Inconveniences or Adjustments?

Moving to Rome presented several opportunities to adapt to life without the everyday affordances I took for granted in California. For example, many stores close during siesta hours or are simply not open on particular days. Closed grocery stores, unlike those in California where I can shop at any given hour of the day, was one of the biggest changes. Along with the grocery stores’ hours of operation, the lack of screens in windows and the inevitable presence of bugs in my apartment was new to me as well.

This semester I do not have a laundry machine in my apartment complex as I did last semester. Fortunately, there is a Laundromat located around the corner from me. This weekend I made my first trip there and was delighted to see that not only did they have washing machines, but dryers as well. This was an exciting discovery after becoming accustomed to hang drying my clothing, and having to accept I may not be able to wear my favorite pair of jeans for another week.

Italian culture, adjusting to living in a new place, Trastevere, study abroad in Rome, international schools abroad,

I walked in and found myself staring at the machine for several seconds looking mildly bewildered. Realizing I had never actually been to a Laundromat, I was not sure where I was supposed to insert the money. The man who was working there came around the corner, saw the puzzled expression on my face and walked me across the room to a wall where I inserted the money and chose what machine to turn on. He then followed me over to the machine and told me to load my clothes. I was mildly embarrassed as he watched me put my Spiderman t-shirt and snowflake sweatpants into the machine, but the embarrassment subsided as I realized that I am surely not the only Spiderman fan he has ever helped.

After the kind man’s assistance, I put my first load on and began to read a book for my film class. A couple minutes later I heard ringing and odd music coming from the corner of the room. I pivoted around to notice there were slot machines lining one of the walls. Several of the characters from the neighborhood came in, not to do their laundry, but to play on the slot machines. After observing a few men play (and lose) a couple rounds, I read a few more chapters and brought my wet clothes to the dryer. Without realizing what I was doing, distracted by my conversation with the man filling the dryer next to me, I put in too much money and wound up paying for 45 minutes extra.

This experience, along with the other adjustments moving to Rome, has taught me several things: sometimes you won’t be able to make it to the grocery store on time and will have to opt for a slice of pizza elsewhere, you will not have a screen to protect you from mosquito bites, and you may have to wait a little longer for your clothing to dry. However, mosquito bites fade, the pizza is great, and you can either get your homework done or get your gambling fix at the Laundromat.

Michelle Moylan
Communications Major
JCU Class of 2015
Home State: California

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