(Photo by Niles Rooker)
I love Rome. The architecture is amazing. There are ruins scattered throughout the city. It’s a very fast paced place. In a weird way it reminds me of New York City. I’ve been so busy sight-seeing; I saw the Coliseum, Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain, numerous cathedrals, and the Sistine Chapel.
(Photo by Unknown)
Perhaps the place that left the biggest impact on me was the Capuchin Crypt. Guys, I’m not kidding when I say this. I misunderstood my professor and I thought we were going to a place that made cappuccinos. If I’d only known what I was walking into I might not have gone. Before we got to the crypt, we walked through a museum that explained the Capuchin monks. To my understanding, they were selfless friars that devoted their life to the Catholic church. As I turned the corner and stepped into the hallway of the crypt, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Human bones. Everywhere. Skulls piled upon one another, full skeletons resting on top of them. Everything from hip bones to shoulder bones laced the walls and ceilings. They were intricately designed as some sort of bone mosaic. In one room the bodies hadn’t even fully decomposed. I didn’t know whether to feel sick or amazed. On one hand I sort of felt like I was in a serial killer’s basement, and on the other hand I knew I was seeing something sacred and rare. I was told they were trying to showcase that there can be just as much beauty in death as there is in life. It reaffirmed for me that life is too short. Personally, I need to stop worrying over insignificant matters and do what will make me the happiest. You can’t waste your life trying to please everyone. It’s just not fulfilling. As morbid as it sounds, it’s true; what we are they once were, and what they are, we will be.
Change of subject. One day I was walking with a friend and noticed a hair salon. I had been wanting to get my hair cut and luckily they took walk-ins. A beautiful woman named Natalia took me to wash my hair. As I attempted to speak to her in Italian, I realized she spoke very little Italian and zero English. She kept saying “russo, russo!” Russo meaning Russian. The only Russian word I’m familiar with is ‘vodka,’ so I knew explaining how I wanted my hair cut was going to be a challenge. I pointed to a picture of my desired hair style and hoped for the best. She flipped my hair over my eyes and started chopping. I squeezed my eyes shut. I was having flashbacks to when my mother used to give me mushroom cuts as a little girl circa 1997. I despised it. I couldn’t bare to look up. She was cutting my hair so quickly, I thought this can’t be good. When she finally finished, I was afraid to look in the mirror. But I did and I was pleasantly surprised. It was one of the best hair cuts I’d ever had. Sometimes you just gotta surrender to the situation…and hey- if this is the scariest thing that happened to me in Rome, (remember I had just left Ted Bundy’s place), I’m doing pretty well.
One of my favorite days in Rome was spent song writing in the hotel. Afterward a bunch of friends and I bought a few bottles of champagne to enjoy together as we sat alongside the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain really is as magical as it looks in pictures. I was blown away-per usual. Yes, I made a wish and no, I can’t tell you what it was because I’m extremely superstitious. Let’s just say it’s a limiting belief to think you can only make one wish…I was there throwing coins left and right (I have a lot on my wish list). I know what you’re thinking- geeze, she sounds greedy. But don’t worry! They didn’t all pertain to me.
My American friends headed back to the States, but I’ve continued on. I met my parents in Florence because my Mom is in town partaking in a painting workshop for the week. After meeting my parents, the first thing I did was take them to meet Giorgio- my favorite gelato man that I told you all about last week. When I walked in his face lit up, “Olivia!! You came back!” He gave me a warm welcome and was ecstatic to meet my parents. “La tua figlia è molta simpatica,” meaning, “your daughter is very kind.” He asked if we could take a picture together, and then he sat down and began teaching me more Italian. I’m going to miss sweet Giorgio.
Tomorrow I will move to a small town outside of Verona for the month of June. I really have no idea what to expect. Stay tuned.
L I V