Saturday, September 4, 2010

Second Night in Roma

I'm still very much on catch-up mode, so this might be a bit picture heavy once again (after a prolonged intro). I know that my excellent photographical (totes a word) skills are what you all come for, so that shouldn't be bad news for any of you. First a few real-time updates:

-In order to upgrade my status to "student" from "illegal American dirty immigrant," I had to go with 40 of my closest friends to a Roman post office with my passport this morning at 8:15. While I stayed up entirely too late last night blogging and Skype-ing and whatnot, I was certainly ready to sit through a long ass line and either read a book or listen to music or cough a lung up (probably all three simultaneously). I don't have the use of my cell phone over here (surprisingly liberating, by the way), so I downloaded an application for my laptop that selects and plays a song from my iTunes library as an alarm (my choice? the Batman theme song). To make a short story even shorter, I got a knock on my door at about 8:13, telling me the bus was ready and that I had to go. Ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, thought I didn't have my passport, then made it to the bus the second the turned the keys to start it. Moral of the story? As transformative as studying abroad is, some things will never change....

-While I was waiting for a bus last night, a man with a bouquet of roses came up to the group and offerend to sell some to us. It being 2:30 in the god damn morning and us being poor and not stupid, we refused. As is the case with most such vendors, we was rather persistent, and decided to pull out his other wares (Sounds dirty, but it wasn't. Yet.) From his pocket came a handfull of things that looked like lighters, which make up some pretty standard creepy street vendor fare. However, we soon realized that they were mini flashlights (when he decided it would be fine to shine it on my person), which was vaguely intriguing for novelty purposes, but still uninteresting. Until I noticed the rest of the group staring at my chest. Slowly I looked down, and what did I find? No less than three completely naked and full-frontal men whose equipment would make all but the most endowed horses whinny in shame. He tried out another couple models on my shirt pocket before we could stutter the Italian equivalent of "Hell no, go away." I struggle now to find some quip to end this story, but I think re-hashing the memory has left me more baffled than before, so I'll move on.

-American ice cream birthday cake < Italian gelato birthday cake. Just sayin' - I might have to get some imported come February 9th.

-I'm taking a full docket of history nerd classes this semester, and couldn't be happier. Behold:

Emperors, Bishops, and Barbarians (which, despite its fantastic name, might be replaced by Classical Rome because ancient Roman history is pretty much the best thing ever)
Ancient Greece to Alexander the Great
Italian Politics
Hemingway's Spain, Italy, and France
Italian 101

And while the subject matter is already spectacularly intriguing, the professors teaching them might make this one of the best semesters ever class-wise:

-My Italian Politics class is taught by a German dude complete with stereotypical circle glasses who loves NHL hockey, enjoys making puns, and was the Chief of Staff for the Speaker of the Italian Senate at age 30. Also will get me into the Italian Senate library for free.
-My English teacher is a hilarious yet oddly bitter writer who apparently has a strong distate for Italy/Rome yet has lived here for over a decade.
-Finally, my history classes, both taught by the same man. And, in the interest of fully expressing his amount of awesome win, I should give his full name and title: Sir Dr. Alexander Evers. That's right everybody, my history teacher is a Dutch knight/Oxford graduate who has the hyperactivity and attention span of an ADD-riddled 14-year-old in a video game store. So excited.

-Word to the wise: be careful in Italian bathrooms. Not necessarily because you might get pick-pocketed, but mostly because they doors are tricky. If you don't lock them, they are liable to swing open at any moment, revealing and confirming to the entirety of the world that you do, in fact, poop. However, if you do lock them, they are liable to stay locked and/or jammed, possibly forever, leading to a large-scale freakout when the door refuses to open after a good 15 seconds of calm yanking, only to look ridiculous when it finally busts open, making it appear like you just like to open doors dramatically. But just remember: the latter is always preferred to letting people you know you poop.


Okay, that intro was actually way longer than I anticipated, so I'll abbreviate what comes next:

After our first full day in Rome, we were treated to a large, proper first Italian dinner by our school at a local restaurant.

...And boy were we excited about it. Woooo.

For future reference, the green bottles are water (which come in fizzy and non-fizzy) and the darker ones:

Are wine. Keep track in the pictures of which are which, you should be amused.

The courses:

First, tuna, zucchini, and bruschetta toast thingies.

Prosciutto and mozzarella sandwiches, which I kind of forgot to take pictures of before everyone eating due to general starvation.*

*A great side-effect to no longer being with the ex: I no longer feel guilty eating pork due to her Islamishness. Mmmm...pig...

Quick halftime bottle update:

My friend Chandler is pleased.

Pasta, which apparently Italians do, in fact, eat with every single meal ever.

Dessert, a custard-type thing.

Final bottle count for you all playing at home?

Lots. Lots of bottles.

After dinner, we decided to act like stupid Americans, go out, and get lost in Rome. We just got on a bus, rode it until we didn't recognize anything anymore, rode a little farther, and just got off. And, in a true Roman fashion, we got off and found amazing buildings everywhere. We wandered around, then found a giant old courthouse:

Then wandered around until we found, no big deal, a giant castle, Sant Angelo.

Then we saw a large market, hawking things like American licence plates and whatnot, but more excitingly, there was street ping pong:

This is why we're losing the international ping pong race.

Then we walked out to a bridge to take pictures of the river (super gross, by the way).

Then, we looked the other way down the river and were all like...."OH...hey..."

".....There's Saint Peter's Basilica."

(This was after trying a MySpace pic:

...but we didn't look emo enough or have enough arm showing. Maybe next time).


I promise all my posts won't be as long-winded or picture-heavy in the future. Love ya!


Eleni said...

Sounds like you're having an awesome time there. Wandering the streets and just happening upon beautiful and historical buildings. Being offered crazy vendor wares. Eating gelato cake!

And eating ham and cheese sandwiches. Use whatever names you like, it's still a ham and cheese sandwich :P I was at a restaurant with a friend once and ordered a pizza with prosciutto and a couple kinds of yummy cheese on it, and I felt all fancy and pleased, then my friend looked at it and said, "So, it's a ham and cheese pizza?" I was sad. So here I am doing the same to you, though maybe you're a ham and cheese enthusiast and don't mind.

So your ex is Muslim and doesn't eat pork? Obviously you're not with her anymore, but still, more bonding time :) My boyfriend is nice about it, so I don't feel bad ordering a bacon cheeseburger if we're out at that sort of a place, but if we're sharing (as we usually do--Asian restaurants and pizza places are conducive to family style), of course I can't get pork. No pork gyoza, no kalua pig, no char siu bao at dim sum. And definitely no pork at home, not even bacon for breakfast. Turkey bacon is not the same. Though I think I felt the most guilty when we were on the Big Island last weekend: we'd be doing something fun during the day, then we'd have to stop for me to find lunch while he'd just watch me eat (it's Ramadan). So bad. Oh well.

soft nonsense said...

It already kind of hit me, in that prosciutto is actually just "ham" in Italian, so I had a taste of it (ha pun...) a couple days ago...

She was completely cool about it too, it was just something I did to be supportive/sacrificial/nice. Certainly no commentary on your own boyfriend dietary habits of course. Also, Ramadan freshman year was really weird too, though last year she was sick during Ramadan so I was just caring for her while she ate/drank to keep her strength up and whatnot lol

Lesson for today?

We're practically life twinsies.

Pat Tillett said...

I'm glad to see that you're trailblazing...
public transportation
local wine
Oh yeah, don't forget about school...

great post! looking forward to more

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