It was now Saturday, April 16th, 2022. Mom and I woke up in our rental apartment on Via Marco Aurelio in Rome, two blocks away from the Roman Colosseum. Jenn was a short distance away, COVID-positive, at the Golden Tulip hotel. The future was unknown. All we knew was that Mom and I still had our return flights set for Tuesday.

The only remaining time-specific activity was that today we had three tickets for the Basilica di San Clemente, to see their catacombs. The Basilica was only two blocks away from us. This medieval church is extra-special to us because it holds the tomb for Saint Cyril. Saint Cyril and his brother Saint Methodius were both high-up in the Byzantine church. They were entrusted to go to Moravia and help with with Christians there. The Slavs had no standard written language at the time. The two saints realized that there was no good way to write the local Slavic language using existing Greek or Roman letters, since Slavic had more sounds. So the brothers invented a new language, Glagolitic, so that locals would have their own written language. They then translated religious texts into this written language.

Over time Glagolitic became Cyrillic. So in a way these brothers helped this region read and write in their own language and to hold on to their own identity.

Even in modern times, Pope John Paul II would come to this church to pray for this region.

Anyway, we were really looking forward to this visit. As we got ready, Mom told me that she had a dream that I refused to eat pizza for lunch again and wanted a salad instead. I found that amusing :).

Just as we were about to think about walking over to the Basilica, we heard from Jenn. This is where our tale goes from just strangely bizarre to a bit surreal and maybe even dystopian. Apparently the hotel tested all their COVID patients from the Oceania. Somehow Jenn was now testing negative. I believe other patients were testing negative as well. The hotel didn’t want to use much-needed rooms for negative patients (and feed them). So they were in essence kicking Jenn out.

Was this great news? Suspicious news? In any case, action had to be taken. Jenn got a cab and came over to the apartment. We got her into the second bed in my bedroom. She chose to rest rather than come see the catacombs. So Mom and I headed over to the Basilica.

The Basilica had a strict no-video-no-photography rule in the catacombs. They were interesting. There were pagan items alongside medieval items. There were carvings and wall paintings. The church above did allow photos. It was quite beautiful inside.

After we were done, we swung by a small grocery store to get supplies. I saw a salad and had a strong craving for it. So I gave in to Mom’s dream. I also took a selfie for my shirt. I like to promote Etsy creators. (the mask and earrings are also from Etsy).

Back at the apartment, we ate on the small patio overlooking the internal courtyard area. Salad. Yummmm.

Mom and Jenn napped while I caught up on work in the living room.

Eventually everyone was up and interested in dinner. We decided to eat at one of the local restaurants, Pasqualino al Colosseo. It’d been around since 1956. They seated us inside by the door. This was our first ‘regular restaurant’ indoor meal in Italy. There was no request for vaccine cards or anything.

I was still craving a caprese salad, so I ordered that, and then fettuccini with porcini mushrooms. When the salad came, it was a nice size for everyone to share.

We thought about dessert, but we had trouble flagging down a waiter and Jenn was getting tired. So we sent Jenn back to the apartment while Mom and I went to get her some tea and other supplies. I found the tea area and sent Jenn a photo of it.

Jenn asked for the collection next to the Frutti Misti box. Mom looked at that collection, decided it wasn’t really what Jenn would want, and got the other collection instead. It turns out Jenn did in fact want the box Mom had chosen. So they have a psychic connection :).

Soon we were all back in the apartment, together again. It was after 9pm. Jenn was tired but feeling a bit better. That was good. We had nothing at all planned for Easter Sunday, besides having a Sunday meal, so hopefully we would take it slow and easy for the remaining few days. That way we would all be rested and ready for the long flight home on Tuesday.

I believe by this point Jenn had checked with Oceania about her flight home and was told her flight was all set. So there weren’t any worries about the flight. As long as we all still tested negative on Monday, Jenn would simply go with me and Mom to the airport on Tuesday, as we had initially planned. Everything would work out smoothly.

Ask with any questions!

Next day –

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