... Hilarity Ensues

Gelato, a necessity.

Actual dinner always consisted of variations of the following: wine & bread, then pasta of some kind, then another plate with salad and the protein. Every night there was pasta without fail. Huge plates of it every night. I cannot stress how much pasta there was enough. After all this comes dessert. Yes, there is still more food?? as if bread, a plate of pasta, and a plate of protein/salad wasn’t enough, dessert is still necessary???

Just a few of the desserts that we were given after each of the nightly meals. Yes, we received dessert after EVERY meal.

Convent Life- the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

• Heated towel rack- best invention ever! Warm towels after a hot shower; I need to bring this home

• Being able to escape the crazies in the Hostel. You cannot put a price on peace and quiet. Having a place to go to escape from all the drama created by the children at the hostel ensures I stay sane

• The hike up the hill every day. Its good exercise and almost works off the sugar/carb filled meal I inevitably just had

• Our own bathroom. This whole sharing phenomenon is overrated. I don’t want to share a shower/mirror with 10 other people. I want to do things when I want to and not have to coordinate with an entire floor of girls.

• A hot shower. I never want to leave. Its the best way to get warm

• No curfew. The people in the convent don’t have one while those staying in the hostel have to be back by midnight on weekdays and 1 am on the weekend or they are locked out for the night.

• TV, not that I can watch it cause its all in Italian but I can still say I have one.

• Maids. They are so nice and having them means that I don’t have to clean which we all know I hate.

The Bad

• No washing machine or dryer. Hand washing everything is so awful and hanging everything to dry takes so long.

• The hike up the hill every day. I am so tired after the climb

• The Nuns and their overbearing nature. They are just always there with something to say. Sometimes it is something nice, mostly it is to scold us or remind us to do something or create some new rule we have to follow. Oh yeah, they speak Italian and so fast that I have no idea what they are saying half the time so I just nod and keep walking but they keep talking as you walk away even though they know you don’t speak Italian and can’t even hear them anymore. Ugh, frustrating. They also go into our rooms when we are not there and turn down the heat. They know how to pinch a penny which is kinda unnecessary as they don’t pay taxes.

• The gate that makes the same noise that prison gates do- oddly enough the Convent is kinda like a prison. We have these thick stone walls which are impenetrable except through said gate. They have cameras everywhere and the Nuns sit there and watch the monitor to see what you are doing. The front door is always locked, even during the day. I’m not sure why they feel the need to keep what’s in, in and what’s out, out. Its like Fort Knox in here.

• No one else is allowed to enter our rooms. Only convent people can be in the convent; it doesn’t even matter if they are fellow students who are at the hostel. They cannot come up with us, they have to wait downstairs for us. • Being asked to leave the hostel at 12 am because that is their curfew. They can all stay up and party together but we have to leave the hostel.

• No kitchen. This means I have to eat out for lunch every day as well as for dinner on weekends. This also guarantees I will be fat when I come home. Pictorial proof as to why I will soon be fat to follow. All I eat are carbs and refined sugars and more carbs and more refined sugars. Like I said, I am currently compiling evidence to explain my impending weight gain and will post the pictures soon. They will explain why I need a kitchen

• No mirrors. At least I can’t see how fat all the carbs will make me, but how do I know if my outfits look good? Its hard to coordinate without a mirror. There is a tiny one in the bathroom above the sink but its super high up. Its too high for my roommate to really even use to put on her makeup with. She has to stand on a stool.

The Ugly

• The 10$ breakfast that consists of

  • Coffee/tea/hot chocolate with powdered milk
  • Fruit drink
  • White French bread
  • Nutella/jam/butter/honey/spreadable cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Packaged croissants
  • Packaged melba-like toasts
  • Packaged cookies
  • The price was built into our residence fee so we don’t have the option to pay it here per day- its essentially a hidden cost. Its exorbitant; what we get is so not worth that cost. The hostel gets cereal and milk, some fruit occasionally, and real bread which can be toasted

• No heat on Sundays. The entire Convent outside our rooms is always cold but our rooms are usually ok once we get in them and turn the heat up but on Sundays the Nuns aren’t really around so there is no heat. You cannot wear enough socks/sweaters/blankets to keep warm here on a Sunday. You MUST escape to Bar Sport (a local cafe) for heat, food, and internet for the day.

