Missing a Piece of Home While in Rome
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Missing a Piece of Home While in Rome


Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s not until you are away from something that you come to realize how important that is to you. I am finishing my second week in Europe. I left Washington, DC in mid-August and spent five days in Barcelona, Spain with my thirteen year old sister, Juliana. My jet lag passed by the time I caught a relatively short flight from Barcelona to Rome, Italy, kicking off my sophomore semester abroad with the University of Dallas.

From the perspective of a young American - Europe is magnificent and Rome is spectacular.

I have only been to a few cities in the surrounding Rome area since arriving, but the ancient architecture and the incredible history is overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, America is grand - modern, beautiful, diverse in geography and people and just amazing. But Europe, and Rome in particular, is grand in a different way. It's old! It's history is long and full. It's architecture is remarkable (many of its buildings and structures have been intact for thousands of years). Beyond the buildings and history, Italy's natural beauty is breathtaking. While my home near Washington, DC and my university near Dallas, Texas have some spectacular areas, Rome and Italy seem to redefine the standard of natural beauty. It doesn't stop there. The culinary experience is also beautiful. Somehow everything looks and tastes better here. The pasta. The salads. The pizza. The gelato. Even the fruit!

Although my experience in Italy so far has been amazing and freeing, there is one thing I left at home that continues to linger in the back of my mind like a friend I haven't seen forever. Neither the natural beauty of the landscapes, including the vineyard on our Italian campus, nor the delicious dishes exquisitely prepared for us by Chef Nino have helped make up for what I miss most of all - peanut butter. I am at a loss that such an amazing country like Italy, would have so little peanut butter, barely any at all to be honest. Like an endangered species or an undiscovered island. It's no where to be found. And I miss it terribly. I never did understand how my sister could handle being allergic to the best thing ever..weird.

There is something incredible about the simplicity of peanut butter. It's smooth. It's uncomplicated. It's good for you. It taste good alone. It takes good on an apple. It becomes something else when combined with jelly on bread or Ritz crackers. I’m not sure I could have made it through my first year of college without peanut butter. It's always there. It's comforting. It is always appropriate to eat, no matter the circumstance or time. Some people love ice cream. Some people adore pizza. If that is the case for you, Italy will be like heaven. However, I love peanut butter. Despite all that is remarkable about my new home in Rome, when it comes to access to peanut butter I feel slightly deprived. The Italians are missing out on this classic. What self-respecting grocery store or kitchen cabinet doesn't have Jiff or/ and Skippy?! Nutella cannot compete here. It's limitations become clear when you try to think of ways to eat Nutella. Peanut butter offers infinite possibilities - genius combinations everywhere.

My biggest regret upon arriving in Europe was leaving a super-sized jar of peanut butter at home. The only thing close to peanut butter I could find was basically a sample size and cost more than 8 euros. I am not even sure it was peanut butter. Americans planning to study abroad in Europe should be informed and warned. BYOPB. Bring your own Peanut Butter (or have your roommate's parents bring some over when they come visit).

I am loving my time abroad, but my fondness for peanut butter grows. One site I will be happy to see when I return to America is my family cabinet, filled with Jiff and the occasional organic, all natural roasted peanut delicacy. Until then I guess gelato will have to suffice..poor me.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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