We've had a busy couple of days! I was able to sleep in again on Sunday which was really nice. Marie and I got ourselves up to meet at the school at 2:45 with our group to go to Saint Paul's Basilica which is outside of the Aurelian walls, which means that it is still very much within the limits of Rome but a little bit outside the heart of the city, so it took us a little bit to get there, as we had to take the metro and then two buses. That being said, it was so worth it. This was an optional visit but most of the group went. We got there in enough time so our program director who also happens to be my History of the papacy professor, was able to give us a bit of background on the basilica. It is one of the four major basilicas of Rome, which are interesting because when you enter one of these Basilicas they actually belong to the Vatican so technically speaking you're entering the Vatican. It was beautiful and MASSIVE. It's got kind of a somber feel to it, but it is absolutely extraordinary. St. Paul (the one who wrote the letter to the Corinthians, love is patient, love is kind and all that) is buried beneath the church and you are able to kneel in front of the entrance to his tomb.
They organized mass for us on one of the side chapels which was gorgeous, white all over, and such a beautiful mass. Nice and intimate, as it was just the kids from our program. After this we went back to dinner with the Seminarians which was really nice. They cooked a huge pot of chili which tasted fantastic. I will never be one to complain about only eating Italian food, but I have to say the chili tasted really good, especially because it was gross and rainy all day. They also had some of the best wine I've had since I've been here, and the Seminarians were so nice. They took us up on he balcony of their school and it was incredible. You could literally see all of Rome lit up (I will post pictures!)
Today we had business ethics at 1, and we planned our first trips today!! Spring break is all set! We fly from Rome to Barcelona on March 8th, Barcelona to London on the 11th (Shoutout to Michelle Fink I'll see ya there!) and Paris from the 14th to the 16th. Most of our group, that being the Catholic U boys and the Loyola girls are going to Barcelona and then a pretty big handful of us are also going on to London and Paris together which will be so fun. We also booked a flight to Amsterdam for the weekend after we get back from spring break which I am so excited about since it was at the top of my list. We managed to book all of these flights for less than $400 which was AWESOME. I am so glad to have some of the planning behind me because I'm pretty sure all that planning literally took years off my life it was so stressful. But I'm sure it will be well worth it! We had Italian for our usual 3 hours today, which was good but long...all Marie and I could think about was Maria Grazia's dinner because we hadn't had her cooking since last Thursday! Tonight she made this great winter soup with risotto like rice, onions, and chicken, a salad, bread with her homemade olive oil and garlic, and this amazing beef with red and green peppers. Literally melt in your mouth meat, it was incredible. We are so lucky.
All is well over here, I love the group of people I'm with, for the most part everyone gets along really well and we all really make an effort to spend time with one another which is really nice. It's great because there are people from loyola I only really knew in passing, or not at all, and now we've gotten to be good friends, or people who I was friends with but I've had the opportunity to spend a lot more time with here which has been so awesome.
Tomorrow classes start at 9 am which is pretty unfortunate but I feel like I can't even complain here!
more to come