Romesickness

In my time here in Rome, I met someone who said that the best part of traveling is coming home. At the time we had been discussing what had brought us to Rome and how reluctant we were to leave, etc. He was a little more home sick than me, mentioning his longing for one of his mom’s traditional meals. I have discovered that during my travels, I have gotten “Romesick.” The best part of traveling is coming home, to Rome. This past weekend, I took an impromptu trip to Paris. Amazing right? Yes. And, a little bit no. The city itself was a whirlwind. On the plane there, my head swirled with images of Paris–movies like Mary Kate and Ashley’s Passport to Paris, one of my parent’s favorites An American in Paris, the traditional snapshot of the Eiffel Tower, a friends description of her study abroad experience. I was thrilled to leave one historic city for another. Getting up at four to catch the plane couldn’t even dampen my mood. We were off and as soon as we arrived in the heart of Paris, I was stunned. Talk about culture shock: everything was huge. Aristocratic buildings stood staunchly in front of me, the cars were massive compared to the smartest of the smart cars in Rome, the people were even taller. It took me a moment to grasp the concept of the extensive metro system, but after my intial “Whoa, this place is large!” subsided, I settled in for my four days in a new country. The Louvre was a city in and of itself, occupied by artists of the past. I could have stood in front of Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa for three hours with my lunch if security would have let me. I elbowed my way to take a cheesy photo in front of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, dwarfed by the massive paintings adjacent to it. I marveled at the marble antiquities. I meandered through the halls thinking about how much history one building could possibly hold. The art of Paris captivated me. And boy, did we sure see a lot. Even a relatively small (and when I say this, I am referring to a three -story sprawling mansion) chateau housed a Monet collection that rivals the Van Gogh exhibit in one of Rome’s largest monuments. The Rodin museum provided the most intimate setting. It was crammed with people and statues. It was almost as if Rodin himself had invited us in from the rain to see what he was working on. I felt as if he had plopped down his work in the living room the way an elementary school kid does when he has finished an art project and desperately wants his mom to appreciate it. I felt as though Rodin was The Thinker himself contemplating all of the work around him. Like I said, the art of Paris captivated me. The architecture, though gargantuan compared to the rustic feel in Rome, even enticed me and complemented the Eiffel Tower. It was as if the original owners of the buildings had planned to have their own art display in front of them. The Eiffel Tower is one of Paris’ greatest works of art. It stands proudly, dwarfing everything, the way I was dwarfed and astounded by the Raft of the Medusa. The metal intricately works and weaves it way up and up until it reaches the apex. If I were an aristocrat in Paris, I would build a chateau to properly view this masterpiece as well. However, staring up at the Eiffel Tower, I felt a pang. My Romesickness had hit. I adored Paris, but realized how Roman I had become. I have transformed into someone who may or may not talk too much, darts out in front of cars, brushes into people nonchalantly, takes offenses with a grain of salt, and someone who completely loves Rome.  I missed the Colosseum nestled into the hustle and bustle of the city. I missed the irregularity of the cobblestone. I missed the man I buy pears from in the morning. I missed the loud women walking down the road in their oversized furs. I missed walking around with my pizza wrapped in parchment paper (it is taboo to eat on the streets in France). I missed being able to speak Italian. I missed my home. I have discovered first hand that the best part of traveling is returning home. I have also discovered that currently, home is a transient term. Right now, my home is Rome; and I am completely absorbed and enthralled with every minuscule detail of my city.

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