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So, its back to business as usual in Atlanta. I got in from Rome on Sat. around 11pm, minus one bag and my check card. I think my bag is still in Toronto (where I changed planes), and my check card is floating around Rome somewhere. But all in all, I had a great trip. The art was fantastically timeless, and even more brilliant than I remember from my text books. The gelati was addictive, and the weather was perfect. It rained one day, but we had already finished our site seeing. Also, it was nice to hear the rain through our open window that night. I met most of his coworkers for the first time, and dispite my initial nervousness we all got along really well, and they were far more fun than I was expecting.

We went to the Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain; just about all the tourist attractions Rome has to offer. Shaun had to work four of the ten days we were there, so I walked around by myself some, and with one of his coworker's fiance. I don't think I've ever walked so much in my life!

One of the days, Shaun and I rode a train to Florence. There we saw Michelangelo's 'David', and went to the Uffitzi Museum where I was able to sneak a picture of one of my favorite paintings 'The Birth of Venus' by Botticelli. The picture didn't turn out so well, but I'm happy I got to see it up close, in all its gradure.

The Vatican also deserves a separate paragraph. We devoted an entire day there not only because it is a city within a city, but also the mass amount of people that travel from around the world to see it is overwhelming, and delays any chance of a quick visitation. We went on a tour and were given brief synopsis' of history and events surrounding different attractions as we went through. The Sistine Chapel was of course amazing and justified in attracting the millions of visitors it does, just for the art alone. The intricacy of not only the art but the architecture is humbling. St. Peters Basillica is even more so. Once inside, all I could do was whisper even though the structure was so huge and there were so many people inside. I felt so small, and it was at that point that I realized all the crap that is troubling me in my life means nothing...compared to the grand scale of things; in life overall. The lifetimes of hard work and devotion that went into creating this masterpiece was enough to make my worries and negative thoughts seem least for now. Hopefully I can use this memory as a reminder of how beautiful life is, or can be.  

Something else happened at the Vatican that touched me. I went on a different day while Shaun was at work. I went with the coworker's fiance because the Pope was there to bless the massive sea of people who flooded the venue. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life. It was actually a little scary, because if something happened and all those people suddenly wanted to run, a stampede would ensue! Anyway, I was in the crowd and this man who didn't speak English noticed me and for some reason wanted to give me his spot near the fence where there was a clear view of the Pope. He gestured for me to switch with him. Another woman saw that he was giving up his spot and tried to forge her way in front of me. The man blocked her and said something that sounded mean in Spanish. He grabbed me and swung me into the opening. I thanked him and turned to watch the Pope as he began to bless the crowd in Latin. By the time the Pope got through four of the seven different languages he was giving his sermon in, I looked back at the man. We made eye contact and he reached out and put a hand on the side of my face. With a smile he said "Good luck", then disappeared into the crowd. I then wondered if I looked like I needed luck. Or maybe, the man is psychic and knew about the uneasiness that's been bothering me lately. Whatever the case, I thought that was the sweetest thing a stranger has ever done for me. It makes me want to pass on kindness to others as well.

Rome has made me see things in a different way, and appreciate them too. I'm not sure everyone who visits Rome reacts in this way. For me, this trip fell perfectly into a void I was beginning to form in my life, and filled it with a better outlook and positivity. So my advice to you if you ever want to visit Rome is, go with a open mind and comfortable shoes!

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photo by: vulindlela