FLIPSIDE Colosseum Italy

A view of the Christmas tree at the Colosseum in Italy. PROVIDED BY LACIE GOFF

If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you I am an incredibly studious person. I must say, however, studying is the last thing I feel like doing during my last week in Rome. Non voglio essere studioso per niente!

Nonetheless, this week contains my last two finals of the entire semester, and the day after my last final is our last day in Rome.

I have run into a conundrum, though, because I am still hearing about and discovering new things I want to do before I leave. Yet, at this point, it is clear I am running out of time, and I am coming to the conclusion that I am not going to be able to do it all.

One of the things I have just recently discovered is a thing called aperitivo. This is a very common thing here in Italy, and it is found at most bars and many restaurants.

The concept is that you buy a drink of your choice, anything from wine to a margarita, and then for just the price of that drink, you can visit the appetizer “buffet” and choose from all types of food.

Some places limit you to one plate per drink, but others, like the one we went to, offer unlimited food with just the one drink.

The food selection at the bar we went to was phenomenal.

They had pasta, potatoes with a spicy sauce, couscous, curry rice and cups of mousse with a cookie on the bottom, just to name a few.

We learned, too, that on Sundays, this particular place serves “international aperitivo,” with cuisines from around the world. Such a good deal, if you ask me. We are sad we didn’t discover this phenomenon sooner, but we have vowed to go at least one more time before we leave.

Another rewarding experience I encountered this week came while talking with the woman who is in charge of our apartment upkeep. She comes once a week and she doesn’t speak more than a few words of English, so we always converse in Italian.

That in itself is always a wonderful means of practice for me in the language, but this week was fun in a new way, as she brought along her young daughter, who is learning English in school and with a tutor.

While the mom was working, she, her daughter and I were all in the same room and we got to talking about how her daughter was learning English, which spurred a multi-lingual conversation in which the daughter would say what she knew in English, ask how to say certain things via questions in Italian and tell of stories and fairy tales she liked that I recognized for their English equivalents.

The mom would join in, mostly in Italian, asking questions about how to say things in English, helping me to understand what her daughter was explaining to me when I didn’t understand, and asking things such as when and how certain holidays are celebrated.

She asked me about what the Fourth of July stood for and when exactly Thanksgiving is celebrated. It was so much fun to bridge the gap between languages and cultures and to have such a wonderful conversation with such great differences, yet make connections.

For me, that, too, is one of the main things being abroad is about and one of the things for which I am most thankful. For one, getting to truly live in the culture here, beyond the tourist attractions and postcard-esque experiences, and then also getting to blend these two wonderful cultures and relate to someone with a completely different background than myself.

I feel it is an invaluable experience to have as global citizens in our world, and I am so very thankful for the small things like that, which make all the difference to me.

Last week, here I come! Ci vediamo la prossima giovedi per il mio ultimo articolo!

LACIE GOFF is the daughter of Janice Gualdoni and the granddaughter of Louie and Beauella Gualdoni, all of Herrin. Lacie is a junior at California Lutheran University in Los Angeles, majoring in communication and journalism. She is spending this semester in Rome, studying Italian, history and art history.

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