Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Chronicles of a Perspiring Pedestrian

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After several days of being a student – not a tourist! – and several nights of not quite enough sleep in that comfy top bunk, I was starting to wonder whether my brain could muster enough creativity for a blog post. As I was walking to school, I realized that Rome has a way of speaking for itself. Let me explain why.

First, I put on my sunglasses, because it was a bit bright. Then, it started raining. I watched a little girl dragging her grandfather across the street, grinning from ear to ear. I saw a Vespa pulled over to the side of the road; its driver had stopped to put on a royal blue poncho. It stopped raining. While I was waiting to cross a busy intersection, I watched a man cruise by in a golf cart. He was casually smoking a cigarette and his left arm was completely wrapped and resting in a sling.

See? No creativity necessary, just a few simple events strung together that made it totally worth my while to walk to school in a bizarre mixture of sun and rain. I stopped at school for a creamy steamy vending machine cappuccino en route to where I thought we were meeting Paolo at 10:30 for our last on-site art class.

The timeline of events is as follows:

10:20 – Arrive habitually early at the place I thought we were meeting and realize no one else was there.
10:21 – Get directions from a nearby policeman, who informed me that the Borghese Gallery was across the villa, about 2 miles away. When he saw the look on my face, he promptly decided it was only 1 mile away.
10:23 – Down my cappuccino and put my game face on.
10:24 – Embark on a fast-paced journey across the Villa Borghese, asking for directions every so often (mainly so I could catch my breath).
10:37 – Arrive at the right place, red in the face…gymnasts aren’t built for endurance events.

Now, Paolo, having realized our tickets wouldn’t allow us to enter until 11 anyways, showed up maybe 20 minutes later. Soon enough we were looking at paintings and sculptures of Caravaggio, Bernini, and the like. Just another day in Rome. I’ve been here for 35 days total, and I’m happy to report that I have checked almost everything off of my list (except for a few things I saved to do with my parents, who are due to arrive very soon!). This week I checked off Sant’Ignazio, Ponte Fabricio, Tiber Island, Fontana delle Tartarughe, the Jewish ghetto and Synagogue, and last but not least, the Vatican Museums. I also returned to Tony’s in Trastevere for another fantastic meal and watched World Cup soccer on the big screen in Piazza Venezia.

Sant'Ignazio, the church of illusions

Sant’Ignazio, the church of illusions

Tiber Island as seen from Pone Fabricio, Rome's oldest walking bridge

Tiber Island as seen from Pone Fabricio, Rome’s oldest walking bridge

Fontana delle Tartarughe, one of my favorites!

Fontana delle Tartarughe, one of my favorites!

I had some pretty tasty kosher gelato when I visited the Jewish ghetto, but pistachio was my favorite this week.

Looks like mud mask, tastes like heaven

Looks like mud mask, tastes like heaven

And this week’s parkers did not disappoint! Just see for yourself.

Parking Award (2)

This car is a winner in every category. Blocking the crosswalk, perpendicular to the road, and note that the front tires are on the sidewalk while the back tire is completely lifted off the road by a circular slab of concrete. Well done.

This week's runner up was not far behind for being not far in front of his fellow rebel parkers.

This week’s runner-up was not far behind…and also not far in front of those other excellent parkers.

Rome is my classroom

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“Meet in St. Peter’s Square, by the obelisk.” This was my most recent instruction taken from my Art History in Rome course syllabus. Being directed to certain class meeting locations throughout Rome was yet another foreign aspect that I had to add to my study abroad experience. Being confined to a classroom, and learning from power points in large groups are entirely shattered concepts here in Rome. This adjustment, however, was not one that frustrated me; I got used to this one rather quickly.

I chose to take Art History in Rome simply because it fulfilled my Art General Education requirement. Honestly, my expectations for this class were not that great. I thought, “Sure, it’ll be cool to study art that I will be seeing on my everyday adventures through the city.” It only took one class to realize how false my expectations had been.

When my alarm woke me up for my first on-site class, it was not so that I could drag myself to a lecture; it was so I could learn about the Colosseum…in front of the Colosseum. There are not many things more beneficial than taking a class that is instructed in front of the object being studied. Now, naturally, I failed to really pay attention to my professor during the first few site visits. Can you blame me, though? I’ve never taken a class which had been instructed in this manner, and more importantly, I had never seen the Colosseum in my life before. The class got more in depth and interesting as the weeks went on, too!

