Saturday, October 15, 2011

Buongiorno da Italia

I touched down in Rome with a nasty cold that latched on in Oz and had not since let up. Needless to say the changes in altitude, combined with the expected complications of jet lag left me feeling somewhat worthless. After an exciting game of cat and mouse in the stazione termini, Jodi and I finally found each other and ventured into the streets of Rome for my first real Italian cuisine. Sadly, I quickly realized because of my evil cold, I was unable to taste a single thing. Decided to save the first glass of vino for a night it would be worthwhile. The next day I was rendered useless by jet lag and the cold from hell and slept the entire day away only to wake for another meal I still could not taste. Time to kick this cold. Dove la farmacia? Off to find drugs we went. I then noted that I had seriously underestimated how difficult it might be to buy cold medicine in a farmacia with no Italian speaking skills to my name. So, I put on my sick face, grabbed my throat, made a pathetic coughing sound and set off to more than likely fully insult the intelligence of the perfectly capable pharmacist with a quick game of charades.

Feeling drugged up and refreshed, we opened our tourist map and began our tour of Rome. There are not really words to describe a day spent roaming the streets of a city thriving in modern times yet built upon ancient ruins. The history of this city seems to seep out of the buildings and the old fountains, almost like an aroma that floats through the air, wafting over the archaic bridges and is captured in the small family restaurants, and gelato stands. There was a surreal ambience that encapsulated me as I entered the Piazza Del Popolo and suddenly I was walking in a personified postcard. I became the extra in the scene, with the beauty of my backdrop far overshadowing any importance I felt I might have in this moment. A few minutes into our walk, I looked up to see St. Peter's Bascilica and the Vatican in the near distance, because..sure, why wouldn't it be. The day was planned with no plan. We wondered from Piazza del Popolo, by the Castel Sant' Angelo and across the Ponte Sant' Angelo, down the cobbled roads to Piazza Navona, stopped in at the Pantheon and continued to Campo Di Fiori. Method of nutrition and hydration?? Gelato, pasta, caffe and vino. Nothing better:)

As I sat in the Pantheon I couldn't help but feel a bit envious of those Catholics in the room who were literally feeling a magical, religious connection at that very moment. I closed my eyes and said a prayer, searching for that same mystic bond.

We were in need of a 2 day trip to pass the time until Sunday when it would be time to return to Rome and pick up my family...googled it up and decided that a train ride and a quick ferry ride to Capri island would do the trick. Forgot one small detail and didn't check the weather on Capri...buying a ferry ticket to an unfamiliar island using only English in an Italian speaking country proved even more ridiculously difficult with the rain pouring down on top of us. There comes a point when you just stop trying to not get wet and you accept your fate as a strong resemblance of a drown rat. We got to the island and discovered that our bed and breakfast was set near the top of the the highest peak on the island. A cab and a car ride later we climbed the steep steps to a true Italian bed and breakfast with our balcony overlooking all of Capri. Plans for the weekend: stroll the streets filled with genuine Italian shops where the Italian shoemaker is sitting in the window carefully crafting his shoes for sale and scarf-clad Italian women perch on stools in doorways sewing small dresses, eat gelato, read and watch the sun set over Ischia island, drink Limoncello, and eat more gelato.

It's time to learn me. It's time for me to step outside any metaphorical box I've ever placed myself in and break free of any boundaries which have ever held me back. I've said before we are powerful beings, capable of making or breaking another's spirit. If we are so powerful over another's outcome, then we are certainly more influential when it comes to our own lives. More times than not, I must be the catalyst of change in my own life. Take risks and have faith that whatever I do, things will work out. I cannot live life in fear. Fear of the unknown, or even fear of the known. I want to recognize my own strengths and weaknesses. I want to know what I have to offer people in my life and then do it with a full heart and passion like none other.

Tomorrow morning we will take a car, a bus and two train rides back to the airport in Rome where I will hold a sign with my mom and sisters names on them and will then proceed to jump up and down and create an American spectacle.

Blessed is this life. And I'm gonna celebrate being alive.

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