I had finally made it. The city was huge, the food looked and smelled amazing, the summer night was full of music and laughter, history floated from street corner to fountain, and I was all alone. I had just arrived in the Eternal City and all I could feel was nerves and excitement.
With quite a bit of jet lag and a semi-functional cognitive map I set out to find dinner in the city center. Hopping on the bus (hoping it was the right one) I cruised my way through the streets of Rome. I reached center and couldn’t fathom the beauty of this ancient culture I would be living in for the next five months.
Piazza Venezia was buzzing with people of all sorts. Not wanting to wander too far from where I could manage my way home, I settled with one of the first restaurants I could find. I approached the server and managed to mumble in my broken Italian, “Un tavola per favore”?
He sat me along the sidewalk: a perfect spot for people watching. The Palazzo Venezia stared at me from the opposite side of the oval shaped center. The lights reflected off the pearly marble masterpiece, illuminating the nightlife. The waiter came back and I ordered my sisters recommended favorite dish: Bucatini all’Amatricana.
My pasta arrived and it smelled fresher than any pasta dish I had ever eaten. The smell of oregano and basil added the perfect spice to the tomato sauce. Thick pasta noodles twirled around my plate with small bits of pancetta intertwined. Never had I eaten something that so perfectly resembled it’s scent. Looking around I felt my heart flutter with an array of emotions. I was nervous, I was excited, I was scared, and I wanted more than anything to capture all of these little moments. After dinner I sat for a while quietly watching as clown cars and Vespas blew through the streets. This city was going to change me and there was nothing I could do about it.