Ciao, Piccola! (Week 2 Recap - Oct 8, 2018)
Updated: Nov 28, 2018
While San Francisco still doesn’t feel too far off, we’re getting into the swing of being in Rome. Jetlag is a thing of the past. We have figured out that the two different grocery stores in our neighborhood are good for different things. We found formula and diapers that work for WP. We’ve taken the bus and the tram.
MP and I took an Italian class before we left SF, and I have to say for me it’s come in extremely handy. The combination of my rudimentary Italian and my proficient Spanish means I’m not totally hopeless or helpless if someone doesn’t speak English, which is great. Particularly because when you have a baby, particularly if you’re wearing her, lots of people talk to you.
We heard that Italians love babies before we came and it would be a great place to travel with a little one, and we’ve really found that to be true. MP and I joked in SF that we had more interactions with strangers in our neighborhood in the ~6mo we lived there with a baby than in the ~6yrs we lived there without one -- but that all pales in comparison to the interactions we’ve had with strangers in the first ~6 days of being in Rome. We are convinced WP’s first word will be “Ciao!” because of how many times a day people smile and say “Ciao, bella! Ciao, piccola!” and variations. There’s also a lot of foot squeezing.
I taught my first two classes this week on the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship and it’s been nice to have a couple days per week when my brain is turned all the way on and I’m doing something new. However two fulls days of work feels like plenty!
We had heard about aperitivo when we were back in the US, but I did not fully understand the concept until getting here. In the US the term is used to mean a before dinner drink that is made from liqueurs (rather than liquor). The classic is a spritz, e.g. an Aperol spritz (though I prefer Campari for its bitterness). Here, though, aperitivo is not just the drink but the selection of snacks that comes with it, generally buffet style. So you go to a bar, order a drink and add on a few euros for access to the all you can eat buffet of antipasti. It’s kind of amazing. There’s also this concept of apericena (aperitivo + cena), which basically means you started having an aperitivo but ate so much it turned into your dinner. This is our favorite.
The apericena is particularly useful because dinner is so late here. Trattorias do not open until about 730pm. A pizzeria may open as early as 6pm or 630pm. But it’s uncommon to eat dinner before 8pm. In order to be able to eat out, we used the initial time change as a chance to reset WP’s bedtime to around 930pm. So this does mean that we can go to a 730pm dinner and make it home in time to put her to bed (it’s really hard to eat for less than 90min here, so if we start at 730 and eat til 9 we can rush home and get her down around 930). However it’s much more leisurely to do an apericena where you are mainly serving yourself starting around 7pm and getting home around 9pm. It also allows us to have a babysitter while still getting home in time to put WP to bed.
We haven’t done too much sightseeing. Santa Maria in Trastevere we went to early on and marveled at the ceiling. We visited Santa Maria della Vittoria to see the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. To be honest I’m not that motivated to sightsee. We’ve been to Rome before and done the heavy hitters. So I’m content to wander neighborhoods (Monti, Testaccio, Trastevere where we’re living), eat what’s around, and generally don’t feel a lot of pressure to optimize our time. It’s a luxurious way to travel!