So, what has to happen for someone to be considered Roman? Or, how does one move from “tourist” to resident? Is it simply the passage of time, or does one have to yawn as one passes the Colosseum or St. Peter’s or the River Tiber? If one knows the number of all the necessary busses by heart AND their likely times of departure/arrival, does that make one “in”?
To answer my own question, I have decided that we are now officially Roman Italians as we had a large group eating pizza at a ristorante accompanied by wine and song AND I cooked my first dinner for a gathering of 11, eaten outside on the patio under the Roman moon, with St. Peter’s just over the garden wall. This meal was also accompanied by wine and song, some by Mark and his guitar, which touched the hearts of his parents. What more could one ask?
Although my Italian language skills remain at the level of the names of the fruit which I pass out to the homeless (I now have added grapes, melon and yogurt – the hardest of all – yogurt), I have come to feel that we somehow live in Rome. My run in the large park with the robed headless statues and the garden maze is beginning to seem ordinary, and this very morning Meghan and I did the Ultimate Fat Burn tape on the roof with St. Peter’s in the background, no kidding. There are also goats below us getting their morning feed, which can only lead to thoughts of, “Who owns this expensive property and keeps goats in rusty sheds?” Last Saturday on one short walk, Mark, David and I went to a free exhibit on Mother Teresa, crossed over the street and saw the final resting place of St. Monica, crossed another street and there was Catherine of Siena, and ended at a Mass in the Pantheon by accident. What planet are we on?
And, for our Sunday outing, Mark, Naomi, David and I headed to Assisi, our previously thwarted destination, but now with expert understanding of trains and buses and the accompanying calm of experience. From the indescribably beautiful church of St. Francis and on to the church of St. Clare with the original San Damiano cross and ending with a beautiful exhibition of the faces of John Paul the Great done in a traditional style from paint made with ground stones and beef bile (and how in the world did they figure out the need for that?)
In the meantime, David and I are trying to learn Tetun and slowly progressing, and I continue to hack away at my on-line course. We have had three excellent presentations from an Australian priest who spent two years in Timor Leste and an angelic Canossian theologian who worked for years in Japan and now is the superior of a large convent in Octavia. Sr. Anna-Maria gave us a heartstopping interpretation of Redemptoris Missio, a JPII encyclical, that she stated could be studied for one year and not be exhausted. Her gentle personality belies an intellect and will that are truly held captive by the love of Jesus. We students literally sat with mouths agape as she expounded on the true meaning of being a missionary, and the many dangers that lie in wait for the spiritually weak (Lord, help us!). (posted by Rory)