ONE WEEK LIVING IN ROME

Jan 31, 2019

morning in rome

The adjustment and culture shock hasn’t been as hard as we anticipated, but we’re still currently living in a hotel and Jaime hasn’t returned to work full time so it’s been more of a mini-vacation/honeymoon. Our sleep schedule is finally starting to normalize. During our first couple of days, we were crashing in the afternoon and waking up in the middle of the night, which resulted in us staying up through the morning and then leaving to sightsee on no sleep. During the first week, we walked over 52 miles. When you come to visit Rome, make sure to come with good shoes. Many streets are cobblestone and the unevenness of the ground will wreck your lower half the first couple days. 

piazza mincioPiazza Mincio

My favorite adopted Italian custom is stopping by a bar every morning for a cappuccino e cornetto. I know what you’re thinking, stopping by a bar every morning? In Italy, bars are where you find coffee and pastries and most also serve lunch and alcohol later in the day. The next time you visit Italy and need some coffee, find a “bar” sign and you’ll find your liquid gold. Whether that’s caffeine or alcohol for you, there’s no judgment here; for us, it’s both. Cornetto means “little horn” and is the Italian version of a French croissant. My favorite cornetto is cornetto alla marmellata, a marmalade croissant. There are many variations of cornettos here: plain, glazed, almond, pistachio, marmalade, chocolate, and hazelnut just to name a few. At first, coffee and a small pastry was an adjustment from an American breakfast, but now it’s the perfect routine to start every morning with an Italian life mindset.

caffe e cornettocaffe e cornetto (coffee and croissant)

caffe in romedue cappuccini (two cappuccinos)

We’re currently staying in a neighborhood called Parioli and we’ve been told by many locals that it’s the “Beverly Hills” of Rome. They weren’t lying because we walked by a Lamborghini SUV just casually parked on the street. Like…what? It’s a beautiful neighborhood, but it’s also a 40-60 minute walk to the tourist attractions and popular neighborhoods.

lamborghini suvLamborghini SUV in Parioli

Because of the distance, we have spent a lot of time walking the city and in the last week, we became familiar enough to navigate to quite a few places without having to use Google Maps. We got access to the US Embassy and there’s a Navy Exchange in the compound which means…AMERICAN GROCERIES. We realize it’s a luxury most expats don’t have and we’re very thankful to have the comfort of home when we need it. It’s the little things that start making a place feel like home Even if home in a new country means having access to American groceries.

supermercato tigre romaMeat counter at the grocery store

It’s also the little things that make you homesick. If you follow my personal Instagram, you know how much I love to cook; the kitchen is my comfort place and where I spend the majority of my time when I’m home. One of my favorite weekly tasks was grocery shopping. I loved discovering new ingredients, buying fresh produce, and restocking the fridge with new items to cook with. With Italian grocery stores, everything is in a language that is foreign to me, they don’t carry some of the items from back home (like chili powder), some items I’m completely unfamiliar with, and everything is in metric units. All these are manageable through time, but every little difference contributes to how much more difficult something I really loved has become. It’s honestly a little intimidating to grocery shop and cook again.

pizza taglioPizza al taglio at counter at the grocery store. Taglio means “cut”, so pizza al taglio are long slabs of pizza seen in the photo above that are cut and ordered by weight.

Although getting around Rome is less of a struggle than we expected because everyone speaks a fair amount of English, I try my hardest to converse with the Italian I know (about 1%) because it’s really important to me to attempt speaking in the country’s official language rather than assuming others speak English. This usually ends in a trap for me (created by me) because whoever I’m speaking with will continue speaking in Italian and I can’t understand 99% of the language.

