13 January, 2013

My first true day as a Roman tourist

The Vatican.  It sneaks up on you like that.
It's truly amazing that I have only been here for four full days.  My roommate Victoria and I totally bonded over pillow talk last night, and it feels like I've been here for weeks.  No, I don't know my way around Rome that well, just my neighborhood of Trastevere, and I finally saw the big sites yesterday for the first time, but still.  It's amazing.  I almost skipped orientation yesterday morning to sleep, but when I woke up around nine and realized I had nothing better to do that day, I got ready and went.  Thank God I did, because it was by far the best day of orientation yet.  We went on a walking tour of the city, to help us "get to know" Rome, even though no one was paying attention to how we got there.  Especially because Matteo, my guide, knows the city so well that he was taking us through these ridiculously similar side streets that I will never remember.  He also wasn't a very good tour guide in that he didn't have much to say about the places we went to.  But he got one thing right and that was all that mattered.
The Pantheon was by far my biggest "WHERE DID THAT
COME FROM" moment.  So gorgeous.  Thanks, Patrick,
for photobombing my best picture of it.
My first time seeing the Eiffel tower is a moment I will never forget.  I knew we were going to see the Eiffel tower, but we got out of a metro stop, walked past a building and BOOM there it was.  Just right in front of me.  Thats exactly what my tour was like yesterday.  We were talking on these side streets, you'd turn a corner, and BAM beautiful, ancient architecture.  It was drop dead gorgeous.  That's what I love about Rome, not only is it so old and so full of history, but the rest of the city is just wrapped around these ancient monuments.  I'm pretty sure I haven't seen one skyscraper in Rome, and I love that about this city.  Skyscrapers are NOT pretty, and whoever thought that cities should be full of them was really wrong.
Making my wish into the Trevi fountain... Paolo didn't
seem to get the memo.
After the tour, we ate lunch, and then some of my friends and I were talking about how we didn't want to waste the rest of the day.  So, we decided to go to Vatican city.  Yeah, we were bored so we decided to just WALK to the Pope's house.  I love my life.  It was so gorgeous, I cannot even tell you how much I love old, renaissance and whatnot art.  Just drop dead gorgeous.  Why that is no longer in style, I have no idea.  I seriously wish we had good art nowadays.
My Catholic grandmas should be jealous.
So - don't worry guys! - I've made a lot of friends.  Everytime I go off and do something with people, I try to go with different people, so I've actually met a lot of people on this trip who I would consider to be somewhat friends of mine.  The lack of unlimited calling and texting, however, is really putting a damper on my friendship making.  I was under the impression that texts to and from my cell phone provider, PicCell, were free for me and the person I'm sending them to.  That is not the case.  It costs about 0.19€ to send a text to someone (thats like, $0.25, which adds up fast) and it costs them money to receive it, too, if I'm not mistaken.  Last night at the bar, my friend Brad got a text and he said, "I get really excited when I get a text now, because it means someone likes me enough to spend that much money on me!" Because of this, getting together is really hard.  We don't really want to be texting each other all the time, and when we do, we don't really text back the second we get it, because we're not used to having our handy dandy PicCell phones on us at all times.  Anyway, its really annoying.  When we want to meet up at night, a lot of my friends have been using facebook messaging, so I'm on facebook way more than I want to be.  I kind of have to in order to make plans.  I'm also really nervous about making too close of friendships right now, because I haven't had classes yet.  I have no idea how often I'm going to run into these people, so I'm excited to get into the swing of things.
We ran into an American at the bar last night who was there to watch the Packers game.  She was at JCU last Spring, and decided to spend her last semester at JCU again because her friends from home are graduating.  She said you meet a wider variety of people in classes, and thats how she made her Italian friends.  The only Italians I've talked to are the ones who with manos morta, or "dead hands".  It's what they call it when someone lets their hand just sit awkwardly close to a part of you that their hand isn't supposed to be close to.  So yeah, Italians are actually really gross.  But this girl said that if you meet Italian men through an Italian female friend or if you get to know them as people and not as a random girl on the street, they don't treat you that way.  I was convinced that I wasn't going to have any true Italian friends, since I live with all Americans, but Italians go to my school!
What's really baffling me is the fact that I live in Rome of all places.  I saw the Colliseum from the outside yesterday, and I'm dying to go in.  However, I have four months to experience this, plus one of my classes goes to ancient parts of Rome.  So I really could lay around in my pajamas and watch a movie if I want! Not that I want to!  When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

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