La Dolce Vita

Rule 1 of living in Italy: there is this constant, delicate juxtaposition between copious amounts of complicated red tape and then the Italians, who do everything in their power to avoid it.

As a result of this, life here in Rome is an unpredictable journey but one that is captivating and beautiful. As I'm living here and not merely passing through I have had to take a much different approach to travelling and actually try and build roots here; with that in mind I can happily report I have a phone/ matriculated at the university/ made a couple of friends and, as of Friday, found an apartment!

I will be living just next to Santa Maria Maggiore, it's by a metro station but also walkable to pretty much anywhere. Couchsurfing at Pembos is open to business, drop me a line if you want to come out. It was great to see some friends last week and I very much look forward to another impending visit from a friend in October.

Getting a flat fell into the latter part of Rule 1. They have this huge biweekly buy/sell newspaper called Portaportese. In the back they have thousands of little two lined advertisements for people renting rooms of apartments in Rome. I had mentally named Friday as 'Flat Day' and was determined to come away with something. I cold called in Italian about 12 of the numbers, got a couple of viewings and off I went on the bus to have a look. Within 15 minutes of walking into the first one on my list I had keys in my pocket and was free to move in that afternoon. Ideal.

Sorting university out was more the former part of Rule 1. I read before I came out that if you ever had a job to do in Italy, mentally prepare yourself for that task to take about half your day. It could be something  really simple such as going to the post office but you never know what obstacles will be thrown in your way. The main barrier for me is that different organisations are open in different parts of the city on different days at different times. If you thought UK standard Mon-Fri/9-5 business hours were commonplace around the world, think again. Thankfully I was reading The Obstacle is the Way at the same time which encouraged diligent, perseverance until everything got sorted.

I knew I was only the student at my new university from Edinburgh but the helper at the Erasmus office said he had only seen about 10 UK students come to Sapienza in the last 4 years. I'm suddenly very much the minority at Europe's largest university. I'm enjoying this new international atmosphere but maybe I underestimated how different it is from Edinburgh. The uniqueness has also been noted by my fellow Erasmus students with one German friend commenting how I remind her of Harry Potter, this seemed to me like a rather broad generalisation.

Aperitivos are one of the many social/cultural benefits of life in Rome. Last week most of the students from my Italian class descended on a local bar to enjoy what I hope to be a routine added meal time. Italians eat around 9 so this drink/food activity is designed to bridge the waiting time. Basically you typically order some strong alcoholic cocktail and then you get free food either brought to the table or an unlimited buffet by the bar.

The weather helps the above and also encourages exercise, I have particularly enjoyed cycling, skating and running along the tevere. Plans for next week include applying myself to Italian lessons, completing the move from trastevere to the centre and maybe the occasional little adventure.



Top quote I read today:

"The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough" 
Ted Hughes

Also, I'm going to be tracking progress on books soon. Click back later if you're keen to follow and have any recommendations!