This trip has been an eye opening experience for me in many ways. I had never done any traveling internationally, any art or ever had a group of women as roommates so I didn’t have any clue what was going to happen. I feel like I have grown from this trip. As I write this blog entry on a train at 7am heading to Venice with some of my friends, I am shocked at how normal it feels to just hop on a train and go somewhere awesome, whereas two months ago I would never have had the nerve. I feel like I have grown up more and can handle more things by myself. This trip has also reinforced my instinct to protect and care for the younger girls around me in any way I can. Most of the time they don’t need it because they are strong and capable but they know I enjoy it so they indulge me.
Romans, while not living in the cleanest city I’ve ever seen, seem to live cleaner lives. They eat better food without all the preservatives and chemicals, they buy from markets so their produce is always fresh and healthy and they eat well. They eat slowly and don’t stuff themselves, which is a trait I have embraced. The food here is exquisite! It’s simple, fresh and I can eat gluten here without the intense body pain which is not something I can get away with at home. The Roman people also walk everywhere so they get more exercise which is something that I will be attempting to get into (within reason) back home also. I shockingly ate like a queen and still lost weight here.
Rome is a beautiful place and it seems to be at its most beautiful in the early morning, before the traffic and the hordes of tourists. This is Rome at its most peaceful. When the history of the place really hits home and a century seems like a blip on the radar of history. Even during the day, with the mass of people invading them, Rome’s historic sites shine like lanterns encouraging us to remember who we are and where we’ve come from. Perhaps it is to help show us where we are going.
The Coliseum with its grand arches and its maze of corridors reminds us of when fighting to the death, be it animal or human, was considered glorious and was celebrated up to the highest levels of society. The Roman Forum sits quietly as a reminder of day’s past when Rome was a grand experiment of a republic and what happens when corruption infects our governmental institutions. The majesty of the Pantheon reminding us that regardless of what we specifically believe in, spirituality can never be fully quashed because people always need something to believe in. The multitude of art everywhere reminding us to find beauty in everyday things so we can really see the truth within the extraordinary ones. The crypts and tombs reminding us of our own mortality and to not forget to live. These are the lessons I will take home from Rome.
As we roll through the countryside of Italy it feels like home. The rolling fields of crops don’t look much different than those in Snohomish or Skagit counties and the work is the same it’s just the architecture that’s different. It really draws me into the truth that we are all the same people, with the same struggles and the same joys as everyone else. Here in Italy just as at home, there is poverty and plenty, rain storms and sunshine, life and death. We are all one humanity and it is reflected in our art, our history and our daily lives. I think that is the other lesson I will take home with me from this trip. That, for me, the world is just a little bit smaller than it used to be.