Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Once in a Lifetime Adventure

Ok so honestly the best and most surreal night of my life. It started off as any other normal Jo/Amanda adventure. I packed a picnic dinner because Amanda had to go to the boys soccer game and I volunteered to go with her. We figured we'd have a nice picnic dinner in the rain and then the plan was to head over to the Vatican tomorrow night to see the black smoke. Well that plan quickly changed when one of our friends comes running into the office shouting "white smoke, white smoke...there's a new pope!!!" So me and Amanda look at each other and are like dude can we see the Vatican from school? Obviously the 4th floor balcony is our best bet. Now let me point out that these are Italian floors...so the 4th floor is really the 5th....yes, me and Amanda sprinted up 5 flights of stairs to see if we could see smoke. Sadly we could not. However, I was ok with it seeing as I totally just completed my cardio for the day. So we go back to the office and are watching the news and watching the smoke and they announce that the new pope will be appearing within the hour. We look at each other and are like welllll we have 30 minutes until the bus leaves, if no one shows up we go? Well 20 minutes later we run into our friend James and he's like "GUYS I'M GOING TO SEE THE POPE!" Once again me and Amanda exchange this all too familiar look and are like well guess we're in. After about 2 minutes of debate over bus vs cab vs walking we realize that it's going to be a complete crazy show trying to get to the Vatican tonight and decide to walk. Did I mention its 3 miles away? Wellll about halfway there all the Italians are running to get there in time. We decide to run with them. Thank you Catholic Church I have no completed my cardio for the week AND I intend to have a cookie or 2 tonight. Side note sorry this wasn't really in the whole life plan so I definitely only had my iphone.

The Cardinal giving the announcement
that we have a new pope. See you can
see his little red hat.
View of St. Peter's waiting to hear
that we have a new pope.
Ok so we get to the Vatican and it is packed! We push our way through the sea of people into the main piazza and are just awed by the sheer amount of people, and maybe a little bit by the fact that all the Italians are being so polite. Anyways, there are thousands upon thousands of people standing in this piazza anxiously waiting to hear who the new pope is going to be. Everyone is holding their breath as the curtains start to wave in the wind because that means the door is opening. And as the cardinal steps out and announces in Latin "Habemus Papam", which means there is a new pope, the entire crowd takes a deep breath and as he announces the new pope's name the crowd erupts, with everyone asking their friends, who is he, where is he from, etc. Then 10 minutes later the new pope finally walks out on the balcony. And the crowd just erupts. The excitement of everyone there was amazing. He begins with the Lord's prayer, which for the record I definitely don't know in Italian and then blesses everyone. He then proceeds to say thank you to all the Cardinals who elected him and tells us all thank you for coming and blesses us. Then he asks for a moment of silence to say a prayer of thanks and blessing and afterward tells us all to go home and sleep. Practical man, I like him. I have to say though the entire event was surreal. I cannot believe I was there when the new pope was revealed and walked out to adress the masses for the first time. It was truly a once in a lifetime event that I am so proud to have been a part of.

Pope's first blessing. You can tell that
it's the pope talking because they have
that thing (white square) hung out the window.
Anderson Cooper
Right so now that the pope has given his blessing the crazy mass exodus begins. I know the Vatican isn't technically Italy, but they all speak Italian and the Italian police are to blame for this mess so I'm willing to go right back to blaming Italy. There is literally 1 gate that is all of 3 meters wide for all the thousands of people there to exit. Brilliant right? Let's ignore the fact that all the other gates COULD open, but no, we only want one open. I want to know what they do in case of emergency....but I digress....So as we are pushing our way out of the gates Amanda goes now if we could only find Anderson Cooper. I feel this requires a bit of a back story. See we have been joking for days that we are going to go on a hunt to find Anderson Cooper. Well we are walking out the gate and Amanda makes that comment. Right as she says that the crowd parts a bit and OH MY GOD IT'S ANDERSON COOPER!!!!!! Ok so there were definitely a few illegal gate hops to get to him and we all shook his hand and talked to him for about 3 minutes and of course took the obligatory photos with him. Ahhhh it was all just amazing. And as we were walking away me and Amanda were just like in shock. We just saw the new pope make his first address in person in Rome, and we met Anderson Cooper. You can obviously tell which one I'm more excited about. Dang it there we go again, I'm going to hell, I know. But, I truly just wanted to share this moment with you all because frankly it was so surreal and such an amazing night.

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