Since it’s Christmas time, i think it would be appropriate to write about it. I knew that Romans were Catholics, and i thought that Christmas here would be beautiful and full of “offertas” (special offer, buy it right now or you’ll miss your chance to get something you don’t need), and I was right. They started decorating the city in November, that’s nothing new, cause everybody does that (well, in Cyprus they start in October, but that’s an exception:) ), and I was amazed how beautiful it is here. Some streets have red carpets, and I mean, REAL red carpets, lights are lit all over the city, so you can’t see the wires, and they don’t save on electricity, everything shines! Christmas trees are everywhere, my Conservatorio has one on each floor and a couple more in some unexpected corners, every shop has one, streets are full of them, even the guys that sell roasted chestnuts have decorated their little selling spits with cute pine branches. Haven’t seen any decorations on my train station, but I’m leaving Rome for Christmas, probably I’ll miss their decorations, even though they are a bit late with that, comparing to other spots.
There is more that has nothing to do with the streets. My landlord here is a very old schoolish lady, catholic in all her mysterious ways, goes to church almost every day, prepares speeches for some events there, regularly attends some catholic retreats in some clusters in the middle of nowhere (no sarcasm, nothing like that, respect to her and merry Christmas), so she started her preparations as Cypriots do – in October. She changed a tablecloth to a Christmassy one, hang little bells all around the apartment and made a base for Christmas treats (dolce per natale) – like 5 kilos of minced cookies, blah blah blah. Most importantly, she changed the set of her shelf with 15 family pictures to one more appropriate for the event – left only a few pictures but made a whole setup of some very interesting items. These items are christmas attributes of course. She has a statue kept under a glass top that is actually 200 years old – it belonged to her grand grand grand mum. And around that one she has some other little statuettes bought in different countries. But the grandest masterpiece of art in this collection is a holographic luminous picture of Virgin Mary. At first, when there’s not enough light, it looks like a peace of paper, but suddenly when the light shines – Virgin Mary appears there as a ghost (a print that is). Even though I’m jewish and have nothing to do with Christmas, I like it, I find it very cheerful and a bit inspiring. This is the time when you get together with your friends and loved ones, doesn’t matter why, you just do, you find the time, that is very important. So Merry Christmas everybody, let your hearts be light!
(Actually i like Christmas because it’s a legitimate reason to sing all this beautiful jazz standards, that are not “in time” when it’s not winter :) )
Rome. A city that never sleeps, but always chills. A city filled with thousand tourists with open mouths and disposable cameras, a city where the quantity of churches exceeds the quantity of supermarkets and probably even cafes. A city where no one speaks English. Ok, last statement is not completely true, but I have to admit that of all the places I’ve been in, Rome is the one with the smallest amount of those who do speak English. That complicates my life just a little bit since io non parlol’Italiano. But later about that.
Rome is a big surprise to me, because everything that I’ve heard about Italy is just so wrong. People here are open, joyful, eager to please, helpful, passionate, not irritating, which was my greatest fear – I thought that every person in Rome would cross the border of my comfort zone, scream something in my face with his hands all around the planet. I’m glad that I was wrong, since I’ll have to spend here almost a year of my life.
I came to Rome some time ago to study in Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, but my first two weeks had nothing to do with that, I was in a 100% “tourist mode” – walked km around the city, just to enjoy a place where every tiny bit of the ground is made of two thousand years of history, to see all the must sees with my own two eyes, to check out the most important places that all intelligent people go to (cause I’m all so full of it, would be a shame to tell my friends that “Ahh, no, haven’t seen the Colosseo…”).
I remember one thing my mom said before I left to Rome, that I should pack my bag carefully, because it is a city of well dressed woman, I thought – what the hell, I’m going here to study, not to shine with my nonexistent pack of popular labeled dresses, and what a surprise – I was right, Rome is full with hipsters, but I guess nobody calls them that here. Although fashion shops are not a rare thing here – on one street you can find 3 ZARAs, 2 H&Ms, 2 Piazza Italias and etc. But the most fashionable place here is THE market, that is on… every metro station, every square, every single street that has some free space and people that might buy something, and by something I mean everything – from small electronic gadgets to furs, from bicycles to Louis Vuitton bags, underwear, jeans etc. Now I know where these girls in their 14ns get all this fancy stuff, 5 Euros per bag – who wouldn’t like that.
I’m going to write a lot of different things about Rome and my time here, I’m going to share it because maybe you would even find something useful or interesting in all my posts, I’m not sure, only wiki knows everything about everything, but I guess a “real life” experience could be handy for some. At least I’ll have something to rely on when I’m old and grey and I have to prove to my grandchildren that it is true, been there seen that. Anyway, some first impressions on Rome. I’m not a photographer, so don’t judge my skills too harshly.