The Roamin' Roman

Benvenuto! You have happened upon the blog of a wandering Catholic American college student studying for a year in Rome, the Eternal City. You will find here my pontifications, ruminations, reflections, images, and ponderings on my life in Rome. Ciao!

Wednesday, September 28

Getting settled in

Well, now that we've been in Rome for a few days, I think I might be able to sit down and give you some info and reflections on what it's like here - I've gotten a lot of e-mails from folks wondering how class is and what the people are like, etc.

It honestly feels like I have been here for months already, even though it has only been five days! For me, anyway, it has been very easy to get around and to find things (the problem actually is that there is too much stuff to find!), for some of the others it has been a little more challenging to get used to the crazy traffic patterns, irregular Metro/bus system, and the need to watch out for the "dog bombs" that are all over the sidewalks (in all of Europe there is no such thing as a "pooper scooper" regulation... it's just there).

On Monday morning Thanos "walked the kids to school", at the Angelicum, where Sr. Helen met us. The Angelicum is amazing!! I love it, it is basically a lovely old Dominican convent that has been converted now into a university and friary (the Dominican priests who teach there also live there). It is classic Italian in appearance, with warm color tones and "worn" stone, with a beautiful cloister area and gardens. Regular classes there do not start until the 2nd week of October, but we are going there every day for two weeks for a 4hr long Italian language class. Yikes, that is a lot of work! But it is kind of fun though to see how after even just a couple of days we are progressing - when we go to dinner now we have been able to understand and talk with the waiters a lot more already!

UST students who have been on the Rome program before know all about Giovanni, the Italian teacher... let me just say that I personally like him a lot, I find his style very refreshing and straightforward - but yeah, he's pretty intense. It may help that the class this time has been reformulated so as to be more of a "practical" learning course and is no longer for credit per se. So far though I think all of us have been getting along pretty well with him, (no "guns" yet :) we'll see when we get farther along!

Our other class that we are taking right now is the Rossi sisters' class on Church and Culture in Italy - we have only had one class period so far, but I think that will be a very fun class! Much of the class seems that it will not be at the Angelicum at all, but out and about in the city itself walking around the Roman center. On our first day we went all over, to a nearby ancient villa (park), to a church that I had never heard of (St. Mary of the Way?), to the place with the best Roman coffee (supposedly... St. Eustachio square), to the famous piazza Campo di Fiori (wow, great gelato over there!).

Today we walked to the Vatican to go to the papal audience this morning, we were a bit late but were able to get fairly close. It was actually very crowded with pilgrims, more so than when we were here in August right before WYD. It was in St. Peter's Square, which was good because it was so big and open, but bad because it was really hot in the sun! It is very warm here during the days, at least 80 or so. Very nice after the chill of the mountain air in Lourdes!

The speech of the Holy Father in English at the papal audience can be found here online. After the audience we stayed around the Vatican for a little bit to check out the bookstores, I got a few nice Benedetto holy cards but decided (prudently...) that I already have quite enough books here thank you very much! (Very tempting though!) Then we walked back to Bernardi in time to go find the local grocery market to pick up a few things, and then walk to Italian class.

Walking to the Angelicum isn't too bad, but it is a bit long... there really isn't a much faster way though, taking public transportation seems to take almost as long, and can be really crowded, so I guess most of us will walk most of the time. Thankfully there is pretty much everything you need either right at the Angelicum or in that area, it is in the heart of Rome! We will all be much happier when we get more of a mental map of Rome going, right now I think it seems longer than it is just because it is all still unfamiliar to us and we keep trying to double-check where we are and which way we are going. Give us a couple of weeks and we'll be all set! :)

For friends and family (sorry all you other Internet visitors!) if you want anything from Rome, now is the time to tell me. You can send money to my parents back in the States to be put in my account to cover the cost of the item and shipping, and I would be happy to find your stuff and send it over. Pretty much every Catholic thing you could ever want is here! E-mail me.

Well, it has been another very long day, and I need to go check my laundry, so I will say buono notte for now! :) Tomorrow we are actually going to, of all places, IKEA!! Rome has two of them apparently, so we are going to go to the nearer one and try to find some organizational stuff for our rooms and bathrooms, and I am on the hunt for lingonberries and lefsa bread! Supposedly there is also a very large supermarket near there, so we're going to go attempt to locate some peanut butter too, I have a huge vat of Skippy I brought with me, but that sure isn't going to last me very long, much less a bunch of seminarians! LOL!

God bless, have a wonderful day everyone (since I guess it is definately day right now back in the States! :)


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