Other meeting sites have included Piazza Venezia, a square which is considered to be the best in Rome, Piazza della Cancelleria, Piazza del Campidoglio, and Piazza Navona. In these locations, I adjusted, and learned how to become focused amidst all of the chaos and beauty around me. You would be amazed what you can learn during these three hours on-site. I can create a chronological list of every building within Piazza Venezia, tell you the respective architect, and give you a few insights as to what these buildings were inspired by. Never did I think that I would enjoy doing such a thing, and never did I imagine how beneficial it could be.

Prof, Carloni explaining that this door is still the original wooden door in santa Sabina, a church built in the fifth century

Prof. Carloni explains here that this door is still the original wooden door in Santa Sabina, a church built in the fifth century

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We also take really cool trips to places such as Hadrian’s Villa

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And Villa d’Este

What I’ve been able to take away from this model of class instruction will stay with me through the remainder of my undergraduate studies, and further, force me to question my own city – the one in the States. There have been numerous times that I’ve walked through center city Philadelphia and passed a completely foreign building. No idea why it’s there, what its purpose is, or how long it has been standing there. So technically, then, referring back to previous posts, does that not define me as a tourist with-in my own country? My own city? I’ve learned more about Rome in five weeks than I have about Philadelphia in two years, and I’ve also learned how much that needs to change. When your classroom is, quite literally, an entire city, and moreover, a city as historical and exquisite as Rome, you gain lessons far from anything that you can learn in a classroom setting.

Saturday wine tasting in Tuscany

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One of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Italy is wine. Many amazing wines are made in Italy, so it is no surprise many Temple students wanted to take a trip to Tuscany for a wine tasting. Conveniently, a tour group called Bus2Alps had a wine tasting day trip scheduled last Saturday. Over 60 Temple students went on the trip.

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The first stop is Montepulciano, a medieval town famous for its wine and food.

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An anthropology major takes a break from walking to enjoy some tiramisu.

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Wine connoisseurs consider the Vino Nobile of Montepulciano some of the best wine from Italy.

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Students are excited to enter the wine cellar where some of the famous Vino Nobile is made.

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There are three types of wine made here- the Rosso, Nobile di Montepulciano, and the Riserva. These three types stay in large oak barrels for a time period of six months to 2.5 years.

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After wine tasting in Montepulciano, students take an hour ride to arrive at Montalcino, home to the famous Brunello wine.

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Fox student Abby relaxes and takes in the Tuscan hillside view.

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Not only is Brunello wine one of the most famous wines in all of Italy, but it is also one of the most expensive.

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After the vineyard tour, students taste the Montalcino wine while enjoying the scenery.

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An eventful day of wine tasting in Tuscany ends just before the rain.

Forza Italia!

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This week, I have found it extremely easy to immerse myself in Italian culture. Why? Well, because I love sports! When I was accepted to the Rome summer program early in the spring semester of 2014, the first thing I did was mark a date on my calendar—June 14, 2014. Why this specific date, you might ask? This was Italy’s first game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and it was against a team who posed a large threat—England.

Living in the United States as a die hard soccer fan is a tough life. Few Americans appreciate the game as much as I do. I guess you could say that fans like myself are an endangered species. This is not the case in most of Europe, and more specifically, in Italy, however. Knowing this fact before arriving to Rome, it was safe to assume that I was excited to be a part of this cultural aspect of Rome. When Saturday rolled around, I took my opportunity to immerse myself into something which was so foreign to me due to its lesser significance in the United States, but so familiar at the same time due to my passion for the game.

Some friends and I walked to Piazza Venezia around 11:30 for the midnight kick off. I had expected a crowd, but turning a corner and meeting a wall of thousands of anxious Italians gave me the chills. This was real. My heart was pounding, and the smile on my face was from ear to ear. I was in my element, and more importantly, effortlessly and completely immersed in Italian culture for the first time since my arrival. There were no language barriers; the language was just soccer (or calico as it translates); one that I’ve come to adopt in my many years of playing. Simply put, yell at the referee and go crazy when your team scores. There was no staring at the Americans, but rather staring at a giant projector screen. I was not lost somewhere in the city, but rather lost somewhere in a game. When Italy scored first, I thought Mount Vesuvius had come back to life. The Piazza erupted; flags waved vigorously, flares lit the sky a florescent red, and the decibel level pierced my ears with sounds of glory – pure passion.

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Someone threw this flag in the air, so we decided to pick it up and take some pictures with it.

