Zac, Rome, Fall 2012
October 29, 2012

My first full month has had its ups and its downs; since the Umbria excursion, I was able to meet several new friends who have enlightened in many ways my experiences here in Rome. These are people with whom I hope to remain long-time friends. My trip to Umbria was greater than anything that I’ve done in Italy thus far, even than visiting the religious sites in the city. My favorite part of the trip was the mountain hike that I participated in. We went to a mountain farm for lunch and then received a tour of the premises. After these, we hiked up one of the hills; I loved it. I loved the entire experience, really. Getting away from the city was the best thing I could have done for myself after three weeks of the hectic and paradoxically relaxing Roman lifestyle into which I’ve been immersed. I’m from a small town back home, so it felt so great to be put back into rural setting.

Much of my time throughout the past few weeks since my last submission has been thinking about what I will be doing next year, that is, after graduation. I’m graduation in May 2013, with a degree in Religious Studies. Everyone always asks me what I’m going to do with it. To be honest, I have clue where it will take me in terms of a career, but I do know that I’m going to go to graduate school – where that will be is a different story. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Since my focused area of study is Church History or Historical Theology I’ve been seriously considering coming back to Rome next Fall for graduate studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University, presuming they offer me a place in their program. As an idea, it looks great and it looks like the opportunity of a lifetime – to spend my graduate studies in Rome, study Church History in a place where it (specifically Medieval) took place. However, I still don’t know if I would be able to leave my home to come and live, work, and study here for at least three years, and more if I choose to and am accepted to do doctoral studies at the same place. I keep asking myself, “do I like this city enough?,” “would I be able to leave my family and friends back home for that long period of time?,” and “is that really what I want to do with my life after undergrad?” The questions, as always, remain open. I don’t think there’s really any one clear answer to any of these, but I do know that there’s only one way that I’m going to be able to find out, and that is if I just jump right in a do it. So, hopefully I’ll be back here in Fall 2013 – looks like I’ll just have to make a special trip to the Trevi Fountain to see if what they say, that if you throw in a coin just right then you’re going to be back in Rome some day, is actually true.

I think it’s time for a paragraph that is a bit more ridiculous that the previous two, though. So, that beings said, I really don’t like the coffee culture here. Don’t misunderstand me and think that I don’t like the coffee – personally, I don’t understand how someone couldn’t like Italy’s coffee! But, I much prefer the American coffee experience. I don’t enjoy just throwing an espresso back and moving on, to me, that is a waste of perfectly good coffee. The ideal experience for me would probably be Italian caffe (or cappuccino) fused with the American coffee culture – that is, sitting down for a couple hours (probably with two or three coffees total) and just enjoying the coffee with friends or reading a book. So, just one example of the hard adjustments I’ve had to make – this might be a bit more petty than the others, though.

Zac – St. Norbert College

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