Things I Miss + Rome Days 2 and 3

Hi, Y’all!

How is it going for you? I hope you are well and happy (bonus points if you are reading this while drinking hot chocolate or something along those lines)… Me, you ask? I am a-ok. Mike is traveling for work (he’s in Switzerland, calling it “work.” Rrriiiiggghhhhtttt. Whatever you say, sweetie), but I have my ever-present friend, a book, to keep me company (I’m now reading “Quiet: Β The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain and I LOVE IT. Perhaps I’ll review it for you later, but I’m 52% through with it now and am feeling empowered and understood in a way that makes me want to quietly encourage you to also read this book). I’m going to have to figure out how many books I’ve read this year. I’m pretty sure I’ve set a personal record, or at least a record since my Nancy Drew-reading days (I devoured those, sometime over and over again). And, of course, I have my trusty blog! πŸ™‚

I’ve been a little slack on updating y’all on the comings and goings around here, haven’t I? I am sorry about that, but more for me than for you, if I’m being honest! I don’t really think that your day changes all that much depending on whether I post a blog entry or not, but I do enjoy writing these, and my day is better when I post than when I don’t because I feel more organized in my own thoughts when I have written a little bit. I used to keep a journal, and perhaps I should re-start that for myself. After all, I don’t think that you really want to read everything that I want to write… Trust me. Sometimes, the things that I think about? Usually not terribly risquΓ©, but… Like I said, you’ll have to trust me on this one.

Since I last posted, and I am being serious here… Mike actually spent time thinking about posting. It is progress that we are looking for here, and progress we have! I’m afraid it won’t be a fashion post (although, really, who better than Mike to write-up a lovely little piece on Swiss fashions?), but keep those positive vibes heading his way! It really is starting to work!

In any case, before I finish posting pictures from our lovely “Roman Holiday,” I thought I’d share with you a couple of things that I really miss from home. They probably aren’t what you would expect (and I’m assuming that it is a given that my family (including Kramer) and friends are at the top of any list of “I Miss…”, and that is absolutely true. If I know you, I miss you. I miss seeing familiar faces – living in a small town like good ole ATL, you know, you start to feel a little bit like you know people. I’m for real here. I would see familiar faces everywhere, and the people I know well enough to know some dirt on? You know I miss you! (I’m kidding, here. I don’t miss knowing ‘dirt’ on folks, but I do often love even what you might think is your ‘dirt.’ It’s part of really knowing someone to know some of that stuff…). But anyway, there are a lot of things that I don’t love that I still miss, and I thought I’d share them with you. πŸ™‚

For instance, I miss shopping carts where there is some sort of reasonable chance I might be able to steer the sucker, even after there is some weight in them. The buggies here? Their wheels (all 4 of them) turn 360 degrees. This means that they always want to go sideways. ALWAYS. I feel some consolation when I see some other poor soul struggling with their buggy while trying to navigate the parking lot, knowing that it isn’t just me (and then I feel bad about having someone else’s struggle helping me to feel better), but seriously… I miss you normal-Publix-shopping cart.

You know what else I miss, speaking of Publix? If you go to a grocery store in Atlanta (and I believe that this is true America-wide), chances are pretty good that not only will someone bag the items you purchase, but they will at least offer (even if it is clear from their facial expression that they want no part of leaving their happily-climate-controlled-environment for the wild and wonderful outdoors) to help you to your car with your bags. Here? It is strictly bag-it-yourself. I am QUITE sure that it has never crossed the mind of any staff member at my local Edeka (which I do like, as grocery stores go, don’t get me wrong) to help anyone to their car with their things. The instant that someone here offers to help me to my car? That is the instant that we’ll all know that the Mayans were right, after all. Let me tell you, though, it is stressful to try to get all of the items I’m purchasing in my (brought from home grocery bags, lest I have to purchase new ones as there is no such thing as a free bag at the grocery store) bags before the cashier is through ringing me up, all the while staying hyper-alert, just waiting for her to begin a barrage of German (which I am not likely to understand much of) telling me what I owe (or perhaps chastising me for failing to weigh some produce item, asking me if I have a punch card, or any number of other similar emergencies that seem to arise when I’m checking out of the grocery store).

