ROME, ITALY – Journal Installment # 5
Just a note to say hi…and let you know that not only am I still alive, but that I am also doing well on this side of the Atlantic.
I’m starting to assume that things are settling down for me as I’m back to writing…a practice which proves that things are “back to normal.” As such, I thought I’d share this one…which in so many words describes how I’m doing…and what I’m thinking…
I hope you enjoy it, and know that I think of you often.
There is Something About Rome…
I remember that it was the airport. Yes, it was the airport. I remember it now – so many people…I’ve never seen this many people in one place before. Its so hot. So hot, and there are so many people. Which way do I go? Oh I see it now.
No – it was not the airport, it was the house. Everyone is so friendly, but I cannot understand them. Why can’t I understand?? Its simple, but it just doesn’t make any sense. This way? Yes, thank you. No, not the house, it was school…a classroom with other students. A classroom in a school with other students. Chat, chat try to learn, but no, that wasn’t this either.
Maybe it was the streets. Buildings only six stories high but so so close. The buildings aren’t tall, but they are so close they block out the sun. My ankles hurt. Wow, my ankles hurt. Its the cobblestone streets. The stones hurt your ankles after a while. Maybe the fountains that perpetually flow. Yes, that’s it – the flowing fountains. No, not the streets. It can’t be. Not the fountains…those are everywhere.
Maybe it is the art. Yes, its the art. Everywhere art, art, art. The art paralyzes my eyes. My eyes are overwhelmed by the cornucopia of statuary. No, art is nothing, it’s the architecture. Every building is different. So many different colors. So many different styles. Why are they so different? Where are the glass walls? No.
It was the lights. Every window is glowing with some light. The stores glow dimly in the evening twilight. No, not the light of the windows, it’s the light of the Christmas decorations hanging over the streets. Twinkle here, twinkle there…no…not those, it’s the music. The sound of instruments on the street. My ears filled with the sounds of ages past…music harking back to days of simple melodies when words were not important. WORDS MEAN NOTHING, its just the music. No, not the music, it’s the smell. The smell of fresh flowers. Fresh flowers and fresh fruit. No, not those – the smell of fresh pasta. No thank you, I’m not looking for anyone at this restaurant, but can I have your card?
Where is it? Where is it?? Oh now I see. Just around the corner and take a left. Brrrr…its starting to get cold. Why didn’t I wear a thicker jacket? You know it gets cold at night. You know it gets cold at night and yet you once again wore a thin jacket. Oh there it is.
Why didn’t I know this place before? Maybe I did…maybe it was here the whole time and I just didn’t see it. It had to have been here, but I didn’t see the sign. I didn’t see the sign nor the tables evenly spaced inside from the street. There they are – there are my friends…they were here the whole time and I didn’t know…I didn’t know…
It doesn’t matter now…I am where I’m suppose to be, and that’s all that matters now… I’m here, and I was always suppose to be here…
OK – so things have been busy lately, and I’ve slacked off on the “weekly” updates. haha. Not to overwhelm, this is the update up to Christmas. All is well here in the Eternal City, and I’m having a good time with the friars here. We’ve even had some fun with the others from the Generalate (I’ll put that in the next update)…and more roasting of foods over open fireplaces (still strange to me). Hope everyone is well!
On Saturday, December 5 I went downtown – MAJOR mistake! There was a massive Communist/Anti-Berlusconi demonstration that literally consumed the entire city. All of the streets were blocked off, the Carabinieri were EVERYWHERE (guarding important places in case violence breaks out), and there was even a communist concert right in front of St. John Lateran!!! On a side note, there is a wonderful place for tiramisu just south of St. John Lateran in Re de Roma.
The following few days were rather uneventful. On Wednesday I discovered a few pen stores. This in and of itself brought a smile. This inspired me to locate some art supply stores which I did the following day.
On Friday I finished the book I was reading – Oceano Mare by Alessandro Baricco (highly recommended) – took care of some errands, and went to the art supply store I had found the previous day.
Thus I ended Week 10.
On Sunday, December 13 I finished writing etc. a text on my experience of Rome – “Something about Rome” – which was a good reflection of my thoughts thus far.
Wednesday was yet ANOTHER strike/shut down of the entire public transportation from 8:30am-5pm. I did not go to school as my classes were from 9:30am-1pm.
Thursday I had an exam to determine if I move into the next level for my language classes. It was rather easy in parts, but I am still having problems with the passato prossimo, the reflexive, and the imperfect (this was discussed on the day of the strike). The future tense and the imperative were a breeze. The following day was our last day of class, so after a celebration at school with all the students for the end of the year/Christmas, we went for coffee and gelato. On Saturday I went for another goodbye party with some friends of mine.
End of Week 11.
On Sunday, December 20 I went with Bros. Sergio and Carmine downtown with the youth of the parish. We went to St. Peters for confessions and the Pope’s Angelus Address then headed to downtown for food. Next we headed to the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona (I was apparently the walking, human map who had to navigate the twisting streets) where after some time with all the temp. vendors, we headed to the Piazza di Spagna for photos and headed home.
On Tuesday, December 22 I went with Fr. Eligio and Bro. Sergio to Orvieto. We stopped to pick up some flowers for the church before heading to our house there. The house there is VERY old, but very beautiful. After heading to the cathedral (one block away) and some shops nearby, Bro. Sergio and I headed back home to Rome via our parish in Orvieto.
The following day I spent with Fr. Stefano doing various errands.
Christmas Eve – Midnight Mass in the parish – literally standing room only.
Christmas – surprisingly the normal routine, but pranzo was yet again a large, many-plated affair.
End of Week 12 and 3 Months in Italy!