It was September when I moved to Rome, so I had no idea of what to expect when the summer came around. My first summer coincided with a visit from a friend so we went to visit Ponza and then Sicily. It was not until my second summer in Rome when I felt stuck in Rome for the first time. I had a few gigs in Rome that August, therfore, I stayed in town, not that I had many other options. All of my friends were away with their familis, so I began to develop new friendships. Otherwise, I would have ended up talking to myself. I had a new roommate who worked at the Egyptian embassy and I had met a girl from Miami during my training as a running tourguide for Sight Jogging.
I read dozens of Italian books that summer, so my language skills had improved extensively, but I had no one to practice on. Anyone left in town, spoke English. Isola del Cinema on Tibur Island was the only place to people watch so I went with my jogging buddy several times. We ran into the owner of one of the hottest clubs in town. He had hired me several times to sing House with the DJ at hs club. It was nice to run into familiar faces.
During the day I would go running in nearby Villa Ada, which is my favorite park in Rome. Villa Borghese is too manicured and the paved roads are hard on my knees. Villa Ada has dirt paths that weave through an untamed wilderness then open out onto a lake. Although my roommate would jog there as well, since his embassy was located inside, we never ran together.
Eventually, even my roommate went on vacation, so I was left at home alone. It was not until late September came that I realized the effect August in Rome can have on you. It was like being on a desert island. I had been accostuumed to being in an overly crowded city and I now found myself with no one to greet in the mornings.
My only outlet became my jogging buddy. She accompanied me to several parties, where we ended up dancing until 5am and taking the bus home, since we did not trust anyone to drive us home in their enebriated states. Then, she left Rome as well, which is when I spent the loneliest week of my life. There was no one to call and no one to see. I ran two hours every day just to do something. By the end of that week I had dropped a dress size, improved my Italian and was so happy that everyone was on their way back. It was nice to have a break from all of the staring Romans – oh, how they stare – but I was suffering from Cabin Fever.
The first friend returned from Bali just when my roommate got back. There was a villa party in Fregene, Rome’s beach village, and I was so excited to finally see people, anybody, human beings at last! I found myself being attracted to guys I would have never even noticed. Is that what August in Rome does? It makes you desperate?
“You went out with that guy?”, my boyfriend had said, surprised, whenever I have introduced him to someone I went out with that summer just before we had met.
“It was August.”, simply explains it all.