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But this wasn’t my only experience this week. When we stopped at a lake to grab some lunch during an Art History field trip last Friday, I had another very unique experience involving sport and culture. A few Italians were sitting at a nearby sand volleyball court with a ball. Upon approaching them and gesturing whether or not my friends and I could play, we quickly formed teams; Italy versus America. The experience was unique because again a language barrier ceased to exist, similar to when watching the World Cup. (That’s two times in one week, possibly a record to be held throughout my remaining three weeks studying here). When we finished beating up on the Italians, who, by the way, should just stick to soccer, I realized how valuable of an experience I had just gained. Using sports to immerse myself in this foreign culture has been my most useful form of communication, appreciation, and adaptation. Sports have a universal, globalized, language, and when used in the correct manner, they can truly add to and aid in the absorption of a different culture from your own.

I'm too short for this game, but I was still better than any of the Italians

I’m too short for this game, but I was still better than any of the Italians

There’s No Place Like Rome

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The street vendor I passed today was selling beautiful flowers planted in charming little pots. Each arrangement had been topped with a miniature inflatable soccer ball. I tilted my head and shifted my gaze upward, unconsciously assuming my Confused Lori Thinking Position, and there, hanging above me, was a rainbow lantern in the shape of – you guessed it – a soccer ball. My friends, the World Cup has begun. I started becoming aware of the monstrosity of this event upon my arrival at the grocery store early last week. Flags of various countries were lining the parking lot outside, staff members were decorating every inch of the store inside, and huge banners had been hung over the checkout lanes. They were in Italian of course, but between the numbers, the language’s proximity to Spanish, and the general vibe I had been getting about the World Cup, I figured it out. 50% off if Italy loses the game, 100% off if Italy wins the game. Obviously there is some fine print, and the discounts only apply to certain marked items, but still…Go Italy!

The grocery store parking lot looking festive

The grocery store parking lot looking festive

Italy’s first game was against England at midnight on Saturday, and a group of us went to watch the match at a local bar. The atmosphere was contagious and both goals were fantastic. Italy won 2-1. And don’t worry, I took my trusty coupon to the zoo of a grocery store the following day and saved a whopping €0.51 (about $0.70). But hey, that’s like a quarter of a gelato. 3 more wins and I’ll be set.

In between World Cup games, there is much more to see and do! Friday I got to visit Northern Lazio as part of an Art History excursion. We saw Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, enjoyed a lakeside lunch, swam in the volcanic Lake Vico, and soaked in the Bullicame hot springs. Back in Rome, I got to watch the full moon rise from my favorite spot above the city.

Lake Vico

The beautiful Lake Vico

The picture doesn't do it justice.

The picture doesn’t do it justice…I sat up there for over an hour. Yes, of course I packed snacks.

Saturday I took the metro out to Repubblica and then wandered through Barberini, Quirinale, and Spagna on my way back to the Residence. I saw Piazza della Repubblica, the Triton fountain at Barberini, the home of the Italian President at Palazzo Quirinale, and various other buildings, churches, columns, and fountains. For every one aggressive Italian, there were three others offering to help me find my way.

"that fountain with the sculpture of that sexy merman blowing into his conch shell" - Eat. Pray. Love.

“…that fountain with the sculpture of that sexy merman blowing into his conch shell” – Eat. Pray. Love.

When I arrived at Piazza di Spagna, I got cozy at Babington’s Tea Room with a peach tea smoothie. Once I had slurped the last of it through the straw (as politely as one can in a historic tea room), I continued my walk home. I bought pizza from my favorite shop and sat on a bench in my favorite park to eat and watch the kids play – I love that I have favorite places now!

The single most delicious un-Italian thing I have consumed in Rome

The single most delicious un-Italian thing that I have consumed in Rome

I’m still saving up for my next gelato, but in the meantime I had a Nutella crepe that deserves some kind of an award.

To my bar food of choice: Congrats for winning some kind of an award

My bar food of choice

And, back by popular demand – ok, three of my favorite people – the weekly Parking Award!

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There was a group of students standing in front of that pole, waiting for the bus.  The driver of that exact car waved them to the side so she could park in that exact location.

Assume the Confused Lori Thinking Position as necessary.

A class trip to Ostia Antica

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With only six weeks in a summer session, students rush to see as much as possible before leaving Rome. Some students want to explore all of Europe, taking trips to Barcelona and Paris, while others stay in Italy and book trips to Tuscany and the Amalfi coast. Whatever the case, six weeks flies by and maybe even seems too short. Luckily, Temple Rome only schedules classes Monday through Thursday, so students have a three day weekend to explore Rome and the rest of Europe. On select Fridays, certain classes will also schedule trips to explore and learn more about Italy. This past Friday the Rome Sketchbook classes, taught by Professors Guerra and Krizek, went to the ruins of Ostia Antica.

