Day 9: Rome

I’m fairly beyond worn out.

I don’t think I’ve walked that much in quite a while….well I guess I should correct that statement: I haven’t walked that much in the 80+ degree heat in a while, let alone all over Rome. Today I’ve walked about a third of Rome… 8 am to about now…5ish? Long day and total overload. This time with so many ancient places. Pre-tensing this again with there is no good way for me to articulate the awe, the truly amazing and immense things I saw today. We started in the Roman Forum…all the ruins around the Coliseums, which include the Arch of Titus, and many, many columns. From there we managed to fit in, Trajan’s Column, The Victor Emanuel Monument/ Building, The Pantheon (which was incredibly huge, and crazy to realize the age of that temple turned church.), and the Trevey fountain….all by noon.
            That alone was overload for the senses, and even physically, but after that I and another friend, set out to make use of our afternoon and check out some more things. We managed to see the Capuchin monk’s cemetery- bones all over, decorative arrangement ( I have to admit it was really freaky, especially with the hundreds… hundreds of skeletal remains), an amazing exhibit of never before publicly released Vatican documents, (exhibit called, Lux In Arcana), and the incredibly moving and beautiful Bernini sculpture, The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa.
            So Even though I could write a bit about the Sculpture I won’t, its awe inspiring and beautifully moving. That is really all I can actually describe. SO, I plan on letting you all know how cool the exhibit was. It was an exhibit filled with incredible documents often to or from the popes, to everyone ranging from, The Knight’s Templar, Emperor Barabosa, Japanese Emperors, Martin Luther’s ex-communication papers, Abraham Lincoln, letter with seals requesting the acceptance of Charles the VIII’s divorce, to Galileo, to Voltaire, and many more.
            The exhibit was so hard to take in. The amount of important documents there, the simple letters and paper held so much power and influence in history, from things like the Great Schism, to rules of emperors, and beyond. It’s something me and my friend talked about, agreeing that words, especially written ones are too few to share it. I honestly couldn’t handle it, but I did find it amazing to find in particular a document recognizing the rule of the Carolingian line, my family’s roots. That was an amazing, and very personal experience all by itself.
The rest of the museum was so cool itself. It held so much antiquities. From Marcus Arillius’s Equestrian Statue, to The Dying Gaul, and a Venus. It was well worth the time to visit it. It’s sinking in more and more, with not just this visit but this whole trip how much of this is about experiences and just having it locked away to just change yourself rather than to try and vocalize and explain away. There just isn’t a good way to do it. That doesn’t mean I won’t try, but it definitely means its going to be tough.

Something else me and my friend discussed was simply how unique this city, Roma, is. We sat in a park and looked at the Victor Monument, and then along side of it were ruins…Roman Empire ruins. Where else does that happen. This city keeps amazing simply by how it incorporates the two living entities. It so different, and there is and I doubt ever will be any type of thing that will happen in the US. The culture is so built in its past its remarkable. It makes sense I guess, they are completely surrounded by it. Yet, it seems to be more. They are permeated with tradition or maybe better put patterns of the past. Though I don’t see it clearly, it is evident the people must be drastically changed because of this. The city moves in an organized chaos, in a dance that seems well known by everyone. It’s not a system of rules and consequences, of actions and reactions like places like Chicago, Detroit, and New York are, but rather this give and take, fluid quick motion. I think that’s really the only way I can describe it, and I hope it does sink deep into me, and hopefully change me so that when I go home I may not simply slip back into the trend and habits back there.
I don’t want to become what I’ve seen even in some who are with me. They ask what they are allowed, or what is appropriate, yet they don’t respect it. It drives me nuts. You ask how to fit in, then you become so unaware, or so unintentional that you scream selfish American or American fool. That is what trips like this are supposed to remedy, and I keep praying that I grow, and stretch with this chance at a larger perspective on life and people. I truly don’t want to be unchanged or anything less then more aware when I return home.