I don't know that I can stress enough how important flexibility is when living in Italy. You have to be able to roll with what you're given...or not given as the case may be. If you get caught up in the mentality that "this just wouldn't happen at home" or "I can't believe this country functions like this..", well, you'll find yourself having heart palpitations on a regular basis. Instead, take life in Italy as it comes because you never know what's going to happen. Take our recent opera outing for example...
Lynda decided last summer that she wanted to dedicate a class to opera and to close out the lecture by taking students to an actual opera. I was excited because I've never been to an opera and I love the theater and the arts. Plus, we decided we would make an event of it and have everyone dress up. So, there we were....all dressed up and looking fine as we waited outside the Teatro della Opera in Rome. It was a nice evening and nobody minded waiting until the doors opened as they appeared to be closed. The thing was though,the show was scheduled to begin in 15 minutes. I would have thought there would be more people milling around, doors would be open...there would be more life around the theater. But, then again this is...Italy. Still, I became suspicious so I went to ask a security guard and he directed me to the box office. I walked up to one of the windows and asked the guy behind the glass what time the doors opened and he told me to talk to his colleague. She took one look at my tickets, counted them, and pulled out a stack of bills and began to count. When she was finished, she handed me the cash. Huh? Apparently, the show was cancelled due to a lack of financing. O-K. Lynda checked the internet the night before and there was no mention made of the show being cancelled. Oh, Italy!
I remembered that at St. Paul Inside the Walls church they often have a performance of a selection of arias from La Traviatta. So, we decided to check it out. We walked to the church and were kindly greeted by members of a Korean choir. Turns out that they were performing arias from various operas that evening instead of the regular performers. Hmmm....not quite what we had in mind. We took a minute to think about it and decided that we would stay as it was free and afterwards we would go somewhere for dessert. As we approached the door, they closed it because it was time to start the show. O-K. Shot down...again. Now what? A movie! We can go to a movie seeing as we weren't far from Piazza Repubblica.
So, one of my students ran up the street to check on movie times, etc for us only to return disappointed because nothing was playing in english. Shot down again!! Now what!? We were all dressed up...looking forward to a night out. What should we do? Go for tiramisu of course!
Several of my students from the spring semester had discovered a tiramisu place that made 4 different kinds of the decadent dessert. Yuuuummm. So, we all hopped on the metro, spent a good 45 minutes looking for the restaurant, and finally indulged in some deliciousness.
It certainly wasn't the night we'd expected, but that's ok. We ended up having a lot of fun and it was a great cultural lesson for my students. You gotta roll with it here because the alternative isn't pretty!