In the middle of October, like most other schools, Temple Rome gave us a week off from classes for fall break. My friends and I started planning the trip about a month in advance and had a hard time choosing where to spend our ten-day vacation (ugh, life is so hard). After we realized we could filter flights on Ryan Air for €20 and under, our decision became much easier because we essentially chose the three cities that would be the cheapest to travel to. We might be world travelers at this point, but we’re still broke college kids, after all. We ended up deciding to spend three days in Barcelona, four days in Paris, and three days in Amsterdam, which ended up being a great selection. Each city was so incredibly different and amazing in their own ways. Barcelona was sunny and lively and home to amazing architecture, beaches, and paella. Between seeing world famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre up close and personal, and all the delicious crepes and amazing shopping, being in Paris was surreal. Amsterdam was surprisingly one of my new favorite cities due to the incredibly friendly Dutch people, charming canals, gingerbread house-like architecture, and hearty food (you haven’t lived until you’ve had Dutch pancakes).
Although I had the most amazing week with some of my best friends, it’s pretty draining to live out of a small duffle bag, take late night/early morning transportation, sleep on floors, and sightsee constantly for ten days straight. I specifically remember my friends and I were relaxing on a bench in Amsterdam after nine days of vigorous exploration and I said, “I can’t wait to go home.” By “home” I didn’t mean my house in Massachusetts—I meant the Residence! I think it was that moment that I realized how comfortable I feel in Rome. I have mastered taking the metro, I no longer feel guilty rejecting the guys selling roses in every piazza, I know the best place to get gelato, and I’m on a first name basis with the guy that makes my daily panino. I have made lifelong friends, met interesting locals, and studied under inspiring professors. I have indulged in all of Rome’s treasures, and embraced all of its flaws. This thought came out so naturally, but once I thought about it, I realized that it’s a pretty big deal to genuinely consider a place you were just introduced to two months ago “home.” Somehow, Rome has cast a spell on me and it’s difficult to imagine my life before this semester.
Anyway, although I had a fantastic time exploring three beautiful foreign cities, I was kissing the ground upon my arrival back in Rome. I missed its smells and sounds and people. Although I’m thankful I’ve taken to Rome so quickly, if I missed the city so much after being away for ten days, I can’t even imagine how I’m going to feel once I get shipped back to America. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there….