Why Rome Was Exactly What I Expected (And That's Okay)

Why Rome Was Exactly What I Expected (And That's Okay)

How I hoped for amazing, and left realizing what I can accomplish

Rome – the ancient city where it all started. We spend hours learning and discussing ancient Roman civilizations in school, yet many of us have never been there (or at least, most likely hadn’t been there before we started learning about it). Aside from not seeing the modern city, it is of course impossible to return and see the ancient city, when the Empire was at its height. Therefore, we use science to infer the way the culture thrived, and textbooks, documentaries, pictures, and sketches to imagine how it could have looked. Additionally, friends who have visited in the last 100 or so years are able to supply us with pictures that grant us peaks into Rome's 21st century buildings and streets. With all of our modern technology, it’s easy to assume we know the way it was through the many centuries, and we develop fairly complex visuals of it all in our heads.

Thanks to all of the prep work through years of schooling and social media, I had a pretty certain idea about what I was about to see when I arrived in Rome this summer. Sure enough, yes. Rome was exactly how I had imagined it. Huge. White buildings. Ruins. Tourist traps and vendors everywhere, but also regular neighborhoods where civilians lived. I was actually surprised at how similar it was to the picture I had drawn in my head.

However, despite all of this, it was still breathtaking, and still felt surreal. The buildings were bigger, older, sturdier than I had been able to envision. They felt more out of place among all of the bustling vehicles and shops than I had thought they would. Even the streets, cobblestone and old, were more unstable that I had anticipated. Every detail mattered, and every detail felt right. I was a modern girl, dropped into an ancient city, where any number of moments previously, a chariot race may have been occurring just a street away; (it wasn’t too hard to imagine, as I did see some horse drawn carts.)

But it didn’t happen just moments ago. It happened millions of moments ago. A thousand years ago, and even more. And yet, here it was, standing before me. Yes, many pieces of ancient marble had fallen, and many buildings were altered from their original state. But still standing on their own accord were the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and more, as they always had. I am glad they’re still there and I feel lucky to have had the chance to see them. It’s important to preserve ancient monuments and buildings, and to remember where we and our model of society come from. We need to remember how innovative we can be, and how much we can accomplish when we choose to put forth the effort.

I have always been a visual learner, and visiting these structures helped me finally add context and meaning to everything I had learned in class growing up. Even though Rome was exactly what I had expected, I found myself staring, eyes wide, jaw dropped, amazed at what humans had accomplished with their own brains and hands. It called my attention to how much we think we cannot accomplish, or only can accomplish with the help of technology and gadgets. It was a wakeup call to envision what I want to do, and then go do it, because I am capable. Yes, I knew what what to expect, and yes, it was just as amazing as I had hoped. But most of all, it left me inspired to not only dream more, but to do more to accomplish it.

Cover Image Credit: Ellie Pinto

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.


Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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