Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30 Saturday

Woke up late this morning... So bolted to breakfast after tossing on some clothes.

Went for a walk later, still getting the hang of the cobblestone streets. Every now and then if I'm not very carefull I trip over one of the many crumbled "pot holes" in the sidewalk.

We stepped into a little grocery store, where the smell of fresh fish filled the air. *sighs* perhaps I shall get over my dislike of eating something with the scales still on it, and learn how to cook fish.

this may take a few tries on the cooking bit though.

In the afternoon, following a brief MONSOON of rain (oh, there are little things to remind me of home after all!) we got our bus passes and started to learn how to use the express bus!!

I'm not entierly sure how it worked, but I was somewhat aware. And with some practice, I'm sure I will get the stops down too!

success of the bus ride: I did not fall down while it went jolting onto starts and unexpected stops. I have the standing up and swaying bit nearly managed.

Here's what we did today: divided up into groups, given a list of things to take pictures of (famous buildings, random objects..the type of things one is used to seeing in print on a white paper)

I can't even tell you how many buildings I saw, fountains, monuments. IT IS UNREAL.

So, I'm going to get out my map and try to find the main highlights and put it up when I can.

A few highlights

the monument of emmanuel...first building I saw. A huge white marble building with angels and lions perched on the sides. In the center is a Roman astride a rearing horse. And below him a golden figure of a lady holding something..symbolic. On either side of her, at the topof the many stairs we climbed (still only halfway up the monument) there are two flaming canldes. and some sort of Italian gaurds (two real live people) are stationed as well. I will be looking those meanings up tonight!

The colosseum is massive and impressive. Starring straight up you'd think the thing would fall on you!

We got lost and ended up walking around the upper part of..well...still don't know where. Just got back after all. and we were rather lost for a part of that time. But it overlooked a whole area, and we could see the colosseum as well as ruins of where the romans paraded upon return, remianing columns still stood.

Found the Pantheon just as dusk came. We rounded the corner, and i swear if anyone else was coming I didnt hear them. It was a little below where the street came out, and the plaza slopped down to the enterance. There were little restaurant all around the open space. And a woman sang in beautiful Italian while a man on guitar accompanied her. It was a beautiful moment, with the music and the lights and that massive marble building before us. Walking past, I wanted to stop, it was all I could do not to fall over like a bimbo tourist gawking at the massive building. because that's exactly what I was doing.

Last stop was the Piazza Novana. It was breathtaking. The sky was dark and the lights were on to draw your eye to the statues illuminated so softly. The shadows made the edges soft and designes elegant. The old building became more than just a hunk of marble, but a historical witness. *sighs* okay, i may be romanticising a little bit. But one has to pinch oneself to stay alert to the constant bombardment of fabulous architecture and famous buildings. But to be alert is to be open to awe....

For dinner, my first meal out in Rome, PIZZA!!!!!!
I WISH pizza at home could be like this. The crust is so light, i had a whole plate of pizza! (and didnt feel stuffed) and it's not greasy and all fried tasting :) the sauce was LIGHT. and there was eggplant and and fresh basil on it.
for dessert, my bowl of fresh fruit was two oranges (with the leaves on the stem still green)
Safe to assume that they were from a tree either behind the building or next door. (since we see orange trees everywhere!!)
it was divine. Absolutly exquisite. (yes..i'm talking of fruit...don't judge till you've been there)

Got back a little later last night and went for a walk. Got a little turned around in the middle of nowhere and I asked a man closing up his open stand of flowers where we could find a pub or bar (which is a cafe) with much gesturing we worked it out. Then he talked of politics hahahaha i kept it locked up. there were enough other people in the small group of us who had comments. He doesnt like their president either. but likes Obama's policies...okey dokey then.
Found our way back to nomentana (the road that we live on here) and went to the same pub as the night before. Which was totally legit cuz like, all of the locals were there! and one of the guys was excited to speak english with us too :)
oh, and the waitress didnt know english, but DID know a little bit of french! which was sweet because i was able to be semi useful and order for us :)

back home, went to the kitchen and downed some more of those crackers and nutella. What a ideal evening with the perfect end. Guess this means i'll be leaving some clothes behind to make room for some jar of nutella.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 2

Woke up after twelve and a half hours of sleep feeling wayyyyy more human. like, from the planet.
Freshly delivered bread with jam and yogurt :)
meeting to talk about what was here how the classes would be blah blah blah (this the point where my body realized it was three in the morning back home!!!)