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Ostia Antica are ruins that can be found one train stop before the beach.

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Sketchbook students climb the ruins to get a view of an old swimming area.

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One student demonstrates the acoustics in the amphitheater by singing for everyone.

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Students follow the Professors across the fields for an ink wash demonstration.

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Art education major Danielle takes a look at the ink wash examples Professor Krizek created.

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Students listen in as Professor Guerra begins the demonstration by drawing a corinthian column ahead of her.

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In the afternoon, students set out on their own to explore Ostia Antica and try their hand at ink wash.

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This anthropology major enjoys exploring the ruins of Ostia Antica, often recommended as a more intact site than the popular Pompeii ruins.

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Art history major April takes a snapshot in the ruins.

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Students settle down in the shade to begin their last ink wash drawing of the day.

Studying design in Rome

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Temple Rome offers everyone from art majors to beginners a once in a lifetime chance to study art in Rome. In a place where Bernini sculptures are as common as McDonald’s, Rome is the place to be when studying art. During summer, Temple Rome has a design workshop. In this design class we go on daily excursions to some of the must-see spots in Rome to get inspired and create pieces that reflect our experiences.

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Class starts by 8:25 with a critique of what the students have created.

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Students go on excursions to places like the Pantheon, and base their designs on the site.

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After exploring the site, students take a break by a fountain and take in the beauty of Rome.

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Tyler School Professor Dermot Maccormack, co-teaching this design class with fellow Tyler School Professor Paul Sheriff, jokes with students after visiting the Capuchin Crypt.

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This design student looks through posters at a street vendor’s stand after class.

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The design class visits the Pantheon first. This famous concrete marvel is only a few minutes away from school.

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The Professor suggests visiting the church next to the Pantheon, the Basilica Santa Maria di Sopra Minerva—and for good reason; this church houses sculptures, paintings and frescoes from artists such as Bernini and Michelangelo.

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Ornately decorated churches such as the Basilica Santa Maria di Sopra Minverva can provide great inspiration for design students.

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San Clemente, another site visited by the design class, was built upon two churches before it. The design class visits the current church as well as the excavated levels below it.

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Art, such as this ceiling piece in the San Clemente Basilica, are an awe-inspiring site for study abroad students.

It’s Raining Roses, Hallelujah!

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I’ve finally graduated from the Italian version of Dora the Explorer (something I like to call Doria the Explorer-ia) in that I no longer need Map to jump out of my backpack and highlight the most direct route to wherever I’m headed. I can figure it out. But I have also learned that getting from Point A to Point B is the easy part. You see, Point B tends to be surrounded by an overwhelming amount of shops, restaurants, unidentifiable buildings, and very identifiable tourist traps. Throw in a couple of churches and fountains, maybe a statue or two, and I don’t know what’s important anymore (regardless of how many guidebooks I consult in advance). So, I do my thing at Point B and then walk around looking dazed and confused and then leave. Here in Italy, this is considered a great success—“You wanted to do one thing today and you did it?! Good for you!”—but I always feel like I’m missing something…

Remember the parade last Monday? I went, randomly got my picture taken on a motorcycle, walked around a little and left. That’s two whole things, you realize. But Wednesday I went back for Art History, and my class spent nearly three hours learning about the area. We saw Palazzo Venezia and the balcony where Mussolini addressed his people, walked past the place where Michelangelo died, and analyzed the architecture of Capitoline Hill. It was all really fascinating stuff. Now, to be fair, my first trip to the area was spontaneous…but you see what I mean about missing things? There should be an app for that. And it should be called Roam. And if it doesn’t exist, an informed Italian should start walking around the city plotting GPS coordinates of ALL THE THINGS, including but not limited to these places:

The Olympic Stadium, where I attended an international track meet last Thursday. I had a great view of the high jump event, a decent view of the various running events, and I could sort of see poles being vaulted and javelins being thrown in the distance. The stadium is nothing short of enormous. Highlights included a high jumper setting the national record and Justin Gatlin winning the men’s 100m.

Track Meet at Stadio Olimpico (79)

 

Lido di Ostia, the public beach where I spent Friday with my roommate Jess. The beach was easy to access by metro, the water was beautiful, and the weather was perfect. We happily swam, soaked up some sun, and satisfied our burger cravings at a nearby shack.

