Sunday, January 17, 2010

Il Vaticano

The sun rose another day in this mysterious city. Peaceful, yet filled with foreign noises, smells, and language. As I open my eyes, I must tell myself that I am really awake. The surreality of it all is so thick that I have to constantly remind myself where and why I am. Farther and farther into this trip I am changing my ways to form with the culture and neighborhood. In fashion as well my American polos and baggy cords are leaving only to be replaced by the tighter cut pants and the pea coats and scarves. We pass flea markets always searching for that one "thing" to make us more...legit. I embrace the challenge of this and encourage others to do so as well.

Today I woke up early to walk the neighborhood by myself. I love these walks as I have said before, because they reveal so much about the culture and italians. A school is down the street and the parents are dropping their kids off with rapid hand gestures and loud vocal variety that the italian language loves so much. I then accidently stumble upon a market on my way to my daily espresso. Little did I know that I had just walked on the largest market I have ever seen in my life! Ecco(behold)! Porta Portese! White tents lined the street behind our apartment for at least a mile or two. three isles of tents with goods from hamsters and bunnies to tape and china bowls. I was astounded at the variety. It felt like I walked into the heart of Trastevere itself as I paced along the isles observing and listening. I made mental notes of items for future need as I passed and as always determined the names for the things I didn't know in Italian. I laughed to myself as I walked in my pea coat and new scarf, watching the italians gather around the tables bargaing for their books and bags, shoes and jewelry. It was like nothing ever before! The noise of the people was alive with that feeling that every Sunday holds. Only with an undercurrent of Andrea Bocelli in the background. A dream? A movie? No...Rome.

After my market it was only noon. We made a plan to go to orientation then ditch out during the tour and go to the Vatican...we figured someplace holy after the ditching...right? Anyway, we did this and explored the depths of the Tevere river testing its current with a log, and taking pictures of the graffiti that littered its walls. Above is one of the most funny. Pictured from left to right is Peter, Alex, Tara, Zak, and me. The guys are my roomates and my other one is taking the picture. Yes, that is the scarf I bought at the store Oviesse and I tied it the way all italians do. Zak also got a scarf and we were lovin' the euroness of out style.

Now, for the title of the blog. The vatican. I have been there before, yet it never ceases to amaze me. We walk into its open arms in absolute shock and awe. I detach from the group at a standstill, unable to move, thinking of the enormity of this point in the world. This focal eye of religious faith and absolute beauty. I gaze across the saints that stare down on the people of St. Peter's. Goosebumps move their way up my spine to my arms and neck. The power is palpable and I can't believe it. I look around and see the variety of people in the square, chinese, arab, white, black, latin...everyone. Nothing worried me, nothing to do, and nothing to plan. I felt more than content, I felt overjoyed with delight.

St. Peter's Basilica was in the distance and we approached its immense form. As it grew, the statue of Jesus greeted us at its summit. The beauty of the architechture stunned me into numbing emotion. I had to continue into the church. The Pieta was at the left in its tender emotion and warm exterior. Its depiction is extraordinary. We spent at least an hour and a half in the Basilica, not able to turn away. It felt rude to turn our backs on something so massively beautiful and full of history. Stepping out of the silence of St. Peter's into the Roman noise hit us like a roman moped. We limmediatley vowed to return in the sun light and go to the top of the Basilica. At this point I was so emotionaly drained I needed an espresso...haha oh look, they are EVERYWHERE!

As always, more italian words fill my vocabulary and it seems like each one brings me a new level of achievment. I now know the map of Rome like the back of my hand from the whole first semster of studying it. I am glad I did because at 3 in the morning after campo di fiori, guess who everyone wants to follow? I love it though and now know Rome better than Milwaukee...sorry Mom and Dad, I guess I can understand the curvy streets of Rome rather than blocky ones of MKE.

Now it is time for some dinner, wine, wine, and some italian, and maybe somewhere in there some wine. Ciao Tutti!

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  1. Blake - I could feel Rome in your story. Great "skyping" with you today.Thank you for the photo of your roomies. Keep up the pics with labels of the people, it helps me to experience your journey. Until the next edition - Mom

  2. Blink!
    Beautiful writing, felt like I was there! Keep 'em coming!
    P.S. I love the line..."I love it though and now know Rome better than Milwaukee" reminded me of our Homecoming expedition...for some reason, I feel like this isn't necessarily a huge feat. :)