Lost and Found Again – A First Day of School Mishap – Panic and Pointing in the Streets of Rome

It was an eventful first day of class in the Eternal City. Out of bed and out the door at 8:30. The first challenge of the morning was to maneuver the tram and remember the number of stops it took to reach the Accent center. At Largo di’ Argentina we hopped off the platform and started walking in the direction of familiar building facades and fountains we passed during the previous night with Francesco. It was clear to me that learning the streets of Rome would take some time. With teamwork we arrived to the Piazza dell’ Orologio and our morning informational session led by Mrs. Nester. After discussing the ins-and-outs of our time at Rome, we were dismissed. The class tricked back out to the piazza where we reconvened and set off with Ozayr as our guide for Donato Bramante’s Chiostro.

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We spent about 20 or 30 minutes sketching the proportions and pilaster details of the courtyard. Man, sketching was a lot trickier than I remember it. Out of practice and out of time. Before I knew it, the class was ready to move on to a different site to draw next. I looked down at my sloppy something that sat on the page. On the way out of the building I was still shading areas of the sketch that desperately needed help and fixing lines that curved every which way. With my head down and my peripheral on a grey jacket that I thought was Alex’s, I walked alongside the group and continued to draw.

All of a sudden, shock and confusion! The jacket next to me stopped moving, and so I did too. When I looked up, a very puzzled Italian woman was staring back at me. I had been following a stranger side by side for maybe two minutes! I looked to the right- nobody I knew. I looked to the left- not a soul. Oh, man! Lost in the first half hour of class! Has to be a record. I sped back to the Chiostro with the hope that the group would still be there. Nobody.

Lost and alone in the streets of Rome, I spent the first minute thinking of a plan of attack. I wracked my brains for every word of Italian I knew, the direction that we came from the Accent center, and honestly whether or not I should try to give a great shout, call, or squawk in the street to alert friends of my distress. Well I didn’t do that. What I did was find help from a nice waitress near the bar of a restaurant. Gesturing like a crazy person, I was able to communicate that I was lost and needed to use a phone. I called Francesco and asked for Ozayr’s number but he didn’t have it. So I thanked the waitress, she gave me some directions that I didn’t understand but appreciated, and I set of down the winding streets in search of Piazza dell Orologio.

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I made a couple wrong turns here and there, came full circle back to Bramante’s Chisotro at one point, and periodically asked directions from people passing by. It was a confusing but pleasant walk. It gave me time to wind down from the initial shock of being separated. The brightly colored buildings, balconies, and Italian chatter in the street was enough to focus my mind on where I was- was halfway across the world! If there ever was a place to be a little lost, Rome seemed like the perfect fit. In total it took me about 30 minutes to make it the few blocks it actually was back to Accent Center- but hey, we did it. What a great feeling to see Piazza dell’ Orologio again. Boromini’s clock tower looked better than ever.

 

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