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Tony’s Restaurant in Trastevere, the one all our friends have been talking about. Wanting to see what all the fuss was about, a group of us decided to go out for dinner on Saturday. Turns out, it was a restaurant I had already tried, the one with the 4 ½ cheese pizza. (The aforementioned app would also make restaurant names a bit more explicit.) This time I ordered a caprese salad and the chicken parmesean, and I was a very happy girl. There was barely enough room on my face for the smile that appeared when the waiter brought free tiramisu out with the check.

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The Pantheon, because it’s the Pantheon, but also because Sunday was the mass of Pentecost. The rose ceremony following mass was a breathtaking combination of beauty and wonder.

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Old Bridge Gelato, for obvious reasons. This week’s guest judge was Gelato Monster, who stars in Via Sesame, the Italian Version of Sesame Street that I just made up. He likes caramel and french vanilla.

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Adapting to a new culture

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I can’t count on one hand the amount of times that I was warned about culture shock. Pre-departure orientation, arrival orientation, pamphlets, and handbooks have all defined culture shock and outlined it with examples. Before living in Rome, I had shrugged all of these warnings off. I’m outgoing, independent, and adventurous, so clearly culture shock could never happen to me, right? After living in Rome for three weeks, I’ve come to learn how wrong I was, and how real all of those warnings were. Culture shock is defined as feelings of alienation and/or disorientation due to being in an unfamiliar cultural environment. My program manual breaks this into 4 phases, which I intend on describing through my own experiences.

The Honeymoon Phase: After landing in Rome and finding myself in the Residence, I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t bother with unpacking my suitcase; I had to go explore. I saw the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Forum, and every other famous touristic attraction in Rome, all with-in the first 2 weeks. I couldn’t really be bothered with sleep, either. The nightlife here was a new experience for me, and I just kept telling myself “When in Rome.” I loved trying all the new food, which, if you’ve been following, you know all about. The city itself is beautiful, and I was soaking every bit of it up.

El Colosseo

il Colosseo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trevi Fountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vatican - Find me here at night, hangin', eating gelato

The Vatican – Find me here at night, hangin’, eating gelato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pantheon – my favorite structure in Rome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Negotiation Phase: By this point, two weeks into the semester, I was pretty fed up. As my manual says, “the newness wears off.” I started to become sincerely frustrated with the little things of my adjusted daily routine. I missed American coffee and the English language the most. My preconception before studying here was that a good majority of Italians would speak English, but that’s not really the case. It was hard to order food at times, grocery shop, and use the metro. In fact, I had a very memorable experience when I got lost while using the metro. I had gone the wrong way, a pretty common mistake that I used to make even at home when I first started riding the Broad Street Line. I only started to panic when I realized that I had tried to change directions at the last stop; I got on the metro as everyone else got off. I was the only person on the train, which had come to a stop. Lucky for me, the conductor came out of his box and guided me to the other end of the train, where he would proceed to drive the train and help me towards my correct stop.

If you ever wondered, this is what the inside of the cabin looks like of a metro train. The conductor gave me a first class ride to my destination, a day that I'll never forget.

If you ever wondered, this is what the inside of the cabin looks like of a metro train. The conductor gave me a first class ride to my destination, a day that I’ll never forget.

The Adjustment Phase: My third week here in Rome is coming to a close. I have begun to adjust to all the cultural differences and develop and accept new patterns of daily life. “But, how do you know that you’ve adjusted?” There are a few examples here, the first being overcoming the most difficult challenge that has presented itself while abroad—communication. I found myself in the market a few days ago, a place where I have previously counted on vendors speaking English, and then blamed them for not understanding me. Something was different this time though. As I tried my best to ask how much an item cost in my very broken Italian, this vendor asked if I spoke English, and proceeded to tell me the price in English after I nodded yes. Rather than count on this man’s ability to be bilingual, I tried Italian first, immersing myself in this culture, and this is beginning to become almost habitual.

Secondly, after traveling to the Amalfi Coast this past weekend, I realized how much beauty this world holds. But I also experienced the second example that has helped me come to the realization that I’m beginning to adapt to Rome. I thought that traveling to a place as gorgeous as this would warrant me wanting to spend my life in the Amalfi Coast, but I was wrong (I’ve been wrong a lot lately). A lot of people sort of turned their heads when I said that I couldn’t wait to get back to Rome. It was sort of like that same feeling you get when you come home from vacation and say “Wow, that was fun, but it’s nice to be home.” In fact, I even referred to Rome as “home” without thinking about what I was truly saying. Amalfi was fun, but Rome is home.

