Posts about: Life in Rome

Life

Photo Friday: After the rain

It’s been a rainy, grey week in Rome. Not exceptionally cold, but sufficiently damp and unpleasant to keep me mostly cooped up indoors, with an umbrella close at hand every time I step outside. A day or two of rain can qualify as cozy and justify some time spent lounging around with blankets and mugs of tea; any more than that starts to feel excessive. A string of rainy days has its upside though: When the rain lets up and the sky clears,...

Food  |  Life

Sugar and light

A few weeks ago the Christmas lights went up around the neighbourhood. This was a complicated, dangerous-looking process that involved workmen in fluorescent coveralls zig-zagging across the streets, strings of lights draped over their shoulders and trailing along behind them and ladders haphazardly propped up against buildings. One guy, cigarette clamped firmly between his teeth while teetering precariously at the top of a ladder, attempted to hook the lights onto various protrusions (lamp post; a wooden shutter;...

Life

It was not destined to be a very good morning

If you were to ask me if I tended to be more of a morning person or a night owl, I would tell you that I am undeniably a morning person. Late nights out are, in general, not my thing, even though I live in a city where dinner goes late, after-dinner drinks go even later, and the streets in many areas feel more lively after midnight than they do at ten in the morning. I'm convinced that the morning is actually the best part of the day and – aside from simply evading the barrage of guilty feelings that...

Life

Inferno

When I arrived in Rome – almost a year ago, back in September – everyone told me the exact same thing: That I had arrived after the worst of the summer heat had subsided, and that I should be thankful for this fact. I found this simultaneously relieving and alarming; it was nice to know that I wouldn't be trying to get settled into my new life in the midst of a heatwave, but – given that September itself was still fairly hot – it was also disconcerting to consider...

Life

The Roman beach experience: Culture shock all over again

I'll let you in on a secret: I don't really like going to the beach. Or at least I didn't, until very recently. It doesn't make sense, of course – I really should have loved the beach. I grew up on an island; I lived within walking distance of not just one, but an entire selection of beaches, and family vacations at the beach were a regular occurrence all throughout childhood. The typical Victoria beach experience, though, involves swaths of pebbles streaked with dried seaweed and clumps of kelp in varying stages of decomposition, heaps of tangled driftwood occupying most of...

Life

Finestre aperte

This morning, like every other morning, I woke up to the sound of my phone's alarm trilling out its familiar tune. Except when I rolled over and groped groggily at my bedside table in an effort to silence it, I realized that my alarm was already silent – that, in fact, it wasn't actually set to go off for another hour, and the alarm that had jolted me out of my sleep actually belonged to a neighbour. The alarm continued to ring constantly for an indeterminable but seemingly infinite amount of time, guaranteeing that I, along with every other person whose bedroom...

Life

The cure

At the beginning of last week, hot on the heels of my weekend excursion to Germany, I finally got hit with the flu that seems to have been making its cruel rounds through Rome for the past several weeks. I blame this entirely on my seat mate during the Munich to Rome flight – it's common knowledge that flights are a breeding ground for germs, and this woman spent an entire hour and a half sneezing, snorting and sniffling in my general direction before complaining, via phone as soon as we disembarked, that she was burning up with a fever...

Life

Cashing in

A few mornings ago, while pulling out my wallet to pay for a cappuccino, I came to the dismaying realization that I had absolutely no money left. Of course, that's not entirely true. In reality, there was a little wad of several fifty-Euro bills tucked between my Visa card and my bank card, the Visa having laid nearly dormant since my arrival in Rome and the bank card useless except as a means to withdraw still more fifty-Euro bills from the ATM. The problem was that any attempt to use one of those bills to buy something costing less than, say,...

Life

Scenes from Roman life

Sometimes I feel like the tallest person in this city. Last night I rode a crowded bus out to Testaccio; on the way there, a man's well-coiffed head was wedged squarely into my armpit as I clung to the overhead bar. On the way back, I towered over a tiny nun whose head barely reached my waist. I tell people that I don't wear high-heeled shoes because I'm afraid of getting stuck in the cobblestones and killing myself, but that's only half the truth – I don't wear high-heeled shoes because I'd tower over ninety percent of the population here. Next...

Life

Mechanical difficulties

This morning, as I was zooming across Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II on my bike – en route to the market to stock up on groceries for the next few meals – the chain suddenly popped off the rear wheel, leaving my legs flailing helplessly in little circles as the bike quickly lost all momentum. This kind of thing, I suppose, is like a version of car trouble for the non-car-owner: There's nothing left to do but brake hard, pull over, and assess the problem. Only in this case, pulling over meant hauling a bike over to the railing of an ornate...

Life

Scenes from Roman Life

While waiting to cross the street, I watch a pack of scooters surge by. Most of their riders are dressed for work and carrying briefcases on the little platform at their feet; one of the scooters, though, stands out. It's piloted by a man with a dog on his lap, two kids squished onto the seat behind him, and a gigantic potted houseplant sitting between his feet. The plant's leaves poke up into the air above his head and tangle around the scooter's side mirrors, fluttering madly in the breeze like leafy green streamers. The scooter hits a bump in...

Food

Zuppa di zucca and the hunt for a common kitchen appliance

Last week, I decided to make pumpkin soup. Actually, I didn't so much decide to make pumpkin soup as I realized that I had actually been craving pumpkin soup, which was strange considering that I didn't really even think I liked pumpkin all that much, and suddenly, as I was planning out my menu for the next few days, it was all I could think about. At the market, I bought a sizeable chunk of pumpkin (you can buy it in custom-cut portions here – the girl at the market  stood over a massive, blob-like pumpkin with a long knife in her hand, sliding it...

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