An Open Letter to Rome
It has been four months since I was lucky enough to stroll along your cobbled streets. Three years living amongst your ruins and buildings (that are thousands of years older than my entire home country) was nowhere near enough. You certainly chewed me up and spit me right back out, leaving me feeling all sorts of emotions.
I can't say I am mad at you, it's more of an ache, or a longing that I feel each morning when I wake up and realize I am in Wisconsin and not Balduina, or Prati. You actually turned me into a bit of a snob. I find it more difficult to see beauty on every corner now, because I know the corners in Rome will always be prettier. Starbucks will never compare to Tazza d'Oro, and god forbid a restaurant doesn't have a bottle of Montepulciano D'Abruzzo on the wine list. You certainly have not made it easy to move on. Your temperate weather made me dress like an eskimo upon returning to the winter tundra of the midwest. My old, Wisconsinite self laughed when I dressed like an eskimo when it was 40 degrees in December while others were wearing light jackets.
You made me care about my appearance. You showed me real coffee. You made me think a 40 minute walk wasn't too far. You showed me how good food can be. You told me it is always spritz o'clock, and laughed when my friends and I would order a glass of wine instead of the whole bottle. You taught me to never say no to gelato, or amaro. You gave me the confidence to drive a SmartCar amidst your winding roads and insane traffic. You encouraged (forced) me to learn la lingua. You taught me never to have more than two negroni. You frustrated me beyond belief with your constant transit strikes, rude tourists, double parking, and buses that never showed up when you needed them. You entrusted the lives of over 1,000 students in my hands. You were the jumping point for countless adventures - solo, and with friends and family. You gave me friendships I will carry with me forever. You made me fall in love with a people, a culture, a city, and a way of life different than what I had previously known. You were my home.
Rome is more than the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, and Papa Francesco. "Rome is an ideal. Rome is the most awesome personification of freedom and of law that mankind has ever realized."
Ci vediamo presto,