Okay, kids. This isn’t a really witty or sarcastic review of my observations and experiences in Rome. At least it attempts not to be one. It’s actually rather boring and practical. Nevertheless, I was there, and you weren’t, which gives this post instant interest value. Actually, I’m totally joking. I hope you think it’s a valid account of an experience abroad.
1. Immigration… and ambiguous identity (ethnic, lingual, racial, etc.) is NOT an exclusive phenomenon of the U.S.!!! Eastern Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Indians here speak Italian—and it’s their first language. Call me ignorant, ethnocentric, and a victim of the mass media, but the U.S. isn’t the only melting pot in the world. In my defense, Rome is just now experiencing its first generation influx of immigrants.
2. In private bathrooms, there is no such thing as a garbage can. This statement holds water only in my experience and is not 100% true. At least I don’t think so… but I’d like to think so.
3. The teenagers here are more rebellious here than American teens (in appearance alone—nobody participates in a shootout after school because someone talked shit about another). That’s not at all shocking. It’s interesting to note, however.
4. There’s more graffiti in your average neighborhood than in all of Chicago. Every wall, every gate, every building, every subway. Well, not every—but pretty damn near to it.
4.5. Just because there’s graffiti everywhere, this doesn’t mean you’re in an unsafe neighborhood as is the case in Chicago. In most cases, you’re perfectly safe. The graffiti is just a mark of angst-ridden 14-year-olds who are amid a crisis of identity because they’re insecure like the rest of us were at that age.
5. Rome is a city with a population (not including all the tourists) of about 4.5 million. Which leads me to ess em aych (SMH, shake my head) at the fact that the Metro (CTA of Rome) closes up shop between 11:30 and 12:30pm—including the weekends. So do the busses. As for the night busses, they’re very infrequent, you personally aren’t guaranteed to have one that runs the route you would usually take during the day, and they’re sketchy (well, that’s no surprise).
Volume II: Why Chicago Is So Much Better is soon to come!! Stay tuned!!