20 December 2011

Best Memories

I've been putting this off -writing my last Roma post. My Italian friends can't understand why I don't want to leave when I'm headed to some pretty awesome places! And I am! I am so excited to visit one of my favorite literary landscapes, Barcelona (i.e. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon). I am so excited to meet amazing people and stay in rural Spain for 20 days on an organic farm. I am so excited to meet my new roommate, Emma of Melbourne, and study for a semester in Ireland...yeah, I have a lot to look forward to.

But you know what? Since August 31, Roma has been home. I've met awesome people, done awesome things, been to awesome places....

Well, in short and in no particular order, here are some of my best memories (note: these are only the ones I have photographs of - some, like a certain story about a Capuchin monkey, are not documented)...(also, a lot of these photos have been featured in previous posts, but they're here, b/c, well, I love them).

This one was taken in Venice. Megan and I are not important - the Dad teaching his son to ride a bike is what's important. Life is universal. No matter what our differences in language, beliefs, etc. we all want the same things - to live in security, to be well fed, to raise our children in safe and healthy environments...

This is the tree at the gate to campus - "CHI-TOWN LOVE". So true. The community at the JFRC was fantastic. There was gossip, disagreements, preferred groups of people - but there was also a collective joy in the opportunities the JFRC gave us. I didn't live on campus, but everytime I finally reached the top of the hill and saw the writing, it made the 15 minute walk up-hill a little bit more okay.

Gelatiamo! This was the second night in Roma. My first gelato experience, near Piazza del Popolo on Via del Corso. These girls helped make my experience the great thing it was!

I took this inside the Coloseum. Perhaps this is when I fell in love with sunbursts in my pictures. It was just so humbling to be standing in a place that old, with so much (violent) history. This was also at the beginning of the semester when everything was just a bit more magical and mysterious.

Jazz in Spoleto! It was such a fantastic experience to hear America's music under beneath a clear sky sitting on steps in front of a Duomo in Italy. Damn! Even now it fills me with emotion. Glorious. 


This is the sculpture atop Castel Sant' Angelo, my favorite place you have to pay to get into. I could stare up at him for days. The story behind him? He alighted on the top of Hadrian's tomb to announce the end of the plague. I can't remember when. But for me this picture also represents a day spent at a Papal Audience and also with my roommate/best friend Natalie out and about in Rome.

I love this. It's on Pont Sant'Angelo, the bridge in front of Castel. Lovers put their names on a lock and lock it on a bridge as a sign of eternal love. I've seen these all over Italy and even in Barcelona. It makes me smile. In the background you can see the dome of St. Peters. 

Bet you can't guess where this station of the cross is from? You'd think it was from some modern church but it's actually from inside Santa Maria della Rotanda...or the Pantheon, i.e. the oldest building in Rome still used (or maybe its in continuous use...it was built in the first century). I love the Pantheon - that this beautiful, non traditional art is inside makes me love it even more. 

I rode a donkey up the side of a cliff rising out of th ocean. This was on Santorini. I confronted my fears of heights and riding horse-like creatures. This was a huge moment for me. 

Black beach on Santorini. My name, written with little pumice stones. I walked here with a friend I had made from the hostel. I made my small mark and now its gone. But the beach was beautiful, the company was beautiful, and there is no feeling like staring out at the ocean. Or Aegean sea as the case might be.

The sun sunk into the sea like a seal slipping into the saltwater. Or, in other words, once the sun hit the edge of the water you could almost here it hiss as it disappeared in less than a minute. I shared this with Brie and a bottle of wine, in Fira Town on Santorini. I think this helps illustrate the magic that pervaded the island. 

Anna Pham and her impression of the flower sellers. Spot on. Really annoying. But, they are as much a part of Rome for me as Anna Pham is. That would be an unforgettable and integral part. (Also, I think the girl laughing is Wendolyn, someone I grew close to as we experienced Giacchetti's philosophy class together).

This is at the German WWII cemetery outside Rome. There are 27,400 men buried here, often three deep. Many are unknown, only "Ein Deutscher Soldat" marks their graves. I came here on the WWII weekend trip. We also visited the American cemetery as well as Fosse Ardeatine where 335 Italians were killed in reprisal for the deaths of 33 Nazis. 

I loved Krakow. Except for the cold. This was the first evening when the fog was so heavy. The next day I went to Auschwitz. This was a difficult and awe-inspiring weekend. Krakow is a beautiful city, the Christmas market was great, and I can't wait to go back!

"Here lies one whose name was writ in water" - Keats
The Protestant Cemetery is so beautiful and Keat's epitaph means so much to me as a writer. He considered himself a failure, that his name would be quickly forgotten. As a self-proclaimed writer, I know that I too hope that I will be remembered for my words. Who knows if anyone other than those closest to me will be moved by that which I pour my heart and soul into?

Last night in Rome!!! So sad! And look! The unlit Vatican Christmas tree that was supposed to be lit! And Erin and Tina who's wandering around Rome on my final night made leaving just a little bit easier. 

This sums it up I guess. Me, on the terrace of Castel Sant'Angelo writing in my sketchbook for my Writing Rome class. The class trips provided so many awesome experiences wandering around Rome and getting to write about it! I started writing again and realized what a part of me it is. 

Well, that's all for now. Keep in mind, there were so many amazing experiences and they involved so many people.

Only in Rome is it possible to understand Rome - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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