"i've smuggled myself into new nationalities...think you'd be proud of me."
-- the get up kids
Ok ok ok ok. ok! i'm sorry. i failed to post a blog before our departure for Rome and Assissi, probably leaving some of you scratching your heads and wondering whether or not i was still alive.
but no worries, for i have returned. Rome and Assissi proved to be depots of remarkable grace, mental clarity, and growth for me.
first, let me explain why i vanished. i had originally planned to simply travel via bus with the school to Rome on friday. but a 11am on thursday, Richard Flourmont, Sam Sharpe, and Dan Devine invited me to Florence with them. my Eurrail was yet to be activated, so it would be an expensive trip. not letting money distract me from an opportunity to see the world, i agreed to join them and we set off thursday night.
Florence was absolutely my favorite city in Italy (er, so far). It was pure beauty. We stepped off of the train into 60 degree sunshine, quite the contrast from the never-ending blizzard we had just experienced. Floreance is Artsy with a capital ART. you see it in the design of the city, in the Churches, in the museums, in the people's clothing (you thought MY pants were tight...). We saw the original statue of David, which was strikingly an emotional event for me. i still laugh at myself when i think back to that moment, but seriously, i had no clue how awesome that statue was. i just stood there for 10 minutes, then spent 10 more minutes trying to pick my jaw up off of the floor.
Rome was, obviously, awesome. I could write for hours about it. highlights: mass at St. Pete's, the food, seeing the Vatican for the first time, spending time with my friend Heidi who i thought i would never see again, going to see a major Italian League soccer match, seeing all the major basilica's, the food, the wine, the food, seeing the Sistine Chapel, the wine, the Scavi Tour (seeing st. pete's bones!), the Angelus with the Pope out of his bedroom window. and the wine. in no particular order.
I got to spend a quite a bit of a lone time in Rome, once i figured out the metro system. it was much needed. One day i just walked around the city for a good 2 hours, alongside the Flume river, the sun shining on my back, my headphones in, and nothing to do but see the world. never in my life did i think i'd have the opportunity to simply walk around Rome by myself for an afternoon. no agenda. perfect. before i get too sappy, i'll just move on.
Assissi was. quaint. sacred. uphill. awesome. it made me miss Fr. Conrad and his rambling homilies/talks. highlights: mass at st. francis' tomb, walking up the mountainside to his hermitage, the food, the wine. ...yea. there wasn't a lot going on there, it was just an amazingly prayerful and peaceful little city. on the walk up to the hermitage, me and Christian Bobak worked our way all the way up to the very top ofthe mountain. i'm talking the snow capped tippy top. the air was thinner and the world looked tinier. we sat there in silence for a good 20 minutes before saying a prayer and descending.
for those 20 minutes, i had a small idea of what the world looks like to God. the entire city of assissi took up about an inch of our panoramic view. the people were nowhere to be found because they are so dang small.. their problems, struggles, and anxieties were infinitely smaller compared to the world i was seeing.
and yet Christ still cares.
i'll be trying to wrap my mind around that one for a while.