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Ruling Woman Before

Not Constantinople

A dear friend decided he wanted to spend his 65th birthday with 24 of his closest friends.  We’re not talking ice cream cake and candles here: we celebrated in Istanbul. I understand now why they call those Sufi mystics Whirling Dervishes. My head was whirling after just one week in Turkey — that mad, exotic, magical collage of a country. ...

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American in Roma

  Having missed my annual trek to Italy in ’05, I gave myself two full weeks this year for much needed R&R in my adopted città.  So many missions: study, shop, mangia bene and explore my neighborhood. My first day in Rome, I wandered from my apartment near the Colosseum to explore another ancient site: the Roman Forum. It continues to amaze me ...

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Last Week in Rome 2001 Edition

GRAZIE E ARRIVEDERCI  Thank you and Goodbye.  This is the phrase printed on the bottom of every receipt you get in Italy. It seemed somehow fitting as I bid farewell to my ancient city. Writing my final dispatch from Rome was almost impossible. What could I possibly say to wrap up this adventure? That last week, I walked from temple ...

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Festa del Ringraziamento 2001

During the week of Thanksgiving, folks back home were having their Festa del Ringraziamento.  Back here in Rome, we were having our own festival, an international party of foods from our home countries. The international festival at school was a party to which we are all asked to share typical dishes from our own countries. Last time, you may recall, ...

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Sempre Diritto Part Three 2001

During this week, sempre diritto reared its head once again. Literally, it means “always straight” or, straight ahead. Italians often say this when you ask for directions. It signifies to me that I am lost. I had a revelation: getting lost is una metafora per la vita. It is not so much that we have lost our way, but that ...

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Florence Trip with Friends 2001

OUR VISIT TO FLORENCE This week it was clearly time for me to visit this Tuscan city of Michelangelo, Dante, and leather jackets.  And so, my friends and I hopped onto the Eurostar and headed to the sepia city of Firenze. We didn’t need our tour books for this visit, because one of my favorite teachers made a special list ...

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Due Ragazze from Marion Street

Two girls from Marion Street in Albany, Oregon, together in Rome. My best friend from childhood visited me with her family during my tenth week. It was, without doubt, my best week in Italy. I have known this woman since I was three years old. When Sandy found out I was coming to Rome, she decided, on the spot, that she would ...

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Venice through My Eyes (2001)

I am not the first person to write about this magical, mysterious, and dark city which I visited in my ninth week.  And though I was bowed by my own audacity, I still gave it a try. You remember that scene in “Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy steps out of the house? That is exactly how I felt when I ...

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Sempre Diritto Redux (2001)

Italy is beautiful, fabulous, and embraces a much different way of life. It is also a country most maddening, with its own share of quirks.  Read on. Sempre Diritto, “straight ahead.” You may recall that in Calabria whenever I asked for directions, I was told sempre diritto. In Week eight, I got my revenge when two Italians asked me how ...

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Rome, 2001: Bridging the Halfway Mark

In this city of many bridges, I realized that I had crossed a very important bridge. Week seven marked the latter half of my stay here in Rome, and that sharpened my experiences. My seventh week in Rome began with an excursion to the Roman flea market called Porta Portese. I went with my padrona a casa who I adore. She ...

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