Thursday, August 22, 2013


August 15: For the good Catholics, you will know this as the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
15 Agosto: For a good Italian, you will know this as the holiday of Ferragosto (okay, you might also know the thing about Mary.)

Traditionally, the month of August is a time of vacation for most Italians.  Especially in Rome, most residents leave the city for the seaside or the mountains to escape the intense heat.  (I'm still asking myself why I chose to return to Rome during this time.)  But, wherever you live, August 15 is a national holiday.  From what I gathered, it's celebrated sort of like the USA's Fourth of July or Labor day, with families getting together for a picnic or barbeque or to go to the beach.  And so, being a good Italian-in-the-making, I did as the Italians do.
Celebrating Ferragosto
Bro. Joseph and I were invited by an Italian Marianist, Fr. Loris, to go to his friends' place in the country.  We went to the city of Nettuno, about an hour outside of Rome.   The day pretty much went like this: eat, drink, rest, repeat.  After lunch, I could hardly move because we had eaten so much.  Food just kept appearing from the kitchen, and always more than the 30+ of us could eat.  Our hosts (Febrizzio and Emanuela) were more than generous and treated us like family.  I could get used to being an Italian! 
We started with mass to celebrate the Assumption of Mary.

And then on to the partying.  This is Fr. Loris and Davide (not a typo).


Beginning to swarm around the table.

Ahhhhh, Pranzo.

Two of the homemade dessert choices. 

A little wine and some good food makes Brother happy.

In the orchard.

Fr. Loris definitely had the right idea!

 In case you're wondering what we ate.  We enjoyed a typical Italian "pranzo" (lunch) starting with antipasto (cheese and prosciutto).  Then we had pasta (lasagna in this case) followed by a cold rice salad (very yummy).  Then there was porchetta (what we would think of as roasted pig), vitello (veal cutlets), roasted peppers, salad, and bread.  Of course, all this is accompanied by wine (and yes the glass had no bottom).  Next, we ate fruit (figs from their orchard) and then dessert - there were four options to choose from, and the only option was to take a piece of each one.  During dessert, you have to drink prosecco (champagne) and then limoncello and/or grappa (think moonshine!)  And we're not done yet - there's always coffee at the end (if you can call such a small glass coffee.)  After all this, we had to rest which was easy to do in the afternoon sun.  Later in the evening, our hosts convinced us to stay for cena (dinner) and once again, they outdid themselves.  The fifth dessert was presented at this time (all home-made). 


Friday, August 16, 2013

Go Dayton Flyers

Some of you will know this song:
Goooooo, Dayton Flyers
Goooooo, Dayton Flyers
D...A...Y...Teeeee O-O-O..N
Dayton...Flyers...Go UD!

Well, the other day I had to learn it in Italian:
Andateeeeee Aviatori di Dayton
Andateeeeee Aviatori di Dayton
Di...Ah...ipsilon...Tiiiiiiiiii Oh-Oh-Oh..eNnne
Dayton...Aviatori...Vai UD.

No, this wasn't homework from my Italian teacher.  Rather, last Sunday I watched the UD Women's Basketball team take on the ASD Bull Basket Latina team.  Not on television.  Not streaming online.  But right here in Italy, in the city of Latina about an hour from Rome. The team is on a "tour of Italy" and are playing some Italian teams along the way here in Rome, in Venice, and Como.  With the help of some friends in Dayton, I was able to make contact with the team staying here.  What I thought was going to be a small trip by train for Bro. Joseph and I turned into an invitation to the pre-game dinner and a trip on the team bus.

The UD fan section, complete with Rudy Flyer

The Coaching Staff getting ready for the big game

Bro. Joseph and I with Coach Jabir.

Bro. Joseph with Coach Amadou.  (Yes, he's kind of tall.)

To call this a "game" might be a little unfair.  The Italian team that played against UD is still in development, so it was a little lopsided.  You can check out an article about the game here (and I even got a shout out!)

