As I quickly walk to my second day of classes at John Cabot I walked past one of many souvenir shops and I saw a shirt that said “Rome Was Not Built in a Day”. I couldn’t help but reflect on that phrase as I made my way to campus. As I reflected I was taken back to a week earlier when I had just arrived in Rome.
After a 7 hour flight from Wisconsin to London and a very rough 2 hour flight from London to Rome we had finally arrived. We were greeted in the airport by Jessica from SAI and she directed us on our way. It was a great feeling to talk to someone who was there to help and assist us after a full 24 hours of traveling. After getting keys to the apartment I was off to what I would call home for the next 4 months. The first night in Rome was filled with pasta and getting to know my wonderful new roommates. We were all starting to dread orientation, but orientation in Rome was different than any orientation I have experienced elsewhere. We went on excursions, ate great food, learned new things, took a survival Italian class, figured out how to use public transportation and met new people. It was overwhelming and exciting all at the same time.
Now, as Rome begins to feel comfortable I am continually challenged by the change of pace. I am used to rushing from place to place and always being on the go. In Rome, however, coffee is not to-go and neither is life. Rome has a “SLOW DOWN and start enjoying life” vibe. So I’m learning to take a second, to walk a little slower, to look around, notice new things and “take time to smell the roses” (no, literally, there is a flower garden on my walk to campus). What has happened by noticing the world around me? I’ve gotten lost on the way to the Trevi Fountain and ended up at the Pantheon, I’ve seen the Colloseum on my walk to class, I’ve worked through multiple language barriers to give a French couple directions and I’ve realized that even on the same walk to school there is always something new to see.
Here’s to hoping that these four months will teach me to enjoy every moment and realize that most of the best things in life cannot be taken to-go.
Jasmyn is a current student at St. Norbert College studying at John Cabot University in Italy during the Spring 2015 term.