the Eternal City will be my home for the next four months, but I feel at home already!

                                                                                 room with a view

The first few days was Orientation, and it was a whirlwind of information, walking tours, and gelato. The SLAs worked tirelessly to help acquaint the Spring 2018 students with the JFRC, life in Rome, and traveling across Europe. On the first night, I went with a group led by SLA Ola to Old Bridge Gelato which was across the street from the Musei Vaticani. The first gelato of this trip was the best by far–I had un cono di limone e fragola and it was life changing! Afterwards, we walked around La Piazza San Pietro and saw La Basilica San Pietro lit up at night, it was a beautiful sight.

On Friday, the SLAs took us to their favorite Roman ristorante or trattoria. SLA Judy took the group to Il Ciocario for one of the best meals I have ever had in my life! The three course meal consisted of a charcuterie & cheese plate, rigatone all’amatriciana served out of a cheese wheel, and tiramisu. Yes, a cheese wheel. Again, it was life changing.

shadows of the forum

Saturday morning, Dr. Evers gave an abridged (and inspired) history of Il Foro Romano and Il Colosseo before we headed out to tour the historic sites. It was my second time at Il Colosseo and Il Foro Romano, so I played tour guide (shh, I am not licensed!) and led the group to all of the best spots. Seeing Il Colosseo right when the sun was starting to go down was a sight I will never forget. The way the light played off the ancient walls was magical, and you couldn’t help but wonder what it was like to go to Il Colosseo at its peak. I could do without the violent gladiator games, though.  Afterwards we walked across the street to visit Il Foro Romano during golden hour. Our group stopped constantly to take pictures of the sights and of each other because the lighting was unbelievable–I took maybe 200 pictures that day. Seeing the ancient ruins was a treat that afternoon, because the sun was going down and the air was starting to cool, it almost felt like we were in Ancient Roma strolling through the Forum. Again, what I would do to see Il Foro Romano in its full glory and all of the buildings intact!

Going to school on Monday was a reality check after spending days exploring la città eterna and eating gelato. It was nice to get a routine in place and have some structure to my days, but I was itching to get back into the city and walk around. On Tuesday, I walked down Monte Mario with two friends, and let’s just say that the Italians have a very different definition of sidewalk than Americans. We walked single file on a tiny strip of asphalt with cars and Vespas whizzing past us down the mountain, and it was a little precarious to say the least! We treated ourselves to gelato after the trek down the mountain, and I ordered for the group in Italian. I have found that in class I can speak Italian fairly well, but once I am speaking with a native speaker, my confidence in my ability to speak disappears!

This past weekend was the Orientation trip to Campania, Italy. We spent the weekend touring castles and monasteries, eating fresh mozzarella di bufalo and tasting olive oil + wine. It was a rough weekend.

           cheers! 

On the second day was our trip to the mozzarella di bufalo farm, where we toured the organic farm and watched how mozzarella is made! It was magical. After the tour of the farm, we went to a winery and sampled wine and olive oil. I am not kidding when I say it was the best olive oil I have ever had in my life! Later that evening, we stopped by the old city center of Agropoli at golden hour. Even though I stepped in a massive pile of dog poop (look down, look down!) it was an unforgettable experience! We spent an hour or so just taking in the sunset and reveling in the fact that we get to call this beautiful country home for the next few months. That night we had dinner at the hotel, which was followed by traditional Italian dancing. The band and dancers sure knew how to party, because they got everyone out of their seats and taught us two different types of traditional dances. Once everyone got the hang of the steps, the laughter was infectious as we swirled through the hotel ballroom. Hopefully I can remember the dance moves!

All in all, the first week and a half of my Roman experience has been enjoyable. Though the homesickness is palpable, everyone here is feeling the same way. We all do our best to help cheer each other up and remind them that we are living in the most beautiful city in the world, so there’s no need for tears! I have also found that the FOMO is real. I want to go out and explore every night, but also I need my sleep. Even when in Rome, self care is important. Getting as much sleep as possible and staying hydrated has helped me immensely as I got accustomed to the time difference and culture shock. Even though settling in has been a little rough, I remind myself that I am in Rome and I am about to have the time of my life here. There is just so much to do!

