This morning I got up at 5.10am (!) so that I could try to get to Latin mass in the Basilica for 7.45am. Unfortunately, even at 7.30am there is a queue to get in and it was made more infuriating by people in the line ahead of me being ignorant of the fact that reading glasses are generally counted as metal and must be removed from pockets before going through security (sigh). When I got in, I quickly discovered that the mass was almost at an end. I arrived just before Communion and having not been present for the rest of the mass, I could not partake in Communion. I also found out that this was not a regular mass as I had been told, but was a one-off for some pilgrims, organised by a Swiss guard. However, there is a silver lining to this cloud as the guard later told me that he would find out at what time the regular Latin mass is said. I did make a bit of an idiot of myself when I asked him if he was Italian after he had already told me that he was a Swiss guard. Oops.
After finding that adoration had not begun yet, trying to pray in various places in the Basilica and then being outed by priests and friars marching in to say mass, I gave up and went on to a café as I was very early for work. I have found that people in Italy are either very friendly, or a bit annoyed that you are in their country. (This morning, for example, a Lebanese/Italian man would not leave me alone as I was trying to read my Jesus of Nazareth book on the train. Luckily, he was not a lecher, he just wanted to tell me all about the persecution of Christians in Lebanon!) If you have ever gone into a busy Italian café/bar while other Italians are taking their cappuccinos and brioches, you will appreciate that it is a little intimidating. I don’t know if people realise that I often feel intimidated, but I do. I am not ashamed to say that I called on St. Michael to give me a bit of courage as I marched in and asked for my hot chocolate. The woman did indeed seem annoyed that a foreigner should dare to enter her café and I have to say that I did not feel comfortable. It is always awkward when you’re not sure when to pay. In France, you are given a ticket on a little tray with everything that you order. You leave the money on the tray (unless you need change) and then you leave. Simples. Not so in Italy…After enduring the barmaid’s glares for 20 minutes, I got up, paid and left. I won’t be going there again!
Yesterday evening, I was lucky enough to attend a Canadian Thanksgiving party (my flatmate is Canadian, as are many of her friends)! It was lovely and many tasty things were eaten like a turkey basted in maple syrup and a pumpkin pie (which I had never tasted before). We were also granted a rendition of the Canadian national anthem. The English anthem was also sung and people were scandalised because I do not know it and did not make any attempt to sing it. I explained that I am Welsh, that it has only been sung in my presence twice in my life and that it is not my anthem. The Irishman present also refused to sing God save the Queen, and rightly so.
It was a lovely evening and I even met someone who may be able to help me learn a bit of Latin! 🙂