When in Rome…

In case you don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, I have been in Rome by myself for the past week. A lot of things happened while I was there and I did a lot of thinking as well. So here comes…

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(like the banners by the way? I think it adds some spunk)

The Good:

  1. Art: In case you are new to my blog, one of my majors is art history and its truly what I want to do with my life. To be able to visit a place like Rome…it was like walking through the beginning of my art history text book. I saw structures and sculptures and paintings I thought I would never get to see because they seemed so far away and fantastical upon studying them. But I really did get to see Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew and I really did get to sit in the Sistine Chapel staring up at the ceiling for 45 minutes. It was a dream come true when I think about the fact that I got to see so many works of art and history from my dreams. Walking through the Roman Forum made me feel like I was transported to Roman times. It was astounding.

  2. Sweets: Ok this may sound really childish (but you know what, if you thinks sweets are childish you seriously need to rethink your life) but I ate so many pastries and gelato and yummies. The gelato is good no matter where you get it and everyone makes pastries different and its so fun to try different ones in different parts. Seriously, there are about 4 pastry shops on every street. But you know whats even better that they have? These INCREDIBLE hybrid gelato/pastry/coffee shop/bar/restaurant style things on literally every street and they are the greatest things (and relatively cheap for Rome). If we put these on every street in America, our unemployment problem would be solved. You’re welcome Obama.

  3. CATS: Ok so you know how I’m always telling ya’ll to have a day full of kittens? I ACTUALLY HAD A DAY FILLED WITH CATS! Let me tell you, all of you wonderful followers (you guys need to come up with a cutsie name for yeselves) need to have a day where all you do is literally cuddle cats or dogs or whatever suits your cuddle fancy. Go to a shelter and just ask if you can cuddle their dogs for a bit or cats or lizards whatever. It will warm your heart and instantly make you happy. But let me say, the 2 hours I spent at the Roman cat sanctuary is on par with my day spent in the Sistine Chapel. Thats how amazing it was. I literally had a cat stands on its hind legs and HUG. ME. I had a cat who curled in my lap and fell asleep. It was an amazing experience and I wish it upon you all.

The Bad:

  1. Price: Rome is ridiculous. I paid 11 euros for a really mediocre plate of not a lot of pasta for 3 days before I learned my lesson. So you pay a lot for not great food, but then you’re thinkin’, “I’m in Italy, I should get a glass of their house wine. Thats cheap in other parts of Italy.” but you’re wrong because Rome thats why. A glass of house wine costs about 9 euros. I can get a pint of beer in LONDON for less. So no wine. Fine. Whatever. Just give me some tap water. BUT NO. Can’t use tap water for some reason even though literally there is tap water pouring out of public fountains for you to fill up your water bottle with literally EVERYWHERE IN THE CITY so they charge you for a bottle of water and before you know it you’ve spent 20 euros on a plate of not great pasta, bread you didn’t ask for and WATER. So heres a pro tip: Bring a water bottle with you to every restaurant, you really don’t need that wine, and if they bring you bread, decline it.

  2. Men: Now here is where men will say, “Not all Italian men god Zoey you raging fucking man hating feminist.” but let me tell you, it really felt like all men. I have never felt so uncomfortable walking around a city by myself before. Yes I’ve been cat called. I’m from Miami, I had men cat calling me from out their car windows when I was trying to cross the street on my bike sweaty as hell and gross. I thought that was bad. Nope. In Rome, I had men outwardly look me up and down. Even when I was wearing baggy clothes, I had men whistle at me, attempt to coax me to come to them, call me beautiful in one moment and then a whore the next when I didn’t react to their “compliment”, follow me, and even walk with me attempting me to get a drink with them. This happened to me every day. It was pouring rain and I was covered in my rain gear and men were still saying “Hey beautiful come here”. It was terrifying to be a woman in Rome and I hated it.

  3. Selfie sticks: I’m not talking about actual selfie sticks. I am talking about the people who attempted to sell me selfie sticks, umbrellas, scarves, tickets, everything. It was so horribly obnoxious that I couldn’t walk down the street without some guy shoving a selfie stick in my face or blocking my path to look at a fucking umbrella. I get it, they’re trying to make a living but it is just ridiculous.

    4. Being alone: I thought I could travel alone, but I was wrong and I found out in a lot of bad ways. See, being alone and not talking to people gives you way too much time to get inside your own head. I got in unnecessary spats with my boyfriend over things that shouldn’t have been spatted over because my mind over thought everything. It can’t just leave something alone without dissecting it and it ended up making a lot of things worse. Then came the loneliness. I had to ask for a table for one everywhere I went with nothing to keep me company except for Anna Karenina or solitaire on my phone. Waiters looked at me weird, customers looked at me with pitying eyes. The people in my hostel had people to giggle with and talk to at the end of the day; I had the Legend of Zelda’s Phantom Hourglass (great game by the way). My depression ended up trying to creep back the longer I was alone. And then the panic attacks. I got my first one while I was seeing La Traviata and luckily I was close enough to home that I didn’t think it was a big deal and I felt very proud of myself for handling it so well. And then I went to the Trevi Fountain, about a mile and a half away from my hostel. I got a ridiculously severe panic attack where I couldn’t just go to a quiet place. I was in a place full of people. So I found a little corner of the plaza and shook and cried for 30 minutes. I can’t handle that happening to me again so I will not be traveling alone from this moment on.

The What?!

  1. I met someone from Miami IN ROME! The last night I was in Rome, some Americans (finally) came into the hostel room so I asked where they were from. Turns out one of the girls went to a high school that rivaled mine! It was pretty sweet to share some familiar memories, even if only for a few minutes.
  2. I had a waiter sing “You are not alone” while showing me to my table for one.
  3. I had a guy think I was Italian because I “look Mediterranean.” (Keep in mind, I think the only thing Mediterranean looking about me is my huge Greek eyebrows, but I’m pale as fuck otherwise).
  4. One waiter only referred to me as “miss book lover” as he served me.
  5. The owner of the cat sanctuary’s favorite cat was a cat named Piopo who only had 3 legs, half a tail, one eye and he couldn’t use a litter box. He was her favorite because “he snores”.

Well I think that about wraps it up.

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Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.