Monthly Archives: December 2012

Farewell Rome, It’s Been Ciao.

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Ciao Regazzi!

Well, this is it, my final blog post. I woke up this morning on my last day in Rome with an overwhelming feeling. I’m not sure what it was though, but it caused me to lie still in bed for a long time and listen to my thoughts. At first there was a wave of melancholy because times flies so quickly. It’s terrifying really. But then a warm memory of home followed, I’m within reach of returning to the center of my universe again. It’s comforting to know that no matter where I roam, I know I have deeply sewn roots who will always remind me of who I am. I didn’t want to bombard you with sappiness so I decided to say farewell with some lists. First I want to mention the 10 things I am going to miss this most about living in Rome:

1. THE FOOD       IMG_6376

oh yea.

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What chu eatin?

I’ve had a lovely 3 1/2 months of an excuse to eat anything under the Tuscan sun. I counted no calories, skipped no snacks, turned down no wine (although sometimes I should have). Subsequently, I’m not positive whether I porked up or lost weight from all of the wandering. But I’m sure my sisters will deliver the verdict as soon as I get home.

2. My Studio

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I was so incredibly spoiled to have my own space to create, collaborate, and occasionally take emergency naps all semester. I will always be thankful for my first studio!

3. Accessible Travel

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Greece

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France (My favorite)

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Spain

It is amazing how easy it is to travel within Europe! I especially loved seeing the different regions of Italy! I still have a few more to see though!

4. The beaches

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…Sorry Ocean City. You lose.

5. The Scenery

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Nothing compares to the feeling of walking through Italy and realizing the pictures on post cards really aren’t photoshopped. They’re just waiting to be found.

6. GELATO

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nuff said.

7. The Culture

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I realize I’m not Italian, but I love the Cafe Culture!

Italians always remember to be present. They’re culture revolves around food and family and enjoying life as it comes. Rather than Americans (including myself) constantly worrying about the bigger plan. There’s a joke here about how when in Rome you run on “Italian time” which means there is no concept of time. You will get there when you get there. So if you don’t feel like getting there yet, stop and get a cappucino!

8. My Newfound Sense of Adventure

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When you don’t speak the language, you kindof learn to just go with it! In Rome, I feel spontaneous. Which no one would have ever called me before. Watch out USA! I’m coming for you next!

9. Summer Lasts until Halloween

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This was Fall break. WHAT.

10. My Bright and Shiny New Friends

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I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with all of you on this trip. Everyone I met was beautiful.

NOW, I’d like to point out the things I’m going to be happiest to see when I get home!

1. My family, friends, and boyfriend

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I have some good lookin’ people to see! (Notice I’m the oldest AND shortest? I have heels on.)

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The sign says “Welcome Home Jen!”

2. My Car! And Parking Lots.

No one understands the convenience of a parking lot until you live in a land where they don’t exist and walking is life.

3. My Job!

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I totally love working 🙂 and having an income rather than being the virtual Trevi Fountain of money of the last few months.

4. ENGLISH

As much as I loved learning Italian, and I think the language is beautiful, there is just no way of describing the dumbfounding feeling of looking directly at someone else, who is also perfectly capable of communicating and with whom you need to converse…. and yet you just can’t. So you just stare at each other for a while and hope they absorb what you’re thinking.

5. My Bright and Shiny New Friends! (AGAIN)

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Although not everyone goes to Temple, the majority of us do! And most of those who do not, go to school close by! With the exception of a couple girls in Washington State, some people from Duke, and a few other far away places. I’m very thankful to be able to continue my friendships in the States!

