Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm thrilled to report that we are happily ensconced atop the Janiculum Hill behind the Aurelian walls and enjoying the fresh breezes, green space, extra square footage, shared terrace and, perhaps more importantly (now that I'm no longer 25 and have two small children in tow), a second bathroom at our new apartment at the American Academy. Two months in a small Trastevere apartment in 90+ degree heat was more than enough for an intensive introduction to Italian urban life. We certainly enjoyed having everything within walking distance, but I was starting to think that at least the last dozen or so of the famed layers that make up the Eternal City are composed soley of gelato spoons, cigarette butts, empty wine boxes and dog excrement.

Alas, our fortunes have changed for the better. According to our housing contract, we have been officially designated as "Visiting Artists and Scholars" which means we have 4th dibs on tickets for any AAR-organized tours or events, but presumably the same priority as everyone else when the freshly baked cornetti come out of the Academy ovens. The illustrous fellows (those with higher priority) start moving in this weekend so we have a few days to ourselves in the family housing building, poetically named "5B". We just hope we can get the kids to stop screaming while jumping on their beds by then so that we aren't asked to vacate. If pressed, I am prepared to assert that jumping from beds while screaming is their preferred art form and that their seemingly chaotic outbursts are actually an elaborate, pre-structuralist reenactment of the Roman incursion of the Visigoths under Alaric the First. Or, to put it in terms more easily understood here at the Academy, "It (the kids' screaming/jumping on installations more commonly used for nocturnal repose) also illustrates the contingency of construals of particular situations/events/persons. This arises from different framings tied to different-use contexts, but that diversity can then be harnessed rhetorically to negotiate agents' desired outcomes." (This text was copied directly from a fellow's project summary on the website -- I have absolutely no idea what it means, but am hopeful that I can repeat it with confidence if/when the time arises to keep us in fresh linens.)

Here's a photo of the kids settling in and deciding where to post a photo of Jim, our beloved tabby cat back in Napa.

I took the next shot a few hours ago on the communal terrace where we dined on take-away pizza and enjoyed a view of the city below.

We're planning to spend the next few days locating the nearest markets, getting acquainted with the resident feline population and learning the new bus routes. Giulia continues to love drawing the Roman skyline, Giorgio seems most content when building trattorias and ancient monuments out of Legos and Gio is chomping at the bit to get into the Academy kitchen next week. In the meantime we all continue to benefit from his culinary artistry.
School starts for the kids in two days and we're all looking forward to starting a more regular routine.

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