So Thursday I rushed home from work to say bye to Rihem and to get ready to go meet my parents. They were staying near Saint Peters in a hotel, dad had arrived around 4:00pm, mom met him at the airport and they had plans for me to meet them at the hotel at 7:15.  Obviously when I call my mom and say I’m on my way to the hotel she replies, oh well were going out, so we won’t be there, can we meet somewhere else? Luckily the bus I was waiting for that would go direct to their hotel hadn’t come yet, so I could adjust my transportation plans to accommodate their movement!  Instead mom told me to meet her at Hotel Rafael, near piazza navona, where we would decide together the plan of action.  So, I took the bus to Argentina and walked to the hotel where I looked around the lobby for my parents, called them, no reponse, and then waited outside, calling my mom every couple of minutes. 15 minutes later mom returns my call, I ask where she is, clearly she responds “at the bar at the top of the hotel!”  How the heck was I supposed to know she would go up there?  The whole 15 minutes I waited for them, they had already been enjoying their premium service and white wine atop the hotel roof! Beh!
I took the elevator up to the 6th floor and found them enjoying their wine and taking pictures of the fantastic view.  I said hello and hugged dad, finally here, and then sat down to tell them about my week.  We sat and chatted, and conversed with the older couple next to us who were flight attendants and loving living the life of air travel. It was their second time back in Rome in the past week.  Their lifestyle sounded quite fun for a couple who loves to explore.  Around 8:15 I began shuffling us out of the bar because I had made a reservation on my mother’s request at the restaurant in the Gusto complex near Piazza del Popolo. We were actually pretty prompt and arrived by foot before 9:00, but we found out that I had made a reservation at the wrong part of the Gusto complex, I reserved at the restaurant when my mother had wanted to eat at the Osteria. Why every place of that complex has the same number to reserve… I don’t know… but anyways there wasn’t a wait at the Osteria so we were able to sit down immediately and we told the waiter that we made a mistake with our reservation and we think that he took care of it all.  For dinner I had a some kind of lamb stew with olives, dad had cacio e pepe, and mom had tune with balsamic glaze.  All of the food was delicious and of course so was the wine.  During dinner we discussed Friday’s plans.  I knew there was a sciopero, a strike, so I wasn’t sure how getting to work was going to work, but I felt too terrible asking for the day off so I could go on the Scavi tour with my parents, when I already had asked for a day off to go to Sicily in August.  So we discussed the possibilites of what would happen with the strike, and we decided that I would do my normal routine and try and get to work, and if the buses and trains were no longer running I would briskly walk to find mom and dad at their hotel and go on the scavi tour with them. Awesome.
Osteria delle Frezze, Citta del Gusto
 Nearing 10:00 I left the restaurant before dessert was ordered, the wine was finished and they paid their check.  It was Thursday so I wanted to go to Isola Tiberina for the Friends in Rome aperitivo event, and I didn’t want to stay out extremely late, and neither did my parents, so I left on foot and got to the Island by 10:30.  At the island I met up with Helena and saw the regular people who I liked to converse with.  I saw Teri, the Canadian woman who I had gone for a gelato with, we chatted for a few, and then I walked around looking for new people to meet.  Cornelius arrived with his sister, so I met her. I met a girl from the states who moved here and was living with her Italian boyfriend who had studied in the states; so he spoke English perfectly (jealous).  