I’ve been delinquent in posting this week, but it’s a been busy one. Quite a few difficulties occurred simultaneously this week, so I am absolutely drained right now. Being a bit sick isn’t helping, either. Right now, I am supposed to writing my statement of purpose for graduate school. I told myself that I can’t go to sleep until I finish it, but I am unlikely to follow through on that. So far I have two and a half paragraphs. Not good.
The all-day trip this week was to Palastrina, formerly known as Praeneste. Our main destination there was the Temple of Fortuna Primagenia, part of which is now built into the museum we visited. The best part of the museum was the Nile mosaic, which depicts the river’s annual flooding. Some of the more exotic animals are even labelled with their Greek names, though the only one I could read was “rhinoceros.” The mosaic itself was broken into several parts when it was looted from the temple, but the reconstructed version attempts to fill in the gaps. The museum contained a few other mosaics that I liked, particularly one of a griffin facing off against some other kind of monster. There was also a great deal of sculpture and inscription in the collection, my favorite being part of a colossal, grey-marble statue of Fortuna herself. It’s too bad the rest of the piece is missing – intact, she must have been beautiful.
The other trips this week were nothing particularly interesting. Well, we do have a competition going to see who can mention the Largo Argentina as many times as possible, so studying that site this week definitely kept things lively in that department. I still have to come up with how my project, the Vigiles Barracks at Ostia, relates to the Largo Argentina. Hmm.
I had Art History today, but tomorrow the class has a make-up trip. We went to S. Maria del Popolo. This is going to sound really ignorant, but as I am standing in this church, surrounded by famous works of art (e.g., by Pintoricchio, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Bernini) my mind kept wandering to the signs I had seen on the Via del Corso while I was walking to class. There is a Basquiat exhibit at one of the art museums! It just started yesterday. Moreover, one of my classmates likes his work too, so I have someone to go with. In defense of my excitement, I will just say that, living in Rome, I see works every day that are considered great by general consensus. Sometimes, it is nice to see something younger and more controversial. Oh, there’s also that bit about the love of my life being an artist (although she doesn’t see herself as one) who has been significantly influenced by Basquiat.
On Friday, we’re leaving for Sicily. I won’t have computer access that week, so I’ll have to write about it later. My program also has a school in Sicily, and I am hoping we will get to visit it. One of my classmates from UMW is there right now, so it would be great to say hi.
Immediately after Sicily is fall break. Germany is going to be awesome. It will be nice to go somewhere where I can talk to people, even if I make lots of grammatical errors and have a small vocabulary. I have been ridiculously slow at picking up Italian, so I know just enough to get by. Living with English-speaking people and spending the majority of my time studying, I have few opportunities to sit down and learn a language. It doesn’t make it any easier to learn when Italians reply in English, as they often do. I have a policy that I won’t give in and speak English, though. There’s quite a bit of xenophobia here, so I try not to prove their stereotypes correct.
It’s getting late and I’m not well, so I should end this. Let’s hope things look better tomorrow. Do you ever feel as though, when one aspect of your life is going unusually well, the others collapse? That’s where I am right now. Nevertheless, I feel guilty for being down. After all, I am in Italy – I am supposed to be perpetually happy, right? Unlikely.

*Post title from “I Miss You,” Blink-182, Blink-182


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