The Amalfi Coast should be on everyone's bucket list

The Amalfi Coast should be on everyone’s bucket list

Just as long as Rome comes first on your list, as it deserves to be.

Just as long as Rome comes first on your list, as it deserves to be.

The last stage is titled “The Mastery Phase,” but unfortunately, experts say that I will not get to experience this final phase, as it takes a year or more to reach this level of comfort. The frustration is over, my sleep is back to a normal schedule, and I’m adapting to Rome a little more every day while appreciating every moment of my remaining three weeks.

Because Google Said So

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I have always wanted to travel to Rome (always meaning as long as I have liked pizza). Now that I’m here, the more I explore, the more I realize that my name is written all over this city.

See?

See?

But, I came to Rome for pizza a study abroad program and as Paolo would say, “You are students not tourists!” So, I am exploring a little less, and studying a bit more now that classes are fully underway. Classes in Rome are not so different from those back in the states, at least in terms of format and workload. The major difference…Rome is the classroom—metaphorically for Urban Health, a class that looks at the health of people living in various cities, but literally for Art History. Once a week we meet in the classroom for a typical lecture, but later in the week we meet Paolo for class on-site, somewhere in Rome.

Friday, our class had a day-long excursion to Tivoli. First, we visited Hadrian’s Villa. Hadrian was a Roman Emperor who had the Villa constructed as a retreat from the city—I don’t blame him. The ruins were fascinating (especially in the restricted area) and the open space was a breath of fresh air. After lunch we visited Villa d’Este, a palace overlooking gardens and statues and fountains (oh my!).

Villa d'Este

Villa d’Este

This weekend I was free as a bird. Saturday, April and I decided to explore Castel Sant’Angelo, the all-in-one mausoleum-prison-fortress-castle-museum. From the top-of-the-castle view to the overwhelming feeling of OLD that I have come to know and love, it was worth every euro! Old Bridge gelato hit the spot on our walk home.

Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo from the Tiber

Bird's eye view of Rome

Bird’s eye view of Rome

Sunday, a group of us decided to walk to Trastevere. On the way there, we took a spontaneous detour and ran into a really important building. We just didn’t know what it was—unfortunately that happens a lot. Later findings indicate that it was Rome’s Palace of Justice. Told you it was important. We continued on our way, and found a restaurant upon our arrival in Trastevere, where I happily consumed ONE WHOLE PIZZA. It was 4 ½ cheese pizza (½ because I added parmesan and I don’t know if that was part of the original 4) and it was delicious. After lunch we continued the cycle of getting sidetracked and stumbling over really cool but indistinguishable buildings. But we knew the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere when we saw it, and it was very impressive.

Monday morning I woke up and hopped on my laptop, crossing my fingers for wifi. Shortly after, the Google home page popped up, featuring Festa della Repubblica. My thought process was as follows: It’s Republic Day in Italy. Hey, I’m in Italy! I have to go. End thought process. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew there was a parade at 11am and I set off, map in hand, (at 10am) to find it.

Now. If you told me a week ago that I would find an unspecific location about 3 miles away from the Residence in under an hour, I would have laughed in your face—probably harder than I laugh at some of the jokes I write. But that’s exactly what I did. And I watched that parade. Because I’m in Italy.

Nothing screams Italy like posing on a Carabinieri (military police) motorcyle on Republic Day!

Nothing screams Italy like posing on a Carabinieri (military police) motorcyle on Republic Day!

As for the weekly awards…

 

This car is awarded third place for inventing the concept of perpendicular parking in a parking lot

This car is awarded 3rd place for perpendicular parking smack in the middle of a parking lot

2nd place is a tie between these two cars for parking in spaces clearly designated for motorcycles

2nd place is a tie between these two cars for parking in spaces clearly designated for motorcycles…apparently parking in between the lines is more important than parking on the road?

1st place and the overwhelming favorite for obvious reasons

1st place and the overwhelming favorite, for obvious reasons. Like, seriously?

Double dipping is not only tolerated, but accepted! Nutella & Nocciola was my favorite this week, followed by that delicious Raspberry & Pear

Double dipping is not only tolerated, but expected! Nutella & Nocciola was my favorite this week, followed by that delicious Raspberry & Pear