I’d like to leave you with one sappy statement. Studying abroad was the single most rewarding thing I have ever done. I would tell ANYONE to do it no matter if they are scared, broke, or busy. It is worth all of the effort! One of the main changes I noticed within myself is my new-found understanding of my concept of “home”. Before I left the States, home for me was my parents house. But by being removed completely from this place, and thrown into a strange environment, I learned who, what, and where is important in my life. And that home is not a place, but a feeling of belonging. In my travels I’ve seen that there are BILLIONS of places in the world. I don’t mean geographic points, I mean that everyone runs their own universe, and every universe must have a center. And no matter what you think of anywhere else in the world, you are always aware of your true center. There might not be one place you call home, but there is one true feeling. And it takes leaving that place to see it… Can you tell I do yoga? 🙂

Finally, I would like to say a HUGE thank you to my parents. Without you I would have NEVER gotten to where I am. I’d like to thank my sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and cousins for all of your support. I’d like to thank my boyfriend for standing by me through all of my new experiences. I’d like to thank my best friends for keeping me grounded in my true home. And I’d like to thank Temple University Study Abroad Office for giving me the opportunity to write this blog!

Arrivederci!

Jen

P.S- Because of the positive experience I’ve had blogging, I will be starting my own blog in January! Hopefully it will be as interesting as this one has been!

Non basta una vita.

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What better time to write my last blog post than on a ten hour flight back to America?  In a little over three months, I have made a lifetime’s worth of memories and friends.  I’ve been to Prague, Florence, Venice, Brussels, London, and Paris and have been able to call Rome my home.  Studying abroad has taught me so much about myself, about people, and about the world we all share.  I would tell anyone studying abroad in Rome or anywhere else in the world to do the following things to truly make their semester worthwhile:
Be open.  Somebody told me to say “yes” to everything before I left in August.  Don’t sleep in if you have the opportunity to see the Trevi Fountain at sunset or go to Ostia Antica with your art history professor.  Try a different dish at every restaurant in every country.  Don’t let a bank account that might have a $0 balance by December 9 prevent you from going to Paris over Thanksgiving break.  Pay attention in Italian class and practice outside of the classroom whenever possible.  What’s the point of living abroad if you’re just transferring your American inclinations to a foreign setting?  I may not remember the names of the surviving structures in the Roman Forum or how to combine prepositions and articles in Italian, but studying abroad has definitely taught me how to go with the flow.
Be patient.  So what if a grocery store closes before 9 pm or a shop shuts down for a couple of hours every afternoon?  You always end up with what you need anyway.  There’s no point in stressing out because the metro is crowded or the Roman bus system is unreliable.  If your WiFi isn’t working, accept that you can’t update your Facebook status and take a walk instead.  Substitute your Reese’s peanut butter cup addiction with a Baci one.  Customs and habits are definitely different abroad, but that doesn’t make them wrong.  Life becomes so much easier when you learn to take things in stride.
Be grateful.  Studying abroad is a life-changing opportunity that not every college student has the chance to partake in and it’s over in a matter of months.  Everybody moves back home and life goes on, but studying abroad is very temporary.  I’m still not grasping the fact that I’m on my flight home right now.  The semester becomes a blur so there’s no use in getting caught up in your schoolwork or the fact that you miss your family and friends back home.  Take a moment to look around and remember that you’re in Rome.  There are plenty of people who would love to switch places with you so be grateful and take full advantage of the awesome opportunity you’ve been given.
I know a lot of people who count studying abroad as the most memorable or rewarding part of college and now I understand why.  Rome has been my home for the past three months and the Eternal City will always have my heart.  If you get the chance to study at Temple Rome, take it.  Studying abroad is a beautiful, challenging, remarkable experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Let’s just say that I threw enough coins in the Trevi Fountain to ensure that I will be back in this magical city again someday.  “Non basta una vita.”  A lifetime truly isn’t enough.
Thank you very much for reading!  I hope my posts have been helpful.  If you have any questions about Temple Rome or Rome or studying abroad in general, please feel free to email me at danielle.guiteras@temple.edu.

c d

Packing 101

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Classes ended last week and finals ended on Thursday. There was a farewell pizza party at school last night and my flight back to Philadelphia is on Sunday. Leaving is becoming a reality and so is the fact that I need to pack up the last three months of my life. There are things that I brought that I never used and things that I didn’t bring that I wish I had. Instead of staring at my empty suitcase for another hour, I’m going to make my packing procrastination productive by blogging about the ins and outs of the packing to come to Rome process.

