Yesterday we woke up for orientation, met with our Latin class, had lunch in my professor’s apartment, and then took a 2.5 hour introductory walk around the city which included a trip to the oldest gelato shop in Rome. Yum yum yum. I am no longer worried about gaining a million pounds because there is SO MUCH walking here and tons of stairs. Afterwards my roommates and I went to the grocery store and stocked up. We then spent some time in the apartment before Danielle and I went out to dinner with Kyle and one of Dani’s friends. We ended the night at Kyle and Keith’s apartment playing drinking games until 2 when we were all way way to drunk. The boys walked us home. Dani and I passed out. We will not be drinking on school nights again…I thought I was going to die this morning.
This morning we had class (which Dani and I were a little late for) and found out the huge amount of work we are going to have to do this quarter. Classics is one of the most academically intensive study abroad programs you can do. We have a ton of reading and lots of Latin to translate (Vergil) plus a seminar class that we haven’t even been to yet. We have class 5 days a week for basically the entire day. The English program that is also here has class Tuesday-Thursday and their assignment for the quarter is to keep a journal. Ah! But it is absolutely fine with me because I LOVE to learn (as my sister would say with disgust), and there is no better place for me to be! Plus this is the first time in a while that I’ll have school and no work so I don’t have any complaints at all.
We went to the forum in the afternoon. THE FORUM. I am lost for words as to how to describe what being there felt like. I am so passionate about Classics and the ancient Romans especially. For two years now they have been a part of my life and my world and suddenly I had stepped into theirs. It was nearly overwhelming. As incredible as everything is, it is also very frustrating to see the monuments in the condition they are in. The worst of it is the deterioration from acid rain. Something that we have directly caused is making these unbelievable achievements of mankind tarnished and broken. So that kind of pisses me off. But I digress….I wish I could explain what it felt like for me personally to walk the streets of the ancient forum, to see what the Romans saw. I don’t really feel worthy of the greatness of ancient Rome. I hope to know all I can about the Romans but I will always just be a spectator from thousands of years away. The fact that things are intact is amazing to me. HOW DID THEY DO IT? How did the stars align so perfectly at that point in history to create such a culture? I am in awe. And I get to go back tomorrow!
My professor is just a godsend. He knows everything. He is the head of the Classics department at UW (which has the best undergraduate Classics program in the country) and this is like his 11th time to take students to Rome. So he is not just a phenomenal resource for history/topography/Latin but he can tell me where the best grocery store is and all about small places where I would have otherwise missed. Not to mention he speaks excellent Italian, which comes in handy.
Tonight we are headed back to the boys’ to make dinner and hang out and then tuck in early because we meet up at 9 to head back to the forum. Ciao.
Oh also I now have internet!