Exploring Rome as an American, I felt like I was discovering that I'd lived a past life many hundreds of years ago. Construction of the Parthenon was completed before the year 200. So that is 1300 years before Europeans conquered the Americas. That building was well over a thousand years old when Christopher Columbus was born. But Julius Caesar had already been dead for 150 years. I wander around the city, eating slices of thin crust pizza and sipping on tiny cups of espresso and the enormity of all that time swims around in my head.
For the duration of my short trip to Rome, my first trip to Europe at all, I was staying with an old friend, Francesco, who I'd met a decade earlier while traveling through Mexico. He, his brother and his sister live together at their parents' house. For four days his parents took me in and treated me like family.
One night, on an evening trip through the city, to visit some of Francesco's friends and drink a few beers, I was clutching the back of Francesco's scooter when he stopped to point out the spot where Julius Caesar was killed, 2061 years earlier. For a few seconds, I stared in disbelief, gazing across the eons at the far corner of an inconspicuous park And then we went to a local store that sells beers. We hung out on the sidewalk with his friends. It was tough to wrap my head around the idea that I was really in Rome.