I asked if he had any friends he could introduce me to, but unfortunately he never followed through haha.  Toward the end of the night Helena and I met two French guys, one who was living here and the other was his visiting friend.  We talked with them a while, found out he lived near Piazza Bologna like me, so I would have someone to walk with need be, and then around 12:30/1:00 we decided to head out.  I found Cornelius and his sister, because I usually walk home with him, and waited for them to say good bye to who they were talking too. The French were too anxious to wait for us, so they left on there own, while Cornelius, his sister and I left 10 minutes later.  We struggled in the bus department, wasting time and getting on a bus that didn’t take us exactly where we wanted and we ended up at Porta Pia.  From there we started walking to find another bus so Cornelius and his sister could take it because they lived farther than me, and we ended up running into Fabiane and Jan, the French.  We found a bus stop that Cornelius could wait at, then I walked home with the French people, 10 minutes and I was home, in my bed, fast asleep. Walking is most of the time a lot more efficient then waiting for buses depending on where you are!
Friday I woke up, went to CafĂ© Art, got my cappuccino and cornetto and walked to Bologna to get the metro at 8:35.  There was an announcement replaying itself in the metro saying the last train was about to depart the head of the line, so I asked the ATAC metro man if there would be buses at Laurentina to get me to work if I took the last metro.  He said he could not be sure, but that the sciopero was starting at 8:30, so it would be unlikely, so I decided I wouldn’t get stranded at Laurentina, I would call/email Francesca and let her know my predicament, then go meet mom for the tour.  Somehow I had Francesca’s wrong number, so that didn’t work, I sent her an email, feeling shitty about what I was doing because I knew I had work to finish that I didn’t complete the day before, but anyways I explained I wouldn’t be coming and that she can send me the documents I was working on and I would work from home.  So I did that, waiting for her response while I waited for hopefully the last bus of the 61 that would come by, I already saw I missed the 62… luckily 5 minutes later the last 61 rolled by and I was able to take it all the way to San Silvestro and then walk to the Vatican and my parents hotel to meet them.  Francesca responded to my email and said not to worry. She sent me all of the documents I needed, and while the emails were rolling in, mom, dad and I were strolling into the secret place on the left side of the Vatican to get our special Scavi tour. Awesome.  I would have enjoyed the tour 5 times more if I wasn't preoccupied with thinking my boss was going to kill me, but nonetheless, I was glad I went on the tour because it was something I would not have done with out being dragged by my mother.  On the tour we saw numerous mausoleums that were built maybe 100 years after the death of St. Peter.  Pagans had chosen the place where Peter was buried as a home for an Acropolis, unrelated to the fact that it was Peters resting place. Then in constantinian times, more mausoleums were built and a trophy was built upon Peters burial place.  We were able to see the remnants of the constantine additions, the original red brick features built by the pagans, many sarcophagi, and the place where St. Peter's bones are, but you can not go into his tomb for the space is too small.  All of the area that we toured was excavated during WWII and it is really only a small portion of the grounds that lies under the new basilica. Still very fascinating. I probably got the details confused, but that's what I took away from the tour, and I was ultimately happy the sciopero allowed me to go on the tour!

