Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rome

I took World History online.

And that, any High School student will tell you, means I 'read' lots of articles and then 'took quizzes' on what I read and 'didn't watch Gilmore Girls the entire time'. Moral of the story: I didn't learn anything and online classes suck.Unless you're into that whole...not-learning-at-school-thing. 
I'm pretty sure Karma is real and somehow it's my best friend because it threw me an opportunity that most people will never get to have (and by most people, I mean everyone I've ever met).
The chance to travel the world, and get paid for it.
Well, kinda. 
All I have to do is learn, be open to new experiences, be adventurous and curious and do so all in the name of education. And log hundreds of receipts. And substitute classes once in a while. And get unlimited texting. All of that can be explained, and actually it requires kind of a lot, I'm just not going to get into it. 

ANYWAY I'm beginning at the beginning here, with my first trip: Rome, Italy.
Ever since I can remember, I've dreamed of going to Italy: Venice, originally, was my fantasy tourist location, I was longing to experience the food and the sounds and the language of Italy, such a rich and historic culture. I may not have retained any of the information that online class was supposed to teach me, but I knew that  Rome was practically the epitome of history. I mean, what an empire!
And that's what it felt like. History. It felt established and bursting with story and background and life that has existed for ages on the very street I was walking (well...hobbling. Limping, if you will. I blew out my knee a little over a week before the trip and had to wear this cumbersome leg brace the entire time)! 
I don't want to bore you with my ramblings that are most likely turning you green with envy (I'm sorry!!), but here is my trip in one picture, one word, and one event:

 The picture is this. Why? This slightly hideous picture of my face embodies how Rome made me feel. I'm looking up, first of all, probably in awe at the Sistine Chapel or the Fontana di Trevi. I felt my mouth was constantly open in unabashed wonder because I realized that I don't understand anything. How the heck did Michelangelo paint that? And whose idea was it to have Water Gods and Goddesses coming out of their palace front yard? (That was Pope Clement XII ps)?! And why do Italians eat ham on melon and drink out of bird baths?! Foreign countries are foreign, guys, it's mind-blowing. Anyway, reason number two that this picture describes my trip pertains to what I am wearing. First off, the hat. It was the first purchase I made in Italy (besides dangerous amounts of gelato) and I wore it much of the trip. It was itchy. Now, the coat. That red coat will always remind me of cobblestone streets and gypsies that work for the mafia-I obviously wore it the entire time (December is cold) and I don't know, it just gave me the permission to be...bold. Last, you'll notice that my hair was atrocious, as it was the entire trip. That has nothing to do with anything reminiscent, I was just going through a transitional...hair period.

Every trip I go on I write extensively about it in a journal I buy especially for that travel experience. I do this because I have a terrible memory and because I love to write-plus it gives me a place to put all my tickets and subway cards and stuff. In these journals I attempt to describe whatever country I'm in in one word, and Rome's word is 'Divine', which can be defined as 'of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God or a god' Now, I know that's a strange word to choose and I can give you no more of an explanation than this: I choose these words from a feeling I get while in this country. Honestly, I have no idea why I chose this word, it could have something to do with the stain glass Mother Mary shrines on every corner or the massive cathedrals, or it could be something about divine right, and how the rulers of Rome back in ancient times felt it was their right to rule with ultimate power and total control-you get a sense of that power in Rome. Everything is so big and grand and overstated, you can just imagine the men who ruled here and the slaves who built this empire from the ground up to the greatest city in the world. It all seemed surreal, like men could not have accomplished such greatness without, hey, maybe some divine assistance.

Okay, an experience, copied straight from my journal:
"At the fair in the Piazza Navona at my favorite booth, I bought a necklace. The couple who ran the booth-a middle-aged Italian couple-were fighting with a lady who I can only assume was a customer. I have no idea what they were fighting about (my Italian is pretty much limited to 'Non mi toccare' or 'Don't touch me'), but it got relatively heated and unreasonably loud (Italians are, in fact, loud). I thought it was hilarious, they kept turning to me to mutter some rude comment about the offensive lady, or to ask my opinion on the matter while I was browsing, and then they'd realize I was completely oblivious to the conversation and continue yelling. I found them extremely entertaining and totally enjoyed...whatever they were fighting about. Italians are passionate, that cannot be argued."

Well, until my next trip, Ciao!


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