Ciao, y’all…and doesn’t that phrase sound a little ridiculous? I’ve caught myself saying it more than once in the past five days since I arrived in Rome, and the more I say it, the sillier I feel. Yet at the same time, why not? Rome is an ancient city and a modern city, where women parade around in stilettos as tall as Trajan’s column and Vespas zoom past the Circus Maximus‘ dusty track, moving far faster than any chariot I saw in Ben-Hur. (Or at least they would, if traffic wasn’t always so congested in the city.) It’s amazing how humanity thrives surrounded by stone buildings over 3000 years old.

I’ve spent a lot of time getting settled and learning the citta (city). The first day was squandered wandering around in a jet-lagged stupor with the girl I shared a taxi with, searching for any place willing to serve food to two desperate, wide-eyed American girls on a Sunday. We ended up with pears. Italians don’t seem to believe in working at all on Sundays…or in the mornings/afternoons/evenings of any other day of the week.

Though I’ve had troubles with banks and restaurants, the Centro itself is fantastic. They feed us three square meals a day: dinner always has two courses, plus dessert, and lunch often has a second course. Monday evening, they had about 12 bottles of wine provided for dinner, including the prosecco, which my Latin teacher taught me how to open. I get the feeling that we’re going to get along just fine.

All the pasta and bread I’m eating should make me about a hundred pounds heavier (I swear I’ve eaten my weight in noodles already), but we’re doing a huge amount of walking this week, to orient ourselves to the city. I have, therefore, seen the Piazza Navona, Campo de Fiori, Trastevere, the Circus Maximus, the Spanish Steps, the Capitoline Hill (and its museum), the Pantheon, the Villa Aurelia, and the Colosseum. And so, of course, I also have a million pictures already…I’ll try to post a few every time I blog, but no promises.

Tonight begins my weekend, as I have no class tomorrow. I’ve got some translations to do (not too much), and then some tough shopping and visiting beaches and bars to get to. Not quite sure how I’ll manage such difficult stuff, but I’ll letcha know. Arrivederci, champs.