Unknown Me: La Dolce Vita || Rome, Italy
the sweet life
Dreamy. Sweet + Dreamy.
I found myself in Rome in a total dream state. Walking the streets alone, racking up ten miles a day, winding up and down the narrow roads of this beautiful ancient city. There is so much to feel within each hidden nook and cranny that the BIG things seem less important as one wanders purposefully getting lost until found. Found I was, as my stream of thoughts all collided into one spectacularly clear answer: stop traveling. head home.
It makes sense now as I write this but not entirely then…not while I was traveling through Europe, escaping the rituals and expectations of my American existence, searching for a place I could land. A place I could root.
It wasn’t until The Sweet Life of Rome enraptured me in it’s dream-like world that I found all my questions colliding into a call, a whisper of my dreams to Rome.
Why? Because I went straight into the heart of the discomfort, into the isolation, into the unknowing and into the source of all the pain: me.
How? It was because I made the leap to break my patterns, and to keep moving until I heard what it was that I was missing. Only in isolation, in repetition, in the mundane, do we finally break even, and feel a need to find something new, something different, something soul-shattering, which finally bleeds truth. Yes, even in travel. Because all things grow old. The test comes when there’s an urge to jump. The answer is to wait…and to then make your move.
So I waited, and it was there in the dark of midnight at the sight of the Pantheon’s marble white columns that I breathed in the cool air on my last night in Rome, eyes wide open in wonderment, turning a full circle around myself searching for someone to see what it was that I was seeing, only to find no one around but me.
It was then then it finally dawned on me: there is only me. I am the source of everything around me. This. This moment. This reality. Is all me. And if I do not like it. If it doesn’t match the path I had thought I’d have been on by now — I could change it. I do not have to be anywhere but where I want to be. I do not have to do anything I do not want to do. I do not have to be anyone but who I already am.
And so I walked back to my airbnb, packed my bags, and awoke the next morning with a sudden confidence to get on my flight home.
NOVEMBER 7, 2018 ||
I have four more days of travel and then I’m back to Moscow and of course I’m thinking what happens then? Is it the right choice? But where else would I go? What should I do? I feel that I’m the kind of person that needs something to do. An opportunity to make money. To be challenged. To grow.
So what does this challenge look like?
Well, starting over in a new country -- spending time on this part of the world. I do not have to stay here forever - - it is temporary as is everything. So I shouldn’t have fear.
I should just trust as it unfolds because so far all of this has brought me here. But what if it’s all wrong?
NOVEMBER 9, 2018 ||
“This is what happens when i don’t write. i’m stuck. i’m in love. i’m eating half croissants and full croissants + pastries for dinner with almond creme. i’m guesting at strangers i’ve already met. I’m meeting for tonic with a local whose scandalous story would make papers. i am sitting in a cafe with tables set in a cafeteria-style manner, mirrors all around, chandeliers lining the ceilings. this could be Paris or St. Petersburg, but it isn’t. It’s rome. The one place which still feels authentic. He took me here and i’ve come back. Not for the gelato but for a hazelnut coffee espresso with whipped cream, as i’ve already had plenty espresso today. i am not fit. i am not well. i am feeling lost. a bit spent. and bloated. i am heavy. emotionally.”
A dinner, to which I was invited to by a new acquaintance I made in London who mentioned a friend in Rome that I had to meet while visiting. So, connected we were and a dinner was set and I arrived to a homemade Italian meal seated alongside a group of lifelong Romans whose stories I was ready to unveil.
It is important to note: towards the end of the dinner, the friend whose acquaintance I made through my new acquaintance in London, the one throwing the dinner party, suggested that we had already met.
At first, I looked at him and laughed, assuming this was some sort of a joke I wasn’t in on. But then he mentioned new york, and then a lobby tea room, and then the exact moment and conversation, and all of a sudden it clicked that in fact there was an Italian with the same Italian sounding name in my phonebook, and that that Italian was exactly him.
If that isn’t something, I don’t know what is.
Now for the takeaways…
((As always, these conversations are paraphrased, constructed in the way in which I heard them.))
We talked education: in that, a person with the least access to higher education will still receive a good education which will provide them with an opportunity to work in the field that they desire. Meaning, post high school education is job specific. However, with this education, it is not guaranteed that one will have a job. So we talked jobs: in that, the elderly do not want to retire and so jobs that would have been available for the youth, standstill. This does leave opportunity for innovation. So we talked innovation; in that, if one comes from a family of doctors and is unable to take a doctor’s position because their parent is holding that position, one way to surpass decades of work waiting for a position to open, is to innovate. So, create something in the market that does not yet exist. This is of course is easier said than done and isn’t a guarantee for everyone, especially once we started talking about Venture Capitalists. So we spoke on VC’s; in that, the two dinner guests who work in the technological and start-up sectors divulged that there is no technological sector, and that it is “something” to get a 100-200k investment from a VC.
So, yes, innovate, but perhaps not in the technological sector, or at least, not without funding but good luck getting that funding, and that job because someone in their 60’s and 70’s isn’t planning on giving up their position for you to have anytime soon.
We talked relationships and dating;
“American women are the easiest to bed” — this isn’t paraphrased.. even the women in attendance agreed
“It is quite sad that American women will leave a guy’s apartment after sex. In fact, it is so strange that the man will not obviously allow her to stay, and then wake in the morning to make coffee. It’s the least we can do as a common courtesy for sharing an evening together.” — slightly paraphrased and what I said to this is that most men do not offer because they do not want to lead on the woman into believing that this is more than just sex — to which they said, “but what’s wrong with just having sex?”
To which the two women in the room said, “because it’s a thin line. there are women who just want to have sex, and that’s okay but there are times when we activate feelings and that’s when things get difficult..” — so this conversation is universal
“We’re not looking for a feminist woman. When did it become so wrong for a woman to be a woman. Sure, work if she wants to but why can’t she do the traditional roles of women since I’m doing the traditional roles of men?” — slightly paraphrased but this was the sentiment, to which the two women in the room rolled their eyes
thoughts from i’notes
Rome is a good city to get lost.
Rome is a city in which you can walk late into the night.
What I love about Moscow is that there is so much to see and so few people doing it.
I need to start sketching.
A LIST OF TAKEAWAYS
OBSV // Sophia Loren and her body.
It happened, for the first time, in which I found myself observing her movements and curves and posture in admiration, throwing aside the wayfair thin #bodygoals I had long held close to me.
She — Sophia — looked like a woman. And she, was someone I wanted to be; confident, sensual with visible folds of livable life. She desired and she had. I stood for a while envying her until I realized — this could be me, too. (pic1. me before pic2. me now)
MOMENTS OF AWE
If you don’t know, you should know, and those who know, will say that I don’t toss around the word “should” lightly. So go! Now! Because this isn’t a matter of should or shouldn’t you — you must watch anything and everything you can get your hands on that has to do with Marcello Mastroianni!