Holy Week in the capital of Roman Catholicism, what more could you ask for?
I'll spare you the details of the school week, it's boring and because let's be honest you don't want to hear about it and I don't want to write about it.
We'll just skip to wednesday. Calcio playoffs. We had to play Purple again, we lost a heartbreaker 4-3. Never been on the losing side of an upset before. Oh well it was fun while it lasted; besides it wasn't the main reason I was here.
Thursday. Holy Thursday. Signed up to go on a "Church Crawl" with Father Al and friends. It was a very quick day of classes, or I should say “class” as I just had Italian and since we are done learning new things we are just reviewing. Anywho, that evening a bunch of us headed downtown with Padre Al and ended up meeting some students from Duquesne University who are studying in Rome. Lit candles in hand we started on the crawl in Piazza del Popolo. The walk took us down Via del Corso and all the way to Piazza Navona. I sort of lost track of the number of Churches we went into and saw the Eucharist exposed for adoration. I believe the number to be around 8 or so. Dinner at yet another stellar restaurant followed. Of course, being near piazza navona we were also near Abbey Theatre Pub and Fridgidarium gelateria, a stop at both wrapped up the perfect evening. The only problem I had was that a number of the students, both from the JFRC and Duquesne, seemed to have a lack of respect for what we were doing. The point of a church crawl is not to go along and chit chat and get dinner at the end. Things like that have just been bothering me lately. I’m okay if you aren’t into the religious thing, I get that. But then don’t come on the crawl, you are missing the point then for those of us who want to get something out of it. Rant over.
Good Friday (by whose standards? Ha. Ha. Bad joke). Had to do a bit of grocery shopping as the BANE of our existence “Mensa” was/is closed for the weekend. This is a much needed break from that food let me tell you. Got quite a bit of food from our favorite supermarket Simply, but it only cost me about 22 euro. Two baguettes for a euro? I can dig it. After a lunch at Tullio’s pizza, I decided it was time for a nap. Later that evening people were meeting at the Gesu church to head over to the Colosseum for the Stations of the Cross lead by Pope Benedict XVI. However, I decided they were meeting too early for my liking. So then about 8pm Katie Mac, Christina and I sauntered on downtown. The stations didn’t begin until 9:15 so we got there with plenty of time. When we got to the Colosseum we found thousands of other people, but after some careful maneuvering and squeezing we got to a decent spot. We really could not see much of what was going on but we could see the Pope a bit. It was much too crowded and crazy for us, so we left at about station 5. It was too hard to hear anyway, and the only thing I picked up in Italian was that “Jesus falls the first time”…so my ear for the language is getting better, just in time to leave eh? Ugh.
(Holy) Saturday. Was another lazy morning/afternoon. I honestly have no real homework I need to be working on, aside from studying. All the class papers I had (one in every class, ugh) have all been turned in. So later in the PM, I traveled and walked around downtown with Annie and Alex. Highlights included the Trevi and Mercato Trionfale. We had plans to head to the Hard Rock Café for dinner but those kind of fell through, no matter because I had to rise early for Domenica Pasqua (Easter Sunday) Mass with the one, the only, Pope Benny.
BUONA PASQUA TUTTI (Happy Easter everyone!)
Yes, the day has arrived. Jesus is risen, he’s back ya’ll. Get knocked down, he gets right back up (after 3 days). That’s why I like the guy. So as I said I awoke at the crack of 6:30am for to leave at 7 (I need a half hour MAX to get ready…BOOM). Since it is a Sunday AND a holiday, we figured the buses would be running…never, so we walked. And Ryan is a damn fast walker, so we got down there in 20 minutes or so, record time. However gates to Piazza San Pietro did not open until 8:30. Thus, we waited, with a few thousand of our friends. Since our school had reserved tickets for us, we were among the lucky few to actually get seats. We were in the second section of seats, so still pretty far back from where the pope sat but he did drive in front of our section on the way to the front in his pope buggy. Mass was fairly quick for a bit hoopla in the square. It was mainly done in Latin and Italian, but the 2nd reading was actually in English, so hooray for that. But I know how mass goes enough to know what the Italian means in each section of the celebration. It was cloudy and raining in the morning but by the time mass started at 10:30a it became sunny, coincidence?
Getting out of the square/piazza after the mass was just as fun as getting in, and by fun I mean not fun. We were pushed by nuns, yes, NUNS. I have never seen/been around so many people before in my life, football games are less crazy. Anyway, we finally got out and got back to campus. It was such an incredible experience, once in a lifetime. I am glad I went, I really almost didn’t but as my alarm was going off I thought of Gramps. I knew he was excited I was going to be studying here, and unfortunately I don’t get to tell him all about the fun I have had. It was the thought of him that really told me I needed to be there.
Again, since Mensa is closed we are on our own. So a group of us gathered up picnic fixin’s and walked to the Monte Mario park and the Zodiac overlook. It was an afternoon of food, wine and movie quoting. Since we are all away from home, away from our families, we decided to dine together and it was a nice time together. Did I mention there was wine? I came here without a taste for the fermented grape drink, but after a while I came to love the stuff and now I can’t get enough. Oh dio! Am I turning into my parents? Eh, wouldn’t be the worst thing.
BUT EASTER IS NOT OVER YET MY FRIENDS. After returning to campus (and napping, that’s what wine does to you). A number of us were wondering what to do for dinner, so we called up the Hard Rock Café, since we still had a hankering after the plans fell through. As luck had it, they were open. Eight of us total hopped on the bus (which came right away, whaaat?) and then the Metro (which is great, but they only have two lines because there are too many damn ruins everywhere that they can’t have a decent subway system) Anyway, after walking through the doors we felt as if we were back in the US. Classic rock on the stereo and English being spoken all around. What else do you order at the Hard Rock besides a burger? A Milkshake. Yes I realize I will be home in less than two weeks. (Damn)…but I needed this pick me up to help get over the mixed feelings about the limited time I have left. It was a great night of more food, friends and laughter. Took about an hour to get the check, but that’s another story. A very eventful walk back to the bus followed dinner, we were all very full (and I am STILL full as I write this hours after eating). Again, it was great to eat with friends on a big holiday while being so far from home. It didn’t really feel a whole lot like Easter to me. I guess because I didn’t do anything of the things I usually do, like brunch with the family, find my Easter basket, things like that. Oh well, it’s always good to have new adventures and who knows, maybe new traditions.
So now I sit here, up late (no classes on Easter Monday). I can’t help but keep thinking about leaving so soon. I don’t want to think about it, but I know it’s coming so soon. I want to write about all my feelings, but I don’t think now is the time. I still have things to see and do, my time is not done just yet.