Many things in Rome are ancient; the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the appliances. In America we are used to having things quick and easy because of such inventions as the microwave, electric stove, and the dishwasher. These everyday accommodations become luxuries when you live in the student provided apartments in Rome. It’s literally like taking a step back in time. There’s no dishwasher, electric stove, or microwave. I know what you’re thinking; how on Earth do they survive? Well, we manage. I’m not going to lie and say how living this way makes you a better human being by enduring through such trials because honestly, it’s just really annoying. Instead I’ll jot down some observations I’ve made about life without these must-haves of American living.
- Learning to light a stove- My roommates and I thought it was a sick joke when we found of that we had to use a match or a lighter to actually cook our food. The stove we’ve been equipped with is a gas burning stove but has to be manually started. It definitely took some getting used to and we’ve had a few adventures trying to cook. For example, the other night my roommates pan caught on fire. Thank God for those fire safety classes we were forced to take in elementary school, because of which crisis was adverted.
- No microwave- As Americans we are used to convenience when it comes to food. There are a plethora of frozen goodies to choose from in supermarkets at home and even here in Rome. Downside of walking down the frozen food isle? Student apartments don’t have microwaves. In the event that you want to prepare yourself a quick snack or have the late night munchies you have to actually plan ahead what you want to eat. As a way of fulfilling our late night cravings my roommates and I have bought some quick-fix foods like chips, crackers, and fruit.
- Hand washing dishes- For most of America’s young adults we’ve grown up with a dishwasher. Growing up it was one of my chores to load and unload said device and I hated it. I would procrastinate doing this specific chore as long as humanly possible until my mother would come in and yell at me. Never again will I be so thoughtless. When you live without one of these miracle machines you come to appreciate their value. When living with five other girls we go through a lot of dishes preparing, cooking, and eating meals and the dishes left over can become a mountain. To avoid one person having to scrub this Everest of pots, pans, and dishes, we’ve devised a rule that everyone has to clean and put away their own dishes. It’s helped to cut down on the work as a whole and ensures we always have clean things to use.
- Drip Dry- This goes for student apartments and apparently many other apartments in Rome; there is no dryer. Our apartment has a washer (out on the terrace) and comes equipped with 2 large drying racks. This really isn’t such a hardship considering many girls clothes need to be hung dry anyway. The only issue you can run into is that your clothes take a while to dry (especially jeans). The best solution to this problem is to do your clothes at night, before quiet hours, and let them dry over night. Vice versa, you could do them in the morning before class and let them dry while you’re at school.
Living without the modern conveniences we as Americans become used to is definitely a challenge. You have to learn to live like a Roman and there is really no way around it. Considering this is how most of the world lives, or worse, it really isn’t that big of a deal. It just takes some getting used to and if anything gives you funny stories to tell your friends back home about how you “roughed it” in Rome that one semester.
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