• The internet situation

  • At first we had to pay for it o Now we are given user names and passwords which expire every 5 days o It can only be used downstairs
  • I cannot get the wireless signal and have to use the cord thing(the technical term)

• The beds- WORST mattress EVER! I am sore when I get up in the morning from the bed. They feel like they have cardboard covering the springs.

I say all this and it seems like its so awful here but its really NOT. These are all minor inconveniences minus the heat situation. That’s actually bad. For all the rest I can just adjust to and live with. Also remember that there is probably some minor exaggeration for effect in the bad portion. Like I said its not really as bad as this all may seem when put all together and read at once.

Keeping ancient traditions alive

So in the past they would banish the deformed/disfigured people to the local convent. There they would live in seclusion so they didn’t scare the townsfolk, especially the small children. This is the story of how I kept that tradition alive during my trip.
Disclaimer: I have taken some artistic license with this story. The embellishments make it a better story but don’t worry it wasn’t as bad as I make it out to be.
    Day One:
Me to my roommate Shannon, “Ugh I hate zits. I’m getting this HUGE one. I can feel it coming.” ANGER!!!
    Day Two
Wake up with Mount Vesuvius below my brow and lament to Shannon how all my Rome pictures will be ruined buy this gigantic red monstrosity. I am NOT impressed.
    Day Three
No more pictures today so my shame will not be immortalized for future generations to see. All is good. Zit is still really big and painful tho.
    Day Four
Zit is still there and what’s worse, it is bigger. How is that possible? I didn’t think it could be possible to get larger than what it was. It really really sore too. Odd. Oh well, it can’t get worse now. Can it??? Oh yes it can.
Later that night I night I notice the area above my eye is a bit swollen. Not really sure what’s going on, but maybe some tea tree oil will make it better. Go to sleep with the hope that it will magically be gone tomorrow.
    Day Five
OH MY GOD I AM A CYCLOPS!!! My eye has ballooned up overnight and is almost closed it is sooooo swollen. Try not to panic. Then realize I have class in 30 minutes and will have to go out in all my shame like this. Now begin to panic. Go downstairs and get an antihistamine. After I take it the girl goes, oh its the drowsy one. Go upstairs and proceed to pass out. Again I naively hope that the swelling will go down when I wake up. Ahahaha. Silly girl, it stays just as bad. Ok. You can deal with this. You are an adult. Who cares how much of a freak you look like. Ice the area that should bring the swelling down. If not then maybe there is a traveling circus I can join??? Ok minor success. Maybe a topical Benadryl thing will work?? Success. I am no longer a freak. I can leave the convent for dinner.
    Day Six
OH MY GOD I AM A CYCLOPS…. AGAIN. Ok I must admit I was not as bad but still, minor panic begins to set in. What do I do? I’m not allergic to anything. What is going on? A regular zit does NOT do this. What is this????? Crap, they have scorpions here. It’s a scorpion sting. I’m gonna die!!!!!!! The venom is going to spread throughout my body and I’m gonna die. I’ll have this grotesquely swollen corpse. Ok lady. Get a hold of yourself. I’m sure its just a spider bite but let’s just call a doctor to be safe. Wait in the convent for the doctor wile everyone else goes to class.
Doctor- its ok. Here is a prescription
Me- OK?
Doctor- ok.
Ok. Get random ointment, apply and go to class with only minor swelling. Success, I am normal-ish again and so I am freed from my life of exile in the convent. I will no longer make small children recoil in horror due to my appearance. Life is good.

Some ruins.

