Thursday, September 01, 2005

Rome = Home

Yes, all roads indeed lead to Rome.

All of mine did anyway. Stupide Harrisburg bus terminal (and Philadelphia for that matter) were really shady and uncomfortable. Weird people, with weird boxes, taped twice and three times over around. In bulk. Ugh. Uncomfortable. Especially carrying two bags and dragging to suitcases. Plus flights. And a taxi. In any case, I am here now in the city of Roma, where astoundingly ancient meets obscenely contemporary in terms of fashion, cuisine, people, and architecture. The flights were of course amazing, but I am starting to see why people get bored of them. But here is where I met John Gorman and Andy Smyser, two kids on the program who are really cool and I hope to hang out with a lot this semester. The landing was amazing in Heathrow Airport, London, where we converted dollars to Pounds, and had some sandwiches (salmon and cheese for me awesome) and then leaving again so soon for Rome, Italy. I saw the British Isles approach from the air, the patchwork of the British countryside and then the English Channel. The woman who sat next to me from England to Italy was really nice and taught at Drexel, so she talked about all of the places in Europe she has gone to INCLUDING Romania! Airports make me happy. But landing in my new home made me happier. We saw the beach as we landed. Didn’t realize the water was so close to the city.

Settling in has been incredibly interesting, and even though I haven’t really yet, I am extremely excited to start classes and begin working and seeing the city. So far, our orientation activities have taken us to closeby areas of the city, we’ve seen the trionfale market, the Tiber River (Tevere) and even such places as the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps, the Piazza Navona and our Temple Campus, where the Dean knows NO ITALIAN and has managed to retain the South Dakota accent all these years here. That pretty much gave me an idea of what I am to expect from the program, but this experience, which has already changed my life in many ways, will be as fun and rewarding as I make it. I almost forgot to mention walking into the Vatican City Square, with an amazing view of St. Peter’s Basilica and the pillars that surround the vast space. A part felt extremely Catholic at that moment; kinda wish I wasn’t such a flake about religion. And so far, I’ve managed to purchase several items with minimal Italian and lots of pointing, and the weather has been outstanding. I miss home a lot, I miss my Champs nights, and my friends, and my family and my dog, and my studio and PSU and all those things that kept me comfortable and anchored in central Pennsylvania. But here in Europe in the Residence Medaglie D’Oro on the outskirts of downtown Rome, I couldn’t feel any further from home, and I couldn’t be any happier to learn that I can actually do this. Reasons being: Pizza, Gelato, Italians, Vespas, Borghese Gardens (their version of lover’s lane), Pasta, Art. OH, and that’s right: there is a HUGE Filipino community here. Hopefully, I can get in and get fed. Soon. J

So, I am going to do as the Romans do (whatever that means). But I am still looking for a damn Wal-Mart.

Earth-Shattering Revelation: The Euro is hella more powerful than the American Dollar. It is MAD expensive over here.