This week I have been beyond blessed with a schedule chock-full of work hours! This job has taken me from Florence to Rome and back, then on to Perugia and in the end I’ll come out pretty clean for it all.
I keep getting down on myself for not getting in more important posts, especially being that I just returned from a big trip and I have yet to mention Portugal on my site! Then I read Caz’s wonderful post, over at yTravelBlog on lack of motivation and inspiration and, as always, was inspired by her words. Then, I lost motivation and I just got busy.
Wednesday, I was blessed to be assigned work in Rome. After a long day at school orientations the old crew of the company decided we would all stick together and head out for dinner. They have all been working together since the start of the company seven years ago; they are all either Italian or have been in Italy for seven years and they all are at least seven years older than me. I was shy and weary for the dinner, but thankful as they all took turns filling me in on the past and the Italian words that I didn’t understand. After dinner we moved on to a little bar and I was beginning to feel more comfortable…
Then we wandered down the the banks of the Fiume Tevere and all leaped onto the red leather sofas like happy toddlers. I settled in to the dusty leather pillows, beer in hand and looked around one more time at my company. They chattered on in Italian and I laughed along. No, I didn’t suddenly understand fluently, I just finally felt the perfect fit into the group. My tensions relaxed and I watched as they pulled up chairs, kicked off their shoes and talked about old times.
Then I looked around me, there was a slight breeze as the city began to welcome fall, and I followed plastic bottles tangled in God-knows-what float by my perch and on it’s merry way along the Tevere. But in the midst of it all I suddenly had a realization. This was Rome.
I am lucky to say I have been able to see Rome three times, of course it was always for work. In my last visit, however, I did get a chance to explore almost all the major sights (minus the Sistine Chapel) and it was my birthday! This time something was different. I was still in Rome for work, but for the first time I wasn’t surrounded by people that were there to site-see, that were set on snapping pictures of every single building ever deemed important. This time I was with people that were enjoying each other and the summer perks the Tevere had to offer.
I always knew I didn’t want to be a tourist. I knew I wanted to see things off the beaten track or at least have experiences worth mentioning beyond the snapshots, but I never knew how to put the camera down. I love pictures and I want proof to show off to all of my friends the amazing things I have seen. Not that this is always a bad thing but I left a lot of cities with a camera full of pictures and not much to say but, “I’ll have to go back!”. Well, I would like to go back to most places just because once is not enough but why not make it a goal to see it for what it is the first time around? You don’t have to be a local or even hang with the locals to experience the city the way they do, just open your eyes and look around. Don’t worry so much about what you should see, instead just see. Maybe you’ll be surprised.