This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from Whitties studying on Whitman’s Crossroads: Rome, Italy: Landscape and Cityscape in Ancient Rome program this summer with Professor Kate Shea. Eduardo Cabrera ’20 is a Biology-Environmental Studies Major.
Life in Rome. For life in Rome, I needed a few things that are essential for my happiness
no matter where I live. My essentials include; Sleep, Food, Music, and Thrifting.
We were housed in a two room apartment on Via Gullio Cesare, a pretty active location
near the Vatican in central Rome. First thing on my list was to get to know my room. I partnered
up with Ethan to share one of the rooms. We slept on twin mattresses, while our friend Juan
Pablo enjoyed a queen size bed in the room next to us. My bed included an indented pit from the person who slept on it before me, but I made the best of it, making sure to lay on the sturdy, less used side touching the cool wall. After a long rest, tired from the ~15 hour-ish trip and heavy first group dinner, it was time to go grocery shopping. Grocery shopping may sound easy, but, as I’ve heard and learned, in Europe it’s a whole nother story. I chose to go to Express grocery store, and boy, did it really live up to its name! I picked up the essentials; milk, bread, veggies, and meat. “Borsa?”, the cashier told me. I nodded yes. He placed the bags on the counter and began to quickly scan my items. This is when the confusion and nervousness began. He told me my price, I paid him, and he went on to the next customer. But…MY GROCERIES WEREN’T BAGGED! I fratickly reached for the bags and began to put my recently bought items into them. I felt pressured to get out of there as quickly as possible. By the time I had bagged all my groceries, two fellow shoppers who were behind me in line had already left the store. I quickly walked home, a little frustrated and confused, but I had food. After that experience, I would enter every grocery store prepared with my bag, ready to race the cashier; bag my groceries while they counted my change.
Another personal necessity for living that I had to search for in Rome was thrifting!
Thrifting is a huge part of my life. I made sure to do my personal research and find the best thrift stores in Rome. I visited probably around 6 different vintage/thrift stores in Rome for a total of probably 10-15 visits. These days for me were some of the most exciting!! I took full advantage of the free metro pass given to us by IES. My free days were filled with listening to my “mellow slaps” playlist as I rode the Metro 5 to 15 stops to get to my destination. I was even blessed with street vendors of used clothes at the corner of our apartment street. Ethan and I made sure to stop by every opportunity we had and dig through the mounds of clothes up for sale. I’d rather not talk about how much I spent at these locations, but I can talk for hours about the items I bought. You’ll be seeing me in my Italian thrifted apparel throughout this coming school year for sure, especially the kapries!
Lastly, I roamed and discovered Rome with my music. Whether I was alone or with a
group of friends, I made sure to have my melodic tunes as I walked. Music filled my ears,
whether I was walking to the laundromat, where I’d always be asked to pay and desperately try
to explain to the owners that I didn’t have to pay, because somebody had me covered (IES), or
shopping for groceries, where I’d be hurried to pack my groceries. Music made me feel
comfortable in a city big enough to get lost in within minutes, like in Termini. Music allowed me
to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Rome, which included the architecture, the colorful
buildings, and even the busselling movement of millions of people. Living in Rome was
something different, but it was amazing. I made sure to make living in Rome very similar to
living at home, whether that’s Whitman or San Francisco, and I was successful!