While there are many moments that I will treasure forever from my time studying abroad in Italy, there is one day that I can’t help but talk about every single time. My group and I were about a week into our study abroad program and we had decided to take a weekend trip to Rome. Of course, every single one of us couldn’t help but revert to tourist mode. How could you not? There is just so much to see and do; the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, the Vatican. However; my mother and grandparents were coming to visit me at the end of my program and Rome was one of our stops. That meant that I would be visiting every single one of these sites in just a few weeks. So, instead of spending money on tickets for the Vatican or the Colosseum like the rest of my group, I decided to spend the day by myself.
I truly wasn’t sure how I felt about wandering around Rome by myself. I didn’t know if I would enjoy being alone. However; I woke up, got dressed, and headed out. I had no idea what direction I was going in but that didn’t really matter to me. I came across a café and decided to get breakfast. It was in between sips of espresso and bites of pastry that I realized I might enjoy spending the day alone. There’s something comforting about having the ability to do whatever you want without having to worry about someone else. So I left the café and just started wandering. I passed by a second café and grabbed another pastry. I came across an antique shop and met an older woman who helped me practice my Italian and let me pet the dog laying out on the counter. And eventually, I stumbled upon the Colosseum. Completely accidental, I decided to sit on a ledge and enjoy the rest of my pastry while watching the world go by.
I spent most of my day like that. Just walking around Rome and stopping wherever I felt like. An Irish Pub, a clothing store, a pizza place, the Trevi Fountain, a gelato shop, and so on. It was throughout this day that I realized I was living in a foreign country and was experiencing a kind of independence I had never known before. I was learning what it was like to be on my own and be left to my own devices. And turns out, I really enjoyed it. There’s something liberating about doing something new on your own. As much as I enjoy other people’s company, I learned to enjoy my own just as much.