Saturday, 30 November 2013

Marking my second anniversary of life in Rome

The other day I was riding an escalator and became so engrossed in conversation with my friend Stefania, who was one step below me, that I forgot where I was and when the moving stairs reached the top, I pitched backwards, arms windmilling frantically before I fell flat on my back. My biggest concern was that my pant leg would get caught in the machinery and rip the fabric right off my backside - THAT would be mortifying.

So, I jumped right up and then I had to laugh at how clumsy I am.

Today as I mark the two-year anniversary of the day I moved from Canada to Rome, I really think that this has been the most important thing that I have learned, and re-learned, and re-learned again: how crucial it is to maintain a good sense of humour; and how crucial it is to be able to laugh at myself.

Life in Rome is full of complications and challenges - like life anywhere, I suppose. But living in a new culture and a new language adds a few extra layers in complexity and I devote a fair amount of effort to learning to navigate these. Happily, I have mostly done better in life than I did on that escalator.

I continue struggling to find a place to settle and perhaps it was fitting that today, on my anniversary, I marked the occasion by finding a new apartment - my 5th since arriving here! I am excited to be returning to the Monti area where my first two apartments were located and which is my favourite quartiere in Rome.

The apartment itself is extraordinarily small (above is the view if I lean way out the window) but since one of my goals in moving to Italy was to find a more simple, pared down life while enlarging my emotional and intellectual self, I suppose it fits. Plus, it has a full-sized fridge, no mean thing.

I have made some wonderful new friends in Rome, including Michele who owns a fantastic art gallery, RvB Affordable Art near Piazza Farnese. I popped in to snag her for a quick lunch at Zoc's which is charming. I had ravioli stuffed with pumpkin.

Then, time to run errands which I seem to do a lot in Rome. However, it is certainly more beautiful to do so here, when I can take shortcuts such as today's through the courtyard of the Museo di Roma in Palazzo Braschi where there was an interesting outdoor display of sculpture:

I emerged in Piazza Navona where booths are being set up for the Christmas mercato. This will be my third Christmas in Rome and unfortunately, I have seen that the market has become dominated by cheap imported trinkets that push out more authentic Italian goods and spoil the effect. Alas.

Still, no matter how tawdry some elements of life here can be, these cannot undermine the great and sometimes surprising magnificence of Rome!


Mary in Umbria said...

As usual, beautifully written, perks and difficulties perfectly juxtaposed.

Finding your new apartment today, on your two year anniversary...very special!

Susie L said...

Congratulations Sandra, what an achievement!

Your new apartment sounds lovely, and I am happy to hear that you are back in your beloved Monti.

When we are in Venice, I find we run a lot of errands as well. However, the most mundane of errands in Venice give me an absurd amount of pleasure.

Trekcapri said...

Hi Sandra, Happy Anniversary to you. It seems like only yesterday that I met you on your first full day in Rome after moving there. What a fabulous view you have from your apartment (but please be careful when leaning out your window to look at it). I'm just teasing. I've done some crazy things myself. I once fell at work, shoes flying up in the air and everything. Luckily there were only 2 co-workers with me. But they never let me forget that incident. :) I'm glad that you weren't hurt during your little fall. You have such a wonderful perspective. I do believe that we need to be able to get up when we fall and be able to laugh at ourselves and find humor when these crazy things happen.

How wonderful that you have met some wonderful friends and can enjoy all the amazing things in Rome. (btw, your ravioli lunch looks delicious) To be able to run errands through shortcuts in courtyards and enjoy such beautiful sculptures sounds so cool.

Congratulations on your 2nd Year Anniversary. Wishing you a wonderful Holidays in Rome.

Anonymous said...

Goodness - two years already? Where has the time flown . . .

I don't doubt that the ability to laugh at yourself is a key skill for life in a new setting. To many people take life too seriously and it eats away at them.

I can't imagine your escalator mishap - you're lucky that you didn't injure yourself. be careful around moving things - or things that do NOT move too. LOL

Stefania said...

Hi Sandra,
I felt sightly guilty for distracting you while you was riding the escalator.
Fortunately you did't hurt yourself, as you landed
very softly and gracefully.

sandrac said...

Thanks Mary, for all of your support and encouragement, it means so much to me.

Hi Susie, the downside of living in Italy is that it no longer is still quite as much of a treat to shop and find new treasures…..but there are so many other compensations that I cannot complain!

Hi Kathy, welcome home from your exciting travels! I am sorry to hear that your co-workers remember so well your accident - but it is probably a sign of how close you all are that they can make light of it!

I remember the day we met here in Rome so clearly, it was so much fun. I hope you'll be coming back this way again!

Thanks, Jerry - I cannot believe it has been a full year since you and Paul were here in Rome ( I remember that wonderful Christmas dinner SO well!)

Ciao Stefania, it was entirely my fault and you are kind to say that that my landing was not as awkward as I remember it….but I guess the only thing to do is jump right back up and laugh at these things!

Shelagh (SJ) said...

Congratulations on your second year; and now the third one underway!
Wishing you a Merry( and authentic )Christmas, in a wonderful city.
Best wishes from Canada!!

girasoli said...

Happy Anniversary!! Can't believe it has been 2 years already! Loved this post and your outlook on life. Congrats on your new apartment. That's great that you will be back in Monti again!

sandrac said...

Thanks so much, Shelagh, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, too!

Hi Girasoli, I am glad to be returning to Monti. Any plans to return to Italy in 2014?

Kathryn said...

Congrats on the two years from the coldest place on earth (this week anyway). I once tripped on 7th ave in NYC, I was up fast to avoid getting hit by a car and hobbled to the sidewalk to writhe in pain. I realized that 2014 will be 10 years since we were in Italy - perhaps I should start planning a trip! How's the Italian going? I'm still at the 4 year old level (although a 4 year old might think I'm a bit generous to myself).

Linda @ Ice Tea For Me said...

Wow two years, where does the time go. Congratulations Sandra as we know this wasn't easy but I admire you and hope someday I can make the move too.

Laughter is the best medicine and not taking oneself serious helps.

Okay, those raviolis look delicious!!


Annie said...

Congratulations to you and I'm so glad it worked out this way. The new neighborhood sounds fantastic.

(sorry if it this is a duplicate - I thought I'd commented on this post but maybe things went wonky). :)