Friday night in Rome, and I am exhausted from nearly 7 hours of walking around the city. The weather was beautiful and I could not resist going on a passegiata through this wonderful city. With no destination or itinerary for the day until 2:30, I started by crossing the Tevere and following the river up to the Vatican, then meandered towards Richard Mier’s Ara Pacis Museum. The beauty of a passegiata is that you just enjoy the moment and wander around with no plans. You stumble upon things you wouldn’t normally notice if you were trying to go from point A to point B. My mind slows down and I become more aware of little details in how people interact with each other, the way dogs walk, or how the flow of traffic is not totally reliant on stop lights. I follow streets because I follow the light at my vantage point along the horizon. I do not know where this path will take me, and I may end up walking in a loop, but time is not an issue and I have no immediate responsibilities. It is a feeling I do not get enough of when I’m in New York.
I love New York, but ever since I spent a good amount of time away from home, I realize the freedom I could have. No questions, no tricks. This life is real, and no one is trying to rush me into anything. This is what I love about Italy; how everything is slowed down and there is no feeling of guilt. The guilt to always be somewhere at some time doing something. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?
After nearly 6 weeks in Italy, I have come to the realization- rather confirmation- that I cannot live in New York for too long. I have been there for too long, and this short break is much needed. I worry that if I did not have this opportunity to study in Rome, I would have been slowing dying in New York. I love the city, I really do, but to quote LCD Soundsystem “I love you New York, but you’re bringing me down.”