Monday, September 15, 2008

When it rains, it pours

When I left my apartment this morning at noon, it was too hot for closed-toed shoes. When I began my walk home from school at 8:30 pm this evening, my hot feet were swimming...

When it rains in Rome:
1. Cobblestone streets turn into lakes.
2. At night (as it was on my walk home), you can't see these lake-size puddles.
3. Scooters and cars have a field day! Streets are only wide enough for one car and one person. So what happens when a car is heading your way and you're next to one of those lake-like puddles? ... You're screwed. And soaked. How many times did this happen? Three. Each time I could feel the driver's malicious glee.
4. What do you do when you hear claps of thunder while sitting in Italian-103 and realize that your laundry is hanging to dry out the window back at home?!? Call your roommate! Thank goodness for Leslie who jumped on it and saved two weeks worth of laundry.

But, the rain did provide some entertainment on my miserably long walk home. I saw multiple little old men create quite the handy head cover. Imagine a cloth napkin with each corner tied in a little knot. So it curves like a bowl. Turn up-side-down, place on bald head, and voilĂ !! Wet head no more. And I wasn't the only one who was unprepared for the rain. Italian women think they can rock heels on cobblestone. HA! Not in the rain, ladies. It was fun to watch.

Mom, please send me that Mickey Mouse poncho we got at Disney World. I'll fit right in.

Dry for now,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Three weeks in Rome: I could get used to this

Jacqui here reporting from Rome. It's been three weeks here in Rome and I'm finally settling in to life as a Roman. Re-capping what's happened so far will be quite a task, but I'll do my best to give you a taste for my pizza pomodori-filled, espresso drenched, pistaccio gelato-packed life in ROMA!

I adorable (and teeny!!) flat is right in Trestevere, which is in the south-west area of Rome right on the Tiber River. It is known for its fabulous little trattorie and ristoranti (restaurants), winding cobblestone streets (only wide enough for a single car at a time), and adorable piazze (plaza) with gelaterias and exquisite chiese (churches). It is less of a tourist attraction because there is nothing incredibly famous, but it attracts the locals, especially the younger crowds on the weekends. The nightlife is just crazy. The streets surge with crowds of people and every other door opens to a bar or pub. This is a typical street in Trastevere.

Just a walk to school is an adventure for the senses. I pass a dozen gelaterias that remind me of a new box of crayons, about 3 macchellerias will cheeses in the window I didn't even know existed, 3 dozen bars (what we would call a coffee shop, they call a bar), tiny pizza counters, and restaurant after restaurant. I cross through La Piazza di Santa Maria, one of the oldest Catholic churches in Rome and listed in my guide book as one of the "Top Ten Sights in Rome"!! When I am not doing homework on the steps of a fountain or downing an espresso at the counter of a bar with the locals, there's a good chance I'm running along the Tiber. Running has been a fantastic way to see the city. Everything is relatively close and just by venturing down some unfamiliar street I've fallen upon the "Ghetto" brimming with fresh challah, the collesseum flowing with Teva-wearing tourists, Via del Corso - the famous shopping avenue and the Spanish Steps-- they are all basically in my backyard. Less touristy, I've found English movie theaters, tiny open markets, awesome graffiti-ed bridges, ruins with orchestra concerts! My next move is to get me one of those scooters to tour the city :)

As far as seeing Rome, I've seen the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, the Forum, Circus Maximus, and probably a ton more that I'm forgetting but I'll definitely be visiting everything again so I'll report more detailed on those as I go. It's been hot hot HOT! So, naturally, sightseeing unconditionally includes a heaping gelato. I've tried... pistaccio, hazelnut, nutella, stratticciella, hazelnut, banana, and raspberry. Stratticciella (say "straw- tih-chella" wins my favorite with flying colors. People compare it to chocolate chip, but it's white creamy vanilla-ish delciousness with large flecks of dark chocolate. mmmmmm! But, I have yet to try tiramisu, pineapple, caramel cream, and egg flip (!!), among others. Thank goodness I have an entire semester to build my gelato repertoire! One of my classes is an on-site class, meaning that for 3 hours I get to follow around my young Italian professor "Eric" :) through Rome and listen to fascinating stories about this city. This will be a great way to learn about Rome without reading a guide book.

There's just so much I could talk about but I'm slightly exhausted (school tomorrow), so I'll have to share more of the fun stuff soon, like, the best pizza I've ever had in my life, being a blonde-blue-eyed American in Italy, making friends with the old gelato man, communication barriers, and my coolest Nike shoes.

I'll try to update often, and if there's anything you'd particularly like to hear about, let me know! I love getting emails from home, so tell me how things are going in the U-S-of-A.

Ciao for now,

The girls sitting on the fountain in Piazza d. Santa Maria: Kristine, me, Anita (sorority sister, lives below me), Kristie (roommate), Leslie (roomate), Lucia

The Pantheon

Trevi Fountain

Revving up with an espresso break between shopping on Via del Corso

Our first trip to a beach, San Marinella. A 30-minute train ride, 3 euros, fried crab, and no sunburn! A very successful weekend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It's finally here

It's here...what you've all been waiting for... my blog! Sorry it took so long, but now I'll try my best to share all my wonderful adventures during my semester in ROMA!

I'll try to update it a few times a week, so check in whenever you get the time. Please let me know if you ever have problems viewing it. And WRITE BACK!! I'm missing out from all the action in the states, so keep me up to date!
xoxo Jacqui