After we left St. Peter's we went to get mom and dads luggage from the hotel that was right outside the piazza. We walked out onto the street and attempted to hail a cab since no transportation was going still, and there was no way in hell we were walking all the way to Piazza Bologna with or without having to haul luggage with us! So we got in a cab which immediately drove into a mess of traffic, grazie allo scioper la citta era un cassino! So it was a mess getting past Piazza del Popolo then from Villa Borghese we cruised to Via Udine, stopping the cab fair at just under 20 euros.  We were home, I was ready for mom to criticize me not having a family room again, and I was also anxious to get my work done for Francesca because she was expecting the spreadsheet to be finished before the end of the work day.  Luckily I had all the emails and after mom and dad put there stuff down and rested a few minutes they headed out to get lunch and walk around while I did my work.  I made myself a salad for lunch, a little bummed I wouldn't be eating with Vincenzo, Francesca, Valeria and Consolato :( and then I got to work.  I finished everything within the hour, and Francesca didn't send me anything else, so I took the time to catch up on the serious lack of sleep I have been accumulating over the past month and a half here in Italy.  Woaa time out.... Month and a half?? Where does the time go??

Anyways, around 6:00 I called mom to see what the plan was going to be for dinner and everything.  They said they would be home by 6:30, so I just waited for them to get back, then we figure out the night plans.  The buses were up and running for 5-8, so we decided to grab the 62 and take it to Argentina and walk near Campo de Fiori to find a place to eat.  We walked past La Carbonara, contemplating eating there, then walked into Piazza Farnese and landed upon a much nicer atmosphere and larger crowd of Italians at a restaurant called Da Gallinetto.  Our table had a wonderful view of the Piazza and a very lively table of Italians.  For my primo piatto I had gnochetti al gorgonzola con noci, mom had some kinda of spicy pasta with fish, and dad had pasta alla pajota INTESTINES!! Gross! All of the primi were delicious, and then we got a thin cut of veal for a secondo to split between the 3 of us.  For dolci we had a ricotta and chocolate torta, and the wine that mom ordered was delicious, a rosso from Montefalco.  I ate the majority of the dessert, then we paid the bill and walked back towards Largo Argentina, my parents to catch a cab, and myself to head to Trastevere to meet up with Helena.

I found Helena on the steps across from the Ponte Sisto, one of our usual meeting points, and she had run into Fabien and Jan, the french people who we had met last night at Aperitivo. So we hung around the steps with them until well after midnight, then we went with them to Campo de Fiori where they all ordered shottini that looked like french flags, but when they gave them to us they said it was for america. Funny!  I had told mom and dad I would be back between 2 and 3, and as we sat outside chatting, not doing anything particularly great, the clock turned 2:30, and I felt it was time for me to leave the gracious french.  Helena stayed behind with them, as she had no curfew, and I went and hailed a cab because the sciopero was still in effect and there weren't many buses running, and I was fast asleep in Rihem's bed (mine occupied by mom) by 3:00am.

We woke up around 9:00am, packed up our things, mom and I squishing our stuff in to dad's suitcase since neither of us had our own (Marta had taken mine to ESPANA) and then headed up toward Piazza Bologna to stop at Mizzica for a cappuccino and cornetto before heading to Muto. Mom and dad got to see why I was so intimidated of the place... Dad ordered 3 cornetti and 3 cappuccini, almost got stiffed 10 euro (by accident, and it all worked out), then once again I had to return to the cassa to pay 80 centessimi in piu because we picked pastries that were more expensive than what we paid for. Woops!  We sat outside at a table on the side of the road with all of our bags, thoroughly enjoyed our colazione then proceeded to walk to the metro B where we took it to Termini, switched onto the A line and got to Anagnina. At Anagnina we went to the parking garage and tried to figure out how to pay the parking ticket, which we thought we did effectively, but once we found the car and tried to drive through the gate, the gate didn't seem to like how we validated the ticket...  We backed out of the gate that wouldn't let us through, 4 cars had lined up behind us and after we moved they went right through the gate no problem.  Mom went down to ask the garage attendant what the issue was, he said everything was fine and he told us if it didn't work again to press the help button and he would assist us.  What do you know... it didn't work again! We pressed the help button, the mans voice came on, and he said it HAD to work, but we tried every which way, and we swear it didn't work, so he just buzzed us through after he got fed up with us dumb Americans!

We were en route to Via Muto by 11:30, and mom had plans to stop briefly at the mercatino (an old junk shop) before getting to the house, so she could seek our approval on a green set of drawers she had seen that she wanted for the bathroom. When we arrived we found that the drawers were no longer there, things go quick at the Mercatino! Mom was dissapointed, but no worries, her need to buy something old was quick resolved when she opted to buy a large print of Lire (the old italian currency), and I found a group of Nutella jar cups for 1,50! Score!  When we arrived at Muto, Nonna had cooked and was waiting for us and Vince and Annie to throw the pasta in.  We weren't sure when Vince and Annie were arriving so we started unloading the car... soon after Nonna started yelling at my mom for bringing more junk into the house when she saw the large Lire emerge from the car...  It was nearing 1:30 and we didn't know where Vince and Annie were, so mom gave them a call, and they said they woudn't be arriving for an hour or so, so Nonna threw the tortellini in the pot, and we were eating the delicious brodo with tortellini 15 minutes later. Delicious. It was my favorite meal to have, especially in the windy afternoon at Muto. After we cleaned up Vince and Annie arrived, Nonna forced some food down their throats, and we sat out and talked for a while.  At 4:30 Ilario came to pick me up to go see Harry Potter e i doni della morte.  We went to a cinema in Isola Liri and saw it in 3D, I amazingly understood everything, and only got caught up where they mentioned characters names because for some reason they have different names in the Italian book... After the movie he brought me home and said he'd be by at 9:00 again to go to the comedian in a nearby hill town (castellini?).  The parents were going to La Perla for a nice dinner, so I pulled out the leftover soup from the fridge, heated it up, and grabbed some veggies, and ate outside while Nonna rested nearby in her chair. Prompt as usual, Ilario arrived at 9:00, and we were off!

