Journal Entry: Ten

Journal

January 26th, 2019

I must begin with yesterday. I spent the majority of my day with Alec. We met at the Spanish Steps around one o’clock after I picked up a textbook that I needed. We just walked and talked. We went in circles. There is really nothing note-worthy about my time with him. He kind of makes me uncomfortable. He smelled like my grandma Connie’s old bedroom in Michigan. He told me that he gets along better with 40 year olds and that he doesn’t like how unstructured school dances are. I’m beginning to think that it might be a normal characteristic for boys to not ask questions about a girl. I always feel like I am the curious one. Anyway, it wasn’t completely terrible with Alec, it was just boring and dry.

Once we parted ways at Ponte Sisto, I went back to my apartment and made a salad with mushrooms, carrots, walnuts, and balsamic. I also sautéed a veggie burger. I had a glass of red wine as well. Then I got into my pajamas, washed my face, and watched the movie Lost in Translation on my laptop with dark chocolate and red wine on my nightstand. I fell asleep around 12:30 and slept until 10:15.

This morning I walked to Campo di Fiori and bought two eggplants from the market. It was such a beautiful day outside. It smelled like spring and the wind was soft. I came back to my apartment and did some reading for my English class and then I made lunch by chopping circular slices of eggplant and sautéing them in olive oil. After lunch, I put together the videos that I took today while walking around. Then I relaxed and read for a few hours. Now I am sitting at my desk while digesting a wonderful mean I had at a restaurant in Trastevere called Da Gildo. I had a gnocchi dish with red wine. For dessert I had a creamy tiramisu with mini biscotti. My waiter asked if I was from the United States and I laughed and said, “Yes, it shows?” Then I told him that I am studying at John Cabot. He pointed down the street and I said, “Yes, right down the street.” And then he said, “So you can come back?” and I replied, “Yes, I can come back.” He told me his name but I couldn’t really understand him. I think it was Mattei???

First Impressions: Capri, Italy

Personal Essay

There is no word for what it feels like to wake up on an island, but there should. I rested my head on Meg’s shoulder, mouth-breathing and warm. The ferry’s windows mocked us with their stiffness and immobility. I just wanted a breeze. I just wanted some relief from the feverish pink that doused my cheekbones like a rash.

When the ferry docked I felt Meg’s shoulder shift. I woke up and instinctively joined the stirring of eager travelers: collecting their belongings, stretching, craning their necks to see the new landscape. Meg checked our seats to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind. I like that about Meg. It reminds me of my mother. Then, like schoolgirls filing out of hot gymnasium, we walked onto the dock with our luggage thumping behind.

We paid a man to drive us to the city center of Capri. He helped pile our luggage into the back seat of a light blue convertible, the kind of vehicle I would expect to see in an old world like Cuba. The suitcases piled high. He asked for my bag but I told him I would hold it in my lap.

We drove upward. The wind flattened my bangs along my forehead and sent the rest of my hair flapping backward like a fibrous flag. Meg sat in the passenger seat. She was laughing and smiling. I felt the smile on my face too. It was like experiencing freedom for the first time. The other girls were laughing too. In all the wind and laughter and freedom, no one remembered to talk. I tilted my head back and raised my arms. The sky was blue like the terracotta statue of the Madonna and Child I had seen in Florence. The inscription read Della Robbia blue. I will never forget that blue.

Journal Entry: Eight

Journal

January 20th, 2019

Today I woke up at 9:30. I made coffee with my new french press and then I read in bed for a while. I did my first load of laundry today. The washing machine is puny. Around 12:15 I ate yogurt and granola. The woman from Italy Excel emailed me back and said she wants to meet at her office. I hope the internship goes through.

I went to Coop today and bought carrots, lettuce, mushrooms, and brown sugar for coffee. It makes the coffee taste sweet and good. I just relaxed all day. Classes start tomorrow. At 5:30 I went to La Chiesa di Santa Maria in Trastevere. I bought a pair of leather boots on my way home from mass because the ones I’m wearing give me blisters.

For dinner I made the following: two-three mushrooms, one garlic clove, 1 oz spaghetti noodles, extra virgin olive oil, red wine, and a salad. Now am drinking a glass of red wine and eating chocolate in my room. Meg and Anna are talking about taking a trip this weekend but is sounds nice to be on my own.

Journal Entry: Seven

Journal

January 19th, 2019

I am going to work backwards through the day. I just came back from eating pizza with Georgi and some of his friends. I took a taxi to the pizza place. It was called Pizza e Mozzarella. The pizza was great. We ate, talked, and hugged goodbye.

Then I got lost in the city center by myself at nine o’clock at night. The city was dead and dark. A couple walked by me and when I asked in Italian if they could help me they said they only spoke Spanish. It was a rude awakening. Here is what I learned:

  1. Do not go out without at least 60% of phone battery. My phone died right after I saw the arrow on Google Maps point to Trastevere.
  2. I don’t care if people know I am American. I need to lose the fear I have to be seen as American. In the last few days I have realized that life is life no matter where you are. Yes, Rome is objectively more beautiful than Detroit but life still goes on here. I also realized that you can wear whatever you want as long as you wear it confidently. I definitely have a specific style and every time I try to venture away from this style it doesn’t feel right. Being lost allowed me to value my time here more. It was a good reminder to not make poor decisions.

I bought a mini french press today and a manual grinder.

Journal Entry: Six

Journal

January 18th, 2019

I went on a walking tour of Rome today. We went on various forms of public transportation. Isabela was my tour guide. She showed us the Colosseum, the sight of Julius Caesar’s stabbing, and overall how to navigate the city. After the tour I went to lunch in Tiber Cafe and then to a wellness workshop. Anna, Meg, and I went grocery shopping at Conad. I bought pasta, sauce, garlic, Nutella, chocolate, and milk.

We had meeting with our RA’s this evening. Afterwards, I went with Ursella to a pizza place called Pizza Trilussa. I bought two slices of Margherita  and two slices of zucchini pizza. Then we stopped at a mini mart. I bought a bottle of red wine for five euro.

We went back to our apartment. I called Lia on WhatsApp and we talked for an hour while I ate. For dessert I had a few pieces of chocolate dipped in Nutella.

A large group of girls went out to eat tonight. I was invited but I just couldn’t bring myself to go.

Journal Entry: Five

Journal

January 17th, 2019

My other roommate is from Canada. She gave me a sleeping pill last night that brought upon good news and bad news. The good news is that I slept like a baby last night. The bad news is that the pill made my stomach self-destruct. I almost missed my immigration appointment at the post office which cannot be rescheduled.

It rained today so I bought an umbrella from a leather store for 8 euro. As I was crossing the Tiber today, some guy pestered me into giving him money for some foundation. If he would have cut the crap and stopped trying to charm me with his olive skin and light green eyes then I would have gladly donated. I gave him 5 euro. He was disappointed and said 20 would be better.

I applied for an internship today with a company called Italy Excel. If I don’t get this internship then I’m going to do the Flannery O’ Connor volunteer writing program.

I desperately need to buy a french press.

Journal Entry: Four

Journal

January 16th, 2019

I slept for 2 hours last night. I am absolutely exhausted. I tried to stay up all day so maybe I could sleep well tonight. This morning Meghan and I walked to a restaurant called Pimm’s for a free breakfast sponsored by the university. I had a croissant and a cappuccino.

After breakfast, we went to an orientation presentation that lasted 2 hours. I barely stayed awake.

Anna is sleeping in Meg’s bed right now. We are going to lunch in the dining hall soon.