One of my great teachers, Richard Reeves, told me that an essential part of finding your voice in writing comes from knowing when and where you harness it best. Some people write early in the mornings once their brains are cleared from a night’s rest. Others at night with thoughts flooding their minds and spilling onto the page.
For where; some people write best in active social scenes, or at the summit of a mountain scribbling in a journal, or isolated in their bedroom. I struggled at first because I often get distracted in coffee shops, and don’t want to carry my laptop to the peak of a mountain. Most of the time the “when” for me comes when I have time, which is essentially up to deadlines and my skillful talent of procrastination.
But once I realized that smelling caffeine and watching others work/ chat, while quietly observing with my music in the corner, for some reason, centered my thoughts, I set out in search of a coffee shop. However, I am still a procrastinator, so I’ve a set a deadline of Monday nights for my blog posts…although I missed it this week, it will more concrete in the future.
Italians like their coffee hot and fast. My dad told me that I drive how I live my life…FAST. I won’t argue this truth, but it made me think that this coffee shop lifestyle would be perfect.
However, I crave some personal time away from the people in my program from time to time, and with most “cafes” like coffee bars: you go in, order, chug, pay and leave, there aren’t many places to sit and write my blog. But I’ve found one! And I love it. There are attractive baristas, couches, and lots of green plants inside and out, yay environment!
I consider locating this gem, my triumph of the week. But along with my secret hideout I’ve seen the Colosseum, although it was closed for private tours (so I’ll have to go back and see it again). It’s massive and gorgeous, but I’m not sure what I’ll feel once inside. Arenas got their name from the latin root meaning sand; aka they were used for killing people and the sand soaked up their blood. Standing in the midst of a place used to kill many christians, who dared to challenge authority and follow a loving God, I’m sure will be quite intense.
Beside the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, this was a place of trade, temples, etc. Much like an ancient “main square” or street. The ruins were ruins, much like I’ve seen before but it was interesting to walk where Caesar had before me. And the sky is always SO blue here! So being outside is lovely in itself. I’m in love with the un-smogged scenery.
Through the three weeks I’ve been here I’ve traipsed through ruins and churches and monuments and but was in desperate need of some nature. So I found a hiking area, this large mountain right on the water, about an hour south of Rome. My goodness was it gorgeous. The train and bus schedules threw in some difficulties but standing on the mountain overlooking blue, green, and purple vistas, even for a moment, was worth the struggle.
By Saturday, I’d gone through days of double classes, finding my coffee shop, seeing more history, hiking, and some heel pain ( I wore my sandals hiking because they were comfier but cold #barefoottraveler). And arrived, finally, with some personal time. I took the day to run errands, grab lunch alone, and see the Spanish Steps. My pictures do not do it justice, they’re huge! You can’t grasp the size of them unless you’re standing at the 5th level of steps, surrounded by local artists selling their work to tourists.
But the week wasn’t over, Wine tasting in Frascati was on Sunday’s roster, and aside from the actual wine I wasn’t sure what to expect. The city on hill overlooked Rome from 30 minutes away, and the winery owner and his son, Umberto and Alfredo had the most precious Labrador puppy EVER. The two named pup, Lucky/Vino followed us through the vine covered landscape, until Alfredo took us to taste some of the amazing wine.
The tasting included local cheeses and cookies for the wine, a tour of the small town, and a pasta making classes that ended with us eating our creations. Side note, I realized I talked about the amazing food here but had yet to photograph it, so taken with my iPhone are a few food items below too (including fried pizza yummmmm, and also the jazz club, Beatles cover band.)
Altogether, the week was long and difficult but the weekend made up for it in blue skies and white wine. I’m off to the UK this Thursday for a Loch Ness/Harry Potter filled adventure.
Bri, the barefoot traveler