My First Night in Rome–Michelle Maciel

Posted on January 23, 2014

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My first day in Rome was burdened with unpacking and uncertainty. I ventured out into the unfamiliar city to eat lunch with my boyfriend at a local cafe that was situated in-between both of our new apartments. We sat at the cafe ready to enjoy our first authentic Italian meal; a beautiful kick start to our upcoming months abroad. Unfortunately, we were sitting down not to enjoy a meal, but to attempt to choke one down. The pasta was so bad I’d rather not even describe it to all of you. Instead I’d rather tell you about the meal that turned that entire day around. The meal that made me excited to be abroad. The meal that made me thankful to be where I was at that moment in my life.

Some hours after that first horrid meal my two new roommates, my boyfriend, and I began to venture towards the center of Rome. We figured we’d just pick any restaurants knowing that there were options every five feet. Finally, we stumbled into a fantastic piazza known as Campo dè Fiori and the four of us sat down at a restaurant called Magnolia. The air was transitioning into a lovely brisk night while the sky was turning a deep orange. We ordered drinks and settled in while they cooked our pizzas. The outside seating fit the mood perfectly. Simply the anticipation for the meal began to mend my yearning to return home.

Then just like magic our pizzas appeared. I had ordered the classic, a margarita pizza. The pizza crust was thin and delicate and upon the first bite yielded the perfect trace of coarse salt. The thin crust was crisp at the edges while remaining soft as it inched towards the center. Somehow the lightweight crust never became overly soggy and flimsy. The crust was then layered with a marinara sauce that was incredibly enriched with flavor. It didn’t taste like the bland red, tomato sauces I had become accustomed to eating on American pizza. This sauce was full of flavor which truly took me by surprise. Then to add to the beautiful combination, mozzarella covered the pizza. The cheese was golden and juicy and tasted staggeringly fresh. To top it all off was a single newly-picked basil leaf. The meal itself was much more than a great pizza. It made me feel welcome and comfortable in this new country. The meal was allowing my expectations of my time abroad to be satisfied. I no longer felt scared to be in this new country with new customs and a new language. The meal supplied me with excitement for the months ahead and I left dinner completely enamored with my new home.

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