I didn’t think it was possible for a weekend to fly by so quickly, especially when my weekends in Spain are one day longer than in the USA (I don’t have Friday classes). But it happened. On Friday morning all 50 of us API students boarded a bus and drove to Malaga (South West of Granada where the international airport is) and crowded the airport lines.
We boarded the plane from the outside, something I’ve never done before. That is to say, we were outside and climbed stairs to enter the plane. I thought that was really cool because it was beautiful out and I felt like a movie star. Once I took my seat, something scary happened. Why didn’t I understand the flight attendant when she spoke to me? Why did the announcement from the pilot make zero sense? It sounded like Spanish to me, so why was I drawing a blank? Well, it sounded like Spanish–but it wasn’t. Since we were going to Italy, the plane was filled with Italians! I should have expected this, probably, but I was so excited that I was going to ROME that I hardly thought about anything except for how beautiful of a place I was going to.
When we arrived, we were all hungry, and wanted to get some dinner (it was past 9 at that point and we really didn’t have lunch) so we explored until we found an inexpensive place that would accommodate our large group (there were 10 of us-whoops). I had a really delicious pesto pasta that night! After dinner, we wandered until we found exactly what all of us wanted to see, but none of us really said it- the Trevi Fountain. All of us wanted our Lizzy McGuire moment and our chance to throw a coin into the crystal clear water while making a wish. Though I didn’t wish or toss a coin, I sat staring at the beautiful monument for quite awhile. Its really a beautiful fountain and in my opinion, it’s impossible to get bored of.
It’s hard to believe it was even real life. I had delicious gelato (hazelnut and pistachio) and pizza and pasta (because, when in Rome…right?) and genuinely enjoyed every moment (except the last hours of the day when my feet grew about 3 sizes from being so swollen–we spent more than 15 hours walking around each day!).
Although I really enjoyed my time in Rome, I don’t think I will be going back soon. There were a few things that left me a little upset or disappointed. For example, obviously when one goes to Rome, they (should) realize that they’re going to a giant city. I realized this, but I don’t think it hit me until I got there. The whole city smelled like smoke and car exhaust and, although it was sunny and gorgeous outside (almost 20 degrees C [for you grandpa, a reminder of your Celsius days… I’m making everyone else do the math!]), the city had a smoggy haze to it. It also irked me that when I went out to lunch or dinner (my only option while there was going out to restaurants) the servers gave you bottled water and bread- both of which they charged you for even though you didn’t ask for it or even touch it. I don’t have an extra 5 euro hanging around, people.
I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t have a good time. I really did! It’s just that nothing compares to how I feel about Granada. Being in Rome made me appreciate my city so much more and I am already dreading leaving it in May.
Over this weekend I really and truly learned how to enjoy travel (and enjoy life, too). Things in life are going to be expensive, different than you imagined, better or worse than you hoped for, easy, difficult, happy, sad, ANYTHING. The important thing to keep in mind is to aprovechar (I think that word is much stronger in Spanish, so I’ll use it instead of take advantage of) everything that comes your way. Enjoy the things you commit to and be present in every moment. Even a simple flower on the side of the street can be the highlight of your day if you let it. If you live each day with the cliche (SUPER CLICHE UGH) philosophy “when in Rome…” you may have the opportunity to experience far more than you ever imagined, or at least appreciate more than you normally would.
On another note, I appreciate Spanish far more after hearing Italian all weekend. Spanish was music to my ears when I came home (..home…where is home?)…that is, Granada, I didn’t shut up the entire night because Spanish is much easier and more enjoyable than fighting my way through Italian (and i mean fighting…That was not a pretty sight, folks).