We’ve been living in Rome for almost 3 months now. Our church here continues to be a great blessing to us. The people have showered us with love. Ivana and Paolo have become our dear friends in such a short amount of time. As we learn more and more of the language, we are able to have deeper conversations with them and get to know them even better. They continue to take us on adventures exploring Rome and the surrounding countryside as well as having us over for delicious homemade Italian cuisine. We are so blessed by them.
Language learning has been the adventure taking up most of our time. We both go to school which is located near the Vatican. Some weeks we go together and our friend watches the boys. For the most part though, we take turns at home watching the boys while the other goes to school. We are studying a lot and have even managed to make new friends who we are meeting with as our “language partners.” Learning a language (even an “easy” one like Italian) is perhaps one of the most humbling experiences. You just have to lay aside the pride and be okay with not being able to communicate. In fact, most days we feel like we can’t communicate as well as our 2yr or 3yr old. Thankfully this is only a feeling and we are making progress. One interesting thing we have been told by several Italians is that the language is difficult to learn because Italians don’t really speak Italian. It sounds strange, but the reality is that in Italy, regional languages trump the national language. A friend from Sicily told Neil that when he speaks Sicilian in Milan, no one can understand him because it is just that different.
During our free time, we have visited a few of the sites in the city center as well as doing some cultural things like visiting markets, nearby beaches, day trips to nearby cities, and we even went to the opera. The opera was a special occasion (kid-free) in honor of Valentine’s and birthdays. We saw the first opera that played in the newly opened Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in the year 1900. Tosca is a beautiful opera by Giacomo Puccini.
Day trip to Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio—both beautiful places to see; the kids enjoyed the drive there seeing the country and the sheep; walking around the city—Pantheon and the Vatican; Antique and Flea Market at Ponte Milvio, held the first Saturday and Sunday of the Month; Santa Marinella Beach with an ancient Etruscan port—was a beautiful day for our picnic with our friends and the boys loved running around on the beach; amazing date night—Tosca at Teatro dell’Opera; culinary adventures—Sunday afternoon learning to make gnocchi with Ivana, bucatini all’amatriciana, stuffed carciofi, and chocolate hazelnut tart with espresso—for language and cooking practice, Sommer is translating one recipe a week and trying it out on the family.