On US Airways, you are entitled to one checked bag for international flights whose price is included in your ticket. You pay for each additional checked bag and for overweight/oversized bags. Instead of cramming everything into one giant suitcase that would have been overweight, I checked two, carried on a duffle bag, and used my backpack as my personal item.  A lot of students actually ended up checking two bags, which made me feel much better about my tendency to over-pack.

Apparently it was unseasonably warm this fall. It was unbearably hot for the first couple of weeks we were here and we were wearing shorts, T shirts, and sandals until the beginning of October.  In October, it cooled off to a point where I switched my shorts out with jeans, but it was still warm enough to get away with T shirts and sandals for awhile.  It didn’t really start to feel like fall until November, which is when we really started to pull out our long sleeves and boots.

Even now, in the beginning of December, Rome is not cold by Philadelphia standards. If you study abroad in Rome during the fall semester, you do not need to bring a heavy winter jacket or gloves (unless you’re planning on traveling to Switzerland or Germany during the semester).  I’ve been consistently comfortable in a lightweight jacket or hooded sweatshirt.  I was really glad I brought my denim jacket and my roommate got a lot of wear out of her leather one so something along those lines is sufficient outerwear for Rome in the fall.

I did not realize that fall (particularly November) is considered Rome’s “rainy” season.  The month was not characterized by consistent rain by any means, but I did wish I had brought rain boots with me.  I always carried an umbrella and wore my waterproof jacket more than I had expected.

A lot of people warned us that Italians don’t like to use the heat and it is only turned on for a couple of hours during the day in the Residence, but it hasn’t been cold enough for me to be particularly bothered by that.  Even at night, I’m comfortable wearing a t shirt and sweatpants.  I have a feeling that spring semester students probably have to bundle up at night to go to sleep though.

Before I came, I bought enough toiletries to last the semester.  I had heard that shampoo and conditioner were more expensive in Rome than in America so I brought enough of everything to avoid having to pay for it here.  I’m really grateful I did that because the space my toiletries occupied in my luggage coming here is the space which my souvenirs and gifts are going to fill going home.

I stressed out about packing for Rome way more than I should have.  I must not have realized that I could buy whatever I didn’t have/forgot when I got here.  It turns out that Italians have the same basic needs and desires as all other human beings.  A nice thing about staying at the Residence is that they provide sheets and towels so you don’t have to worry about that when you’re packing to come to Rome.  I do wish I had thrown a jar of peanut butter in my suitcase before leaving though.

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You Grinch!

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Ciao Regazzi!

Coming down off of the Paris high was pretty rough this past week. How do you compare to Paris? I think that means I’m actually starting to feel at home in Rome, it seems boring now. How is that even possible!? No, but Rome will always have a very special place in my heart. As the semester in winding down everyone is in full on study mode… except me. Because I’m an art major and all of my finals were due last week! So no studying for this girl! But last week was definitely not the easiest…

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Clearly, our painting professor Dan was super stressed.

On Monday we had to start preparations for the school wide art show. Anyone who has ever participated in a school art show knows my pain when I tell you that they are always completely unorganized chaos. Every artist has their own agenda for their work, every professor has a bunch of artists to oversee, and no one likes climbing ladders and rearranging tables. So first thing Monday morning we started setting up the Advanced Painting room. It was actually a very sad time. I really loved this class and I enjoyed everyone in it.

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This is one of my paintings from the show

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Jame’s Monotype

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Everyone loved the art show!

Sorry, I didn’t do a very good job of documenting the entire art show, there were MANY more artist’s showing than what I showed!

Coincidentally, the day of the art show was also James’ 21st birthday! We had a great time celebrating all day while setting up the show, Christmas caroling, painting walls, and seeing great art! Also, the girls of 104 gave James the coolest Christmas present ever!

