Week 2 at JFRC: The Pope, some clubs, and lots of gelato

Another week has passed in Roma, and I have no idea where the time has gone. Let me try to remember what I did this week so that I can believe it has actually been another week.  I think I must have spent Monday doing homework, because I can’t recall anything exciting other than stopping downtown to purchase tickets for the AS Roma game.  Tuesday after class, I went downtown to explore on my own. I realized that although I am always in Chicago by myself, I had yet to do so in Rome. As a complete introvert, this was awesome. I’m starting to understand the city better, and I keep finding new delicious gelato places to try. This was the most expensive gelato I’ve purchased thus far, but the Cocca (coconut) was hands down the best gelato I have ever tasted. I can’t complain about the fragola either.     While downtown, I ran into my friends. Small world, right? We continued to walk around and peruse shops, and I decided to try my first Italian cannoli. It was out of this world good.     Wednesday, classes were canceled so that we could attend the papal audience. Although I’m not Catholic or even religious, the pope is pretty damn cool. Loyola has made me love the Jesuits, so Papa Francesca is pretty awesome in my book.     I’ve been getting up early to workout every morning, but getting up even earlier to stand in a mob-like line that’s even worse than the Today Show line was a struggle. I think I’ve touched every JFRC student’s butt after this morning. After getting a seat, we had to sit and wait. And wait. I uncomfortably fell asleep, or at least tried to. My boyfriend’s friend captured this gem of me loving life at this point.     Finally around 10, Papa came out on the Pope Mobil while they announced all of the pilgrims and Loyola even got a shoutout. He came right by our spot twice, and I got some awesome pictures. Alas, no baby so no touchie.

 

It was awesome to see him, but then we had to sit for another hour in the searing sun while listening to 8 different translations. Again, not one of the most fun points on my trip. Here I try to prove otherwise.      Afterward, we ate lunch at a nearby restaurant. I had meatballs for the first time in forever surprisingly, but I wish I could have had a full meal portion rather than a second course portion. Italian meals are the weirdest. Dessert was gelato from Old Bridge. Caramel and cookies. Yes, yes, and more yes.     I intended to partake in a walking tour led by our beloved Father Bosco, but a beautiful day quickly turned into a hailstorm. Unlike most of my friends, I was inside during this. Papa Francesco left me #blessed. Thursday, our class was on-site and we walked around downtown exploring stores and discussing the advertising. We focused a lot on McDonald’s, which is basically a whole other brand in Europe. Look at this nonsense.       After lunch, I returned downtown to explore on my own. The goal was to walk down to the Colosseum and find this gelateria nearby. It was gluten-free and uber-pure. Perfect for my gelateria blog. However, once you begin to search for gelato, YOU CAN’T FIND IT ANYWHERE. It’s a curse. Long story short, I got lost. When you’re lost, take artsy pictures and glamour shots by Deb while chowing down suppli, the best street food on the planet.                 As I’m wandering around, I experience such a dramatic case of déjà vu. By dramatic, I mean I completely halted and probably made a spectacle of it. I was in the exact spot several years ago when I was in Rome with my sister, Claire. I vividly remembered being in a nearby souvenir shop. I purchased a pair of purple sunglasses and she bought a University Roma tshirt that she still always wears to bed. We took a picture outside on that same street. It is a small, hidden street, mind you. It was weird.     Magically, I was then able to navigate where I was. From there, I stumbled upon the cutest cafe and gelateria, which I will be blogging about for the next couple of weeks. You would be surprised what one can analyze from a simple cafe. Here’s pistachio and chocolate.     That evening, my friends and I went on an adventure. Per advice and according to other directions, we decided to head to this one bar area. I still have no idea where we went. We walked through an area “it looks like you shouldn’t be in,” stumbled down a muddy, rocky, wormy hill, then found a bus to take to the area.  It was a cute bar scene, with many young adults enjoying appertivo on a Thirsty Thursday. Appertivo is like Italian happy hour from 7-10pm where you drink and eat salty foods so you’ll drink more. The bar we decided on apparently only serves beer and wine, and I don’t like either. So I bought food and was sober Sally for the night. One had calamari while the other had chicken and peppers. We also shared cheese fries which tasted almost exactly like Steak n Shake’s but with ham on top. Also, Italians eat mayo with their French fries. I have mixed feelings about this. I also had my second gelato of the day with zero regrets. Coconut and berries. Coconut is my new fave if you can’t tell.     After another adventure back, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time. I laughed so hard I cried after learning the names of Kelsey’s childhood imaginary friends.     On Friday, after class and homework, I decided to run to the grocery store. It’s weird being able to run to the grocery store. Also, that was my first run outside here. I am constantly tripping on the street/sidewalks/cobblestone here, so I have been afraid of daring to run.  I went out to dinner with my friends, then we went downtown for drinks. We tried out Fluid, which was the coolest place ever. Super trendy with a club-like vibe. I’ll definitely be back for appertivo, where they apparently have a big buffet of food. ITALIAN DRINKS ARE SO STRONG!     Isn’t this bathroom weird?    I tried out the club scene here for the first time. I really don’t like the Italian clock. Everything starts so late! It was midnight and no one was even in the clubs. We explored the beautiful Shari Vari that was full of magnificently designed rooms and bars. We popped a squat in one area, and once people started showing up, that area became the VIP section. No complaints.  Some of our other friends found us, and we decided to try another club that had given us a coupon for free shots on our way. We get to the club and realize it’s all teenagers. Drinking. Clubbing. It was uncomfortable. However, there were cheaper drinks there, so we drank a few and headed back to Shari Vari.             The club was packed and crazy by then. We found lots of other JFRC students and had a blast. We lost one of our friends for awhile which was incredibly scary, but we finally found her and took a taxi home. I got home at 4. That’s almost when I wake up most days! Again, not a fan.  Miraculously, I was able to wake up 3 hours later to catch a train. I will blog about my travels once the weekend has concluded.

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