Buona sera friends,
I must say with a heavy heart that my study abroad program here in Rome is winding down to its final week. There will be no more excursions around other parts of Italy or vacations around other parts of Europe. Next weekend will be my last in The Eternal City, and I can only feel that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this metropolis has to offer.
On a scale from “Damn it, I’m leaving!” to “I can’t wait to eat a giant burrito!” I find myself somewhere in the middle. I know without question that I will miss Rome and all of its wonders once I’m thrust back into the bitter cold of Chicago. But, I also realize that no journey is complete until you can hug your loved ones at home, then spend the subsequent month bragging about all the cool shit you got to do abroad. It’s a very romantic idea in my opinion.
But, I don’t want to sound as though the adventure is fully finished. One more week in Rome amounts to at least a month or two worth of Chicago (you’ve got to convert it from the metric system, ya know). So I’m not going to hang my head and mope. No. Never. We must press on. No surrender, no retreat.
… at least for 7 days.
Since our last encounter, though, some exciting things have taken place. Firstly, because of some letters written by some important people in Chicago, our study abroad group was announced by name in front of thousands in St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Benedict XVI, himself, gave us a little papal wave from his papal chair. It was for one of his weekly addresses that he gives on Wednesdays in the Vatican, and we were able to sit very close when he rode by in his Popemobile.
He’s really a rather adorable little guy. He’s not too tall, he’s pretty old and frail, but he’s always got this big smile on his face as if to say: “Can you believe this!? I’m the freakin’ Pope!”
I’ve also got to give him credit, he’s pretty good at the whole language thing. He gives his addresses and blessings in 6 or 7 languages, while I’m still here working on getting this Italian stuff down. Not a good start for my long road to becoming Pope. All the cussing doesn’t help either (Che cazzo!).
And while we’re on the topic of Popes, we also got the chance to see the remains of the first one, St. Peter. And they’re conveniently located right underneath St. Peter’s Basilica, so we didn’t even have to go far. Luckily these excavations aren’t like the ones they have for the Capuchins. St. Peter’s bones weren’t hung up on the ceiling in the shape of a creepy chandelier or something. There is just a little plexiglass box in a crevice about 10 feet behind a barrier, where you can kind of see what appear to be little bones.
But, come on! It’s St. Peter!
I kept asking if I could go closer to the remains, but the guide denied me three times. Then a cock crowed, and I went outside and wept.
Anywho… I really shouldn’t write for too long, because I have a lot of work to finish for the coming days. I just wanted to post a little something while there is still time left on this voyage. I’m going to try to make one last wrap-up post in the next week before I leave, so get ready for a Pulitzer-Prize-winning article any day now. For the time being, though, you’ll just have to make do with this. Very sorry.
My love to everyone at home! I’ll be seeing you very soon, and a handful of you will be getting gifts. So, if my return wasn’t enough to excite you, maybe my trinkets will be.
Ci vediamo presto!