Arriving in Rome

It is currently 6:48 am here in Rome, so that is the perfect time for my first blog post, right?

I left Seattle on Thursday evening and arrived in Rome Friday evening. IT was a long, grueling flight but I made it despite a few bumps along the road. I was fortunate to have 4 other girls from my program on the same flights as me, which made things a lot easier and more fun!

Starting with the 10 hour plane ride to Germany, I think it actually went better than I assumed. But I could also be blocking things out… Cramped seats, lots of people, and a failed attempt at sleeping pretty much sums that plane ride up. And I watched the same episode of Friends 3 times and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” twice. Let’s just say I can probably quote “The One with Monica’s Thunder” verbatim now.

After that plane ride was over, it was a pretty easy time through customs and then about an hour wait for our plane to Rome. I also made my first European purchase: some Kinder chocolate and a Frankfurt post card. The plane ride to Rome was so much easier than the one to Germany, but when we got to Rome we weren’t exactly greeted with open arms.

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Literally a few minutes upon exiting the plane in Rome, all of the lights shut off and an alarm goes off! Panicking, we make a dash for the baggage claim, where we end up waiting for about half an hour unsure of why the alarms are going off periodically and not all the lights are on. Oh, and it’s about 85 degrees in the airport, since according to my professor, “Italians don’t believe in air conditioning”. Nevertheless the lights did come back on and our bags came, and then came the struggle of trying to find a phone and a cab to get us to the UW Rome Center and our apartments.

The second bump along the road, started out as what we thought would make it easier to get to the Rome Center. Apparently there are a few other programs from UW here, and we happened to come across another UW instructor who let us borrow her phone to call our professor so we could get our keys for our apartments. However, after failing at using a European cell phone, the professor disappeared! So we were stuck at the airport, with this woman’s phone, unsure of where she went or how to get her phone back to her. After searching for 20 minutes, we give in and call our professor and caught a cab to the Rome Center.

Fortunately, the cab ride was easy and we saw our professor and TAs as soon as we were walking into Campo de Fiori who figure out the cell phone situation and lead us to our apartments.

Technically last night for me, but Friday night, I spent with the 4 girls from my plane ride and one of our roommates exploring Campo de Fiori, dodging older Italian men trying to flirt with us to get us to eat at their restaurant, and enjoying a delicious meal and my first glass of wine at an adorable ristorante. And of course we gelato! We also stumbled upon some beautiful fountains and other sculptures. I’m starting to realize that in Rome, you can’t turn a corner without seeing something beautiful.

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Advice: make friends with some of your classmates. They will be so helpful while trying to navigate the airports and Europe and the Italian language. Plus, it’s a guaranteed way to have fun starting from the moment you arrive.