Landing in Rome I feel excited to be back.
When I left Rome it was the end of August, and most people were on vacation, I kept hearing that it was empty and to wait for when Summer is over and school starts. And after arriving in the morning and showering and eating and napping I feel ready.
Except for I’m not.
It is significantly busier. Everything seems more crowded. I had told myself that on this stay in Rome I would go to the Colosseum. I can not bring myself to go.
At one point I find a little place to eat, and everyone sitting inside is an American. I overhear a table of people complain about the Sistine chapel, and how you only get to see it for 20 minutes if you’re on a tour. There are Americans everywhere. I hear so much English, I don’t know why I’m bothered by this but I am.
I go for lunch in Monteverde and I’m given a recommendation for a restaurant by a friend. I go to L’Osteria di Monteverde and it is definitely a local spot, but it is delicious. I order for a starter sardines and figs on crostini with pecorino. The chef is in the dining room as I take my first bite, and smiles. In any other scenario I would be creeped out by this.
I then have a classic carbonara, which is always good. And then they have little pots of tiramisu, which was delightful. It is a perfect welcome back meal to Italy.
The day I arrive I decide to spend the afternoon at Palazzo Altemps. It is amazing. Its this quiet space that is great, with a handful of tourists, I don’t know why more people aren’t there but I’m not complaining about it either.
I find windows of contentment and ease, but the majority of my time in Rome it feels like it’s all just whirling around me. I consistently get on buses headed in the wrong direction, I can not get my bearings down. In contrast, I am asked questions about the bus all the time, in Italian and successfully answer back, and give them correct directions. At one time three people ask me in Italian for directions within a two minute span. Is this a new calling transportation street director?
I find a wine bar/book store that is quiet and plays cool music. I order wine , and sit for a while. I break down and cry in the bathroom. For no particular reason, it comes out. I feel overwhelmed by the city. I feel lonely, coming from this warm place, where there are people to talk to. And I am overwhelmed by the traveling and choices, and all the people and what to do next. I get myself together, and leave, but I sleep horribly.
I went on a couple of dates with a “Roman” prior to leaving for Mozambique. Before I headed off to Padua, to see Wilco ‘The Roman’ makes me lunch on Friday . He cooks a feast. Cheese, which I craved while being gone. And horse, raw, like tartar. I feel like he makes this as a test, to see if I would eat it. I like it, it tastes like beef. And he makes a really good risotto.
On the way to the train station, I cry in ‘the Roman’s’ car mostly because I’m overwhelmed, and then I feel embarrassed for crying in front of a boy. I miss my train going to Padova, and for about 20 minutes seriously consider buying a ticket to Los Angeles. I realize that I’m being ridiculous and get on the train.