Ohhh my lovelies.
Obama ain't got nothin' on Rome. Rome is truly a place of change. Is your bill 2.57 euros? The clerk will wait forever as you count out 57 cents - and the people behind you, in line, will wait for forever and a half. Having the correct amount of change is *almost* a requirement and you run the risk of being turned away if you don't have that 57 cents. Why? Who knows! You might as well ask: why all this senseless bureaucracy? Boh. It's just the way it is and you have to accept it on those terms or else you'll screw yourself over.
Now - I haven't any real tales of Rome to tell. Rome is an exhausting place - hot, humid, full of mosquitoes, art, nooks, crannies, sidestreets, beggars, trash, smoke, ambulances, random cardinals ducking into aforementioned sidestreets, smells, etc. It is, in short, a lot to take in - and so, I am waiting until the tourists to go away before taking most of it in. Where there are tourists, there are pickpockets. So, when I see a group of tourists I assume the characteristic "look" of native Italian women: purse your lips ever so slightly, look just a bit nettled about something, throw your shoulders back and look hawkish. That look works! Srsly - I've been mistaken as an Italian by Italians twice since I figured out that look. Win!
One of the things I didn't really expect about navigating a foreign country is that it is scary to ask for things - I've almost sat down and cried a couple of times because I've tried to do some very simple things, like ordering a meat at the butcher's, and encountered epic communication failures. People do not always make the effort to understand you and will stare at you blankly. Others will immediately grock that you're trying to communicate and will help you however they can.
You are completely vulnerable and that is a little scary.
That's all for now - ciao, ciao, ciao!