American Moments plus an Elephant giving the Finger!

Posted on June 1, 2011

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Dear Perfect Timing,

This is always a surprise when timing just works out for some reason. The past few days I have been thinking and worrying myself about coming home in the next few months and not knowing what to do about a job and having money. When I left Reno I left a few jobs (I always tend to have 2-3 jobs instead of one “real” job!) and now that it is closer to my arrival back to the States my head started spinning with options of my next step. I have considered taking the LSATS in February so preparing for that test would be pretty much my life! I have thought about joining my sister in her new place of work and I of course hope for something along the lines of continuing writing…There are plenty of options but my real opportunity opened up on this day, the first of June!

A patient of my father’s happened to be in Rome and we got in touch and made plans to spend the day together. I told him a place and time and even took a photo of the bar I wanted him to find me at and sent it to him so we were crystal clear! 9:30 am I stepped off my bus and was about 40 feet from the meeting place when I looked left at the people crossing the street in the cross walk and there he was! Impeccable timing! I can count the number of times I have actually met up with people at the time said: ZERO! Someone always waits (usually me!) over 10 minutes to an hour to actually meet one another! Depending of traffic, buses and trains are always a problem! I love this city, no doubt, but I don’t love public transportation. It is decided that if i live in a big city I would definitely have a scooter and would avoid the buses when all possible! I wouldn’t even want a car…at least a scooter or bike you can park anywhere that you please.

So we met perfect timing and walked around in the early sunshine before the heat took over. He had pretty much covered all the “tourist attractions” so the day meant whatever I felt like doing. We walked along Via del Corso and talked about Europe, Reno (my home town) and what we were going to eat and do. We found a quite bar to take a coffee and a traditional “Italian breakfast” since he admitted that he hadn’t actually had one since his arrival to Rome. I had a caramel cream cornetto with a caffe machiato while he had some other struddle type pastry and a latte machiato. We sat outside on the cobblestone tiny street and talked some more. After we chowed our breakfast and had our coffee he asked if it would be bad if he wanted another pastry! I promised him it was fine and that he should try another one. So he chose a berry filled cornetto and we were on our way back walking towards Piazza del Popolo (the Piazza of the People)

We stopped into a few shops and had a laugh when I misread a price tag and thought that a tee-shirt was a hundred bucks! We were inside a trendy shop called Jack Jones and I kept thinking, “damn this place is steep…! I see young kids wearing this stuff they must be rich!” After I realized that I was reading prices in other countries! They were normally priced for a tee, around twenty bucks! Whoops…seriously the price tag had about 8 different rates! Once I saw my mistake I pointed it out to him and I am pretty sure that he laughed at me; not with me. Soon after I explained and justified that it was perfectly normal in Italy to have a gelato before lunch we found a gelateria and ordered some pistachio (still my latest addiction) and fragole (strawberries) he tried my mix and I made sure that we had panna (freshly whipped cream) on top because it is the BEST! Perhaps not the best for you but it’s so fresh and fluffy that I cannot resist anymore. Some how when he handed the chick the money a single euro coin dropped and fell perfectly in a gelato tub!! It was seriously both embarrassing and hilarious. I told him after we left that health wise they are supposed to throw it out since it was now “contaminated” but they probably wouldn’t and continue to served the dirty gelato! What people don’t know doesn’t hurt them. Walking some more we found ourselves in front of my older sister’s favorite church in Rome, the Santa Maria sopra Minerva. This is known as the only gothic church of Rome! We sat on the steps and enjoyed the rest of our gelato before entering the humongous church. He had been on a tour near here and he told me the story about the statue in the center of the Piazza della Minerva with the elephant at the base of the obelisk. The artist Bernini was commissioned to create this structure and since he “won” and was the favored artist of that time he became heckled while he worked from the building directly behind him. He began to have trouble creating support for the four-legged interpretation of the elephant and had to “fill in” the shaped since the four legs couldn’t support the weight. He finished and the work is obviously still beautiful but the funny fact is that the trunk of the elephant is strangely postioned thrown over the right shoulder of the elephant and Bernini purposely make the trunk look like a middle finger! He was giving the hecklers the bird!! I love Art History and stories like this! Check it out: True Story…witness this business!

He then asked me if I have ever been to the Chiesa di Santl”Ignazio and seen the amazing 3D painting inside!? What!? I was so eager to find out where this church was but he couldn’t remember…then I saw a sign that was damaged by spray paint but I could barely read it but I realized that it WAS the church he was talking about! We followed the arrow and found our way inside the famous church. I was so impressed that I can say that I was more fascinated by this work in this church than when I saw the Sistine Chapel!! Gorgeous talent. Just gorgeous! Andrea Pozzo was the artist that painted the grandiose frescoes across the nave ceiling. There are a few focal points that are marble disks laid into the floor where you stand to face the illusion of the 3 dimensional floating figures! Unreal. I am such an art history dork that I was overwhelmed with the beauty and literally felt a “high” from the excitement that I experienced witnessing this perspective projection!

It was time for lunch so I told him about the “Priest’s place” so it was decided that we head there. Plus, I had to get home soon to pick up my boys and it was about a 15 minute walk back. I led him along the river away from the street. He thanked me for sharing some of my favorite places to be and that it was a relaxing day without a real plan. We just met up and did whatever with no direction in mind. I wanted to walk along the river because even though it is not that beautiful (the dirty green river that it is!) I enjoy the walk very much. He began asking me a lot of questions in between me telling him about my passion for writing and my commitment to this blog. I stopped in my tracks and flat out asked him, “umm is this an interview or something? What’s up with all these questions!?” And his answer was YES! He then asked if I had seen the film Iron Man and of course I have. He needs a Pepper Potts to help him organize his life!!! He asked me to be his own Pepper. So I have another name to add to the list….

Call me Pepper!!!

OH! He had what I call an “American moment” when we arrived to the restaurant he admitted that when I told him that it was the “priest’s place” that he thought that there would be handfuls of fully robed priests everywhere! I really laughed and pointed out that the only reason I knew that these men were priest because their clerical collars!!! Robes and Holy water….bahahahahah!!!! What a great day it was.

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Posted in: When in Rome