The Adventure Begins.. Sarge56 in Italy

Old Jun 1st, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Thanks sarge, for the info Re Ostia Antica. I'm looking forward to reading more about your adventures.
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Old Jun 1st, 2013, 04:08 PM
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You go, sarge!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 01:23 AM
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Oh sarge! Found this thread & am so very glad you are feeling better. I can imagine how hard the last few weeks have been.

I sure wish I could hope a plane & see you in Rome.

Whatever you decide, you are brave & wonderful & will do what you know is best.

While not USA to Rome ... I way way underestimated how hard moving from California to the great state of Texas would be and it has taken me almost 3 years to adjust. Sometimes we truly can not know what we don't know.

Cannot wait to tag along vicariously through you!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 01:36 AM
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Grrr….. wrote a very long piece and submitted it. But somehow it disappeared. Twice!~

I’ll try again..

Wednesday, my nephew’s flight was departing at 0645. RomeShuttleLimousine driver arrived on time at 0400. Our mistake. Nobody on the road at that hour, and our driver did well over 140 kph all the way. We arrived at 0415 on the dot!

Fortunately, Lufthansa agents were already checking in people. We got him checked in and I said my goodbyes at security. It was now 0450.

I made the mistake of thinking that the Leonardo Express would be running early and late. I followed the signs to the trains. Completely deserted except for a couple of men speaking some Middle-Eastern language.

I happened to notice two posters on the entrance hall to the train platform. One had departures and the other arrivals, for the regional trains. Thankfully, the very first train departing, at 0558, was scheduled to stop at Stazione Trastevere. Serendipity. Though I did have to wait an hour, and I got short-changed at the ticket machine.

Back in Trastevere, I went back to bed. Got up just after 11 and decided to head into town for lunch. I ate at a little place across from the Pantheon. I had stopped there a couple years ago with my cousin and remembered the food was good. And it still was.

The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day. But I was overtired and decided to go home.

Imagine my surprise when I found someone in my apartment! Turned out it was the cleaning ladies. My apartment agent neglected to inform me that since I rented the apartment for more than a week, I got cleaning service once a week! Yeeha!

Clean sheets, clean towels, swept and mopped the floors, cleaned the kitchen. It was great! And they’ll be back next Wednesday since I’m here three weeks. Yea!

Thursday, I washed clothes, wrote postcards, and then rode the tram into Argentina. I had to, of course, stop and say hello to the kitties. I have a special place in my heart for one who reminds me of one of my boys back home. They are both orange tabbies with a missing foot. I love visiting here.

I also found a little alimentari off the Corso del Rinascimento that had some things I was unable to find in my local store. One of them was cinnamon (for making French toast). Also found great pre-cut and packaged fresh veggies, good fresh bakery bread and a nice bottle of Prosecco.

I stopped at a little enoteca just across from Largo Argentina for a Panini for lunch. Nothing to write home about, but it sure tasted good. Thought about a gelato, but bone weary, so went on home.

Yesterday, Friday, I got up and went to St. Paul Outside the Walls. This was my third of the four basilicas to visit here in Rome.

This church was beautiful in its simplicity. And completely different than St. Peter’s and St. John Lateran. Not nearly as much decoration or display of opulence. But really stunning in its own right. The mosaic over the altar is gorgeous. Fortunately, there is a coin box that lets you light it up in all its glory. Terrific.

It was near 12:30 when I finished touring the basilica and spotted signs pointing me to their... cafeteria? Ok. Unexpected. But the food was good (I had lasagna), and I had to get kind of assertive to get served, as a large tour group arrived just in front of me.

Gosh, I’m really starting to hate those groups! (At Ostia Antica, earlier this week, some idiot schoolteacher let all 30 of her 9-yr-old students into the cafeteria at one time, to buy whatever they wanted.. candy bars, ice cream, chips. It was a mad house!)

I walked back to the Metro and took it to the Cavour stop, so I could make it to the final basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore.

Tactical error. The map seemed to indicate that the basilica lie halfway between Cavour and Termini stops. I thought Termini would be a nuthouse, so got off at Cavour. Don’t do it! Haha It is ALL uphill from Cavour to Saint Mary Major! From Termini, all downhill!

Once I had huffed and puffed up to the church, I was glad I’d found it. What a lovely basilica! The only disappointment was that the front of the church (altar) was very dark. And there were no coin boxes to light up the area. The ceiling mosaics above the altar were extremely difficult to see without light.

It does have some beautiful chapels. One of my favorite finds was the frescoed ceiling in the first chapel to the right upon entering.

The scene could only be described as a “ho-down”. Angels playing musical instruments and, whimsically, above their heads float two cherubs holding a banner of sheet music.  Delightful!

From here, I was anxious to see the mosaics at Santa Prasseda. Alas, it was 2pm and the church is closed from noon to 4. Another day…

I walked to Termini and hopped the B metro to Piramide. From there, the #3b bus home to Stazione Trastevere. Stopped in the little grocery story for milk and tea. Then home and fixed myself a nice pasta dinner.

I then walked down to the Farmacia a couple doors down. I have been having a problem with my left heel starting to ache about 4-5 hours into walking every day. It really gets excruciating if I don’t stop walking (the ibuprofen also seems to help).

