In Roma

I've been in Italy for about a day now.  I landed in Fiumicino yesterday.  

The plane ride went much quicker than I had anticipated.  I had anticipated it being mind-numbing, soul-crushing, infinity-spinning oblivion, a dragging tedium of having to amuse myself for hours and hours.

In the end, I got on the plane and read More Than This by Patrick Ness on my kindle for a bit.  Got about eight chapters in.  Watched Guardians of the Galaxy on my in-flight TV screen.  And then I was landing in Dublin.

From there, I boarded Aer Lingus to Fiumicino airport, and tried to get some sleep on the plane, failing miserably.

But damn, was it pretty.

Getting to the student apartments was kind of like walking into a romance novel.  No, I’m completely serious.  Our professor, Catherine, walked us from the taxi and into the wide, open doors of an ochre-brick building.  There were sunflowers in little planters along the walkway and by the mailboxes, a stone spiral staircase leading up from the ground floor, and, blessedly, a tiny little elevator for us to squeeze our luggage into.

Stepping out from the elevator, we stepped out onto a small, circling terrace, open to the sky.  You could look down from the side railing at the other terraces below, and up onto the ones above, tendrils of potted plants spilling over the iron-wrought railings.

The window to my kitchen is barred, but easily flung open, even from the outside.  All the windows out onto the streets are tall, and open up like doors.

I legitimately feel that I am on a movie set.

And I would oh so dearly consider filming here.  It would be a crime, almost, not to.  It’s just so damn beautiful.

I went out with some of the others and got pizza from a nearby pizzeria, walked down to where the farmer’s market will be tomorrow morning, and explored the farmacias and gelaterias in the area surrounding, looking for some bare necessities and a delicious sugar rush.

We found sugar at least.

I made myself a cup of tea with the gas stove, and my roommate nearly burnt her eyebrows off trying to light it for me.

I filmed and vlogged for most of the day, so at some point there will be a video out on my channel showing the place off.

I just got in for the day not too long ago.  It is now 7PM Roman time, and I’m about to make dinner.

I woke up late today, at noon exactly, too late to go to the farmer’s mercado down the street.  But my old friends showed my roommate Jen and I to thesupermercati that actually wasn’t much farther.  It was hidden behind a clothing store called Oviesse, which is kind of like the Italian equivalent of Target, or so I’ve been told.  They had nearly everything I needed there - bread, pasta, laundry and dish soap - expect for the one thing which was dearly required.

A BBQ lighter

It seems strange, but the gas stoves here require a lighter or match to light, and even with the new cigarette lighter I bought at the mercado, just lighting the stove is a dangerous quest, the parameters of which include the chance of burning your fingertips.

I’m going to brave it anyway, and attempt to cook my first Italian meal.  Chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and pasta - and maybe a couple of potatoes.

Pollo con pomodori e pasta y patata.  That was missing some much needed accents, but I’m trying to get the Italian language in my mindset.  I’ve tried speaking Italian with a couple different vendors since arriving, and have gotten a mixture of reactions.  Mostly, they just speak English back to me.  The woman behind the deli counter at the mercado gave me a helpful lesson into pronouncing “five” correctly, because I had asked for “cinco” chicken pieces, instead of “cinque”.  Overall, everyone has been patient with my butchered attempts.  I feel so so so so bad though.

I am that ignorant American.

Shai Cotten