so, i'm in rome, and i've been posting a lot of pictures on facebook that portray good stories, but here are some words to go along.
i'm on a program with UF called "UF in Rome" (clever title), and it's 37ish students and four professors. everyone takes an Italian class and then either Art History or Medieval Italian History. the students are living in Hotel Arenula, which is a hotel near the Jewish Ghetto and, essentially, in the heart of Rome. our classes are in a study center a few blocks away, right next to a huge bookstore, 239482 delicious cafes, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Largo_di_Torre_Argentina. Italian classes are at 12:20 (!!), and then we have a break between 2:40-3:00, when Art History begins. it is taught via powerpoint in a dark room, which makes it unbelievably hard to stay awake. in fact, i have not yet stayed awake during a class. we are done at 4:45, and then we sometimes nap or shop or get gelato - or on the best days, we do all three.
some mornings we have walking tours; the first day, they showed us where to go around where we live, like the supermarcato, tabacchi shop (essentially a convenience store, they also sell train tickets and cell phone minutes), mini-walmart, textbook store, the bars, etc. day 2 was some big sites - circus maximus (totally not a circus), a turtle fountain, a hole in a door through which you can see three countries (malta, the vatican, and italy), etc. on the other mornings, we try really hard to sleep in, although that never seems to work, or just relax in the room. perhaps in the future we will decide to use our mornings wisely, but for now, cuddling is more fun.
so i got here on saturday the 28th and stayed in a room at our hotel, where i sufficiently enjoyed the lack of air conditioning by not sleeping and taking 3 cold showers (it was fixed monday, but is certainly not american a/c). on sunday many of the students had arrived, so i met a few and went to the great synagogue of Rome - stunningggg, and they sell Prigat and falafel and israeli ice cream all around. soon after that i met my totallylame roommates named Kristen, Maria, and Christine. in case you can't tell, this is the jewish room. we are on the first floor (110) and have internet!! hooray! the program started officially on Sunday evening, and we all met in the park across the street and went to the world's fanciest dinner. the food here in unbelievably wonderful/fresh/probablyfattening/whocares. after dinner we went to a bar and watched the final soccer game, not really caring about spain's victory, but feeling italian just the same.
i wrote this in an e-mail to my family on the second day (june 30th):
hello! it is 10:00 pm and we just did our italian homework! (it took 30 seconds) it's cool because three of us in my room are in italian I, and all four of us are in Art History, so nothing will be really hard because we all work together. today we had breakfast at the hotel - it was delicious and we have it every morning! they gave me delicious cappuccino and we had crackers and fruit to take/sneak for the day... anyway jerusalem isn't really full of convenient stores like mini office depot or great cheap clothing stores so i was a little worried that roma would be the same way, but no! they even sell pillows everywhere, it's like bed bath and beyond in italian. next we had art history and we went on a walking tour to The Pantheon and Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva. They were so stunning, we saw michelangelo's jesus and the place where Galileo was on on the block! the easy accessibility of fine art is astounding and also surprising, people can just go shit on a michelangelo statue if they want. after that we went to another fancy dinner, not as fun as last night but still ridiculous. i had an incredible panini today http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifwith mozzarella tomato and eggplant, the bread tasted like deep dish pizza crust, i had it with orange fanta and it was "paradiso." the place where i got it is called Pascucci and is right next to our study center, so we will clearly be going there for break every day. they also have smoothies which are really any fruit you want mixed with milk, so refreshing and delicioso. they also have israeli/european ice cream here - such a plus! my favorite ice cream in israel when i was there in 2005 was solero, but they stopped selling it in israel. however, there is an infinite supply of it right next door to my hotel, so i'm as happy as a clam.
there is still no a/c so we're all like bleh, but in high spirits. there are also nuns everywhere, i can't help but laugh every time i see one.
back to the present:
the past few days have been good but i don't feel like giving every detail. let's just say i've been doing a lot of sudoku during art history class. yesterday we went to Villa D'Este, an amazing villa in tivoli that is... amazing. my pictures are on facebook - check them out here. we had a chill night, it was a long week and we were so tired, but still managed to have amazing FIG gelato!! today we went to the beach, which was pretty and mediterraneany and fun. we are about to go to go dinner and then to a bar and pick up hot italians. finally.
Now playing: Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy