This week has been full of stress and excitement. Our main theme for the week was Ancient Rome, so we visited the Baths of Caracalla, Capitoline Museums, and today we visited the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum. Intermixed with all these great site visits was a lot of stress and homesickness.
On Monday we walked to the Baths of Caracalla which were these HUGE public baths that were used in Ancient Rome. Yes, people bathed publicly in them, but it was more of a place for social gathering. Aside from the actual bathing, there were places to exercise, eat, play, etc. Now I don’t know if I would really be comfortable bathing in other peoples filth at the same time as them, but apparently that was the “in” thing to do. Walking around the ruins, it was really hard to imagine what it would have been like when it was in use. It’s hard to even grasp the size of the place because it was two floors and had underground passages as well. But the entire grounds were really beautiful to walk around in!
Once we were done at the Baths, the people I mainly hang out with: Cierra, Caitlyn, and Emily (aka the Sisterhood), went out to eat for lunch. I have no shame in admitting that I ordered two main courses and then went out for gelato after. NO SHAME. The restaurant we went to was so inexpensive, I ate pasta and pizza for 8 euros. How can you even pass that up? You can’t. Hopefully this will make my sister happy since I have clearly forgotten what healthy food even is. NO VEGGIES FOR ME SISSY. (Just kidding, I’m making Broccoli right now actually…)
I also went to my first bar! So what did I order there you ask? Nachos, naturally. I love Italian food but everyone knows my first love is Mexican food. This wasn’t even remotely close to Mexican food, but it was the closest I could get. Also, this was not the same night I had two main courses in one sitting. It was the next night, after our other dinner when we went out for drinks. But I like food more than drinks so what’s a girl to do? Eat gelato after the nachos, that’s what she does. Yes, I am probably going to return to Washington looking like an elephant, but at least I will be an elephant who has enjoyed a lot of gelato!
Yesterday, is when things kind of took a turn for me. I woke up from a horrible dream about how my mom wouldn’t stay to say goodbye to me, and once I woke up, I could not shake the homesick feeling. I honestly wanted to cry all day. Now whether that was attributed to just missing my mom, the stress about having to do my presentation today, or hey maybe even a certain number was stressing me out, but I was definitely not at my best.
Thankfully, I have the best friends here and they know just how to cheer me up? How you may ask? SELF SERVE GELATO. After my last post, I went to the UW Rome Center, and what appeared right across the alleyway? A self serve gelato place. Clearly this was a sign. Now almost everyone that I tell about this place is very skeptical and believes it to be no good. WELL GUESS WHO WAS WRONG. All of you. It was delicious, like I knew it would be, and they all enjoyed it too! I was very satisfied by this. So clearly I have had a lot of gelato in the last couple of days and I think I have found my favorite flavors. Raspberry and a flavor called Fior di Latte which is kind of like vanilla ice cream but a thousand times better!
Then we come to today. Dun Dun Dun. Today was the day that I had to give a presentation on the Roman Forum. Have I mentioned I hate presentations? I had everything written out and I knew most of it from memory already, but I just get so dang nervous. Thankfully, I was able to call my mom super early this morning and that helped in more areas than one. Just hearing her voice and being able to talk to her helped a ton and I ran through my presentation with her. I was as prepared as I was going to be so off to the Forum we went. I know my presentation wasn’t amazing but the feedback I got was positive and I’m just happy I didn’t stare at my notes the entire time. Props to me.
The Forum itself is stunning. Having done a lot of research on it, it was really cool to actually go there and recognize a lot of the ruins and to know interesting facts behind each building. If you ever have any questions, I’d love to tell you cool stories about some of the buildings! The picture below shows where the Basilica Julia floor plan is. Also, off in the horizon, you can see the three columns of what was the Temple of Castor and Pollux!
From the Forum, we walked up the Palatine Hill and then to the Colosseum. Now, most of my classmates were not as impressed with being on the inside of the Colosseum as they thought they should be. I on the other hand was pretty impressed! It is so big! I guess I enjoyed it more on the architecture level than anything else. To be in something that was created by men and their hands rather than the large machinery we have today is really cool. Since a lot of the sections are run down or have caved in, you can see how thick the walls were and can imagine the floor at the bottom and the crowds sitting at different levels. I think it would have been a lot more exciting for people (and me) if we had a guided tour. This way we could have gone down on the platform, gone underneath, and gone all the way to the top section. That is my next goal.
So that is what my week has consisted of and hopefully now that my presentation is over, I can be a little less stressed.