Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Pact

Well, Romekids, time to face facts.

September is here, and summer is over.  Some of you will return to campus, others are embarking on new adventures.  Whatever you're doing, I hope you'll keep the blogging spirit alive.

Our trip seems so far away now.  I've just realized that exactly three months ago, on June 1, we were all having lunch in EUR and preparing to make our way to the Giardini degli Aranci on the Aventine.  Nostalgia is a double-edged sword:  it keeps our memories fresh, but it can cut without mercy.

So here's the pact.  (Some of you have already sworn it.)  June 1 will hereafter be known as Romekids Day.  If you are ever in Rome on that date, be at the central fountain of Piazza del Popolo at 7:00 in the evening.  One year, only one of us might make it;  another year, who knows?  That's the fun of it.  Throw a coin in, look around, reminisce, and, hopefully, reunite.

Abbiamo un patto!


PS:  I'd have advocated for Remo or the Giardini degli Aranci, but we know the Piazza will always be open.

PPS:  Jackie, put it in your phone NOW!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Your Pix Needed!

Carissimi Romani,

Just because the tour is over doesn't mean the blog can't survive, right?

While I have you awash in nostalgia, I'd like to ask a favor.  Right outside our department offices is a large bulletin board that we use to highlight study abroad experiences.  What could be more appropriate than using the full board as a memorial to our trip?

So, if you want to contribute to the memorial, email me 2-4 of your best photos from the trip (high resolution, please).  Shots of spectacular sites are good, shots of happy, frolicking Romekids in front of spectacular sites are better.  Send them to me by the end of August so we can have the board up and running by the start of term.  And, once it's done, stop by and reminisce.

Depending on the response, I might put out a call for more specific photos.  In the meantime, thanks for your contributions and enjoy what's left of summer.


PS:  A reminder that we have a Flickr group:  Four members but no photos...yet.  Let me know if you'd like to join.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wrapping up


A friendly reminder that your envoi on Rome are due, oh, in about ten minutes EST.  And there are a few of you who haven't yet posted your other, required blog entries.

It is understandable that you might have a backlog, but Jackie and I really will need to have all of your work, including the envoi, posted by June 9, 12:01 a.m. EST, to ensure that it can be read and graded as it deserves.

Hoping you are well,


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Valete, Romani

Carissimi Romani,

Thank you for a wonderful tour.  I was proud to be your instructor these last two weeks.  Yes, there was sometimes too much photo-whoring or random dancing in parks, but these are nothing when weighed against the whole.

All the things we did and saw together!  For myself, I'll never forget our first sighting of the Pantheon, the gasps as the glass door to the Vatican necropolis swung aside, standing in line at Remo, cool breezes on the Aventine, and all the myriad moments that hold a trip together.  I'll never forget you.

Travel safely, be well, and remember that you'll always be Romani, wherever you are.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Evaluations and Farewell Dinner

Cari Romani,

Whether you are going with us to the catacombs or spending the day doing what you like, we'll gather in the St. John's common room one last time to take care of some business, namely course evaluations.

We'll meet at 7:00 p.m. sharp for two forms:  the short forms for TX 201 and the long forms for combined CC 265 and TX 201.  You'll note that the short forms have only Jackie's name, but you will really be evaluating the course as taught by the both of us.

Bring a writing utensil!  The sooner the forms are done, the sooner we can head to our farewell dinner at Tre Scalini.


To the Catacombs: 9:00 Saturday


I've contacted the catacombs with our reduced numbers.  Instead of a special guided tour, they'll let us join the first tour available after we arrive.  This means that we don't have to leave at 8:00, but can instead defer our departure to 9:00 tomorrow morning.  It's going to be a metro-metro-bus adventure!

We'll see at least four of you tomorrow.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

End-of-Program Room Inspection


Some words that perhaps no one wants to hear.  But with our departure looming, St. John's staff will be inspecting our rooms on Friday (tomorrow) between 9:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Essentially, the head RA, Carla, will come around and look for damage.  She will leave a Room Check-Out report that everyone must sign and return to her room, 407.  (Even if you live on the third floor, your key will admit you to the fourth.  Who knew?)  Or you can bring it to office 208 or the security desk before you leave.

I don't think we have to be present for the inspection -- which means that you should expect someone to have entered your room while we are away.  From what I understand, this is standard procedure.

More details on check-out and departure to follow.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ROMEKIDS Flickr stream

Dear Writers of Rome,

The mass chronicling of our trip on Facebook has been molto divertente, but it has been felt that we should have a place to keep more and higher-quality images.

Hence,, a Flickr site devoted to our trip.  If you want to join and you already have a Yahoo! ID, let me know.  You can also log in via Facebook.

You should know that the group is public (though not open to everyone).  Let's start adding images!


Monday, May 30, 2011

Questions about the Papal Coats of Arms

Many of you have been interested in the symbolism of the coats of arms of the popes and nobile families who have sponsored several of the monuments or churches we have visited.  For example, we saw this one on the Bernini Elephant and on the fountain in front of the Pantheon.

Turns out this is the coat of arms of the Albani family to which Pope Clement XI (23 July 1649 – 19 March 1721) belonged. I found a great link to the Papal coats of arms that you can check out whenever you want to find out what the symbols mean and which family sponsored which buildings or monuments.

Here is that link, enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Transit strike tomorrow -- IMPORTANT


While taking the metro today I saw the dreaded word sciopero emblazoned on the station viewscreens, with tomorrow's date.

A sciopero is a strike, an organized period of work stoppage.  I visited the the ATAC (Roma transit) website, and, sure enough, a transit strike is set for tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and again from 8:00 p.m. until midnight.  (Night owls take note.)

It's not clear to me, even after reading over the Italian, why the strike is being held or how many workers will participate.  But it will likely have an impact on our morning activities.  So here's what we need to do.

(1)  Everybody MUST be ready to go by 9:00 a.m. in the common room.  Please be on time and prepared, having bought your water bottles and your food, wearing what you need to wear.  Please don't ask me if you'll have time to run to the bathroom.  You won't.  We will be out the door by 9:00 SHARP.

(2)  We'll walk along the number 70 bus route in the hopes that one will come along, and we can catch it.  If none comes our way, we'll keep walking to the top of the Piazza Navona.

(3)  During the walk, please keep up.  We have a full day tomorrow and time will be tight.  The faster we can get to Piazza Navona, the more free time you'll have for lunch.

(4)  When we get to the Piazza, we'll have a sit and do the Voyeur writing exercise.  It would be really nice if you knew what this assgnment entailed before we get there.  Then we'll hear from Team Fountain of the Four Rivers and continue from there.

(5)  Remember to wear church dress tomorrow.  Not only will we be visiting the Pantheon (now a church), we'll stop in the French church of Rome, and (in the afternoon) the Synagogue of Rome.

Everybody use the buddy system to wake each other up.  Welcome to Italy.


PS:  A nice paragraph from the Summer in Italy website:  "And so there is a transport strike in Italy... most Italians would comment: 'Where is the news?'  Strikes have nowadays become part of our culture and way of life.  Not that Italians are happy with strikes, but, as with most other things, 'ci arrangiamo' (we do the best we can)."