Sunday, June 17, 2007


Watching people can be quite interesting.
I'm still not sure where I was during my walk behind this man. From listening to the conversation this man was having with this woman I could almost be certain that he was from the United States. He was a tourist on a group tour around Rome. I began following him on my way to the Trevi Fountain. He had a bag with him that was sort of odd to have during a walking tour. The bag was quite big and looked like it held anything and everything you could need incase of an emergency. He had a tour guide ahead of him and his group. The entire group had radios that they could hear the guide from. He seemed to be more interested in the woman walking next to him than in the tour. You could tell the woman was a foreigner because she spoke some English but with an accent. The moment I caught this picture he was telling her about his work back home. He is some sort of business man in the financial field is what I got from spying on their conversation. I believe he was on a business trip just doing some sight seeing while he can. He told her about his hotel and his co-workers and mainly talked about work. I felt weird following him at first but then I realized at least if he asked me what the hell I was doing I could reply in English and say "homework".
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1st attempt:
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just Hanging Around

Sitting in Trastevere

When I arrived in Piazza del Maria in Trastevere with my two roomies I decided I should drift a little to find a place that I felt comfortable sitting in for two hours. On our cab ride to the Piazza we passed the river so I decided I would go to the river to sit. Little did I know, the river was a good 25 minute walk from where I was, and being in heels made it seem like a whole 50 minutes.
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I found a place that seemed nice. The spot was along the river, I was in between the serenity of the river and the noisiness of cars and scooters driving along the road.

7:00 pm
I’m sitting here on a ledge along the Tevere. On one side of the ledge it is quiet but on the other it is noisy. I see a man by the river that is just sitting on a ledge with his feet hanging off. He is the only person I can see for miles. He seems to be relaxing just watching the river and taking in the fresh air. A few minutes later he gets up and leaves. Now, it is just me, the cars and the river. There aren’t many people around here which makes me kind of the nervous. The restaurant I see in front of me is closed and everything else looks like a residential area. There are empty tours buses parked along the road. I wonder if this is where they come at the end of the night when their work day is over? This makes me even more nervous. I’m not sure I will be able to sit here for an entire 2 hours.
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7:20 pm
There is a man coming my way. He looks a little sketchy. He is the only person who I have seen in 20 minutes which worries me a little. Who is he? Why is he here? I’m trying to be subtle by observing my surroundings as if I am studying the trees, the architecture and the river to get a closer look at him. Is he a gypsy man? I can’t tell. Without a doubt, I hear, “Ciao Bella, Buena Sera.” I pretend I don’t hear anything and make no eye contact like I was told. I start taking pictures of the buildings in front of me to look occupied. I’m beginning to wonder this spot was such a great idea.

7:30 pm
Another bus just pulled up. Now I’m really starting to think that this road is intended for buses to park along and as time passes I’m doubting that I will see more people walk by. It feels a little strange being alone. For the first time in weeks I am really alone, like completely by myself. I’ve gotten so used to traveling in a pack that I forgot what it feels like to be completely alone. The one thing I miss about being alone is being on my own schedule. For the past three weeks, me and my roommates have had to pace our days according to “our” schedules. Since we live off campus, we go to classes together, go home together, eat together, go food shopping together and do pretty much everything together. This feels weird for me sometimes because these are things I usually do on my own.

7:40 pm
Not much has been happening aside from the cars and scooters driving frantically as they always do here in Rome. Sitting here alone has made me this of home and how at this moment it feels twice as far away. I am no longer home sick but and missing everyone at home. 8:00 pm
It’s really hard for me to just sit back and relax now because things at home aren’t so great. Part of me feels like I should be home with my family but the other part knows there is nothing I could do. Being here at this moment makes home feel twice as far away. I’m worried about what will happen to my little cousin. He is so little and helpless. I’m scared to think about how he must be feeling not knowing what is happening to him. He is the closest thing I have to a sibling since I have always been an only child. It breaks my heart thinking that something this terrible is happening to him. I can’t really enjoy my time anymore because part of me feels guilty having fun while he is so helpless. My parents say I should stay positive for his sake and I’m trying.

8:30 pm
There have been a total of 5 people to walk by here in the past hour and a half. There was the sketchy man, a couple and two women who looked like mother and daughter. It’s getting kind of dark and I’m getting a little more uneasy about sitting here. I think I’m going to drift some more to find myself a taxi stand.
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View of the Street
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2 out of the 5 people I saw
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Monday, June 11, 2007

I don't have a map

I don't have a map and I love it. I feel like having a map doesn't really help me with anything because I don't know the subway system and bus routes in Rome. That means that I'm simply always wandering, even when I need to be at a precise place at a certain time I end up there somehow after long wandering. I think I don't use maps because I'm the type of person who learns a route visually by looking at my surroundings. I don't memorize streets, I memorize my path and the things I see along on the way. So basically a map is not much help for me because I learn things by personally and physically experiencing them and not by following some lines on a piece of paper. In a sense, I do have a map, a map that is internal and one that only I can follow.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Drift through Trastevere

When I think of Drifting I think of timeless wandering. Drifting is relaxed and has no boundaries whether those boundaries are time or place. Drifting allows you to capture mental pictures of the stroll you are on. While drifting, you notice different things, hear different sounds, and are overall more in touch with your senses. On our drift through Trastevere I noticed things that I would have normally not paid attention to. I began my walk passing by a man who seemed to have all the time in the world. He was dressed in a suit and wore dark sunglasses. He seemed to be either waiting for someone or guarding the area. I walked down a street of restaurants and noticed some weird graffiti on the walls. The graffiti almost looked like stencils someone spray painted through. During my walk, I heard the sound of dishes being shuffled around coming from the back side of a restaurant which I assumed was a kitchen where someone was washing the dishes. Past the restaurant was a bakery with pastries which were calling my name. It was a cozy bakery with local women working in the bakery. The pastries were amazingly delicious. At the end of the drift I ended up near the same timeless man with no where to be.
Here are some things I saw along the way...
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Sunday, June 3, 2007

My reflection

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tight Squeeze

The biggest transition from Private to Public I have had to make in Rome is actually using public transportation. I drive everywhere. I hate being on someone else's schedule. I make up my own schedule, I don't chase the bus, the train or taxi. Every time I have taken the train/bus/tram so far I have gotten lost either going in the wrong direction or being on the wrong bus. Taking the train is also a challenge for me because I have extreme germaphobia. I try not to touch any public spaces. For me poles, railings, handles, buttons and other things touched daily by hundreds is an area that screams GERMS. On top of that, there are the sweaty people who are standing so close to me that I could practically feel them breathing on me. Everytime the bus stops I feel like with my luck and germaphobia someone will tumble onto me and use me as their human napkin. The apartment I am living in also took some getting used to. At home I have my own room and my own bathroom that no one else uses. When I first walked into the room I was going to be sleeping in for the next six weeks I felt the germs creeping up on me. I layed out my clothing and bedding and only touched the areas of my room that were covered with things I brought from home. Every other surface which is not mine was automatically covered in germs. I am getting better now that I have spent about 10 days here. I still think about the germs but not as much. Maybe this trip will cure my germaphobia.

My name is pretty popular...

When I was in elementary school the name Elina was quite uncommon...I only knew one other person named Elina- the Elina that is studying abroad in Rome with me right now. Over the years I have met people named Elina and my name does not feel so unique anymore. There is even a store in Rome called Elina Ogay...

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