From: Emily Date: January 15, 2006 7:23:34 PM EST Subject: Sunday

Hello All,

I had the most fabulous day ever!! By far the best day in Rome since I’ve been here… This morning I got up to go to the American church by Piazza della Republica, Santa Susanna, which took 45 minutes to walk to; here in Rome that doesn’t seem so far when you are doing it, you just sort of do, nothing like at home where we drive for everything out of convenience. It was nice to be in a place where people speak English yet are still living in Rome. I met one of the sisters who is positioned here from California and who encouraged me to sing with the choir on Sundays- anyone who wants to can do it, not a very formal thing. I may when I am here to try to meet more people. I did a tour of the church after mass; it’s an interesting church, Santa Susanna. It was completely redone by one of the popes around the time St Peter’s was being built so they commissioned a student of Michelangelo to do the frescos. It was closed to the public for 300 years while it was under the control of the cloistered nuns up until 1920, so it is in very good condition; no cleaning had to be done from burning of oil or candles. It was built on top of the remains of the house where Susanna lived. I met a man who works for the American embassy and his family and talked about my studies with him; he said that if we wanted a tour of the embassy for our class to give him a call and he would set it up for us.

Image by Fotografo Matrimonio Roma

After church I wandered around for awhile on my own to sketch. It was so nice to be on my own for a bit instead of with people/roommates like I am 24/7, even sleeping.  During my explorations, I literally turned a corner and saw the Colosseum for the first time.  What a moment!  To be going about your own business and stumble upon one of the most famous sites in the world.  I had a few people ask me for directions and if I spoke English so maybe I am beginning to blend in! Near the forum I had a British couple tell me to watch out for a group of teenagers ahead that tried to accost them, so I held on tight to my bag, put down the shades and walked like I belonged there, looking straight ahead. I could see them sizing me up, but they left me alone. There were other people around as well or I would have gone to the other side of the street.

Closer to the apartment, I wandered around the Campo for a bit (Campo di Fiori the site of the market and many cute shops and boutiques) then headed home with many hours and miles of walking behind me. Early evening went to the grocery store with the girls and bought Harry Potter 6 in Italian. I figure that when I don’t have anything else to do I can take the book and my dictionary and sit and translate to practice.

Later on, back at the Campo, there was a crafts market going on- wish I had more money with me because the things were fabulous! That was on the way to the Irish bar, the Abbey Theatre, to watch dem Stillerz play da Coltz. L and I have now developed a tradition of doing Irish car bombs during the games to ensure the victory of the Steelers. I think we may get known for it because we challenge each other to who can finish first and everyone watches the two crazy girls chug their beer… Our goal was to only pay for one drink and get someone to buy us the next since we will go broke if we keep getting our own! It ended up working better than we had planned… we got a shot each from each of the bartenders for 1) congrats on the car bombs and 2) for putting up with the insane old men Steelers fans next to us. Then convinced old man #1 to buy us a drink and later old man #2 bought us each a martini. Pretty proud of ourselves as were only hoping for one and ended up with 4. Feeling good when we left (but NOT drunk mom, so don’t worry, just happy. Mom’s fallingasleepreallyfast” story has caught on with my friends and is now a favorite expression).

Guilio, an Italian we met last night, called me to meet up after the game so L and I met him and his friend in Campo di Fiori. My roommates and I have a strict policy of not going anywhere with people we don’t know by ourselves, especially at night. So we met Guilio and Vincenzo in the Campo and went down the street to a Turkish bar/cafe, which was one of the coolest places I have ever been. The four of us spent most of the time there swapping English and Italian tongue twisters, i.e.- how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? They are well educated, traveled, and just really cool people. Not like most of the creepy Italians we’ve met, like the high school boys who tried to hit on all of us last night! They started singing opera when we left and were telling us where and what we should go see for the opera.

All in all it was by far the best night in Rome I’ve had yet. And only on day 8 or so it can only get better! Tomorrow morning I’m going back to the Campo to market so I can cook our roommates dinner tomorrow night and perhaps sketch if it’s not too cold! It definitely can get rather chilly here in January. I hope to buy a cool coat here since it is too cold to take off an outer layer and would like a second option. Slowly beginning to feel like I’m Italianizing… I love it.

Off to bed now and to try to memorize Rascal Flatt songs so Lauren and I have something to sing back to the Italians in exchange for their opera…

Lots of love…

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