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Monday, March 23, 2020

Life in Rome under the Coronavirus, by Larry Litman

Here at RST, we are reaching out to people living in Rome who are experiencing the impact of the coronavirus on the Eternal City and on their daily lives.  We saw this Facebook post by our friend Larry Litman less than 24 hours ago and thought our readers would appreciate it.  

Larry lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, before moving to Rome in 2007.  In the early 1970s he studied at Loyola University of Chicago's Rome Center, now the John Felice Rome Center on Monte Mario. "That was when I fell in love with the city of Rome," Larry writes, "and then had the dream of making Rome my home."

Larry is a teacher librarian at AmBrit International School and is active at St. Paul's Within the Walls (the Episcopal Church on via Nazionale).  He also volunteers at the Non-Catholic Cemetery. He has two adult children and two grandchildren living in New York City.


18 Days Since School Closed 13th Day of Lockdown 4th Sunday of Lent 22 March, 2020 The Second Day of Spring

An Update from Rome:

Things are not getting better yet. The death toll continues to rise, not just here in Italy, but around the world. According to the Italian Ministry of Health website (updated at 5:00 pm 22 March):

Currently Testing Positive: 42,681 Recovered: 6,072 Deaths: 4,825 Total number of infected: 53,578

These are staggering numbers. In our region of Lazio there are 661 people hospitalized, 591 in recovery and 70 receiving intensive therapy. It is much worse in the north. (Just in the province/county of Rome there are a total of 893 people with Covid-19.)

So, how does one live in this environment?

My Sunday was fairly normal, with some modifications. I got up and participated in the Eucharist at St. Paul’s within the Walls Episcopal Church through ZOOM. Afterwards, most of us regathered for Coffee Hour in another Zoom meeting. It was great to interact with the

Virtual coffee hour via Zoom after online church service.
people I would usually be having conversation with on a Sunday morning. Vincenzo made a pasta carbonara & salad for lunch, we took a nap, did some reading and now I am marinating pork chops that I will cook for dinner. (I also made a carrot and raisin salad.)

We’ll watch a Netflix film after dinner. That’s almost a normal Sunday, but we never left our apartment!
Larry's condominium courtyard

This past week I went out into our condominium garden area, a small park surrounded by the five buildings of the complex. It was the first time I walked on the ground level since the lockdown started. Vincenzo has been good about going shopping every few days for the things we need. A supermarket is a short drive away and we have a butcher, small bodega and bakery just across the piazza. Amazon has delivered things like baking soda and baking powder that I like to use for baking, but are not usually found in Italian markets. (I baked banana bread yesterday.)

On Monday I return to school, via eLearning. I will “stop in” to visit a couple classes during the live sessions with their teachers and I am working to provide assistance and resources to enrich the learning experiences of our students. It looks like we will be staying out of school into May, maybe even to the end of the year. We have been learning how to do this as we go, and each week our teaching and learning are getting better.

I am enjoying more face time than usual with my kids and grandkids, as well as being in touch with friends more than usual, from California to Cincinnati, NYC and Canada.

How do I feel? Probably like a cloistered nun! I miss the church bells across the piazza. They used to ring several times a day before the Masses, but there are no more public Masses. A priest friend in Germany sent me a recording of his church bell!

I continue to be grateful for a supportive partner and good health. I am thankful for family and friends around the world with whom I can stay in touch because of 21st Century technology.

1 comment:

Lori in Texas said...

Larry, Thank you for sharing what it is like in Rome now. My husband and I met you at St. Paul's in the summer of 2017 and you very kindly invited us to have a closer look at the beautiful mosaics above the alter and pointed out some interesting details and it was one of my favorite highlights of that trip! We were scheduled to come to Rome again this summer, this time bringing our son as a high school graduation trip, but of course that has to be postponed. We both work at a university and are working and teaching from home and our children are doing school online as well. Good luck to you in your online isn't easy! We don't know when we will reschedule our trip to Rome, but whenever it is, see you at St. Paul's!