Saturday, October 20, 2012

Life in the Big City

This morning I didn’t go out.  Tomorrrow morning I won’t go out.  I will be so happy when I recover from these dastardly chicken pox and get to out again.  I should have a coming-out party, in the style of nineteenth century debutantes.

But two weeks ago I went out.  I noticed that day, for the umpteenth time, what a nice place Rome can be.  Although it is Italy's biggest city, its atmosphere is not what I would call chaotic.  It's almost tranquil.  It's no small town, but it still feels like a neighborly community.  

During my first month here, I had taken the tram over the river to visit a potential language school.  In the middle of Piazza del Risorgimento, where I was awaiting Tram 19 to take me home, I watched homeless man plodding along.  Before long he stopped, sat down on the ground, and then lay flat on his back, as if giving up the ghost.  It was a very hot day, but he lay down in the sun and not in the shade.  Not normal behavior, to say the least.  Barely had I though all these thoughts, when two women and one man approached the scene.  They found a bottle of water and began to revive him.  They sprinkled water in his face and then actually forced him to drink.  I was impressed that they’d take such action with a stranger, who was not directly their responsibility.

Last Sunday was another example of neighborly behavior in the city of Rome.  I was supposed to meet some friends for a walk around the city.  I set out early to find a nice café  to pass some time and have a cappuccino.  I stopped at one nearby my house, which I have walked past dozens of times but never had time to try.  The only other customer present when I came in was a rather ancient lady who had dressed herself up and come down for Sunday morning breakfast.  The barista and owner were treating her with the utmost respect (something else I love to see in Italy is the courtesy towards women and elderly people -- and when you combine those two groups and add a religious habit, wow!  I wish you could have been on the tram on afternoon when my friend and I got on with a group of nuns.  People were literally jumping out of their seats and insisting that the sisters sit down.)  The owner had just brought over a bag of fresh fruit for her.  I decided to sit down, too, even though it usually costs more than standing at the bar.


This is the cappuccino I received.  Look at the fancy chocolate pattern on top!  This doesn't happen in a more crowded bar.  When I got up to pay, the man at the register whom I presumed to be the owner told me to wait and then fetched me a fresh, ripe persimmon!  (My favorite!  I didn't know that they grew in Italy, but I have since enjoyed them several times.)  He also only charged me one euro for the cappuccino at the table!  Sunday morning special?  I said to myself that I would go back, but so far the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.  And now I’m house-bound, at least for a couple more days.  Perhaps I that's how I will celebrate: a return to Caffé Fontana.


Hopefully those anecdotes were able communicate a bit of the charm that Rome holds for me.  Just look how happy I am to be here!  (This was one week before being hit with the plague.  I may never look like this again...)

4 comments:

Laura Heckmann said...

Get better, Katie! I LOVE gettong to see and experience Italy through your writing!

Katie Becker said...

Thank you for the comment, Laura, and the encouragement! I'll keep writing. (I love it when you write, too...hint, hint.)

Caleb said...

Hey Katie,
Great to see these updates! Hope you beat these chicken pox soon so you can enjoy more of your Italian experience.

-Caleb

Katie Becker said...

Thanks, Caleb! Now there's another update for you to read. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Life in the Big City

This morning I didn’t go out.  Tomorrrow morning I won’t go out.  I will be so happy when I recover from these dastardly chicken pox and get to out again.  I should have a coming-out party, in the style of nineteenth century debutantes.

But two weeks ago I went out.  I noticed that day, for the umpteenth time, what a nice place Rome can be.  Although it is Italy's biggest city, its atmosphere is not what I would call chaotic.  It's almost tranquil.  It's no small town, but it still feels like a neighborly community.  

During my first month here, I had taken the tram over the river to visit a potential language school.  In the middle of Piazza del Risorgimento, where I was awaiting Tram 19 to take me home, I watched homeless man plodding along.  Before long he stopped, sat down on the ground, and then lay flat on his back, as if giving up the ghost.  It was a very hot day, but he lay down in the sun and not in the shade.  Not normal behavior, to say the least.  Barely had I though all these thoughts, when two women and one man approached the scene.  They found a bottle of water and began to revive him.  They sprinkled water in his face and then actually forced him to drink.  I was impressed that they’d take such action with a stranger, who was not directly their responsibility.

Last Sunday was another example of neighborly behavior in the city of Rome.  I was supposed to meet some friends for a walk around the city.  I set out early to find a nice café  to pass some time and have a cappuccino.  I stopped at one nearby my house, which I have walked past dozens of times but never had time to try.  The only other customer present when I came in was a rather ancient lady who had dressed herself up and come down for Sunday morning breakfast.  The barista and owner were treating her with the utmost respect (something else I love to see in Italy is the courtesy towards women and elderly people -- and when you combine those two groups and add a religious habit, wow!  I wish you could have been on the tram on afternoon when my friend and I got on with a group of nuns.  People were literally jumping out of their seats and insisting that the sisters sit down.)  The owner had just brought over a bag of fresh fruit for her.  I decided to sit down, too, even though it usually costs more than standing at the bar.


This is the cappuccino I received.  Look at the fancy chocolate pattern on top!  This doesn't happen in a more crowded bar.  When I got up to pay, the man at the register whom I presumed to be the owner told me to wait and then fetched me a fresh, ripe persimmon!  (My favorite!  I didn't know that they grew in Italy, but I have since enjoyed them several times.)  He also only charged me one euro for the cappuccino at the table!  Sunday morning special?  I said to myself that I would go back, but so far the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.  And now I’m house-bound, at least for a couple more days.  Perhaps I that's how I will celebrate: a return to Caffé Fontana.


Hopefully those anecdotes were able communicate a bit of the charm that Rome holds for me.  Just look how happy I am to be here!  (This was one week before being hit with the plague.  I may never look like this again...)

4 comments:

Laura Heckmann said...

Get better, Katie! I LOVE gettong to see and experience Italy through your writing!

Katie Becker said...

Thank you for the comment, Laura, and the encouragement! I'll keep writing. (I love it when you write, too...hint, hint.)

Caleb said...

Hey Katie,
Great to see these updates! Hope you beat these chicken pox soon so you can enjoy more of your Italian experience.

-Caleb

Katie Becker said...

Thanks, Caleb! Now there's another update for you to read. :)