Since we last talked, I was still adjusting to the city life in the wonderful, yet large, Rome. One week later, I’m feeling much more acquainted to my classes and daily routine, but I am feeling like there is so much more for me to still see and learn. Being the second week and all, it should probably still feel this way. Anyway, last Wednesday two of my housemates and I ventured across the Fiume Tevere (the river that separates the city) and into the heart of Rome near the Piazza di Spagna to purchase our books for class at the Anglo-American Bookstore. Because we were so close, the three of us decided to pay a nighttime visit to the Spanish Steps. 135 steps built in the 18th century, as a part of an architectural contest, in order to link the Romans to their Trinità dei Monti church at the top. Unless one lived nearby, it seemed to be mainly utilized by the tourists. Unfortunately, my phone takes terrrible pictures at night.
At any major monument in Rome, there are these guys selling various tacky items, like weird toys, but most especially, the selfie sticks. If you slightly appear American, and you are using your phone (not even to take a picture), one will approach you and ask “celfie?” in broken English. It gets especially annoying, like when they keep interrupting your conversations. My other friend here said to follow them if you ever get lost, because they will lead you to the next monument.
On Thursday, I attended my first painting course in Rome, not only was it four hours, but the professora is very interesting and adorable. Having my art class only once a week will have to make me more accountable for continuing to paint and work on my own. That evening I also hung out with a new friend, who happened to go to high school with friend back at a Hendrix. It’s crazy how small the world can be. We went to an aperitivo, which is where a bar or restaurant has the offer of buying one drink, you attain access to an unlimited appetizer buffet. I had gone to one before, but this one was for the university students. My friend and I tried our best to meet other students, but everyone was keeping to themselves. We eventually bit the bullet and introduced ourselves, and I have to admit that it felt pretty brave of us.
The next Friday morning, Romina, our on-site director for CIS took a small group of us to visit a delicious Sicilian pasticceria e gelateria near by our apartment building (a pastry and gelato shop). As a part of becoming more globally aware, I am trying new things, thus explaining my decision of ordering an Italian white, hot chocolate. This is completely different from an American hot chocolate, more like melted chocolate with a hint of amaretto added to it. It was extremely rich and I trouble “drinking” it (you can’t really even drink it, you have to eat it because of its thickness). The pastries on the other hand – were incredible. Each one was colorful and beautifully crafted. Some of the most popular flavors in Italy are pistachio, almond, ricotta cheese, and bitter chocolate, so at least one of these tended to be in the pastries. Many of the textures were unique and different from what you would normally consider to be as a pastry.
Later that same day, I hung out with Gabby (the study abroad intern for Rome) and we explored the historical section, including the famous Colosseum!!!! This was my first time to see it in person, and let me tell you – it did not disappoint. Despite more “celfie” guys, it was indescribly beautiful and serene. It was much smaller than I imagined, although I probably have been building it up in my head. The history of it overwhelmed me. Gabby stunned me by telling me the ancient Romans used to fill it up with water and float boats inside. I am so happy I was finally able to see it in person. One of the best parts of hanging out with Gabby is how I feel so motivated to learn and practice Italian around her, the way she does when we go out. She even gave me the tip of watching “Peppa Pig” cartoons in Italian to learn it. Benissimo!
This week, I can officially say I am enjoying my classes here in Roma. Each one is interesting and have awesome teachers.How nerdy does it sound that I get so excited about going to Theory of Art History on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Even if it does, I don’t care I love it. The professor even makes us coffee. Rome rules y’all. Yes, I recognize the irony in that last sentence.