Newbie in Rome? Step 1, start with the time management
Whoever I have talked to that has ever lived in Rome as an expat or a long term tourist, suffered in the time trap in the middle of Europe’s boot. We’ll give you a guideline, how to organize yourself, manage and keep your accuracy, or take it easy if you can. We’ll teach you some tricky sentences, which will take you away from the trouble and will give you mercy in awkward being-cheekily-late cases.
The first shock
There are three magic words which will effect differently on your mind in each period during your stay in Rome. Sciopero, ritardo, and chiuso won’t mean anything to you, when your plane has just landed at Fiumicino, but there is a good chance you will face them on your first day. Maybe you have to learn the meaning of some during your transfer to the city. Sciopero means to strike in Italian, which happens at least once in a month without exaggeration. Usually the strikes are organized for Fridays, and there is a pause in the rush hours. Romans love to overdramatize everything, so when it’s time for an ATAC sciopero they consider it as an apocalypse. Don’t panic, there is some kind of public transportation, just buses don’t come every ten minutes and it’s inconveniently crowded. Though the situation is almost the same on an ordinary day, get used to it! Ritardo, which means delay is also very common. It’s announced only on the timetable of trains, but it happens with the buses, trams, and on the tube as well. The third shock will be probably be the siesta. After lunch and before 5 pm it’s not easy to do the grocery shopping or do anything official. This is especially true for the suburbs. If you are in the centre, you’ll find open doors even in the lazy afternoon.
Habits to forget
First of all, try to save your nerves, and forget about sharply calculated starting times. If it’s about maths, it will be better to practise how to multiply. If you suppose it’s just 5 minutes of walking, leave 15 minutes for it. This rule should be taken even more seriously if it depends on the public transportation company of Rome or Trenitalian. When you have learnt this, you have done your best, so let the rest go. Stop worrying! If you are in late, use your precious time in the traffic jam and memorize the Italian excuses. The strictest boss will also understand you, if you will refer to “Roma” or “ATAC”. These expressions work as spell words. Regardless if it’s a formal or informal meeting, the common sense whispers that your delay isn’t actually your sin. Not to mention, there is a nice chance that one who is supposed to wait for you is late as well. Remember: it’s Rome, time is just a joke! It will be proven, when you find yourself in a situation waiting for someone for a whole day. And yes, sooner or later these things happen.
Habits to save
You have been always proud of your accuracy and responsibility. Well, the capital of Italy needs these people. You are like water in the desert. If you wake up with the first alarm, and you have never been trapped by the snooze, you will be in a winning position. You have to seize every occasion to save time. If you have a quick breakfast, or you are fast at preparing yourself, be happy, because it’s a precious characteristic, wherever you are in the world. Those are minutes, which make you more appreciated compared to the others. This way you can compensate a bit all the other time killer factors, which you can’t avoid. Though it’s a mission impossible to arrive anywhere on time, but never give up on being exceptional. Once in a while with your skills you can surprise Romans with your great timing.