The other day I was riding an escalator and became so engrossed in conversation with my friend Stefania, who was one step below me, that I forgot where I was and when the moving stairs reached the top, I pitched backwards, arms windmilling frantically before I fell flat on my back. My biggest concern was that my pant leg would get caught in the machinery and rip the fabric right off my backside - THAT would be mortifying.
So, I jumped right up and then I had to laugh at how clumsy I am.
Today as I mark the two-year anniversary of the day I moved from Canada to Rome, I really think that this has been the most important thing that I have learned, and re-learned, and re-learned again: how crucial it is to maintain a good sense of humour; and how crucial it is to be able to laugh at myself.
Life in Rome is full of complications and challenges - like life anywhere, I suppose. But living in a new culture and a new language adds a few extra layers in complexity and I devote a fair amount of effort to learning to navigate these. Happily, I have mostly done better in life than I did on that escalator.
I continue struggling to find a place to settle and perhaps it was fitting that today, on my anniversary, I marked the occasion by finding a new apartment - my 5th since arriving here! I am excited to be returning to the Monti area where my first two apartments were located and which is my favourite quartiere in Rome.
The apartment itself is extraordinarily small (above is the view if I lean way out the window) but since one of my goals in moving to Italy was to find a more simple, pared down life while enlarging my emotional and intellectual self, I suppose it fits. Plus, it has a full-sized fridge, no mean thing.
I have made some wonderful new friends in Rome, including Michele who owns a fantastic art gallery, RvB Affordable Art near Piazza Farnese. I popped in to snag her for a quick lunch at Zoc's which is charming. I had ravioli stuffed with pumpkin.
Then, time to run errands which I seem to do a lot in Rome. However, it is certainly more beautiful to do so here, when I can take shortcuts such as today's through the courtyard of the Museo di Roma in Palazzo Braschi where there was an interesting outdoor display of sculpture:
I emerged in Piazza Navona where booths are being set up for the Christmas mercato. This will be my third Christmas in Rome and unfortunately, I have seen that the market has become dominated by cheap imported trinkets that push out more authentic Italian goods and spoil the effect. Alas.
Still, no matter how tawdry some elements of life here can be, these cannot undermine the great and sometimes surprising magnificence of Rome!