Wow, what a weekend! We have definitely adjusted to the time-zone and some of the other Italian ways of doing things, and that kept us busy in a great way this weekend.
There are quite a few ex-pats living here in Rome, and they are a wonderful source of information and advice on living here. This week, we were blessed to meet up with some on three different occasions. The first was on Wednesday, when we braved one of the typical evening thunderstorms to follow a very experienced American in Rome. Patrice is the mother-in-law of one of my co-workers at The Heights, and she is living here with her husband who has earned his licentiate. They’ve been here off and on since 2006, so they really know the city. She power-walked us through the rain over to the best gelateria we’ve come across so far, with innovative flavors like red-wine chocolate and fig cheesecake. It was a fun evening passegiata (the daily evening walk most Italians take), and we enjoyed chatting with her and learning about the diocese of Rome in general and English masses in particular. Also, to give you an idea of her energy level, she recommended we make a day trip to Orvieto. As you can imagine, we won’t be doing that with Princess Lucy anytime soon.
On Friday afternoon, I had my field trip in Latin. It conflicted with the Greek field trip, so I opted for Latin since I liked the places we went to. We went to Augustus’s tomb and the Ara Pacis that he built to honor his family, the history of Rome, and the newly ushered in Pax Augusta that would later simply be dubbed the Pax Romana. Afterwards, we walked to the site of the first permanent theater in Rome, built by that Pompeii, and the site of Julius Caesar’s murder. But, as the afternoon waxed into evening, I had to get home for some dinner plans, so I rushed back to Trastevere for a quick shower and then we trekked with Lucy up and over the Janiculum hill (Gianicolo in Italian). This is the hill, more properly mountain, behind our house.
We had contacted a few Americans whose blog we were mining for information about the city and they wanted to meet us for dinner. They’re alumni of Nicole’s school, Franciscan Univ. of Steubenville, and they have two adorable boys (and a third baby on the way!). I’m linking to Jenny’s blog just so you can see their cute kids and perhaps learn even more about Rome. This couple is pro. Pro-family, pro-life, pro-Catholic, pro at navigating Rome. Also, Nicole was tickled by the experience of meeting a blogger whom she’s followed and enjoyed for months, in person. We went to a restaurant that came recommended to them by their biffle, Cardinal Chaput, called Scarpone.
It was a trek, but a worthy one. Delicious, delicious meat, and a great shared bottle of house wine (which happened to be the cheapest thing we ordered! Yeah!). John Paul, their one year old, is adorable and polite–he consistently offered me anything he happened to be eating. Their 2 year old, Joseph, had a ball snapping pictures with our camera and entertained himself beautifully. Here are some of the shots he graced us with:
The next day, we met up with two more American friends– two girls who are entering the Nashville Dominicans next month!! So currently they are traveling through Rome and Lourdes, as sort of a last hurrah (or Bachelorette Trip, as we were calling it). We were supposed to meet them for the 5:00 vigil Mass at the Pantheon. We arrived 15 minutes early and had to muscle our way into the building, insisting we were there for “Santa Missa” and “preghiamo!”. Once the bouncer let us in, the usually swarmed Pantheon was a cooler, emptier oasis of prayer. There were probably about 40 people attending the Mass. None of those, however, were our two friends. With no cell phones, things like this can be tricky. After Mass, we wandered around the Pantheon and Navona area, stopping in a mostly-empty church to feed Lucy (the best place for this, we’ve found), and a gelato pit-stop. As we finally made our way back to our street, we spied the girls walking around the entrance to our apartment. They claimed they had only been waiting there for a bit, but we felt bad. We enjoyed a meal with them at our favorite local restaurant (um, enjoyed all except for the fact that Lucy screamed the entire time, only slightly consoled when walked vigorously outside on the street. Talk about showing the girls that they chose the right vocation!). As usual, though, Lucy was a real hit with the passers-by on their passeggiate, with all and sundry commenting on her manine and piedini (little hands and feet)! So we leave you, as usual, with pictures of the little one and some of her new-found friends: