I have now been here, as I write this morning, 25 days, almost a month, and it does not feel that way. Time really has slowed down for me. Yes, it is 6 hours ahead of the east coast of America, so I don’t have to rush and write this late Sunday night, or very early Monday morning to get to my admin for posting, before I go off the Christmas Tree Shop or other places on a Monday, morning, but I can enjoy it, my tea, my yogurt, and muesli or whatever we have here. I do most of the shopping, as I am the one around and she is out guiding. We share the cooking, because she does want to cook for me, but I also cook and enjoy it be it a simple baked chicken or pulled pork, or whatever I decide to buy at the supermarket or the outdoor markets and there are plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. It gets me out most days, and I get to meet the locals and feel the pace that is Rome and for me, there are two paces here, the local neighborhoods, and all are different, but a slower pace and the hectic feel of the tourist areas. I love the neighborhoods and feel the vibes, checking out the foods, some different, some the same for me.
This week for the American in Rome was nothing out of the ordinary, but it certainly was special. Of course, I took in my morning walks to the markets and stopped in several places along the way. It was a feeling of belonging now that I have been here into my third week and finding my way around, getting to know the neighborhoods and simply feeling like I live here, which in a sense I do. I also went to the Liberation Museum which is about a 25 minute from where I am living, which is built on four floors of an apartment building. I walked each flight, but don’t worry, there is an elevator, and while everything is in Italian, there are some English captions, and an audio-guide in English, so you can understand what happened in Rome during Fascism and the Nazi takeover. I don’t frequent the tourist areas, unless I am meeting up with Rosa after a tour, which of course, I have done. I also met her on one of her tours this week, as it was clients from Minnesota, who were off a cruise ship.
The interesting thing about these clients is that I had started working with them after I left Minnesota last August and so, while I love to meet my clients in person, if possible, this had not happened, so zoom meetings, phone calls and emails were the communication methods. All of this is very normal in this day in age, so when I knew that I do was going to be in Rome at the same time, I asked Rosa to tag along. Of course, at first, she said no. I explained, that for me, it is very important to meet the clients in person, if there is an opportunity, even if around the country or around the world and I have done both in my travels and my many years in the industry. It is very important for me to establish that connection, while some of my clients I have never met in person, when there is a chance to, I look forward to it.
Perhaps, this is another milestone post, perhaps not, number 75 and being here in Rome to date, has been everything I could have imagined. I have not missed being in America, and getting used to the everyday vibe, that is this special place. While I was here in Rome last June for a total of 10 nights and then returned in November for a weeklong stay, I have now “lived” here for that first week plus, shopped, explored, met people, and simply tried to become a part of the fabric that is Rome and live like the Romans do. Of course, Rosa would disagree to a point, as I still shop for an army, knowing that I can break up the purchase into portions and freeze items, which is not the Roman or Italian or for that matter, the European way, but it has its advantages in finding a good price on food, buying it, and then having the opportunity to experience different meals with it. I have, however, most days, and even today, gone to the farmer’s markets, and purchased something here and something there. I enjoy the mingling and it helps in learning the language.
The other thing that I am doing again is pounding the pavement every day, taking the metro which is right around the corner and hopping on busses to get where I need to go, or simply explore the city. Every day it seems, I find a new neighborhood to explore or simply wander and I feel very comfortable here, listening to the Italian, the conversation and interacting with the locals. That was my intent when I got here and after a week plus, I am finding a routine, but I never want it to be routine. Some days I am walking more, Saturday, about 6 miles (10 km) and today only about 5 miles (9 km), but I feel alive in this place. I also can report, and while, I was told by my last doctor, that I could stop the meds, which I did for a while for the blood pressure and the cholesterol, the everyday stresses of life back in the states kept me checking the blood pressure each day, so the prescription I had was there, in case I needed it. As it turns out and I arrived here for the summer, some 10 days ago now, I have not taken the prescription meds at all. Do I check my blood pressure with the cuff every day? Yes, I do and each day now, it has been right where it should be, hovering around 120/80. Sorry, I don’t know it in the metric system yet.
It has been quite the week, from finalizing documents for clients, packing up the recent homestead, depositing my vehicle at a co-worker’s house for the summer and getting the airport to start what I believe will be the most amazing adventure of my life. Of course, the travel day, this past Thursday was not without its issues as many of you have seen in my post about crossing the pond, but it is nice, and you are saying, what, nice, to experience a delay that caused me to miss my connection in Amsterdam to arriving after midnight in Rome and finally reaching my new homestead for the summer. Yes, it was nice, as I realized, one there was nothing I could do and two, others have experienced it, so I am not the only one. I knew I would arrive, and I knew at the end of this crazy situation, I would be where I wanted to be and that is with Rosa. I had empathy before and sympathy now and a very good understanding that there will be growing pains as the world starts up again and will get things sorted, like the Brits like to say.
Yes, she was there, apparently waiting since midnight at her car, outside the apartment and it was a change from the surreal to the real and we would be living together for the summer. Of course, I hope more in the future. I know it will take some time and I know it will take some time getting used to being here, but knowing that Rosa is here, is all that matters to me. I can take care of business from here and I hope to be able to tutor English and receive my official certification. At this point in my life, I simply said, want to be happy and I truly do feel happy. The apartment we will share is very nice and, all important, for this American, is that it has air conditioning although with temperatures hovering in the 90’s and yes, possibly cracking 100 and it is in on the 8th floor, not sure how good it will be, but I will adapt and I will move forward, so no worries here. I have what I need and if I don’t have it, I don’t need it. That is something I have realized as I have tried to simply my life over the past 9 months or so.
As I write this post, it is Sunday afternoon here in Rome and the long holiday weekend back in America and the Independence Day celebration when this will post on the 246th birthday of the United States of America, so Happy Birthday and everyone stay safe and healthy enjoying the picnics, beaches, parades, fireworks and all the music and celebrations to this birthday of this nation, which is definitely not without its faults and issues and hopefully, we will get back to a point of compromise of which America was founded, not like it is now. I wonder sometimes what the founding fathers and mothers would think of what we are now, and I am not sure they would be pleased, but as a living, breathing entity, change can happen and it can happen for the better, not the worse, like it seems now. Opportunity to succeed still exists if you are willing to work for it, but I feel that is not the case. I have worked my whole working life, except for maybe 2 months during the year of Covid and it certainly was not by choice and even had my own small businesses as a teenager, even before I could “legally” work, so it is still possible to succeed.
When I re-explored parts of America, when Rosa came across the pond in February, I gained a different insight as it was from her eyes and places, I saw in my younger years, and now with a totally different perspective. Some things better and some things not so good. I am proud to be an American, and yet ashamed of the chaos that is happening now, and frankly, getting away from the insanity that is going on, even for a few months, will do me some good. I remain positive and optimistic that things will get better but being here in Italy for the summer will certainly give me new perspective as I will be living it. Is it a holiday or a vacation? Yes and no, as I will be working from here as well and in this case, technology is wonderful and allows me to do this and be here with Rosa and our relationship grow. We enjoyed our first gelato together this past weekend at Fassi which has been around 120 years or so and it is authentico, not the colors of gelato that scream out at you in the tourist areas. These were locals enjoying it on a hot summer’s eve. We also walking at least 10 km yesterday and this morning took a nice 5 km walk around the neighborhood and the park.
So, I wish everyone well, for a safe holiday from the home of Amerigo Vespucci, whose name was given to the continent upon which the country from which I hail, Buon Compleanno America!!!
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin