Monday, August 30, 2010

54 Days in Roma

Today is my 54th day living in Roma, just in case you forgot :) 

Life here is going exceptionally well.  I am making new acquaintances and  friends almost everyday.  This is such an answer to prayer, as I thought it would take so much longer to develop good relationships.  I have finished my first month of Language School and I passed my exam!  Praise God!  I have not been lost in quite sometime, and I have a pretty good handle on all forms of public transportation.  Our home group is still diverse and I love our times together each Friday night.  (we start at 8pm and I don't get home till 12:30am, being a youth pastor was good practice)  I also love attending church in Trestevre each Sunday, and have been blessed with a warm welcome each time I attend.  The lyrics of the worship songs are beginning to resonate with me, and when the preaching is slow enough I can get the gist of the sermon.

I firmly believe that all of these positives are in  response to your prayers-THANK YOU and please continue to lift me and the people of Rome up in prayer!

Ways to pray:

  • That God would provide me with the right Apt. SOON! One that would be great for ministry and time with all of my new friends.
  • That I would move from knowing the "rules" (I use that term loosely) of Italian to being able to really put them to good use.
  • That God would continue to meet my financial needs!!!
  • For my coworkers  here in Italy
  • For my new friends

***With that said, if you had committed to support me for a given amount, I REALLY NEED YOU to follow through with that commitment.  And if you have thought about joining my support team, but have not done so yet, NOW would be a fantastic time to do so.  Just drop me an email and I can get you all the details.  If you ARE SUPPORTING ME and are on top of it THANK YOU! 

It is hard for me to express to you how lovely it is to be supported by so many people who make ministry here possible, the need is GREAT!  Your love, prayers and support mean a lot to me, but also to what God wants to do in the Hearts and Minds of the people here in Rome! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When your world shuts down

I knew, but I did not understand that life here in Roma in August all but stops.  Sure there are still massive amounts of tourists, but for the most part every mom and pop shop closes.  I knew this, I had read it in countless books, but until this week I did not realize the full effect that this would have on my day to day life.  You see it is not only the mom and pop (mama and papa negozi) shops that shut their doors (chiudere le loro porte) Ikea stops stocking, restaurants stop serving, mailboxes etc. stops shipping, and real estate agents stop showing.  Turns out that this is not the time to be searching for apartments (non il tempo alla ricerca di appartamenti in Roma)

Ah well, this too shall pass.  And with the time I have time to study my Italian (il tempo di studiare il mio italiano), and get to know my new friends(di conoscere i miei nuovi amici).  I have time to spend with God (ho tempo per stare con Dio) and time to explore my new city(tempo per esplorare la mia nuova citt√†)! Non c'√®' male!

Friday, August 6, 2010


As I was slicing up yet another perfectly ripe onion to toss in some oil it struck me that Roma is very much like an onion.  What you see on the surface is only but a hint of what lies beneath.  I read a book once that my dad loaned me written by a priest who loved to cook, but perhaps more than cook he loved the process of cooking.  He took  an entire chapter to describe an onion.
Now as I sit here I connect more with the process he went through in examining and discovering the beauty of the onion.  I feel I could spend the rest of my life peeling away layers of Roma and never fully understand this Eternal City.  I am not just talking about the layers of dirt and the history of the place, though of course that must be part of it, but then there is the language, the peoples, traditions and cultures.  Yes, I say peoples and cultures plural because should you spend some time here you will quickly discover just how multicultural and diverse this city is and has been through out history.

Sure there are Italians, but there are also people from all corners of the Globe who call this city home.  Some having just set foot on Italian soil and others having been here for generations.  And each of these people groups add their own special layer to the city.
Like an onion, Roma can be bitter and sweet, depending on the amount of time you take with it, and how you approach it.  You may love it one day and feel sick to your stomach the next about it.  Like an onion there are things that will bring tears to your eyes and things that will comfort you (if you are like me and love sauteed onions).

For example the art and architecture here rival any in the world, they will bring you joy and speak to your very essence at times.  But the trash, graffiti, homelessness and needy will bring you to tears.

But all of this is Roma and so, so much more.  I have barely tasted it, and today it leaves me hungry for more.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and the Yummy

I did not sleep much last night.  In my family we call it, "Disneyland Sleep" you know when you are looking forward to going somewhere so much that you cannot really sleep.  No, there is not a Disneyland in Roma, there is one in Paris but I do not recommend it.  I think I was anxiously awaiting the start of Language School.

So this morning I was up and ready to go.  I made it out the door by 8:10 am, a little later than I had aimed for because I was waiting for my Livescribe Pen to finish updating it's software.  Regardless, it worked out fine, I made it to Metro Line A and made my transfer to Metro Line B (along with the 5million German students who are here in Roma this week wearing silly hats and bandannas) and walked into the building at 2min to 9am, right on time.