The pharmacist figured out that I wanted to buy an ice pack. But she couldn’t find it back in the inventory. She was very frustrated for me. I just figure I’ll go buy some frozen peas… it’s what I would use at home. Hahaha

So, today I rested the heel. (It was cloudy and rainy/stormy all day. So that worked out.) Skyped DD for over an hour. Sang Happy Birthday to granddaughter (turning 7 tomorrow) and talked to 9-yr-old GD about all the awards she got at school the other day (and her new braces). I sure miss those sweet faces.

Anyway, I’ll be off tomorrow again. Not sure what the plan is, but it will be whatever strikes my fancy tomorrow.

I still have not decided whether to stay or go. DD is behind me, whatever I decide. But I’m at least here through the 12th.

Thanks for all the support and good thoughts! I just love youse guys!

Buona notte!
sarge56 is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 03:29 AM
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So glad you are feeling better and are enjoying getting out and exploring. Thanks for taking us along with you!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 04:18 AM
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In the dark churches use a camera set for the dark and "behold" you can see what you could not see.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 06:21 AM
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Alas, Bilbo- my camera died and I left the charger back in America. Using my cellphone camera was obviously not the same.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 09:26 AM
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sarge - you're beginning to sound like a local - hoping on metros, grumbling about tourists, popping into alimentari - brava!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 10:43 AM
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Glad to hear you are feeling better and how wonderful to have a cleaning service-wish I had one right now.

It's good to know that your children are behind any decision you make. For now, just enjoy Rome.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 10:48 AM
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Oh Sarge, whatever you decide will be right, but I sure hope you stay. You've planned this for so long -- even if you don't stay the full 2 years, at least stay longer than the 12th. You had a rough start, but it sounds like your days are finding a rhythm.

for you heel - what about getting one of those gel shoe inserts?

Thanks for keeping us posted.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 04:09 PM
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Sarge: good going so far. many of us are following you, and hoping for the best, and at least while you are there, I'm enjoying every post!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 11:51 PM
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Don't miss Santa Prasseda, it is lovely. While you are in the area, have an explore of Monti which has a small village feeling. For an interesting economical lunch of Umbrian food, go to L'Asino d'Oro at via Boschetto 73.

So glad you are feeling more yourself.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 12:02 AM
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Yes, I do hope you'll stay. It may help to cut back on the activities and just relax a bit. See one sight, do one thing, then relax in a café, buy yourself some flowers.

When I first started my job in Switzerland, I was overwhelmed. The corporate culture was completely different from anything I'd encountered before (and not because it was in Europe -- I'd already worked in Europe for some time). A co-worker gave very valuable advice: for the first three months, don't try to learn everything, do everything. Accept that you're going to get confused and frustrated. Just "swim" in the culture, let it wash over you. After about three months, she said, it will all start to click. And it did -- I'm in my job five years now and very happy with it.

I think the same thing applies to being an expat. There is that initial excitement and flurry of activity. Then a "what have I done??!!" phase. And then, after a while, everything that seemed so strange, weird, exhausting, intimidating, whatever, becomes second nature to you.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 02:33 AM
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Thank you for your kind note, WeisserTee. Let me clarify, though, I am not having a problem with the culture, or language or "fitting in". Those all had to do with my decision to move here.

My issues are with missing my grandchildren. Two of whom especially need me right now. They are healing from something that started last year, but is ongoing. I thought they would be in an ok place now, for me to come live my dream.

The problem is, I'm not sure they are. So, that is what is weighing on my mind. I love Italy. I love Roma. I will always love them. I have no issue with the culture (I'm quite adaptable), the language (I have far to go, but I am picking up things quickly), etc.

But I appreciate your input! I am glad that you have "acclimated" to your "new" existence.

tarquin- I took a 3-hour walk through Trastevere and Monti yesterday. Lovely.

I must say that the first time I got to Santa Maria in Trastevere, I could not get past the last couple rows- as it was full for Sunday mass.

Yesterday, I went to see it again. By the time I got to the front of the church, I realized I was crying. The beauty of this church so overwhelmed me. I must say it is going to be a new favorite (along with St. Agnes in Agony and St. John Lateran).

Today, I'm off to the Vatican to see if I can snarf a ticket to the Wednesday audience. Ciao!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 02:48 AM
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But missing your family back in the your home country is a key part of adjusting to the local culture.

I had no problems adjusting to the beautiful Swiss scenery, being 15 minutes from France and Germany or the language. Or the country's culture.

I am only offering my perspective as having been an expat for nearly 15 years, living in four different countries in Europe.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 05:50 AM
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Of course, your dear grands could visit you over the summer?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 08:03 AM
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I loved the San Zeno church and hope you get back to see it.

For your heel, freeze a small bottle of water and then run your foot back and forth over the bottle. This helps stretch out your tendons and the ice feels good. My left heel sometimes acts up after too many cobblestones and this helps. You can also do the same thing with a small ball whilst your reading or sitting at the computer.

Give those Torre Argentina pookies some love from me
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 05:44 PM
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Sarge- do you still have my email? Dawn Noel M at g mail dot com if you don't...
I would love to email with you and do not have yours any longer...
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 06:54 PM
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Mom - she posted it upthread.

paulam910 at Hotmail dot com
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 05:52 PM
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I adore Santa Prassede!!!!

I could sit in there all day.

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