Sunday, April 13, 2008

releasing nostalgia in rome

When Romulus defeated his brother Remus and founded this all-male city along the Tiber river, he created the love of my life. After a series of attempts to find a legitimately priced place to stay, and subsequently realizing that I have an amazing room for the price, I began to feel home here again. As soon as my eurostar pulled into termini, I wanted to rush to my old haunts: trastevere, campo de fiori, largo argentina and the pantheon, the ghetto and the villa bassi, but I soon realized that I am not studying abroad here anymore. I am here and older and wiser and in a different situation this time, creating new memories, a new Rome. The first day Alex and I wandered around the centro storico and ended up at trajans column, the site at which he presented and knew so much that I fell in love with his intelligence and confidence (i know, gag), and there happened to be an Americans for Obama in Italy rally. I know, right? So, I stuck around, listened to a historian from the American Academy in Rome compare Obama to Trajan (gasp!), and some Chicago jazz singers belt out some tunes across the Piazza Venezia, into the bluest roman afternoon sky, and I felt my homes and my associations collide. Chicago and Obama, Rome and Travel, Politics and Alex and Jazz singers from the south side. Only Rome can make magic like this.

As I wander through this city, its different this time. I let my old associations with places be inserted into my experiences, but I am less naive this time, less aghast at the wonder and glory and constantly changing beauty of Rome. I am confident here and blazing a new trail towards a future, and hopefully before my time here is through I will be able to release the nostalgia and be in the moment, breathing in the scent of the cyprus trees among monuments to the long dead but not forgotten.

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