I decided to start with the beginners class, because I figured I would rather look a little smart than very dumb.  My Professor's name is Silvia and she is fantastic. , which is good because I will be sitting with her 3 - 4 hours 5 days each week, until I move to the next level.  My class had 11 students; 1 guy from Poland, 1 girl from Australia, a man and a woman from two different parts of France, 1 gal from Moldova, 2 guys from 2 different countries in Africa ( could not understand which ones), a man from Vietnam, a girl from Spain, oh yeah a nun from Mexico and myself.  Another reason it is good that my class is total immersion,  because if they had to stop and translate it into each language we would not get very far.

When in fact we were able to cover a lot of the basics today.  The letters, sounds they make and combination's that alter the sounds they make.  Basic words, and also how to introduce ourselves and those we are with.  And of course Masculine and Feminine words and how they change based on whether they are singular or plural.

I thought the class was fun, and am looking forward to more.  I am also excited to have finally started classes, and be accomplishing something tangible each day that will make accomplishing the rest of life and ministry here so much easier.

Another big success today was getting my monthly Metro Card!  This sounds easy but like everything here in Italy can be a process or so I have heard, my experience was a piece of cake.  I walked up to the window asked for the pass, paid my money and was done.  No flashing of my documents, no forms, no stamps.

With things going so well, I decided to go to the supermarket again, this time knowing how to weigh my fruits and veggies so the cashier did not have to run back and do it for me.  Another minor accomplishment along with finding soft sandwich rolls! (Bread here is harder than a rock most of the time, and if it isn't it will be the next day.)

After all of this I came back to the apartment to rest, and catch up on looking for an apartment to call home.  Which meant translating about 20 emails from different apartment search engines. No luck.  And also confirming plans with some guys from my home group about a movie night tomorrow night.  (this is a great new development, me getting to actually hang out with actual Italians, Romans no less)

Just after all that I was on the phone with my Dad, when my cell phone rang, never happens.  It was Rachel another missionary who had heard about my saga the other night trying to find Mexican Food in Roma, and was calling to invite me to join her and her family at a Mexican Restaurant on the other side of  Roma.  Of course I agreed that this sounded like a brilliant plan even though it meant taking trains to places I had never had to take them too.  How hard could that be?

Since it was almost 6 and the next train was departing at 6:20 and the station is a 10-15 min walk I got ready at super speed, and hurried to catch the train.  I made it by 6:04 and there was a train just arriving, so I hopped on.  Just as the doors slid shut I realized I had forgotten my wallet.  Not Good.  I tried to make my way off the train but all those German students were in the way again and did not understand my plea for them to move out of the way so I could get off.  So, I determined that the next best option was to call Rachel, let her know and get off at the next stop only 2 min away and then jump on the next train heading back to my stop.

It's not that I could not borrow the cash for dinner, it is that in Italy you MUST have your papers with you to prove that you are legal at all times, otherwise they can take you to jail and you are guilty till proven innocent.  Not a great thing.  So, I got off at the next stop, rand down a few flights of stairs and then around the corner and up a few flights of stairs (the escalators were jammed with the German students and not working).  I made it to my platform to discover that the next train would not come for 15 min.  Bummer, but not horrible.  I let Rachel know.  My train arrived on time, I got on and away we went, and went and went...right past my stop and about 20 others.  Somehow I ended up on one of only 2 express trains that leave from the same spot heading in the same direction as my train.  Not good.  Bad, very bad.  40 min later we came to a stop out in the middle of the country.  I had been talking to Rachel on and off along the way trying to figure out what had gone wrong and where in the world we were going to end up.  She and husband decided it was best if they came to pick me up, because I had gone way outside of the Zone my ticket was good for and had no cash and no ID on me.  If you get caught on a train/bus/metro without a ticket it is 50E on the spot or 250E later not to mention the no ID thing.  And the next train back was not for 40 min anyway.  So, they kindly drove out and picked me up.  I sang songs with Joya (their 2 year old) and let her play with my keys and fan in the backseat to keep her happy until we got the the Mexican Restaurant.

We found the place and discovered that it was quite pricey, but unlike some other places they have tried here seemed to have some pretty decent Mexican food.  Not Taqueria Vallarta by any stretch of the imagination, but yummy. The place was called Cucara Macara I had enchiladas with a mole sauce and it was good.  The chips were also good.

So all in all it was a long but for the most part successful though at moments a little bit stressful day.

Iit is like they told Joya, "we're on an adventure."