i’m still here. Italy is still here with me and I’m enjoying my time experiencing new things but not all new experiences are barrels of monkeys.Last weekend Chiara and I went to church camp. It was not to my liking. For people who are really churchy and into non-stop songs espousing the “glory” and “joy” of “God” and “Jesus” this kind of thing would’ve been perfect. But to Chiara and I, who are less, shall we say, zealous, this was a little trying.

We went at the request of Chiara’s mom, who is friends with some(quite cool) nuns. They were having a retreat in the mountains. I thought, sure, i’m open-minded. Unfortunately, the collective spirit of church camp was really scary for me. Overenthusiastic keeners trying to devote every waking hour to some or other religious aspect. I thought somebody might toss a frisbee, or sing a song that didn’t involve the words “God” and or “Jesus” in the chorus. Sadly I was mistaken. And uncomfortable. Imagine camping with the Flanders kids and all their friends from Sunday School. In Italian.

However the nuns were cool, as I had been led to believe and camping in the park was nice. The other really redeeming factor was going horseback riding on Sunday.I had a horse named Chico and we got on quite well. Chiara’s horse Galleto was also a pretty good horse. Chico definitely had an adventurous free-spirit, but he kept it under wraps through heavy lidded eyes through almost the entirety of the tour. Except for a little unscheduled jaunt at the end. Fun!! I see why horses used to be such a popular form of transportation.It’s my birthday this weekend, (so it’s not too late to send your wishes). I’m turning 28. There’s nothing too big planned, but Chiara and I and a few friends and co-workers will enjoy the free comedy 7 Kings of Rome performed by the Miracle Players just above the Forum. I tried to get in with the Miracle Players to share some comedy with them, but I was too late. Instead i’ll enjoy their historical-comedy,or comedic-historical show. After that we’re hoping for a jazzy dinner in the park (as in jazz+ dinner). Maybe later a little dancing…but who knows, I am turning 28 and slowing down a little. Though i’d still like to have a little dancing. We’ll see.

Last night I got to play a little soccer. Actually calcetto.Mini-soccer on artificial turf. It was great to lace up the boots and trundle around in the not-terribly-skilled Canadian fashion to which i’m accustomed. I think i’ll be allowed back. I didn’t hip check anybody, and most of my tackles were not too poorly timed. As well I start giving the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel tour this week. Got some more studying up to do and then away to the races. I’m pleased to be learning so much about Rome while I’m here, although my language skills suffer from being poorly attended to. Chiara and I are currently planning a vacation for the end of August:Paris (never been!) and Bruxelles and Amsterdam. See some sites inParis and visit friends in Bruxelles (including my old friend Belgian beer) and then to Amsterdam for friends, bike riding and hopefully a little improv.That’s just a little news from my end; feel free to let me know how your life is.And if you’ve forgotten my email address just reply to this mail. My other address (for visitors and mailings) is
Signore Ryan Millar
Via della Magnetite
46Rome Italy00158
…feel free to send me your address, the pope and I may drop you a line.

Ryan Fonzarelli