Fall 2010 Sarah Bergstein Temple Rome

The Roman Way of Life

So Sarah, what have you been doing during your time so far in Rome? I know, I know, everybody wants details.

My sister Jaclyn and I at the Colosseum the day we arrived in Rome.

Monday marked the beginning of week three in this 15-week semester.  It is a bit surprising to me that I am completely comfortable here, almost as if this truly were home.  The Temple Rome staff (both administrators and professors) is just absolutely amazing.  I feel fortunate to spend the next three months learning from such experienced and qualified individuals.  Temple really does it right.

The view of a beautiful sunset on the Vatican from my apartment terrace.

As I sit with my new friends in the architecture studio, looking out over the Tiber River through the beautiful fourth floor picture windows at the Temple Rome campus, I am a bit overwhelmed trying to pick just one thing to share with the blogosphere.  Tough life, huh?

Life here in Rome is epic!  From the history to the language to the culture to the food and so much more, I feel as though I have truly begun to embrace la dolce vita in every way.

I’ve been spending my first weeks in Rome fulfilling all the clichés I have ever heard about The Eternal City.  I am a total tourist, and I am totally OK with that.  For the next three months, this is my home.  Plenty of time to feel like a true Roman.

So I take pictures of everything.  My friends here are almost at the point of cringing every time they hear, “Alright now, everybody get together!” But one day they’ll thank me.  I take my camera with me everywhere- even when I go running.

Just about every morning I wake up before dawn when it is nice and cool outside and, like Forrest Gump, I just start running.  I run until I am completely lost, and then I keep running until I find my way back to my incredible apartment that my younger sister and I are living in just ten minutes up the road from the campus.  Not only is it a great way to get to know my way around, but it is also my way of working off all the pizza and pasta and gelato and wine I have been fully enjoying on a daily basis.

My friends and I getting ready to sit down after cooking our first dinner together of ravioli and garlic bread.

With mention of food, I have to say that I am definitely indulging.  Grocery shopping has been a great way for my sister and I to save euro, and we make meals fit for royalty; breakfasts of fresh eggs and fruits, and dinners of salads and pastas and bread and wine.  For lunch we might try a local panino (sandwhich) place or grab a slice of pizza.  We’ve been splurging on cappuccino and gelato, and we drink wine almost as much as we drink the incredible fresh water that comes straight from the fountains found all over the city.

The days here are long, and I am learning to accept that I will just have to catch up on sleep over winter break- there is way too much to see and do here to be sleeping more than six hours.  In between and after classes, and especially on the weekends, we (meaning my sister, myself, and my amazing new group of friends in the program) like to get out and explore Rome.  There’s nothing better than jumping on the Metro, getting off at any random stop, and getting lost in all the wonder this city has to offer.  I’d have to say the Vatican or the Colosseum at night are at the top on my list of favorite sites, and the old neighborhood of Trastevere is just fabulous.

Temple Rome students at the Residence Medaglie d’Oro before a night out in Rome.

I have never done so much walking in my life, but even when my legs are tired I still opt for going out at night to a new bar or club or piazza to experience the nightlife in Rome.  I haven’t yet had any encounters with overly friendly (read: creepy) Italian guys, and I certainly have seen my fair share of attractive guys.  Scratch that, more like attractive people!  It seems as if everyone here in Rome is beautiful!

I came here with practically no knowledge of the Italian language, and at first it was a bit intimidating.  It is no joke when people say that Italians speak with their hands, and I have found myself doing the same since the moment I arrived.  It is amazing what you can get by pointing at and motioning to things, and what people can understand by simply waving your hands around like a lunatic.  My knowledge is still limited, but after three weeks I am able to order food and drinks, hold a basic friendly conversation, and even ask for and give directions… all in Italian.  Imagine that!

I’ll admit that I had expectations of what my experience might be like living in Rome, but I have to say that the journey up to this point has far exceeded any expectation I could have ever dreamed of.

The way I see it, the Italian government is going to have to kick me out of this country when my visa eventually expires!

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