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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

A quick reflection

This was the last week of classes, and I have never been so disheartened by the fact. As it often goes with these things, I have only just fallen deeply in love with Rome, with one foot out the door. The last month was the only one uninterrupted by a trip elsewhere, and the displaced, excited, confused, enchanted dust of myself has only now finally settled down. Now I’m really solid in this place, full and brimming with ideas, and inspiration, and places to be, and places to go and things to say.

I feel so a part of this city, I feel alive within all its life; the language is music, and I have found joy in not understanding what is constantly being said, but just listening to words bounce and flow. The colors and textures live layered one on top of the other— a black and red poster for a rock concert, weathered down to reveal the concrete building painted mustard yellow, which is peeling back to reveal rusty deep orange, on top of it all a swoosh of black graffiti that reads la vita e bella. (I don’t think it’s possible to properly describe this city without run on sentences)

All anyone can talk about now is how much they’re going to miss this. It’s so strange how we cannot help but project into the future like that, as if our mind has already left in anticipation of leaving. I try not to talk about leaving, being home, and missing Rome too much because its reductive of The Now, but honestly, I can’t help myself sometimes. When I’m sitting on the balcony at sunset and the grand dome of a nearby church is being circled by a murmuration of a thousand little black wings, I can’t help but say out loud to myself, I am going to miss this. But then I say, I am here and feel it in my heart. I’ve had that feeling quite often in Rome, an awareness of the now and of being. It’s just really lovely here, the rhythm of the day kept by the ringing of church bells, and sharp blades of blue sky above your head as you linger in narrow alley.

Of course, parts of me are ready to go home. I miss my family with my entire being and I can’t wait to see my friends back in Ithaca. I especially can’t wait to take what I’ve learned here and apply it to life back home, a life that really is more stable. Being back home will be he time to unpack all that I’ve seen and done and read and wrote and created abroad. When you’re here, you want to see everything, experience everything and that take time and attention away from revisiting what you’ve done and create something out of it.  I’m actually really excite to review it all, to water and shed light on the seeds I’ve planted here. I have so many plans for paintings that were just too big to do, my entire practice has transformed into a more concrete path with many possible turns ahead.



Written and Photographed by Margaret Groton

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