We picked up three of his friends along the way, Melissa, Claudia and Valerio, then headed up the hill toward Castellini (?) to see the comedian.  The show was supposed to start at 9:30, but we are in Italy, so who are we kidding? We waited around till 10:45 and the show finally started, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make it through the night without falling asleep cause I was mad tired and a Notte Bianca was still on our agenda for after the comedians.  But I found myself once again understanding the majority of what the comedians were saying.  There were 6 or 7 opening comedians who I was able to devote my full attention to, but the headliner started at close to 1 and at that point I was freezing and dozing off in the piazza.  But I pulled through and made it to the end of the Ridi Ciociaria event and then we drove off to San Donato.  Car ride to San Donato I definitely kept falling asleep and even being wedged between Valerio and Melissa wasn't keeping me awake.  We arrived in San Donato a little bit before 3am.  The streets were packed with people, and there were shops, food stalls and bands lining the street.  If only it weren't so cold, and I weren't so tired I would have thoroughly enjoyed it.  Things like this you never see in the States, and its refreshing to see so many people out walking up and down the streets, dancing, and enjoying themselves, you just don't see that at home ever. Also, San Donato is on a hill, so we had to climb up some pretty steep hills to get to where the party was at, and mind you, Claudia and Melissa were wearing 3 inch heels... pazze! That you also don't see in America... women climbing cobblestone covered hills in high heels... I was the only one of us to trip multiple times and I was wearing flats!  One day I'll master the cobblestones... one day...

Around 3:30am our stomachs began to growl, so we went to the panino truck and the boys got porchetta sandwiches, and I got a slice of pizza. Once again, they REFUSED to let me pay for what I was getting. I tried to shove money in their pockets, but they just shoved it back in mine.  Gentlemen those Italians.  I don't pay for one thing when I'm in Fontechiari, it's ridiuclous! So they bought me some pizza, we sat and ate and chatted atop San Donato, then we headed on home, I honestly don't know how I made it. Che stanchezza ce l'avevo. Descending down the mountain back toward Muto, I again nodded in and out, and tried to stay awake by texting people on my phone, but that just turned into messes of letters... ask Lindsay!  I got dropped off at home and ran upstairs, not stopping at go, and not collecting 200 dollars, jumped into bed and fell fast asleep. I didn't hear any dogs or foxes that night!

Sunday morning I woke up around 10:00 and just hung out enjoying the countryside until Nonna served dinner. Pasta. Nom. Nom. Nom.  I finished up the laundry I had brought to Muto to do, packed up and waited for when my parents wanted to bring me to the stazione in Frosinone.  I figured they had trains every hour, so I said we could go whenever, but I wanted to go kind of early incase Helena wanted to do something.  I probably should have looked at the schedule because when we got to Frosinone, we realized it was Sunday, and the next train wasn't leaving for an hour and 45 minutes.  Oh well... I had books and my laptop, so I told mom and dad to leave me, and I'd wait alone, so after we made plans for the next weekend to pick me up in Cassino, they left me, and I was on my way back to Rome for the work week. On the train ride home Francesca texted me to let me know the B line was closed between Tiburtina and Castro Pretorio... there had been a fire at Tiburtina station, so when I arrived at Termini I had to figure out the bus to get back, but they had an alternative shuttle running the same stops as the metro, so everything worked out, it just took a little bit longer.  By 11:00pm I was back at Via Udine, ready for bed, and ready for my birthday week to commence!