A few months ago, Kaylin Mahoney, CC ’15, decided to drop everything, move to Rome, and blog about it. A few days ago, she sat down with Bwog (virtually—she’s in Italy, after all) for an interview.
Bwog: How long were you at Columbia? Will you ever come back?
Kaylin: I completed one and a half years at Columbia. I do plan on coming back, but I’m not sure whether it will be in one or two years, I want to leave it open-ended. Just to frustrate my financial advisor.
B: Why did you decide to go to Rome?
K: I needed a change, and I tend to be dramatic. I’m at a point in my life where I can afford to do something like this, stop everything and move to Europe, because I hold virtually zero responsibilities. Plus, pizza.
B: What did your family say when you told them about your plans to go to Rome?
K: I mean, they weren’t thrilled. Why would they be? Their daughter is taking time off from her fancy man Ivy League school to do nothing in particular in a foreign country by herself. I get it. But I must say that my mother was and is incredibly supportive. I’m not so sure that she took me seriously at first, but to be fair, I come up with irrational schemes that never go anywhere all the time. But once I started taking real steps to make this happen, like getting a job, contacting potential host families, and mapping out timetables, she stood by me. Or really sat by me, on our new couch with reclining seats and cup holders.
My father, on the other hand, did not take it as well. He is absolutely certain that I’ll meet some screwball, get married, drop out of college entirely and never return to the States. He’s convinced himself that I’ve ruined my life forever. The fact of the matter is, he just wants the best for me, and he loves me so much that he worries himself sick. I’m very lucky.
B: How long have you been in Rome? Are you planning to go elsewhere in Italy/Europe/the world?
K: I’ve only been here for two weeks, but I’ve done enough nail biting and temple-rubbing to signify three months of stress. The days are long when you’re constantly straining to understand what people are asking of you, which is usually directions. I don’t know what it is about my face that tells people that I know what I’m doing, but let me make this perfectly clear: I have no idea what I’m doing.
And as far as international travel goes, I’m actually going to Switzerland tomorrow [March 30th] to visit a friend over the long weekend. I’d like to go as many places as I can afford, so let’s cross our fingers that I don’t blow all my money on gelato.
B: Do you have a job? We think you’re a nanny?
K: Nailed it, Bwog! I’m an au pair for an adorable family of three (mom, dad, and two year old Edoardo), so I do the same type of work as a nanny, but with half the hours and one fifth the pay. I’m also required to teach the kid English. So far, he can say “bye” and “chicken”.
B: What is Rome like? Are people nice? Do they understand you? Have you met any cute Italian guys?
K: Rome is dirty. There’s litter everywhere and people pee in the streets. I peed in the street. The people are nice, but I wouldn’t say that they’re any nicer than the people in New York. What’s important is that they’re always willing to help, which I’ve been incredibly grateful for.
[Ed note: She didn’t say whether she had met any cute Italian guys.]
B: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you since you got to Rome?
K: I would have to say that my biggest challenge here so far was purchasing a cell phone plan. The phone companies are all obviously different here, the three major carriers are: Wind, Tim, and Vodaphone. I walked into the mobile store closest to my house, a Wind shop with only two employees, Mariella and Luciano, neither of which spoke a word of English. It took me about two hours to pick and purchase a plan, and it ended up not even being the one I wanted.
All I could do was point, shout “NO”, and then smile so that Mariella wouldn’t think I was mad at her…I looked like a moron. I went back to fix it a few days later with an English-Italian phrasebook in my pocket. I like to think that it went a hell of a lot smoother, but I still don’t have a working phone.
K: I would hope that my life is more like The Lizzie McGuire Movie because she has an awesome cartoon companion and gets to be a super hot pop star for a week. Also, Kristen Bell seems like a bit of a tight-ass.
B: Do you want to plug your blog?
K: Sure! I created a thing so that my friends would be able to see how I was doing and my dad wouldn’t get so many headaches. It’s called Dear Mom and Pops. I use it to post mediocre pictures and tell stories about all of the shitty and wonderful things that happen to me, I also intend on adding videos into the mix once I have more of my shit together.
Feel free to give it a scroll while procrastinating for your essay. But seriously you have to get that thing done.