Updated: Apr 22
I arrived back in Rome on Monday night around 9:00 PM after flying into the main airport – Fiumicino. Normally a taxi ride from the airport to the city center costs 40 Euro, but there is a train that takes you to the main train station in Rome for 14 Euro. Given that I had a suitcase with me and the train was not an option, I explored a different method of transportation. I found a shuttle bus that drops you off right at your apartment or hotel for only 18 Euros. It worked great. I arrived and waited for about 20 minutes, then the bus driver came and got my suitcase and put it in the van. I was the second person he dropped off and was at my apartment by 10:15 PM. Not too shabby.
When I arrived, my ISC, Silvio, was entertaining a few guests for a dinner party. There is no better way to start speaking Italian again after a week of speaking bits and pieces of other languages than to start talking to a group of Italians over dinner! Baptism by fire – and it worked. By the end of the meal, I was back in Italian mode. The meal consisted of very good pasta and something I have never tried before – liver. If I was back in the States I never would have tried it, but I am a bit more open minded while I am abroad and look at every opportunity to deviate from the “normal” as a cultural experience. It honestly wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It tasted like meat, but kind of crumbled once you put it in your mouth. It is not something I would ever make for myself or order at a restaurant, but is something I would eat if it was placed in front of me at an event or a business meeting.
On Tuesday, we had a field study for my architecture class at Saint Peter’s Cathedral. Unfortunately, my iPad alarm did not adjust itself from London time and I was 20 minutes late to class. Fortunately, I was able to go through the line for people with disabilities and didn’t miss anything! The field study was great in that it was an excuse to go into Saint Peter’s Basilica again, but I did not learn a lot. I already knew most of what my teacher said from my audio tour of the Basilica I downloaded from Rick Steve’s website. I’m still not complaining – I will always be able to tell my children that I had a class in Saint Peter’s Basilica. That is something special that only a student studying in Rome can say!
Tuesday afternoon, I had my first three hour long class for film (it used to meet for two hours on Tuesday and one hour on Thursday, but now we meet three hours on Tuesday). It was pretty productive. We got our midterm grades back – I got a 95. I think I’m on pace for an A in that class. Our class is remaking two scenes from the movies we saw. I am directing one of the scenes and am filming the “behind the scenes” of the other. The scene I am directing is from “Caterina va in Citta” or “Caterina and the Big City” which was directed by Paolo Virzi. I had an hour of the class to describe my vision for the scene to the rest of the class, cast the scene, and do a few dry runs. I think it is going to come out very well.
Tuesday night, I fell asleep very early as all my traveling finally caught up to me. Wednesday morning, we had a field study for my Italy and the European Union class at the Italian Crisis Unit. We were able to tour the department responsible for extracting Italian nationals from other countries when any kind of disaster strikes. It was very interesting & the office reminded me of what we see in spy movies.
Wednesday afternoon, I had my Memory and Conflict class. We started off with getting our midterm grades back – I one-upped my film grade and got a 96. I was very happy with this. We then discussed the readings that were assigned to us over Spring Break. They were about the “Roma People” or people who migrated from India to Europe about 1000 years ago and are living a nomadic life. They are more well known as gypsies. For the second half of the semester, our class is going to make an oral documentary about their story. It should be an interesting project.
Thursday, I did not have class until 4:30 PM. I woke up at 10:45 AM and went to the store to recharge my iPad’s 3G data package. Afterwards, I went and worked on the scene I am directing for my film class. I needed to edit my script and start working on a list of shots I need for the scene when we shoot in three weeks. It is starting to come along. Next week, I will sit down with my cinematographer and assistant director and get them on the same page. It is a lot of work, but is really fun and I am learning a lot more about film. I also think this experience will make me appreciate film better.
Thursday night, we went out to dinner with a few people from school. They had a nostalgia for American food, so we went to an Irish pub for hamburgers and french fries. Tomorrow, I am going to Venice for the weekend with my study abroad program. They put together quite a good itinerary, so it should be a great trip.
Note: This post was originally published on April 7, 2011 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe” which chronicled my study abroad experience.