It has started to cool down in Rome! Which makes me happy, so that I don't come home every afternoon drenched with sweat and covered in streaky black soot from the city. It has even helped at night, so that the mosquitoes are more scarce and don't leave quarter-sized bites up and down my legs, etc.
Since we spoke last, I've seen some pretty interesting things! My favorite exploration being a trip to the Crypta Balbi, a museum near the Teatro Argentina, where the Roman Forum used to stand (beware the ides of March!). The museum is basically an excavation site that isn't more than ten year old, and shows the "layers" of Rome - from the original buildings in the Aurelian times up until the present museum.
They excavated down to what is about one and a half stories underground, so you can see the original walls of the Crypta Balbi (the big white stones), then the walls that were built on top of those during the medieval era (the crude brick), and it goes all the way up to the walls of the present day museum, which is made of brick and wooden beams.
Here I am standing on the streets of Rome during the Aurelian era...now Marcus Aurelius and I are eternally linked...destined for greatness...
Aside from comparing myself to great emporers, I have continued visiting all the churches I can find, thanks to my sissy's advice. We got kicked out of one because I was wearing shorts (oops), Christina was wearing a tank top (double oops), and Joe was drinking a soda (triple oops), and it was mass time (oops^4)...
But here are some great ceilings! The second (gold) one is the one we got kicked out of, but I snapped a picture just in time! Satan, here I come...
I also had my first encounter with a stray Roman cat, which jumped into my lap! I almost took her home, but I feel like the old English ladies who take care of them and run a stray cat tour (yes, that's right) wouldn't appreciate it.
And after, as many of you know, a rocky start in Rome, I went to Carpentras for the weekend to see the Trucs! It was worth every second of my thirty hour (roundtrip) train ride! And of course, Fabrice cried. The hardest thing was keeping my languages straight, though, as I greeted Sandrine with a "Buongiorno!" and spoke French to my Italian professor on Monday morning!
The girls have gotten so big! Camille is nearly 12, now, and Andréane is 7. They have both grown up a lot but neither one has changed very much personality-wise: Camille still always wants to be the boss, and Andréane is still insane and monkey-like at every turn.
After a morning at the market in Ile-sur-Sogue with them on Sunday, I found the house of my dreams in the town center. Donations can be made payable to Molly B. Reese. Thank you for your support :-)