Sister, Sister ... didn't know how much I missed y

Trip Start Sep 27, 2005
Trip End Oct 26, 2005

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Flag of Italy  ,
Sunday, October 16, 2005

Even before I arrived, I had decided that Rome was going to be one of the highlights of my trip.
Thankfully, even my sister being there wasn't able to muck it up ;)
Kidding, of course, Jenny being in Rome studying abroad and her friends there made it one my most memorable stops.
Having arrived at the train station late Sunday morning after spending the night with an Australian astrologist, Turkish carpenter, and Moroccan she-wouldn't-say-what-she-does, Jenny's smiling face at the station set Rome off on the right foot.
Immediately, we ate. This, as in Ukraine, was to be a recurring theme.
We rushed to see the Pope give his blessings in St. Peter's Square and wormed our way into the middle of the throng of Pope fans. Just expecting to soak up the atmosphere, I was happily surprised when he busted out (in English): Hey everyone, just wanted to give a shout-out to all of my English speakers here, lemme hear you make some noise!, followed by Como estan, hombres!, Konichiwa, and Shalom, Salaam, and good night all my monotheists in the house!. Not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed with all the languages he could rap in even if he wasn't actually speaking like a Cal Mic Man.
Jenny and I wandered the Vatican grounds, beautiful stuff, and cruised on over to the soccer stadium to meet up with her friends for Lazio vs Florentine. Lazio is one of the 2 Roman soccer clubs and they blew their opponents out: 1-0. Hey, in soccer that's about equivalent to what the final score would be were the Green Bay Packers to take on the Roosevelt Middle School Grass Ferrets.
Later that night Jenny's flatmate Courtney the Razorback showed me all up about town. She's the national Irish Dancing Champion (of America), dontchaknow. And even later that night Jenny and her roomie Jessica the Fat-Kid-Inside-A-Skinny-Girl's-Body and I saw even more of the sights and were out far too late.
Saw the Coliseum the next day: bloodiest patch of earth on this planet ever, pretty crazy when you think about it.
While in Rome I got to play soccer with other kids from Jenny's program, met some airline workers from SoCal including Eric who now owns a pizza line (the pies are very good), Jenny's au pair friend Sammy who is not a boy despite her name (as if I'm one to talk), go out with our neighbor Adam from Irvine who I saw more in Rome than in 10 years on Timberline, hang out with this interesting artist/criminal guy, teach English to Italian kids for an afternoon (and get hit on by a 16-year-old, it was adorable), cruise the Tiber River, and take blurry video of the Sistine Chapel (yes without flash I am not without conscience!).
Oh, and I had a goosebumps experience when I was in the Vatican Museum. I had been walking around for a few hours and was on serious art overload when I loped into yet another room of beautiful-but-overwhelming art. I obligatorily went to the info kiosk in the middle and was half-heartedly scanning it when I caught ...hool of Ath...
I focused and saw the words School of Athens, which is one of my favorite, most inspirational paintings. I slowly wheeled around and saw it in real life just 6-8 feet away on the wall. Having looked closely at this painting nearly every day for the past 4 years, I knew most of the details but still found more when presented it up close in real color. I know it must seem a silly thing to get all bent out of shape over a drawing on a wall but the 20 minutes I spent examining it in real life gave me an extra bounce in my step for the rest of my trip.
The final morning Ali (Jenny's other roomie) whisked me out of the building in the nick of time before the manager showed up. In Italy there is a law where, in the kind of place where they're staying, you can't have overnight guests for fear of terrorism. Makes the illegal wiretaps and library book checks of the Patriot Act seem almost fun in comparison.
Several goodbyes and blocks walked in the rain later, I was on the train to Florence ...

Moral of the story: The Pope is a baller.

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