The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum Cont.
Oh, all right, so I didn’t call this thing the Roman Forum last week, so I don’t have much of a right to call it the Roman Forum 'continued' this week. But the fact is that it’s just such a bloody logical name for the thing, and unfortunately it only occurred to me after I threw last week’s edition together (at the last possible minute, as usual) and sent it whizzing off to the eagerly waiting Robert Turner. So this week it has a good name; or at least an appropriate, or appropriately obvious, name.
Anyway, here are some more of the thoughts of my fellow Romans. There was supposed to be one more articlette in the group, but apparently Mr. Clint Atkins had to watch Amadeus tonight, which, I suppose, is as good an excuse as I’ve ever heard from any procrastinating writer (and I’ve heard quite a lot of them, and come up with a few good ones myself). But the ever-faithful Julian Ahlquist also has his say, and I think it’s relatively safe to say that anything he writes is pretty far up there on the list the best things that have ever happened to this strange race of ours.
And so my second week of literary repose continues. I shall return in full force next week, to the chagrin of the article-length police. And for those who haven’t noticed, the thesis of a good number of these articlettes has been that you should come to Rome. You're an idiot if you don’t; really, I mean it.
John J. Jalsevac
I can't say that I've waited my whole life to get here, yet I have come to know many things since first stepping a tentative foot on this peninsula that is Italy. Being dropped in the middle of Rome as a student and being told that this is going to be your proverbial playground for the next three months is completely incredible...at first. But then excitement sets in, followed by a desire to see everything, do everything, taste everything! There are the thrills of the all the first time experiences: seeing St. Peter’s and all the Roman ruins, riding the metro, gypsies trying to steal your stuff, eating gelato, the list goes on and on.
Once the initial thrill of being a temporary Roman wears off you begin to learn about the truly important things of life as a Roman citizen. To name just a few: Rome is beautiful; moped drivers are insane; there are more churches to be visited in Rome than could be thought possible; Rome is the city of martyrs and saints on every street corner; and of course, gelato is the staff of life.
But when I leave Italy to return to my own home in the States I will easily say that the deepest love that I bring back with me from Rome is that for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. He is no longer the Holy Father that I know only through the media, but he is the Holy Father that I have personally seen, been blessed by, and witnessed the love that crowds of tens of thousands have given him. Having a father away from home and feeling that the Vatican is truly my residence three thousand miles away from my land of habitation prove to be two very comforting elements that Rome offers. In short, life is good, Rome is good. Don't pass up an opportunity to visit the eternal city or you will eternally regret it.
The Cult of B.O.D.
By Claire O’Reilly
I wanted to share with those at home what has been on my mind here in Rome:
Tuesday night I was going crazy. My head itched so badly. I marched into Monica’s room and begged her, “Check me for lice!” Within ten minutes, she found some tiny eggs and a bug. This, of course, set all the girls in motion furiously searching through each other’s hair. Minutes later, my roommate, Bridget discovered that she was infested also. All told, there were seven girls chosen for this special vocation. Bridget had it the worst and thus, we concluded, she was the carrier. Everyone was just a little concerned because we did not know where they had come from. Rome is notorious for being dirty. Had Bridget contacted it on a bus, train, in brushing up against a street bum? Maybe it was even the hotel we stayed in? With this uncertainty in the air, everyone felt very uncomfortable and itchy, even if it was only psychological.
We stayed up late that night extracting the tiny bugs from each others hair. Although it took some time to adjust to the foul thought (and reality!) of providing a habitat for insects, we were able to joke about it. As we pulled bugs from Bridget’s ‘hotel’, she would joke, “Don’t take Tom!” or, “There goes Larry—he was my favorite.” We had also just returned from a three day silent retreat in Assisi where, afterwards, Mr. Akers had warned us that the devil would be out to get us because of all the graces we had recently received. Within 24 hours we discovered lice! For a bunch of young girls, it can definitely be humiliating! We laughed at God’s sense of humor. Though not contaminated, Danni Ampi generously and courageously helped in the nit picking. I heard her chuckle under her breath, “This is definitely going on my wife resume!”
Despite the joking, we had still become lepers. The next morning we could not go to class because we had to wash all our clothes at the laundry mat and then treat ourselves with shampoo to kill the lice. During that time, to surprise us, the hotel fumigated all the rooms, so even the “clean” students were homeless for the rest of the day. That night, all the infected girls and some of their uninfected roommates were sent to the basement of the hotel to spend the night in a big hostel dorm room with a large bathroom and many showers. We took turns lathering our scalps with lice disinfectant shampoo, containing chemicals that render it illegal in the U.S.
At this point we were still trying to figure out where these creatures had come from. As girls traced through Bridget’s hair, she traced through her past. She remembered babysitting some kids over the summer, not realizing that they had had lice until afterwards. She had so many bugs that it was most likely that they had been with her that long. We now refer to all the girls here who have lice as belonging to the Cult of B.O.D. (Bridget O’Donnell)
So, in the end, lice cannot be attributed to Rome. The lice are American and we become ‘dirty’ Americans. However, lice are picky and prefer clean, unscented hair. In defense of my roommate, Bridget does wash her hair all the time. One of the preventatives for lice is olive oil. I suppose it is a good thing then, to be in the land of olive oil. Ironically, in this fight against lice, greasy hair can be an ally.
Also, thanks to Mr. Alquhist (Julian’s Dad), who is visiting, we have plenty of American lice shampoo.
I know that every Rome semester is different, but this one definitely has had an interesting twist! The girls of the cult are combing and disinfecting their hair furiously, so we will be clean by the time we come home before Christmas. Lice is the biggest problem when it goes undetected. So if your head itches, find somebody who knows what to look for and have them check you!