Spring 2015 Tara Benner Temple Rome

Endless Cobblestone

While I love going on trips and exploring the world, I am also the person who needs a consistent, daily routine. Every morning I get ready for classes in the same order. I walk to class every day on the same side of the same street. When I get to the school, I attempt to sit in the same seat in the computer lab, and you can be sure that I sit in the same seat every day in each one of my classes. Some would say that I have a type A personality, but I prefer to say that I am consistent and reliable.

This morning my routine had to change a bit because I had to go to the Vatican before my first class to pick up the tickets for Easter mass this coming Sunday (hint to what you’ll be hearing about next week!) Luckily, I was still able to get ready with the same routine, I just had to wake up a little earlier, and I could still walk to school on the same street, but I simply had to walk to that specific street from the Vatican. If you cannot tell by now, I’m not a person that would enjoy getting lost, but unfortunately, I am not good with directions either.

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Beautiful Sunset in the Intersection in Front of Temple

Walking away from the Vatican, I knew that I had to simply walk straight, and I would find the road that I always use to walk to school; however, it seemed like I was walking straight for entirely too long. I assumed that I must have passed my turn. I also only had forty minutes until my first class started, and if I walked myself into the middle of Rome, who knew how long it would take for me to get back to the school, so I built up what little confidence I had in my ability to speak in Italian to a local, and I asked for directions. First I asked this younger individual who was walking his dog; however, it was a failed attempt because he did not seem to understand my broken and badly pronounced Italian. Next I went across the street to this little cafe that I saw. There was a man and woman right by the door. They looked as though they owned the place, so I hoped that they knew where I was talking about when I asked where the ‘lungo tiber’ was located. To my surprise, they understood what I was saying in Italian AND I also understood their directions: I simply had to turn around, take the first left and continue straight until I ran into the river.

I followed their directions to the T, and along the way I saw some pretty cool things: a cute little restaurant hidden behind the branches of a tree, beautiful flowers on the windowsills of buildings and a nice green area by a magazine stand. Seeing all of these great things awakened me in a way. I did not understand why I have not yet let myself get lost in Rome. Everyone who has been here has advised me to do it, but my inner planner just could not let it happen. In the time that I walked down this street, I decided that I needed to open myself up to the experience of being lost. Before I knew it, I found the intersection of the road and the Tiber, but this intersection looked oddly familiar, too familiar. I turned around to look at the street I just ventured down and I realized that it was the very same road that I walked down four days a week for the past eight or so weeks. I was just walking on the other side of the street.

Of course this realization was comical, but it was also eye-opening. All of this time, staying in my routine has hindered me from seeing everything that I could see. There is so much that I have missed simply because of my desire for consistency, but lucky for me, there is no better time than now to let loose and get lost on the endless cobblestone of Rome.

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