Went to the grocery store to buy supplies for lunch and some snack (most especially chocolate!)
and cheese! fresco. fresh! Provelone and another one, Montasio. Also huge bushel of greens that I inadvertantly touched and therefore was culturaly expected to buy Cime De Rata.. a very flavourful salad looking green :) If I get tired of it with our olive oil or balsamic Vinegrete, I'll just fry it up with some garlic and carrot slices and that will be just goooood!

after dinner and dessert (carrot based sweet type crackers and NUTELLA!!! which is a staple like peanut butter..only, way more satisfying to the soul)

After dinner a group of us went out walking. Came back in plenty of time, because long day the next day...and a few people in the group wanted to try and get back so not totally dead.
Got to see a monument (don't know the name yet..) the Italian solders i assumed. And huddled under an awning outside a lingere shop met a Italian law student who talked with the group of damp, non italian speaking Americans. Very cool. He said he loved America, it's a beautiful country.. but he did not like the food at all. Can't blame him one little bit.

Went to Bar Zeus to get dry. That's all I will say online about that.

Then the whole group trecked back, waiting for green walking lights to go. which is very wise to NOT jay walk since Rome is a city FULL of tiny itty bity smart cars and motor bikes that go zooming about.

Currenly under one of my four blankets that are on my bed down the hall retrieving internet.
Buona Notte! Goodnight <3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wherever I put my sleeping bag is where I call home!

Landed, in Rome :) at 7:15am.. that is 1:15am in PA. And for possibly the first time in my life I could not fall asleep! Had fun occasionally stumbling around the cabin, regaining circulation to my lower half from sitting so long. The plane was not full at all, so we could seat shuffle amongst our group a little. and walk down an isle without tripping over feet everywhere!

After being picked up at the airport we drove for about an hour through Rome to get to the place we're staying... couldnt help nodding off despite the interesting buildings and shops we passed!
arrived here, driving through the (very) narrow gate to see the beautiful little gardens they have!!!! Used the one teeny tiny elevator (two at a time) to get our luggage to our rooms.

Rooming with Jill Miser (despite the option to be alone) psh! much better this way. We have rearranged the room to be more comfy. and are stashing clothes while decorating walls :)
Safely established.

...Toured the building, talked over classes and stuff. Jet lag destroys...

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Just found out details about the accident with the three seniors who volunteered at the fire dept. It is hard being so far away from everyone while things are so rough. I hate not being able to do anything....and now i can't even give a simple hug. Praying for everybody over there anyways.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Departure W00t!

I have somehow managed to fit three months of clothes and necessary supplies into one checked in suitcase and two carry ons. This feat largly atributed to my mother's backpacking skills. she looked like mary poppins loading her apartment into one suitcase. Thus the disaster compiled in my room shrunk into the required size.

There are the nerves, but now those tremors of excitement have struck a chord in me. (listen,the sound of adventure! excitment! exploration!) okay, I'm a little sleep deprived. Gaurenteed to zonk on the 8hr flight though.

We gathered after checking in our tickets, chatting with parents..and (lucky for me) an AWESOME friend of mine who came to see her (also awesome) brother depart. Not that it matters, but it brightens up the wait.

Current location with the other 9 students (before meeting up with the remaining 3 at the connection): Pittsburgh Airport. Flying United to Dulles, Washington. Anticipating leaving