Aside from the grocery shopping and the language, it’s the “normal” things we do every day that in a new country make you realize you’re not at home. If you haven’t been to Rome, let me fill you in on the adventures of crossing the street. Pedestrians truly do have the right of way here, but it doesn’t come without its own risks. Many pedestrian crosswalks don’t have crossing signals like we’re used to in the United States. This means if you want to cross, you need to step out into oncoming traffic. The advice we were given was to make eye contact with the motorist as you are crossing and they will stop. So far we have been successful, but it’s anxiety-inducing every time. If you are crossing a two-way street, it is terrifying. Along with driving and crossing the street, their parking is unlike anything we’ve experienced in the United States. Based on what we’ve seen around the city if an area looks like a car will fit, someone will make sure the space is used for parking. Sometimes cars are on the sidewalk and other times they make their own lane of parking, which when you think about it, is actually a very efficient use of space and genius.

parking in romeParking in Parioli

parking in romeParking in Parioli

parking in romeCars parked on the median

parking in italyCars creating their own lane of parking in the middle of the street, giving enough room on each side for cars to get in and out.

It was confirmed this past week that my visa processed through the military is not a working visa. The visa I have allows me to stay in the country however long Jaime is here, so the only way to work within my career in Rome is to find a job with a company who is willing to sponsor me. We’re not entirely sure what the next steps are or exactly what options I have for employment, but we’re taking it one day at a time and for now, focusing on finding our Italian home. Even with the struggles of moving to a new country and assimilating to a new culture, we’re surviving and mostly thriving and can’t wait for the journeys the next three years will hold.

Love and miss everyone,
Jordan

14 Comments

  1. Betty

    Omgoshhhhhh love reading your updates. Shed a tear with that last sentence. Sending you both lots of love and hugs. Xoxo

    Reply
    • Jordan

      Missing you tons! Let’s schedule a FaceTime date!

      Reply
  2. Keith I.

    Another great blog entry! Fantastic job, Jordan! Feels like we’re right there with you and Jaime. Continue to keep us posted and we hope you’ll find that perfect home sooner than later.

    Reply
    • Jordan

      I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying it! Can’t wait to find a permanent space to call home and have everyone come visit. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Nick Dounias

    It must be quite boring for you, being in a place with no history, ugly architecture, and awful food. I would be happy to come over to cheer you up! I know, I am just a really giving person…..!

    Reply
    • Jordan

      It is pretty boring… 😉 Looking forward to your visit.

      Reply
  4. Sahar

    Am I a terrible person for feeling relieved that even an American girl is going through the same adventures (read struggles) I went through on the first few months of living in another country? I don’t mean it in a bad way, I mean it as it is a natural process for everyone living in a different country and it’s good to see it wasn’t just me, everyone living abroad goes through it; I remember the days I felt like a deaf person since I could not understand a word the other person was saying or if I did, I could not respond or remember buying wrong items just because being confused in the supermarket! like I have never seen a sweet pickle before, so didn’t even stopped to think about it and read the damn label.

    Jordan, these are all the things you will remember later and laugh about. This is part of the process so enjoy it as much as you can and don’t be shy to miss home from little things to big ones; cherish every familiarity you can find and embrace all the differences for its experience. Enjoy my friend. Miss you :*

    Reply
    • Jordan

      OMG, absolutely not a terrible person! I wish we had talked more about your struggles and what you experienced coming to the states before I left. I always admired you for coming to a country knowing no one, not going home often, and having to adjust to an entirely new way of life. Miss and love you, girl. I hope to see you sometime on this side of the world in the next 3 years.!

      Reply
  5. Christian L Maldonado

    🙂

    Reply
    • Jordan

      😀

      Reply
  6. Leslie

    I LOVE, LOVE your writings!! I feel like I am reliving my honeymoon in Italy through your blog!! Nick & I plan to visit next year!!

    Love to you and Jaime!!

    Reply
    • Jordan

      We are looking forward to your visit! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Louis Maldonado

    Looks like you’re having a pretty good time. Miss you, but having FaceTime and texting helps a lot. Just enjoy yourself. This is once in a lifetime experience.

    Reply
    • Jordan

      Can’t imagine this experience without FaceTime. Love you lots and missing you always.

      Reply

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