I will never forget the first time I had a cappuccino that was so good it dived right into my permanent memory. It was right after I had graduated from college. Two of my dear friends – Rebecca and Megan – were studying for six weeks in Rome, Italy, that summer and I made the very wise choice to go stay with them while they studied.
It was one of our first full day in Rome all together and we were near the Coliseum. Seriously – I felt like it was the first time I had had a real coffee. That small white porcelain cup packed a beautiful punch! It was so strong but so rich and good (and yes – I added sugar :). On that trip – I think I had at least two cappuccinos every single day and it was glorious.
Isn’t it funny the memories that stick so vividly in your mind? That first trip to Europe changed me forever. It birthed in me a love for adventure and it stripped the fear of planning big trips far away. I think that Rome will forever be one of my absolute favorite places because of that special first experience away from America. It stretched me. It wooed me. It absolutely won me over.
Some days – I just love letting my mind wander to some of the great adventures that I have had. Thankfully – I married an adventurer. We have both preferred to save and spend money on seeing far away parts of the world instead of driving nice cars or wearing cloths that wiped out our budget. We shop sales and we keep car payments low so that we can save save save and I have never regretted one dollar spent on adventures.
So today – I am savoring memories of Rome! I just neeeeded to get some of my memories out and on paper…or blog….or screen… :).
About a year and a half after we got married – Zion and I got to go Rome. A return trip for me and a delightful first for him. God really gave us grace for that trip. At the time, Zion’s health was not good and he had been battling a lot of issues but we were still able to journey, discover, taste, and revel together in the beautiful Italian culture. God has been gracious.
Can I just say that arriving in Rome is simply nothing like you imagine. The airport is about 45 minutes from central Rome. You either take a train or a taxi into the city. And the trip in is not quite the picturesque images from “Under the Tuscan Sun!” You pass run down, not-so-nice apartment buildings and lots of land that isn’t really rolling and you think to yourself ‘I am not feeling this so far!’ After that many hours of travel – there is something in you that craves beauty upon touch down in Italy. But – beauty comes. When Zion and I were there together we stayed in a B&B between Campo di Fiore and Piazza Navona. Google both of those……. beauty on so many levels.
It’s funny how traveling together has shaped some of our family and life perspectives. Specifically our time in Italy. There is something about eating dinner on a piazza where people’s everyday lives are happening. Some of the people live in the buildings surrounding the square, little boys kick soccer balls and play hard on the cobble stone ground until the ball flies into the fountain likely centuries old, older couples quietly stroll, and people savor life in a communal setting. It stirs us so deeply! The dream is to someday live on a piazza with our best friends. Why not dream big right????
I love Rome for the opportunity it offers you to reach back and directly touch history. There is nothing that can prepare you for standing in the Coliseum where thousands of Christians died simply because they chose faith in God. Or standing in the glowing shadows of the Pantheon at night where modern life swirls around it but where ancient architecture reached new levels with its construction. I savor stepping into a culture that has existed for so many hundreds of years. One that welcomes you if you respect it and is thrilled at your meager efforts to speak Italian.
Some days I just dream of walking into one of our favorite little espresso bars and pushing my way to the counter and loudly saying ‘Due cappuccini!’ Two cappuccinos please! I love that you have to be aggressive and let go of your ‘I am a tourist’ mentality and treat yourself like any other espresso-thirsty Italian who will be loud enough for their order to be heard and taken. I love pretending that I am Italian even in my white white skin lol. Delusional I know!
When we were in Rome we would walk and walk and walk. Which I think is one of the great joys of discovering a city like that. You get gritty with the everyday Italians. You sweat just like them….but you probably look a lot worse than most of them since they live that lifestyle everyday! LOL. You see things and stop to stare if you want. You fill up your water bottle in the water streams pouring out of spickets on random buildings because the water ducts STILL WORK and produce clean drinking water from way back when Rome was built. Wrap your mind around that! You stop and watch Roman brides and grooms taking wedding pictures by Constantine’s Arch. And all because you’re willing to walk until your feet just won’t go anymore. And you eat all that you want because frankly your calorie burn makes way more space for pizza, pasta, and gelato than anyone’s everyday life in America does.
Ohhhhh the food. I look forward to going back to Rome just to eat. I think I would be even more adventurous now. But let me tell you – I don’t regret one margherita pizza I ate. The pasta has less sauce and it’s so good. The homemade tiramisu tastes the way you always think it should taste when you order it here – but rarely does. Annnnnd the gelato. Oh my. Lemon gelato during the sweltering heat of the day and chocolate hazelnut after dinner. Yes – I did eat it twice a day on more than one occasion. 🙂
So I don’t know…. there is just something so great about going back to some of these memories. The opportunity to see the world from different eyes and to experience life in a way that is not your usual – is so good. It is a gift and I am so grateful for the opportunities that we have had to open our eyes and be the minority.
Rome – I cannot wait to drink your cappuccinos again but until then I will hop down to Nordaggios and pretend I am drinking a cappuccino there with you and your aggressive, charming, and sweaty beauty.
Thanks for taking a little journey into my memories with me!