Tuesday, June 17, 2014


August 23, 2008

Today was unreal. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be here in Rome. I have experienced things in a single day that many people don’t get to experience in their lifetime.
The day began with a bit more culture shock. We needed to buy some bus tickets to take us to the Colusseum, but when we got to the shop where we were told we could purchase them, it was closed. It was already 8:00 in the morning and we had figured everything would be open by then; but once again, things are different in Italy. Not every store is open at the crack of dawn and closes at midnight. People are more relaxed and come to find out, many of the shops close for siesta right in the middle of the day! This is so different from our American culture where things are open practically all day as to bring in the greatest profit. So, we didn’t have tickets had to call a cab.
Driving in the cab I had my video camera and was filming out the window, but all of the sudden Kim nudged me and said, “look.” I put down my camera and looked straight ahead. There it was, the Flavian Amphitheater, also known as the Colosseum. I was breathless. To think that I really saw the Colosseum up close and in person has still got me in shock. The fact that the structure was built in less than ten years, before all of our modern technology, is absolutely remarkable. My favorite thing about the Colosseum tour was learning whether or not all those rumors I had heard were true or not. Come to find out they really did fill the basin with water and re-enact battle scenes, and they in fact, did not murder Christians by the hundreds, that is a myth. The Romans were violent, but they were not inhumane. It was interesting to learn about how history is recorded and its not always accurate depending on who the source is.
As we are becoming more accustomed to life here, we stopped at our local store for some dinner. We bought bread, olive spread, Gouda cheese and my favorite, prosciutto, a cured meat that tastes absolutely heavenly.  We made our own little sandwiches and felt very Italian. Later in the day we headed out for our Italian Language workshop with Andrea. What an amazing new perspective on language and Italian culture. Andrea brought to us an approach for learning Italian like I had never heard before. He didn’t jump right into grammar or basic sentences or salutations, because he knew that learning how to say “where is the bathroom?” would do you no good if you couldn’t understand the answer. So, he taught us about the way Italian is similar to English in that they both have Latin roots. We began to compare similarities and differences with the words and the sounds. Learning from Andrea makes me realize how as Americans we try to talk so fast because we don’t appreciate our language; we are more focused on getting things done. As Italians, they view every single consonant and vowel as essential to the word. Italian spoken by an Italian is like music. After this we were so pumped up about learning the language that we practiced on everyone we could on the way home.

After getting off the bus we got an extra little treat that we weren’t expecting. It’s Saturday night in Italy, and we had totally forgotten about the night-life! We walked through the market and bought jewelry and talked to people. We met two young men both from Egypt who were most interesting and made great interviewees for my documentary. And the night didn’t stop there. We headed to the festival tents set up along the river by our apartment. We saw some quaint little shops and then a class of dancers learning how to salsa right on the riverfront. How romantic!
I sit here writing this blog just being so thankful that I got the wonderful opportunity to be here and its more than I could have asked for.

Katie Estabrook (Hagstrom)


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