A dopo, Megan

Follow me on Instagram @quando.a.roma to get hourly/daily/weekly updates on my travels! 

Welcome Home!

Welcome Home!

The past 5 days have been a crazy hot mess but I never want to leave Rome! There has been so much information overload  and at times it  stresses me out and makes me really grumpy and not so fun to be around. But then I have moments like this one where I am sitting in the computer lounge with my friends and just jamming to Disney music and talking about life. There are so many places to explore, things to do, and food to eat that I’m getting worried I won’t have time for it all.  Here is a photo montage of the highlights from my first week:

Guinness tasting during the layover in Dublin from the group flight

 

GELATO <3

The Colosseum with friends

McDonald’s in Italy to avoid hanger

Nighttime view from my 4th floor balcony 

Fourth Time’s the Charm

Fourth Time’s the Charm

Ciao tutti! My name is Aleksandra Wysocki, but please, know me as my Polish nickname, Ola. It’s what I’ve been called my entire life and it was one of the reasons I chose to study Italian vs. Spanish (because Hola, me llamo Ola! seemed a bit annoying to me…. Okay, that’s not the reason I chose to study Italian, but it’s definitely one of them).

Moving on.

This is my fourth time in the eternal city. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to have been here three times previously; six weeks during the summer when I was thirteen years old, a winter break vacation when I was fourteen, and a ten day choral tour through Loyola this past summer. Disregarding the most recent trip, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve grown up a lot both physically (thankfully, because middle school me had a lot of work to get to where I am now) and emotionally between my previous visits and now. I look at the world in a different way than I did back when I was thirteen and (hopefully) people see me differently.

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Ola a Roma, natale 2010.
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Assisi. giugno 2015.

You may be wondering why Roma again? Why not somewhere new? Well… I’ve definitely thought about it, to be honest. There are a lot of places I could have gone, but yet, I’ve always gone back to the thought of living it up in la citta eterna.

Despite being here before, I can’t tell you street names where certain things are. I can’t tell you where the best gelato is (although right now Giolitti’s is at the top of my list) or where you can get the best dish of bucatini all’amatriciana (it’s to die for). I don’t know all of the names of the neighborhoods other than Trastevere, Centocelle (where I happen to have family, which is the reason I’ve been here before) and now Balduina, thanks to being a student at the JFRC.

During my last trip here this past summer, I got the opportunity to travel outside of Rome. Thanks to the generosity of the university, Loyola’s choir got to not only stay at the JFRC, but travel to Napoli, Pompeii, Assisi and Firenze and for the first time, I got to travel around Italy without my family. I didn’t only stay in the touristy areas of cities. I got the opportunity to explore on my own and with people my age, and for me that was life changing.

That is why Roma again. I want to better my Italian and to spend time with my family here as well, but I truly love Italian culture. I love their way of life, at least what I perceive it to be. I want to discover this beautiful nation personally. If I can see other places in Europe, that’d be amazing too, but my focus will be Roma. Not only will I be interning at an Italian film production company (which I’m psyched for) but I’m also hoping to tutor Italian students with English.

I’m excited to be back and see where this adventures will take me! Jet lag and orientations have rendered me ridiculously tired these first few days and I feel like I’ve been running on adrenaline. Yet, that exhaustion isn’t complete, as I’ve been out almost every other night, chilling in Piazza del Popolo and eating some delicious pizza. The beach trip to Maccarese was also a blast, despite the fact that it resulted in a slightly sunburnt Ola.

To wrap up this somewhat long post (I’m actually quite surprised with myself, seeing how much I ended up writing) as mensa just opened up and I’m quite hungry, here are two pictures from my Sunday walk in the city center with some new friends.

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Bucatini all’amatriciana. Definitely order it if you love yourself. Originally, it was known as more of a poor man’s dish, because it was so simple and had few ingredients, but I see it as more of a triumphant ode to simplicity, as IT IS DELICIOUS.
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Hidden corner off of via Cavour.

P.S. If you want a more in depth look at my adventures/more pictures, feel free to follow my personal blog at https://olawysockiphotography.wordpress.com/!