I honestly can’t believe that a month has already flown by since I last wrote. It truly feels like a couple days ago I was writing about my feelings leaving for Rome, but I promise that updates will be more often (especially with our week trip to Sicily coming up and fall break following soon after).
Adjusting to Italy was surprisingly easy (though I worry it’s because it still hasn’t sunk in yet), but for the past week I’ve been considering just how I realized that I was finally at home in Italy, not simply feeling like a tourist passing through for a week or two. (Alternate titles indicating my thoughts on the matter include: home is where you know the rooms with the fastest wifi, home is where you know which buses never bother to show up when you need them, and home is where the gelateria knows your order before you step inside the shop.) I eventually came to realize that it had less to do with my physical surroundings and more with who I was surrounding myself with. When I came to Georgetown, I finally felt like I belonged there when I started having movie nights with my friends on GUWRFC (The Bee Movie being the memorable first movie of many); likewise, the centro felt more like home when I moved past the stage of introductions and onto a comfy couch to watch ‘The Mummy’ (1999) and poke fun at the “archaeological” methods of the time. It only gets better with October approaching and a list of 13 ~frightful~ films already chosen.
Perhaps it was also the academics that helped the transition. To say that my classes have been keeping me busy would be the understatement of the year. In one class alone, I have already filled two notebooks and am almost finished with a third. ‘The Ancient City’ course has been keeping us on the move with two half day trips and one full day trip per week; I won’t lie, never has deciding between homework and bed been so hard (unfortunately homework always seems to win). I’ve already been to the forum four times for class in this first month alone, not even counting all the other times the bus has released me nearby at the Colosseum or on Mussolini’s Via dei Fori. However, all this hard work hasn’t been disappearing into the void; because of the class’ intensity, each passing day I can name more and more monuments and sites on my way to visit new ones. The effectiveness of this type of hands-on learning (or rather eyes-on in the case of most of the sites we visit since they are still being excavated) is staggering.
The enthusiasm of everyone in the program is similarly amazing. I cannot begin to express how wonderful it feels to have a conversation with someone who is as equally fascinated by Classics as I am (or rather, who can understand all my jokes that are usually met with confusion). For no reason other than our own enjoyment, the majority of my Greek class has decided to create a student film of the book we are reading, Plutarch’s Life of Antony – stylistically just think Napoleon Dynamite meets Monty Python but Bad…We are disproportionately excited to debut it during our next excursion in Campagna (if we finish it in time). I will be playing the role nearest and dearest to my heart, Antony himself — a role I did not choose for myself but was unanimously agreed upon for what I can only assume is our similar personalities and hopefully not a likeness in attracting ire during group projects. I find this ironic given that not a week ago I was chosen by chance to read Antony’s eulogy of Caesar on the remains of the speaker’s platform (it was my idea however to wear my bed sheet as a toga).
Thankfully, culture shock has been minimal. Completely unrelated, I learned that noodles (such as those used in pad thai and whatnot) are called spaghetti and dumplings are called ravioli. It makes sense (despite my mind being vehemently opposed to the fact), but it is definitely not something I expected upon opening a take-out menu.
Life has been a dream here in Italy. I have already learned so much in the short time I’ve been here and I will only learn more. I look forward to spilling the details of my trip to Sicily and all the surprises Franco has in store for us.