I am officially with my classmates on the SCO in Rome trip! It has been a long and exciting two weeks of traveling through Europe, and I am so thankful I was able to spend the special time with my Pop Pop. Now, I am so thrilled to begin the next step of my adventure.
I lugged my 40-pound suitcase down the sidewalk to St. John’s campus, where I found my classmates and my room. They all seemed so happy to be there and much less tired than I expected, considering they spent about two days traveling due to flight delays and layovers. Professor Hillebrand met with us in the “map room” of the university, which I assume got its nickname from the giant map of Rome that covers one whole wall of the area. He explained where in Rome we would be walking for our first acquaintance with the sights of the city, and then we were on our way.
Some of the sights we visited were: Trevi Fountain, Tempio di Adriano, Bernini Obelisk, the Pantheon and the famous Piazza Navona, which is where the first century Stadium of Domitian, a gift to the people of Rome, once stood. We also visited Sant’Ignazio Church and Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which is a gothic church home to a Michelangelo sculpture of Christ. The interesting thing about this 16th century sculpture is the loin cloth that was added in the Baroque era. We then stopped at a huge gelateria which had the largest selection of gelato I have ever seen. I finally allowed myself to order gelato, since I was in Rome, and it was delicious. I had Nutella, dark chocolate and a Mozart flavor, which was chocolate with nuts. After the brief tour, Professor Hillebrand left us to ourselves to navigate our way back to St. John’s, which worked out very well.
We had a few hours to ourselves, during which some people bought toiletries and food, napped or hung out with each other. I was fortunate enough to have a slight advantage on my classmates, because I had gotten used to the large time difference already.
We met Professor Hillebrand, Professor Morosoff and my Pop Pop, who my professors graciously allowed to join us for dinner, at 7 p.m. We enjoyed a three-hour-long four-course meal, accompanied with water and red and white wine. The meal started with some appetizers that included breaded olives, breaded potatoes and breaded rice cakes. The next round was pasta with two different types of sauce: red and carbonara. It was my first time having pasta carbonara, and I loved the taste and texture of it. The next course was pork dressed with a slice of bacon and sauce, and potatoes with rosemary on the side. Finally, we ended the meal with a tasty tiramisu. We were surprised with a shot of limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur. I find it hard enjoying the taste of alcohol, but this was actually decent and tasted somewhat like a lemon drop.
After dinner, most of us came back to St. John’s. I unpacked, worked on my homework assignment and mentally prepared myself for the first day of classes.