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A life sized chocolate hammer, duh!

With the art show successfully passed, and my Italian final over (THANK GOD), I pretty much have this week to see whatever I haven’t already. I decided to use it to check out galleries and art museums! So James and I set out on Friday to check out the MACRO museum… Funny story. There are 2 MACRO museums: one in Testaccio and the original.  We wound up first at the one in Testaccio. For anyone who does not know, Testaccio is a very strange area of town. And the museum was closed! What the heck! So we set off to the TOTAL OTHER END OF TOWN to find the real MACRO. It took us a few hours of walking up and down the same street but we eventually found it!

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This is a picture of the roof.

The reason my only picture of this museum is the roof is because that is how confusing this place is. We spent  the time trying to find the other half of the museum! I’ll be honest, it was not my favorite museum I’ve seen in Rome so far. But I have a few more coming up this week so hopefully I have better luck!

The 3rd was Alex’s 21st Birthday! Unfortunately it was also the first day of finals so we just went out to a simple dinner.

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What a semester it has been!

Best of luck to everyone who still has finals this week!

Ciao

Jen

Arrivederci and a Little Bit of Proust

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A man stands at the Cipro Metro stop, which is frequented by Temple Rome students as it is the metro stop for the residence.

A man stands at the Cipro Metro stop, which is frequented by Temple Rome students as it is the metro stop for the residence.

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality.  The name originated from the responses give by French writer Marcel Proust, most famous for his seven volume novel, À la recherche du temps perdu, which translates as “In Search of Lost Time.”  It may seem a little odd to write such an introductory blog post as my goodbye, but I could not think of anything more appropriate.  My time abroad has amassed so many stunning photographs, life-changing adventures, profound revelations, and unexpected connections that I would never be able to aptly describe it in just 500 words.  Instead, this list of questions that I have taken from various Internet sources will serve as a brief overview of my three months in Europe, and hopefully encourage likewise explorations.  Happy travels!

What is your idea of a perfectly happy day in your city?

In Rome, my ideal day would be waking up around 11 am and hopping on the 492 bus to Campo de’Fiori.  Every day until 2 pm there is a local market of olive oils, wines, fruits, vegetables, jams, flowers, candy, and meats!  Yum!  After walking around the market, I would sit down at one of the restaurants on the periphery and eat lunch alfresco, people-watching the afternoon away while sipping on rosé.  Next, I would wander through the city streets, across the Tiber River, into Trastevere.  This neighborhood is mostly untouched by tourists and is home to so many one-of-a-kind shops, bars, and restaurants.  Dinner and a drink after with delightful companions is a must.

Which do you admire most about your city?

Rome is a living museum.  Every church, every piazza, every stone is a thoughtful piece of art by Ancient Romans, Michelangelo, Rafael, Bernini, Caravaggio…etc.

Which is the trait you deplore most about your city?

The public transportation website is the most unhelpful piece of cyberspace.  To use the metro and buses, you just have to be in the know.  I kind of like that it is elitist in this way, but it is not enjoyable when you first arrive.

What is a positive trait your city is known for that is actually false?

One does not see much of that famous “Italian fashion” in Rome, which is home to Italy’s government.  Italian fashion in concentrated in Milan.

What is the greatest extravagance while abroad? 

Food and wine

Which city do you most identify with?

I could see myself living in Paris.  I would have to improve my French first, but the city of lights, and its inhabitants, are my style—trendy, intellectual, and a bit cold and self-indulgent.

What is the travel habit you most deplore in yourself?

Waiting until the last possible minute to arrive at the airport.

What is the travel habit you most deplore in others?

Everyone trying to be the head cook in the kitchen.

In what travel situations do you lie?

If anyone asks, I like to say I am from New York City…or Hong Kong.

You tend to pack too many…  pieces of jewelry.  I always forget to wear them.

Your idea of travel misery:  Rain and being pick-pocketed

Your idea of travel happiness:  Feeling inspired