Il Dolce Far Niente

Ciao from Rome!

After many kitchen victories and mishaps at home in Colorado, having a mental breakdown as I was packing, 12 hours of delayed flights, non-sleeping in upright positions, single serving friends, a pair of overly hormonal seat neighbors on the plane, arriving an hour late and having a mini-scare of my checked luggage being lost, I have FINALLY arrived in the motherland of amazing food.

This whole week that I’ve been here has been filled with endless moments of awe, dream fulfilling meals, and language barriers and breakthroughs, most of which are described on my own personal blog in both word and picture form. If at all interested, check out on my blog, Italy in Food.

Tomorrow I begin my first day of classes at the American University of Rome: a quaint, small, beautiful private university tucked in between the trees and streets at the top of a hill on the edge of Trastevere (tras-TEH-ver-ay; translates to “on the other side of the river”). Students who go there are a mixture of study abroad students, Americans living in Italy, and born ‘n raised Italians.

Today being our last day of summer vacation, the roommates and I have been pondering what we would do on our “final day of freedom” for a while now. Originally, the plan was to escape the heat and wade in the Mediterranean Sea at the beach. This plan was cut short at the sight of the weather forecast for the whole week: rain, rain, with a side of rain. Our second choice was to wander around the Vatican, which is the only remaining touristy area we have yet to explore. The Vatican’s closed on Sundays. I walked into my kitchen after waking up at the early hour of noon to find my roommates on their laptops desperately seeking something for us to do. I threw out the suggestion of taking cover from the rain in a museum. No response. Eventually the roommates gave up their search and trickled away into their respective bedrooms, which meant we weren’t making plans for today. I took advantage of this non-decision to do something that has been far and few between for this last week since I arrived: relax.

After making myself some eggs, I found myself on our balcony with a cup of Earl Grey, watching the rain fall and re-reading “Eat Pray Love” (my bible and part of the reason I am here in Rome right now). I did this and nothing else for two hours. The only reason I came in was because I was dangerously approaching the end of the first third of the book (the portion when Liz is in Italy, a.k.a. my favorite) and because I couldn’t wait to tell all of you about how I did nothing today.

On the days when we are busily buzzing about from piazza to piazza or monument to monument, I often find myself homesick for being lazy. And that sounds terrible. But when my feet are throbbing and I’m sweating out every drop of water I’ve been chugging lately, I often yearn for the not so distant days when I could just sit on the couch with Boyfriend, watching Breaking Bad (our addiction). Or sit at the kitchen table with just my mom, a mug of coffee, and a magazine. During the school year, these moments are far and few between, which brings us to the second reason why I am in Rome this very moment:

I thrive on agenda–or at least so I thought until I started having health issues. I like to keep myself busy but there often comes a point, usually when I am standing chin deep in calendar alerts, full inboxes, mile-long to-do lists, and shrinking deadlines that my body comes to a halting stop and breaks, either in the form of illness or an anxiety attack.

This is why I am in Rome. To educate myself on how to thrive on nothing. To teach myself that I don’t need a full schedule to be happy. That I can meander around the streets of Rome with my new friends until 3 o’clock in the morning, stopping in the occasional bookstore or caffé to talk about our favorite books, movies, and musicals without a care in the world. Doing nothing is a way of life here. It’s a point of pleasure. Enjoyment. Sweetness.

As I sat on my patio in the rain, I came to the sudden realization of just how lucky I am.

Ciao for now,

- Cheyenne Michaels, DUSA Blogger -

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