Following our dreams and moving to Rome
This November, my wife, my 3 and half year-old son and myself are taking a hiatus of five months from our current lives and moving back to Rome. Since May of 2009, we have created, owned and operated a European style hostel and bar at a ski resort in Central Vermont.
You read that correctly, we are leaving our business and livelihood for the last eight years behind, during our busiest and only lucrative months of the year, to pursue a dream of my wife to be part of the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy of Rome. And this is probably the least crazy life adventure I’ll ever undertake.
I’m about to become my 3.5-year-old son’s primary care taker, and I couldn’t be more excited. The place where we met, fell in love, and ultimately got married in 2012, is about to become our temporary home again. It is a city that we both hold an overwhelming affinity for and to be able to go back for an extended period of time is amazing.
As with any major life change, questions and unknowns are abundant. One of the most difficult issues we’ve had to deal with, which I am sure most expats experience in Rome, is the speed at which things are accomplished. Ironically, the pace of life in Rome can be one of the most appealing aspects of the society. The frustration mainly occurs when one has time sensitive documents or plans that can’t always wait until ‘domani’.
I was fortunate enough to be able to get my second undergraduate degree from the American University of Rome. In the 3.5+ years I lived in Rome, I became fully immersed, adopting ASRoma, the language, the slang, the pace and most of all, building relationships and friendships with people all over the city from all walks of life. And now I get to share all of this with my child, on a daily basis.
Living in Rome prior to this trip has given us a certain level of experience and understanding of the workings of the city. We located an amazing flat in Testaccio, a neighbourhood that has been completely transformed since the time I studied here. Between the completion of the Mercato Testaccio, the restoration of the beautiful Piazza Testaccio, and the multiple playgrounds that are not only clean and well lit, but void of zingari and other undesirables with regards to young kids, it is a Rione anew.
Now that we have a child of almost school age, we find ourselves constantly in search of new things to explore and discover with him. We were lucky enough to have Roman friends with a child of similar age in a extremely flexible daycare/school program that he is attending twice weekly.
With my wife now taking on a full time position, I find myself about to take on the full load of responsibilities as caretaker of our child in one of my favorite places in the world, and in a city that I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to explore and discover again.
We will have the opportunity to sit outside the Cafes and Vinotecas of our friends and truly immerse ourselves in all that is Rome. Playgrounds and outside activity is a must for our child and every child and I look forward to trying to find all the playgrounds in Rome. Libraries and museums I may once have never had a reason to enter and now it’s at the forefront of my mind as I begin researching what my options are.
Ultimately, I will have the opportunity to discover, investigate, and curate, an entirely new version of Rome that I hope to share with the world.
And hopefully, brush up on my Italian skills (because let’s face it, speaking Italian will definitely help if you move to Rome)! If you’re unsure on where to start, try an Italian course or language school. One that’s really the cherry on top of the cake is Torre di Babele, located in the elegant art nouveau district close to Piazza Bologna and Rome’s Sapienza university – far enough from the touristic center but close enough to resemble an authentic Roman neighbourhood. You can take a variety of courses, ranging in duration from a week to a year. Give it a shot!