Needless to say, UD once again took good care of me.  At the end, the members of the team and the staff kept thanking us for coming.  But, I kept telling them that it was us who should be thanking them for a very memorable and enjoyable evening, even if the gym was a little warm (remember, air conditioning has a whole new meaning over here :)  It was great to connect with the UD community if only for an evening.
Bro. Joseph and Dr. Crum (UD Faculty member).

The Rome Chapter of "Red Scare"

As always:  It's a great day to be a Flyer!
With the Team (they actually said "shorter people in the front" - they were talking about us!)


Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Vacation

As some of you may have noticed, I took a little hiatus from writing these silly little blogs during the summer.  After all, as one friend pointed out, the title isn't "Adventures in Fort Wayne" or "St. Louis" or even "Dayton", but "Adventures in ROME."  And, as you might have guessed, I wasn't in Rome for about six weeks.  But, now I am back to the Eternal City.  And while most Romans get out of Dodge and head to the sea during the month of August since it's so hot here, I on the other hand have returned right in the midst of the oven that is Rome.  In fact, I think I now know what a pizza feels like when its being cooked.
Replace me for the pizza, and that's what Rome feels like these days.

So, I'll begin with my feeble and brief attempt at my "What I did on Summer Vacation" essay.  After exams, I headed to Chicago and then Fort Wayne to spend some time with family and friends.  Here's a synopsis in pictures.
Time with the family in Chicago.

While in Chicago, Sean and I made a pretty good dinner one night.  I supplied the Italian antipasto, pasta, wine, gelato and Limoncello.  Bellissimo!

On top of the world, or at least the Sears Tower.

My kinda town.
We took an architecture tour along the Chicago River...

...and then took the "Sea Dog" for some speeding on Lake Michigan.
The action was a little slower-paced at Brendan's t-ball game.

And finally a Fort Wayne Tin Caps game, complete with fireworks to celebrate July 4th.  (Insert your own fireworks, please.)
 I then headed to the Marianist parish in St. Louis, Our Lady of the Pillar.  For about a month, I had a "pastoral experience," helping out wherever I could.  The running joke was that the pastor's car never looked so clean!  When not washing the community cars, I visited patients in the hospital, went to a nursing home, helped out at a wedding, preached at daily mass a few times (can I say I did that?), led morning Communion Services, served at Mass (if only Sr. Cyprian could see me now), and went on a few "ride alongs" with a funeral director (I know way more about headstones than I ever thought I would.)  I also did a lot of observing of the priests at the parish - it's amazing what you see when you approach something from a different angle (that angle being: I'm gonna have to do this in a few years.....YIKES!!!)  It was a very good experience - I learned a great deal and left with many things to think about. 
Our Lady of the Pillar.  Please ignore the date, this is an old picture, but it really is the parish.

I wasn't too good about taking pictures in St. Louis.  The last day I decided to take the view from the top of the hospital parking garage from which you can see the Arch in the distance.  However, it was cloudy that day.  So, imagine the Arch in the distance just to the left of the light pole.

After swinging back through Fort Wayne, mom and I then headed to Dayton for the Profession of Perpetual Vows of Marianist Sister Nicole.  It was a beautiful celebration with a veritable list of "who's who" in attendance.  What a surprise to see so many familiar faces from near and  far.  I was honored to sing in the choir, and if I can say so, I think it's the best I've ever heard the "Marianist Folks" choir sound. 
Sometime after mass and before the dancing began.

From Dayton, I headed back to good ole' Roma.  I am now living in one of the communities of the Italian Province which is connected with our high school here.  Daily, Bro. Joseph from India and I meet with one of the Italian Brothers to review, learn, and re-learn the Italian language.  So far so good.  I haven't forgotten too much, but then again I didn't know much to forget.  Of course, around the table, no one speaks English so it is definitely full immersion!  But don't worry, I'm still making time to get reacquainted with the city and the many gelaterias.  (More about some of these adventures, one which was Flyer-tastic, in a short while).

The school is built around a courtyard.

So for now, summer continues (classes don't start until October).  Hope all are doing well, and I'm trying to push some of this heat across the Atlantic.

Finally, the following video clip (thanks to Fiat) will give you a taste for the Italian transformation that is taking place within me as I channel my inner Italiano.