Over 20 miles. Around 25 hours. 12 feature sites. Week 2 is definitely a week that I will remember. We conquered Rome in a way that only emperors have experienced. My brain is fried and my feet are swollen – don’t those equal success?
For a brief recap: Monday and Tuesday were spent primarily in the classroom and then Wednesday and Thursday were spent exploring/touring Rome. Pantheon..check. Colliseium…check. Vatican…check.
Yes, it was incredibly exhausting, but incredibly worth it. I came to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to retain every single bit of knowledge of the history and culture of Rome. Instead I tried to connect the various sites, their historical significance, the people/rulers that were connected to the places, and even what role they played in building the civilization we live in today.
Studying abroad is not all daises and roses thought. Like I mentioned earlier – 20 miles in two days is anything but easy. The Vatican was our last site of the two days, and it was humorous to scan the faces of our group – eyes were glassed over, arms were propped on statues of popes, and words may have been going in one ear and out the other.
The best part of the week was relaxing and getting to know everyone all the more. We are each other’s best friends for these 12 weeks, and daily I grow in love for our group.
The hardest part for me right now is not being able to speak the language. We had our first two language lessons this week that was incredibly helpful, but it’s a straight struggle when we want to order something and don’t know how to say, “does this come with rice” or when ordering gelato it is quite crucial to be able to ask for a sample. The language barrier isn’t an annoyance because primarily because I can’t get what I want, but it is exceedingly hard to build relationships and share love when you can only communicate by pointing and signing.
This week a few of my favorite things include:
- Cooking with the fresh ingredients. At the palace we usually just throw together meals for lunch and dinner. Our food comes from #1 the supermarket (which is up the most treacherous hill in all of Italy) or #2 from the fruit/veggie market that takes place on Mondays right outside our front door. We usually opt of for the market – hence the fresh meals with only the freshest ingredients. Something I hope to take back home with me.
- Coffee culture – I have grown to love the coffee culture here in Italy. I relish every opportunity to frequent my favorite bar (café) and order a cappuccino and croissant. I am only slightly embarrassed to say this is more of a daily occurrence.
- Our teachers. It daily amazes me to see the work, thought, and time our professors put into this program. They teach with passion. They invest in our lives. I have learned so much from each and every professor – not just about philosophy, history, and architecture, but about life, relationships, dedication, and so very much more. This will not be the last you hear of them!
- The global body of Christ – A few of us girls went to a church in Rome this weekend. It is a newer church plant that I was introduced to by a friend of a friend of a friend. Although we couldn’t understand anything due to the language barrier – it was crystal clear that their church existed to glorify God by making disciples and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ across their neighborhood, city, and the world. I was so thankful to be a part of that community if only for an afternoon. Colossians 4:2-4 is a verse that I remember seeing at the church and I love the implications that it has today – and it is now my prayer for Breccia di Roma and churches around the globe.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
Have a spectacular week! Ciao!