While I’m on a grocery-store kick? I’m going to throw in having to put a coin in to get a buggy, a buggy that is always parked in a hangar outside the store in the middle of the parking log, so I forget to get it until I’ve actually picked something up. Then I have to put the bananas (always the first thing I pick up) back, go outside (insert nearly freezing to death and perceived close calls with pneumonia), remember that I have to put a coin in to get my buggy, take off the gloves that I just put back on so that I can walk outside without getting frostbite, find a coin (hopefully; each and every time I need a buggy, I just know that I will have just dumped out all of the coins that have accumulated in my wallet), and begin the wrangling with the four wheels that always want to go sideways).

Now, for something a little less-grocery-store related! I really miss going into the bathroom and THEN turning on the light. Occasionally, I still forget to turn the light on before I enter the room (the switch is outside our bathroom in the kitchen). You make think that this is a minor annoyance (and in truth, it really is; I am ABSOLUTELY aware of how “1st world” this list of I-Miss is), but… I am a very light (er, no pun intended) sleeper, and this means that it is impossible to shut the door before turning on the light (read, before Mike can turn on the light) or to turn the light off before opening the door. Sigh… Even at the hotels we’ve stayed in, this has been the way of things. I don’t get it! WHY, EUROPE? WHY? I do feel like there may be a well-meaning or seemingly logical reason for this (especially since it is so widespread), but it is completely lost on me.

Alrighty. Enough of that! Now – on to some pictures of Italy! (aka one of the last days that I didn’t see snow!)

On our 2nd full day in Rome, we started by climbing the steps at their Tomb of the Unknown soldier. Great view, pretty magnificent monument...

On our 2nd full day in Rome, we started by climbing the steps at their Tomb of the Unknown soldier. Great view, pretty magnificent monument…

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See that sky? Isn’t it the prettiest color blue? Un-edited, folks. That’s 100% natural. I just love a blue sky. I miss it, too. A solid 98% of December thus far has been gray here in the ‘burg.

As we walked towards the Coliseum...

As we walked towards the Colosseum…

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Palatine Hill area, as we walked towards the Colosseum. Did you know that this hill (one of the central parts of ancient Rome, overlooking the Forum) is the word from which what we know as “palace” comes from? Or, if you are French, “palais?” Or, if you are Italian, “palazzo?” Pretty cool… I love that stuff…

The Colosseum, the largest elliptical ampitheater built in ancient Rome. It was originally called the Flavian Ampitheater after the name of a couple of the emperors who had it built.

The Colosseum, the largest elliptical amphitheater built in ancient Rome. It was originally called the Flavian Amphitheater after the name of a couple of the emperors who had it built.

Inside the Colosseum... In addition to it's more famous uses (gladitorial contests and animal hunts, most gruesomely), did you know that in the medieval times, it was used for housing, workshops, a religious order, a fortress, and a religious shrine? Yeah, me either...

Inside the Colosseum… In addition to it’s more famous uses (gladiatorial contests and animal hunts, most gruesomely), did you know that in the medieval times, it was used for housing, workshops, a religious order, a fortress, and a religious shrine? Yeah, me either…

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What you see just beneath the seating area is a recreated stage. Under the stage, there were elaborate pulleys and trap doors to raise and lower the featured gladiators and animals used in the productions. It was, indeed, a feat of engineering!

Circus Maximus: chariot arena and entertainment venue, Roman-style!

Circus Maximus: chariot arena and entertainment venue, Roman-style!

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Domus Flavia (The Flavian Palace on Palatine Hill). This area is where Roman legend says that Romulus and Remus were found and raised by the she-wolf.

Remains of one of the buildings at the Roman Forum.

Remains of one of the buildings at the Roman Forum.

Villa Borghese, one of the best museums I've ever gone to...

The Aviary at Villa Borghese, one of the best museums I’ve ever gone to… We went there on Friday, our last full day in Rome. Sniff, sniff. Seriously, though, I’d never heard of the Villa Borghese until I started researching for this trip, but if you are ever in Rome, I’d say it is a must-do!

The gardens at the Villa Borhese... they were under renovation/restoration while we were there, but it was obvious that they were magnificent!

The gardens at the Villa Borghese… they were under renovation/restoration while we were there, but it was obvious that they were magnificent!

Another scene from the gardens...

Another scene from the gardens… (it made me want a lemon tree!)

Our last night in Rome, we toured the Trastevere area and the Jewish Ghetto. This bridge took us there, but I'm going to save those pictures for another time...

