TahiraROMA: vol. 9

When in Rome…
DO as the Romans do…

What does that even mean in modern day Rome?

And who are these Romans you might ask?

Of all the various cities I have visited in my short life, I have never met a city so inundated with cultural complexities. The disparities between the young and old, local and foreign, historical and avant garde, graceful and gritty, Rome has a peculiar juxtaposition between all said things.

// LOVE/HATE // LIFE/DEATH // OPEN/CLOSED //
Anagnina Metro – Processed with VSCO with ku4 preset
San Giovanni Metro – Processed with VSCO with 4 preset

I’ve experienced the perplexities of friends and foes unable to grasp my love for the world…
In every place I hold dear, I’ve been asked this question…

“Why do you want to live HERE?”

That’s a great question…
I’m still trying to figure that out! 
Should I tell them? 
Why not… 

When I think of Italia… 
.

I see streets rich with texture,
modern art meeting
ancient architecture
with cobblestone paths
and aged patina
.
I hear the rhythm
of footsteps, young and old,
that have tread each road
throughout history
.
I smell the unique mix
of fumes and fine spices
coupled with cappuccino
and afternoon breeze
.
I taste rosemary tagliatelle
and vino rosso
finished with endless
gelato and refreshing
limoncello
.
I feel centered…
as the sunlight
squints my eyes…
right at home.

Is there unrest? 

A B S O L U T E L Y

But what nation, better yet, what human heart does not face unrest? 
I’d consider it as uneasy as a family reunion… where you are just not too sure what dynamics will be present this time…

[*insert Jill Scott: Family Reunion (2004)*]

I’m asked this question often: 

How do you deal with the Racism in Italy?


My response is rather simple: 

Um… I’m from America! 

Trigger warning: watch at your own risk

Interestingly enough, most people don’t understand the validity of that response. The perception we have of each other is skewed with assumptions and misappropriated interpretations of history. We all just need to sit down at one table and discuss our stories… It’s only then that we can find our thread of similarity and commonality. For example, EMPATHY is a gift I was given… however, I still have to utilize it in order to affect change around me. What better place to knit the hearts of man toward one another, than in the center of the ancient world. (I feel like the Avengers, seeking to go back in time, to affect the future! #nospoilers) Walking around and seeing SO many cultures packed into a relatively small city, reminds me of the power of influence. From far and wide, it is a safe assumption to say that every inch of this world is represented here. That includes every judgement, political opinion, misconception and insecurity. It’s not surprising that friends and allies are concerned for me… the Black American, coming into a modern day race war. I was on the metro with two other American friends (of the Bianca persuasion…). Mid-conversation, an Italian woman turns to me, grabbing my shoulders saying, “Your English is so good!” <– come again? I was stunned. Honestly, my first thought was that she said “Your Italian is so good…” (which it is NOT!) but then I realized she said English… I was like… “You must have me mistaken” OH YES!!! You think I’m African! (*insert African country of choice*) I often have to be careful how I’m walking past people, as the assumption is that I’m a desperate and deceiving refugee. What a way to see the vast variety of perspectives in this beautiful and complex city. 

You often find yourself
in the faces of those
you are surrounded by

So I’ve chosen to love them… 
For they deserve love in the same way that I do. 
They just don’t know it yet. 

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