Monday, Jan. 11 – Today was the start of semester classes in Rome. We meet at Palazzo Cenci, a fairly significant 16th century building at Piazza delle Cinque Scole (five schools), where ISU College of Design has space on an upper floor. It is just across the river from Trastevere where my apartment is, in the former Rome Jewish ghetto. (See walking route to studio here.) We began at 9:30 with a brief orientation.

On the walk there I stopped with my friend Jenna at a coffee bar on Isola Tibenna (Tiber Island). The coffee bars in Rome are tiny bars where people come in and drink and eat quickly standing up at the bar and then go on their way. The coffee comes in very small cups. At this particular bar, you pay first at the cashier and take your receipt to the bar. I was unsure how what to say, so I requested the same thing as Jenna ordered before me – espresso e cornetto (crossaint) – for €1.80. At the bar the barista asked if I wanted cioccolato (chocolate) or creme (cream). I asked for creme. Now I know the next time to order cappuccino e uno cornetto.

Following orientation we broke for lunch. I walked up to Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (the busier street with the cellphone store) and had a panini and Coke for €3.70. It was fun to be able to try out the few new words I pick up each day. I went to pay and told the cashier I had a “panino e Coca-Cola.” (Amazing, right?)

Back to studio we had a drawing lecture from a faculty member from Ames, then broke into our studios. My studio met in a back room with access to the terrace. We spent the remainder of the day experimenting with different grades of charcoal and other drawing mediums. At the end of the day our instructor Chris took us on a short walk around a few nearby blocks pointing out some noteworthy places and amenities.

On the way home I stopped back at Panella (the first supermarket I went to on day 2) just off Viale di Trastevere (street), to pick up a bottle of bianco vino for the evening and some more pasta sauce for good measure. Once I got back to our apartment I passed the old woman who seems to be sitting at a corner near a vending machine all day everyday. I greeted her “Buona sera” (good evening) and she responded with a smile. Around the corner an old man greeted me and we had a brief conversation. He spoke little English but asked my age and if I was a university student. “” and “Buona sera.”

For dinner another friend made salad and manicotti with the remaining lasagna ingredients from last night. Tomorrow is supposed to be at least partially sunny so I hope to take some photos of the neighborhood and studio. For class we have a language course and another drawing session.