Our last night in Rome, we toured the Trastevere area and the Jewish Ghetto. This bridge took us there, but I’m going to save those pictures for another time…

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11 thoughts on “Things I Miss + Rome Days 2 and 3

  1. Trust me, my day is better for reading your blog. I look forward to it. Keep it coming. Gives me joy in an otherwise mundane life : )

    • Thanks, Kristin! That is very high praise, indeed! I’m happy to know that my randomness in a far-away place is making your day a little happier! πŸ™‚ I hope that Wednesday is a better day than Tuesday for you…

  2. Sorry to read of your grocery troubles! Sounds like a difficult journey each time with the cart/coin outdoors. And no one to help you- What’s up with that!?? I”m writing this from the hospital room- Quite the room huh!! Someone likes me haha I hope Mike has a good trip to Switzerland…Encourage the fashion blog my dear! Lovely pictures from Roma. πŸ™‚ Maybe one day I’ll see it too.

    • Well, you know… if it isn’t this it would be that. As we learned in our cross-cultural class and have been reminded almost daily since, this is NOT a service-oriented culture. So… no help makes sense in that context, even though I don’t like it.

      You do seem to have quite the room! I’m glad to know that you have internet access, too! πŸ™‚ That should make the time go by a little faster… I do hope that it is a very speedy stay, though, and that they find an answer that is easy to deal with and improves things dramatically for you!

      I think that Roma should be on everyone’s list, honestly. And in October/November, too, because it is so pleasant then!

  3. That Power of Introverts has been on my reading list for over 6 months now! I’m glad you are giving it good reviews. Maybe it will be next. I’m also glad to see your beautiful pictures and know that you are still doing well. Even though I can’t hear your voice in person, I can totally hear you through the style of your writing. You have a gift my friend πŸ™‚ Miss you!! – Amber

    • It is not only a well-written book, but it is CHOCK-FULL of good information… Personally, I’ve been reading each page and saying “YES! YES!! This is me!” It is definitely a good challenge to the dominant extroverted culture we live in, for sure…

      Your lovely words about my writing made my day! Thank you so much! You are so kind to say them! I miss you, too! Very much… I’m looking forward to a sometime-in-the-future “coffee” date!

    • I also just realized that I was somehow not following you again. This is at least the second time that has happened. I don’t understand. Your’s is one of my most favorite blogs, but I think that wordpress may have it in for me… 😦 In any case, I’ve resubscribed!!

  4. I truly enjoy reading your posts, so keep it up! I can totally relate to the whole shopping stress. Checking out was always so stressful. Between the bagging my own stuff and trying to make sure I understood what I was supposed to pay, I was always so anxious. On the flip side, now when I go to Kroger, I have no qualms about jumping in to bag my own stuff if there’s no bagger.

  5. Great post! First off, to keep track of the books you have read, you should join Goodreads.com. (http://www.goodreads.com/) It tracks the books you read, and has a great online review community (plus free giveaways–which I have yet to win, but still!).

    Second, gosh I miss Rome…

    Third, Ahhh, European culture. It’s the little things isn’t it? Like paying for your “buggy” or “cart”–as we in the Midwest call it. We have that here, but only in special stores like Aldi (German, ha!). And, yes, the bathroom thing. WTF? Bathrooms are a point of contention between Europe and me: Weird shaped toilet bowls, never standing for no. 1, those two confusing circular flusher buttons at the top of the toilet, the telephone booth-like showers, and, yes, the light switches outside the flippin bathroom! HAHA!

    • Thanks to your suggestion, I have now enrolled myself in Goodreads and have been rating books almost ad nauseum for the last couple of days (really, only on the first day, but it was enough to last me for a while; I keep getting annoyed with their suggestions and feel that perhaps if I rate a few more books, I will be satisfied). Next stop… an online book club! I love that idea!

      I miss Rome, too, and I didn’t even get to live there. It hurt my heart a little bit to leave, I’ll admit.

      I was so glad to read your comment, too, particularly (of all things) about the toilet. I will confess that I have stared at the toilet an untold number of minutes (possibly for an hour, all told) trying to figure out if my mind was playing tricks on me or if it really is shaped differently! So… thank you. And the size of the shower is something that I refuse to accept. I did not know that men don’t stand, though. That is also very interesting/weird. It makes me wonder where Americans get it… I probably won’t research that (until another sleepless night strikes, anyway), but it is interesting…

      Cheers!

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