I am hesitant to write today. I’ve only taken a few pictures so far because I really want to enjoy and fully experience my first couple of days in Rome. The journey here was unremarkable, aside from the icy trip from my house to the airport in Raleigh.
It’s naptime at my apartment. All seven of my roommates are asleep. Rome closes down each day between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and the Italians take their siesta time very seriously. It’s a good thing too, because between the jetlag and all the walking around, I need a few hours of quiet time to recharge. Besides the six-hour time difference, a Roman day is much longer than an American day. People here wake up early and go to the bar for caffé and do their shopping, but they also stay up really late because they don’t eat dinner until 9 or 10 p.m. When we went out for dinner last night, we left the apartments (more on those later) around 8:45. We arrived at 9 and there were only two other people in the restaurant. They were Americans. By the time we finished our meal the place was packed.
This is the only country in the world where it is acceptable to use “Ciao!” as a greeting. Anywhere else you sound ridiculous. I’m using my Italian more than I thought I would. I’m quite out of practice since I haven’t taken an Italian class since fall of sophomore year, but I’m picking it up quickly. The ND group is slowly but surely slipping in to true Italian accents (or our best attempts at them, anyway). In Italian classes at ND, nobody ever rolled their r’s (grrrrazie, buon giorrrrno) because it sounded so silly, but here, if you don’t roll your r’s, you sound American. Exaggeration is key. The more exuberant you are, the more confident you sound and feel, even if what you’re saying isn’t grammatically perfect. So far, the Italians who I have spoken with are patient and tolerant—they seem to appreciate the effort. I’ve been corrected in my pronunciation (“pachino” is pa-kee-noh, not pa-chee-noh, “fagiolini” is fah-joe-lee-nee, not fag-o-lee-nee), but always gently and never overtly.
I made my first visit to the Roman markets today. This morning, Cate and I got up early and strolled over to the Campo de Fiori to shop. Fresh fruits and vegetables everywhere! The colors are amazing. I’ll post photos some other time, once I’ve taken them.
Things I saw today:
–An attractive couple smooching in the street
–Roman babies riding in bike carriers (The children here are beautiful!)
–Women giving cheek kisses
Places I went today:
–Campo de Fiori
–Piazza San Cosimato
–Butcher shop, bread shop, cheese shop, wine shop, pharmacy, clothing shop, computer shop (in search of a hairdryer—the woman at the clothing shop told us the place down the street sold “elettrodomestici” but she was wrong)
–Palazzo Corsini and the galleria
Things I ate today:
–Clementine from Campo market (free sample when the guy broke one open and gave me half to try)
–Sundried tomato from Campo market (another free sample)
–Mediocre pizza, mediocre penne con pancetta e spinaci, mediocre salad, and awesome rolls from free John Cabot lunch