Thousands of people view Rome as their ideal holiday destination. The Eternal city has been romanticized for centuries, attracting visitors from all walks of life for a short term stay. However, what some may not know,mis that Rome is an escape for thousands of other people seeking change in their life. I will share a few insights from my own experience and stories of others who have found some answers they were looking for between the Colosseum and Eur.
Today I have met an inspirational woman who, in need to change her life after a life challenge, went to Rome to do something different whilst helping Romans to learn a new language to increase their life prospects overseas. She was smart, well-mannered and a peaceful sense of happiness radiated from her lively eyes as we were recounting our experiences of living in the same suburb in Rome and knowing the same places which English-speakers would look out for (such as the St Susanna English language library).
Whilst enjoying gelati and a distinct vibe on hot moonlit summer nights I am meeting many other women who have chosen to live in Rome for some time and they come from many different places: Australia, Bulgaria, Spain, the UK, Serbia, France, Chile, etc. One thing these women have in common: they came to Rome out of their freewill is search of a change, be it for economic, spiritual, romantic, scholastic or ‘just because’ unexplained reasons. Another thing I found is that they were quite successful before coming to Rome, hence this is a place where high achievers gather to find answers to life’s quests.
In the midst of an economic crisis which is really shattering la dolce vita for ordinary Italians these women keep working what they are good at and find ways not only to live in Rome but also to help others. There is something in the statues of antiquity that inspires, invites confidence and immortality. As if historical lessons, which intersect in Rome, give these women a lot of strength to continue with their mystical missions and complete them when ready. They tend to feel at ease in Rome but not at home completely. Most do not intend to stay there for ever, just momentarily as if to heal their soul or enrich it with different new ingredients. Another thing they have in common is that they prepared, often months and even years to come to this city and be able to start a new life journey there.
From my stay in Rome I have learned three main things. First, the need to be flexible because life is complicated and our rigid attitudes can make it only more entangled. Have a ‘cappuccio’ and think about new ways of accepting certain realities. Italian food which is not very diverse at the beginning yet after a while tastes great is another case in point.
Second, friendships can be struck at the most unusual places thanks to this Roman connection and they can develop into long-lasting encounters between souls which keep not only company to the other soul but also provide an invaluable source of strength. Cooperation with others is a must if you choose to live in such an unpredictable city as Rome.
Third, speaking up for yourself, on a daily basis, is the only way to survive long lines in Rome which make no sense. Even a line for freshly arrived mozzarella can be a challenge where people regularly jump the queue and tend to talk for ages while you, at the back, are trying to do things quickly and rush back home. Being clear about your needs and desires, everyday, and spell it out loud is a useful life skills which in the Anglosaxon world we often shy away from for a multitude of cultural reasons.
What are your lessons from living in Rome? Does any of this resonate with your experiences? Enjoy another great week in this glittering city of ancient walls and smiley faces (especially after 8 cups of coffee!!!) and make a change for yourself and others too, in a variety of ways. Benvenuti a Roma that changes your life and makes you appreciate it more than ever before. Cheers!