Morning run...I sort of have a route down now..so i'm getting lost less and less. Not too concerned about it getting boring though. Fairly certain that with a couple right turns I could bring THAT spark back into the "monotony"
to put your minds at ease (family who loves me and worries) people here (the director and my friends/students here :) know what time I leave. I run with a cell phone. I stay either on the main road or just a block or two away. It's the city, there are people and cars everywhere!
and, if someone wanted to stop the car and snatch me, the traffic here would NOT allow. (esp. in the morning) if a car even slows down or gets in the way... i would hear it 10 miles (km?) away because of all the horn honking that occurs. (it's like another language, or cars. There's even dissonant chorus, chords, harmonys, and conversations from the horns beeping.i can crack open the window and have the accompanyment).
Today, the group went to St. Celemente's Basilica. Look it up, the place is awesome. There's a LOT of mosaics inlayed on the walls, and throughout the chapel. The front part, behind the alter, high up wall in blue, and gold was a mosaic of Jesus on the cross, and at the base a bush that (we were told) is the tree of life. From it branched vines that encircled different images and people. beneath that were two deer (with antlers) peacocks, birds, and flowers. ALL IN MOSAIC. I have never done mosaic, for a very good reason. all the little colored chips fit in so perfectly, and the colors, up close, look random and scattered, but far away make a lovely image.
each corner, side, crevice, wall, and semi circular room to the side (whatever that is called) had paintings, sculptures. Designs wove up the sides of stairs, mouldings decorated edges. They don't do things like that anymore. Every inch of this church was designed and used.
paintings high on the upper part of the walls had different scenes depicted... some very clear with vivid colors. Some older and faded, with pieces of the wall fallen off.
Now here is when it got cool (literally and figurtively) below this church was a 4th century church. used by early Christians. The columns had walls built around them, for extra support (I think i read somewhere after an earthquake the pope had it built up? maybe??) There were Marble columns around where they put St. Clement's supposed body. There's a pretty interesting story in that... he was tied to an anchor and dropped into an ocean. Supposedly angels protected his body and one day someone else found it... Then there's another one, where once a year, the sea receded to leave his tomb exposed so people could see it and visit it. one of the paintings told of a little boy who was lost on one of these occasions and they found him the following year safe in the tomb.
okey dokey then.
Ready, this place gets even more awesome. Below the 4th century church was a 1st century structure as well. it started as a wealthy man's house, and then was converted into a Pagan Temple for the Bull god, Mithras. It was crazy walking through those halls, underground (still cold). One area had the alter, where a new member of the group (or whatever) was initiated, he stood under an grate in front of the alter. Overhead, a bull would be led and his throat slit so that the man below would be washed in the animals blood. *shudders* This sect only allowed male members...and was particularly popular among the roman soldiers and centurion. there was also a school room, (to teach future or new members all the rules and regulations of the game?) The floors were designed brick herring (i think that's how u spell it) making patterns on the floor,with the thin part of the brick side up, and layed close to each other.
We could hear the sound of rushing water, and in one room there was a spring that came down and splashed from the rocks, and made or joined the stream. The water was still good and Jill and I took a drink, cupping our hands under the earth warmed water, and taking a sip :) it tasted how the air smelled. almost. not musty and old though. the water was warm (i had expected it to be ice cold, becuase of how cold the air was) from how deep the spring came from, and it tasted like the dirt it had run through. almost like stream water, and without the flavor of iron like the well water at the barn.
Jill and I just kept looking at each other for the rest of the day, and saying "today, we drank spring water from a first century pagan temple!" sounds silly that we were so intregued by this. but if you were there, you would be too.
Back "home" Jill and I went to the grocery store for meal supplies. Here's some staples we have realized that we should be stocked on:
1. Nutella 2. crackers for the nutella and some for snacking 3. Cheese! all sorts of different kinds to try! 4. something green, or tomatoes 5. pasta. cheap, easy to make and tasty even in the cheap brands here 6. chicken, for protein 7. pesto!!!! 8. picked up some honey...it isnt very thick, light in color, and very sweet! 9. did i already say nutella?
for the group we are provided fresh bread each morning, with plenty to have throughout the day. some yogurt. Also fruit (currently in the fridge are apples, bannanas, kiwi!! and red oranges...but the juicy ripe flavorful delicious kind that we can't get in PA)
sorry for continuing to talk of food, but i figured people want to know what its like, eh? it IS different. and I'm learning to cook! or at least preparing it..that has to count right?
Oh, on the bus, Jill and I talked with a older gentleman with a British accent. Wished we didnt get to our stop so early, it was so completely awesome talking to him! He is here for business for six months, and talked to us about how "autrociously" they drive, and the city governement wouldnt ever do anthing about it, but they should Then he mentioned how something else was "brilliant" in that clear, ennunciated, educated accent. How i wish Americans retained some of that intelligence and ability to use language eloquently.
Laundry....washed it twice and it didnt CLEAN the clothes..they still smelled... so when i bought some detergent (with Jill), it ended up being lavender scented. like, the flower one would grow in the garden. plus it stayed on the clothes after drying (outside on the clothesline :)