Me at some building I didn’t hear the blurb about. I think it was Mussolini’s Palace? Then me and Eric in the Pantheon. Finally the weird creature in the fountain. Suggestions as to what it is? 

Rome- Fuck it. Let’s Roll.

This weekend was my field trip to Rome as part of my Medieval History class. Lesson of the trip, some people are photogenic, some are not. Eric and I do not seem to be. After comparing our photos from Barca we have decided to see who can take the worse picture here in Rome. Don’t get confused here; we are not purposefully trying to take bad pictures. We both just seem to have very unflattering facial expressions in pictures, naturally. The camera captures us at our worst moments: mid word, while blinking, yawning, laughing, ect. Let me tell you, there were some prize pictures that were promptly deleted and some that will never see the light of day.

Slogan for the day- fuck it, let’s roll. This is epitomized by our prof aka tour guide, Alessandro. The bus picks him up en route to Rome but we don’t stop somewhere and let him on. Nope that’s not his style; instead he hops on while its moving and sits down without a word to us. Ok, no big deal, why stop the bus to let him get in when he can leap jump in alla Keanu Reeves in Speed. This sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Stop one is one of the first churches in Rome. After a short blurb about it, its on to the next one. Stop for pictures? Fuck it, let’s roll. We walk a short distance and stop for some snacks/drinks. Based on the pace he set over here I can tell snacks are a good idea or I’ll be too tired to make it though the day. After giving the 16 of us 5 minutes to get snacks we are off again. We walk down the street to another church which he promptly tells us we cannot bring open drinks or food into. We all chug our hot drinks/mow out food down cause fuck it, let’s roll. The church is really cool cause there are 3 levels all dating from different periods. The lowest one is the earliest. It is Roman. Its original purpose is unknown but it was either a bank or a slave market. Then parts of it were used in the worship of an Eastern god, Mithras. As with many of his worship sites, the Christians appropriated it and build their own church on top of the site. That is exactly what we find here. The next level up is a Early Medieval church. At one point there was an earthquake and its was severely damaged beyond repair. So it was buried and in the Late Medieval period a new church was build on top of it. That is the structure we see now. The earlier layers of habitation were forgotten about and only found when a Monk fell through into a room that was under the courtyard. We spent a bit of time here but once we left the church we resumed our hurried pace. We walked past the Colosseum barely pausing for pictures, hurriedly passed the site of the Roman Forum on our way to the Palace that Mussolini built. Here we stopped momentarily to catch our breath. From there we continued onto a site which was once a Roman theater that was later turned into a private home. I missed most of what he said as he didn’t feel the need to wait for the entire group to get there before he started. As suddenly as he stopped, he started off again. We walked a bit, came up some steps, and we found ourselves in the Jewish Ghetto. We had lunch there and then set off in search of the Pantheon. Passing, but not pausing at, many interesting sites we got the Pantheon. Wordlessly he entered it and began his blurb as I was still admiring the sheer immensity of the building. Five minutes later we set off again. Side note, some of the best, read worst, pictures of the day were taken here in that 5 minute span. By this time the group has thinned out and is essentially single file training after him for blocks. I am somewhere near the end so I completely miss what he has to say about the next building. I don’t even know what it was called. Before the next fuck it, let’s roll moment I have just enough time to admire the fountain outside said building. There is this weird looking creature, kinda like a platypus mixed with an alligator. It would be on the side of evil in some low budget fantasy movie. This is the last spot on the tour today.

What did I lean on my field trip?

Red flowers symbolize a person’s holiness/ location in heaven 

Mosaics were used in earlier Medieval times but due to cost and time were phased out in favor of frescoes

There are not many/maybe only one round church in Rome

And MOST importantly, how to take a picture while walking

The Sagrada Familia. A church designed by Antoni Gaudi. It’s been under construction since 1883 and based on projections won’t be completed until 2026. Bananas.

This is the view of the city, the view from the beach, and me among some random square concrete blocks which were off the wharf