Sunday morning, I woke up early and met Amber at Bruno (the giant statue of a hooded figure in the middle of Campo Dei Fiori). We grabbed some coffee, got to talking, and discovered that we are both from the foothills of Northern California and went to the same elementary school. Wild!
We followed the Tiber River to this flea market. Stall after stall after stall selling second hand clothes, straight-from-the-factory footwear (Amber bought a pair of BFRSPRIKENs for the soccer tourney), jewelry, antiques, purses, mirrors, bottles, keychains, DVDs, scarves, hats, leather jackets, rugs, anything and everything you can think of. We wandered about for two hours and didn't actually find the end. It was a beautiful morning for marketing.
Next, we all ventured further out from the center of Rome for a soccer tournament between what we now understand to be all of the universities and colleges from the United States studying in Rome. Not really knowing what to expect, the UW rag-tag team of misfits and hooligans (okay, "misfits and hooligans" is a stretch...more like, rag-tag team of English majors) assembled for its first match against some university from Colorado. The tension was palpable as Julie set up for a penalty kick:
After a nail-biting tie-breaker volley, we won the game! During the downtime, we watched Cornell play Dartmouth. The Cornell team came with about twenty players, all suited up in matching red Cornell shirts with Roman numerals in masking tape on the back. Their "coach" came equipped with a megaphone, and everyone who wasn't on the field cheered from the sidelines. We observed their unparalleled excitement at every pass, every goal, every step of the fifteen-year-old violin prodigy playing forward.
The second game ended 1 to 3, UW. After our victory, we discovered we had made it to the championship round. And who were our challengers for that elusive plastic trophy? Cornell.
I wish I had pictures to demonstrate the juxtaposition between their side of the field and ours. Alas, I will just have to describe it to you. Imagine twenty-or-so red-shirted camrades on one side of the field. Some indulge in stretches and silent laps in a circle, while others chatter nonstop, "Omigod this is gonna be SO much fun like I LOVE soccer! Woo! Go Cornell!" As the game starts, the other teammates not playing dangerously edge the field, their excitement spilling onto the green with every pass, every goal, and every step of that damn fifteen-year-old violin prodigy. The megaphone sounds every minute with "Keep it up Cornell!" "Good hustle!" "Double-team him, girls!" Mind you, the field is small and fenced in. The need for a megaphone, or why someone would even think to bring one, is beyond me.
Our side consisted of three supporters, all trying to avoid the sun's rays, silently pining for coffee, watching the massacre. At one point I shouted, "SHOULD WE BE MORE SUPPORTIVE?!" thinking maybe this was the competitive edge we needed, envisioning some kind of three-person pyramid and then wondering what exactly this would accomplish.
We lost, zilch to four. However, we did maintain our dignity and didn't embarrass ourselves in front of the whole of the tournament by shouting sexual positions through a megaphone without actually knowing that is what we were saying. And we got a genuine hand-written certificate.
That night, Julie's friend came to visit, and we took a nighttime stroll through Rome. The whole of the city was just as alive as it is during the day. Restaurants were open, tourist attractions stuffed to the gills, everyone milling about with wine or beer in a perpetual cloud of cigarette smoke. Julie and I, while sitting by Bruno, even heard an American tourist ask the young gentlemen next to us, "Avete certa mary-wahn-ah?"
A magical night, truly.