Rome is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The trees, the buildings, the streets, EVERYTHING here has so much character and is absolutely gorgeous. There are marble statues and fountains everwhere, their cars are tiny! and half of the people ride motorcycles. Crossing the street here is so scary. Most of the crosswalks are in the middle of the streets with no lights, and you just have to walk through the traffic making eye contact with the drivers so they will slow down enough for you to pass. Our tour guide taught us how to do it on our first day here. He took us from our aparments to the St. John's Rome campus, bringing us into a pizzeria on the way and explaining a lot about Italian culture too. The walk to school takes about 25 minutes, but its good excersize and its nice to take a scenic walk twice a day. We walk by a fountain, up a lot of stairs, and along the Vatican walls. He took us on the metro deeper into Rome where we met up with a woman who showed us around some of the main sites in Rome. We saw the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, the Italian Parliament, and everything in between.
I had class this week Monday - Thursday. The class I'm taking right now is called City of Rome. I'll take it for two more weeks and then begin another one. I absolutely love this class, I'm learning so much, and I'm so interested in all of it! Monday we were in the classroom learning about the founding of Rome, Tuesday we met our professor at the Colosseum and went around the Roman Forum (the remains of Ancient Rome) and the Colosseum. Our professor knows so much information about everything we see, I can barely get it all written down. And of course, I'm trying to take a million pictures the whole time. Every inch of space in Rome is a photo-op. Wednesday we met at the Colosseum again to finish up the rest of the Roman Forum, and then walked to the Pantheon stopping to do part of the lecture over cappucinos in a cafe on the way. (The cappucino here is sooo good! I don't know if I'll be able to drink Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts after this.) Thursday we were in the classroom again. I have midterms on Monday and Tuesday because of these condensed classes, and I also have to prepare a 15minute presentation. I'm doing it on social structure in the Roman Empire. So I have a lot of work to do, school is much more intense than I was expecting! But its okay because I love the class anyway.
I'm staying in Rome this weekend, but I think the rest of the weekends I'll be traveling. Probably just to other places in Italy, and to Greece. I think I'll do England and Ireland when I'm in France. I'm definitely making a trip to Bari to meet the relatives. One of my friends here has to go meet relatives in Bari that she doesn't know too, and one of my roomates actually has a house in Bari. For some reason that seems to be where everyone has family. I sent a letter the day I left to Lucia and her family, (Lucia's father Pasquale was my grandpa Joe's cousin) and I think one of them called me this morning, (apparently named Cohena?) my roomates told me she had been speaking Italian and crying and saying something about papa and a letter. I want to call them back but I'm gonna figure out how to say a few things in italian first b/c I dont think any of them speak English.
This weekend I'll probably go out to some of the bars here in Rome and meet the locals, go into the Vatican, and I really want to go to mass at the Pantheon so I'll probably do that. I also need to buy sneakers somewhere, my boots are getting dirty walking through these archaelogical sites!
I have LOTS of pictures because I haven't gotten over how beautiful everything is yet!! click on "My Photo Albums" to check them out!