At home, journals fill another line on my foot-long-pre-quarter shopping list, but this time the normally mundane chore produced a far from effortless venture. I have yet to grow accustomed with the unusual store hours in Rome and found myself locked out on my first two visits to the office supply shop. By the third try my optimism was waning, but as I approached I felt pleasantly surprised from seeing illuminated lights ahead. While Washington’s numerous Office Maxes and the like, beg for customers with their monstrous signs, I have not found another office supply store anywhere close by in this historic center. On a side note, I’ve been strangely surprised by how much larger the interior of stores feel compared to their initial impressions. From the street, the shops look like rows of a crammed bookshelf, with ‘novels’ eclectic in shape, size and color.
Inside the office supply store, books covered countless shelves and countertops. I immediately assumed they were all journals and headed towards the most promising stack. I wanted a small, cheap, but beefy book with blank pages. The first one I picked up fit the physical description perfectly. After cracking it open, I examined the washed out picture in the background and boldly printed calendar dates on each page. Apparently, the store also carried planners. Shortly afterwards I added the “being a journal” to the top of my prioritized list of requirements. Size came second. It needed to fit easily into my purse. As I wandered around the store, the cover of a small journal caught my eye. A woman with a red hat standing at a counter stood out due to the dramatic bar-room lighting captured in the printed cover. I picked it up and casually flipped through the pages. Requirements one and two, check. Price? 1.30 Euros, great! Lines? Yes. Thickness? Very thin. Through personal debates, I convinced myself I could make due with the lines (they might actually be helpful) and I could always come back for a second journal, if needed. Before I finalized my decision I went through the stack to see if another cover would please me more. The deep azure and textured strokes of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” caught my attention immediately and cemented my choice. This little journal will not only contain my thoughts, notes and musings, but will help me create an original compilation of Italian experiences that I can call my own Roman Holiday.