when in rome

Ciao tutti!

This email comes with LOTS of pictures because we’ve seen LOTS since I last wrote! My friend Garrett is here this week visiting. It’s great to see a face from back home! We met at the train station in Rome and spent the weekend there (I decided to leave story-telling to the pictures…www.calaismarie.com). Rome is fantastic, but a day and a half is most defenetly NOT enough. After finally finding one another in the Rome train station we saw wandered around for a few hours and saw the Roman Forum and the Pantheon. We ate roasted chestnuts at Piazza Navona and walked in the rain to see the Colosseum at night. We managed to find shelter before it began hailing and then found a break in the storm to walk back to our hostel.

Sunday morning we woke early (partly because that’s what jet-lag does to you!) and made our way to Vatican City after stopping at the Trevi Fountain. Fortunately we were up early enough to be the first ones there because within 15 minutes you could barely see the fountain through the throngs of tourists. We spent most of our day in Saint Peters (the Vatican) and then the next few hours again at the colosseum. We stopped for coffee on our way to the train station and were given caffé and a show as our barista lip-synced and danced to the Italian translation “A Spoonful of Sugar”. It was absolutely hillarious! He actually waltzed with the milk before pouring it into our cups!!

Interestingly enough, my favorite part of our time in Rome was a pause in all the hustle when we stopped to watch a flock of birds swirling around in the sky. They were really more like black clouds playing a game of charades (very similar to the school of silver fish in Finding Nemo!). It was absolutely beautiful. I made the mistake of trying to take a picture. As you’ve probably predicted, it does the experience no justice and wasted precious moments just enjoying such a gift. It’s almost greedy, isn’t it? We see something and want to capture it and take it home. I’m slowly learning that, rather than the ease of a photograph, it’s often better when an experience requires a story told with the same love in which it was viewed.

Like I said, Rome was beautiful but too fast. I started to feel like a consumer at a shopping mall trying to accumulate the longest list of things I was able to see. When you’re running around trying to do everything you’re supposed to do while in such a place you often forget to experience any of it. It’s a shame and something I’m really working on avoiding. So today we rented a car with some friends and, after stopping in Pisa, drove to a small town (very near Cinque Terre) on a peninsula called Portovenere. We had a picnic lunch outside of a small church perched on the cliffs overlooking the sea and then bought gelato down near the docks. The warm day was a nice break from the bitter cold we’ve been getting!

Well, I pray all is well in all your respective towns and cities. Please keep writing – I love to hear from you even if it’s simply hello. I mean, I need a reason to leave this wonderful place, right?! Haha. I’m really excited to see how many different ways this experience will impact my life and the lives of those around me. I’ve already changed me in so many ways. Have a beautiful week!

Calais

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lenticular?

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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