Rome knew love better than I ever could,
so, I let the city take her hand,
and followed close behind,
picking up the pieces of her melting heart.
As the days pass by I slowly acquainted myself with the city, getting lost down the cobble streets with street names I couldn’t quite pronounce yet. The local chatter down the bars, full of people during aperitivo. I watched closely to see the Italian locals, the students from University and the tourists trying to find their way in a city unbeknownst to them. There were days I felt I was them, still trying to grasp on to this new city I called home, yet still being foreign to the language, the people and culture.
On day three I walked down Tiber river towards the Castel Sant’Angelo with little shops to buy souvenirs carefully placed for the tourists to purchase their memories instead of basking in the beauty of the city. I sit down and closely watch them pass by. A lady singing opera as a crowd forms around her in awe, some on their phones recording and others simply watching and enjoying this moment they will never ever have again. I head back down to Trastevere down my favorite street Via Giulia it is the street I most adore.
The cobblestones, the colored windows, the small boutique shops, to the local hotels and my favorite nail bar. It’s also hidden away from the crowded streets of Campo de’ Fiori. Something I cherish as the people tend to crow the small streets looking at their cell phones, the clothes in the window displays or their maps trying to
find which destination to visit next. There is a hidden café that I found one day in Campo de’Fiori, for two euros you can have the best cappuccino you ever tasted with a barista from México who came to Rome in search of something better than what he found at home. I was taken aback to find someone who spoke Spanish and from Mexico.
Our weekly morning routines went like this:
“Ciao Linda Como estas? ¿Como vas en la escuela?”
“Tutto Bene Emilio, molti compiti, still getting acquainted some days I miss home, some days I am home, and other days I don’t know what to feel.”
“Ay Linda, it gets better, you will cherish the days you spent here and when it’s time to
head back home, you will be forever changed, and you won’t be the same, you will grow in more ways than you can see, take it from me.”
I look at him in awe and I know he is right, he is far older than I and with more life experience. “Do you ever miss home Emilio?” “All the time, especially hot sauce and those tacos al pastor, el mole and of course pan de muerto.”
“EMILIOO don’t remind me, I had to bring four bottles of hot sauce with me, what hot sauce to me is what olive oil is to Italians.” We both laugh and as I pay for my coffee, I say “Ci Vediamo Domani.”
As I get to know the city, I ventured towards Piazza Navona to take me to the hidden gem
of Monti. I pass by the forum, the local tourists with their selfie sticks, the Colosseum at a
distance and the local violinist plugging away to a top forty song in hopes of some spare change.
I finally arrive to Monti and I look for their famous vintage shops. To me the treasures of finding
hidden gems that not everyone will go to is what I love the most. The most oversized sunglasses
I have ever seen to glasses are my prized possession, I see so many my eyes can’t handle the
excitement. High platform shoes, glittered jackets and bags. I wonder where all the clothes come
from, where did they wear their fancy dress and what were they thinking walking down the street
Two hours pass by as I continue to find more items I could ever need, and I head on over
to Il Ristorante La Carbonara, for the best carbonara you will find in Rome or, so they tell me. I
wait eagerly to be seated, and as the minutes pass my carbonara arrives. I take the first bite, and
it is indeed the best carbonara I have ever tasted. I try to compare it to carbonara from Tonnarello
and Grazia e Graziella, and it’s nowhere close to being the same. I was introduced to carbonara
by my lovely friend Giulia who I met at University and took me to Grazie e Graziella for my first
ever carbonara. The carbonara is exquisite, and as I have no more bites to take, I ask for my bill
and head on out back home for my Italian lessons.
I met Italian professor Ilaria from a Facebook group called Expats in Rome. I was in dire need of help, as I was not happy with my Italian or my classes at my University. All I learned was words, that I couldn’t form to sentences. I posted in the chat and finally Ilaria responded and we scheduled my first lesson the following day. One hour of Italian, grammar, to speaking, to homework, to quizzes, to actual tests waited for me. It has been three years since I started classes with Ilaria, and it does not get any easier. At first, I couldn’t speak anything, I could understand. Italian, but I could not form a sentence to save my life, literally if I was dying, I would die, and couldn’t ask for help.
All I learned upon arriving to Rome was “CHIAMA LA POLIZIA, CHIAMA LA POLIZIA.” That was from a Netflix movie I watched with my sorella and that was all I had to save me, Luckily, I have yet to ever scream that.
Italiano con Ilaria Linda, ricorda che spangolo no e italiano. Como, Come is not the same thing! Linda, parla bene, Linda Linda Linda…… I wonder what did I get myself into.
Ciao a tutti! Mi chiamo Linda Lopez e oggi vi parlerò un po’ di me. Vivo in una bellissima città chiamata Los Angeles, nello stato della California e situata nell’ America Nord.
I learned Italian after a professor said I couldn’t, he gave me more determination to do it. I always dreamed of going to all the places I would go, I never knew I could make it possible, until I did. My five-year-old determined self would be proud. As I lived in Rome for two years, I was brought back to me, to find out who I was, not the version others told me or assumed I was. I found the greatest love, that was ever to exist. Self-love. I learned to give no more fucks, about people’s perception of who I am, what they think, what they want me to be, and who they think I should be. That was my greatest victory, coming back to me.
We are a collective of womxn who are taking back our power and listening to our pussies. We don’t believe in fear and we don’t follow the norms. We fought so hard to be here; to be us. We are fierce and we go after our dreams. We cry and we laugh, but most of all, we support one another. We don’t judge, we just hold space. We have desires, dreams, and goals. We are grateful — yet we’re not afraid to brag.
We are #pussygang #iampussygang.