We landed in Rome in the morning on Sept. 14 and had the entire day ahead of us. Due to jet lag we were all extremely tired but were told to stay up to at least 9:30pm and we should be fine the next day. This definitely had to be one of the longest days of my life but it was so incredibly worth it. We were able to relax and unpack until around 11am, then got an introduction to the program and had lunch at 1:30. I'm still working on getting used to the late lunch and late dinner. When in Rome, do as the Romans do I guess...
On this first day we were able to see the Pantheon which was totally unexpected and we came upon it in a funny matter. Of course the director of the program knew where we were going but none of the students did. All of a sudden after walking down this small street with probably 5 restaurants and 10 shops we turned the corner and there was the Pantheon! I was taken back with awe and amazement. I had never seen something so rich in culture and history before in my life. Right outside of the Pantehon on the ground there was a Rose and our director had a pause and think about why there was a rose lying on the ground. Rome is a city of romance and since he made that comment every time I see a rose on the ground I wonder why it is there. Is someone missing it? Was someone so upset that they couldn't accept it? No wonder why people say it is the little things in life that matter. Thousands of people walk by the pantheon every day, but one person left a rose. Why?
Little did I know, was that this was going to happen to me almost every day. Also on the first day we went into a couple different churches and learned a lot about how Italians run their lives. The drivers are worse than MassHoles and DO NOT care about pedestrian crosswalks. Everyone is always moving and there is no such thing as "snack time". However, "nap time" has come in handy a couple of times.
My main point in telling this story about the first day isn't because of the Pantheon, or all of the other exciting things I saw, but because of something I learned at dinner. When dinner rolled around we had a wonderful meal made by Monica, our personal chef, and all ten of us sat down, said a prayer and dug in. With dinner we had red wine and afterwards there was champagne to celebrate my birthday. However, in the italian tradition, on somebody's birthday they buy drinks for everyone so I opened the bottle of champagne and served everyone. Prof. Balena who is residing with us and is a dear friend of the director (Prof. Bonanno) told us a story about his 21st birthday and how he ran away with his friend because they were both mad at their mothers. They found a place to stay and while they were there an older gentleman asked them why they had run away. When they told the man he said, "La vie commencia a venti ani" (Life begins at 20 years old). Out of everything that happened on that first day I will always remember that dinner and the wise words of that old man that I have never met before. So from here on out, I am only 1 year old and have so much of my life ahead of me than I could have ever imagined. I am free from restraints and boundaries and have only my future to look forward to. It reminded me of the fresh start I was so much looking forward to by coming to Rome. This lesson is the first of many that I have come upon in Rome, and that was only the first day. There are so many more inspirational things to talk about!
|The view from my room|