Just a quick little update to let you know how thankful I am that God is answering my prayers for more and more chances to engage with Italians. I have been praying for months that God would open up avenues of conversations between me and the Italian people and I can honestly say that in the past 2 months relationships are beginning to take shape.
The day I moved into my apartment an elderly man greeted me, (a good sign as it is not customary for neighbors to be so friendly right away here) and every day since that we have seen each other he has said buon giorno (or some form of salutary) and every time it would bring a smile to both of our faces. But then last week as I was sitting at the coffee bar downstairs practicing Italian with my language tutor my neighbor sat down at the table next to us and proceeded to converse with us for at least 30 min! What a huge answer to prayer! And now when we greet one another it is more than just ciao, but ciao with a few polite inquiries as to my day or his day tagged on. Progress!
That same day I when I went inside the bar to pay for the coffee, another group of older men were chatting animatedly about soccer, they assuming I was Italian included me in their conversation. Then were pleased to discover that I was in fact American and continued chatting with me a bit! Yea God! Now each day when I go to the coffee bar for my morning Bible Study I greet these men with a smile and get one in return!
Also last week one of the older ladies who has been attending my English class every week jumped at the chance to spend time exchanging language with me, when I asked if anyone would like to exchange an hour of English for an hour of Italian. She invited me over to her home last Friday where I spent a great 4 hours talking almost the whole time in Italian! And tonight when I saw her in class she invited me over for a repeat this Friday! When I went to her home last week I arrived a bit early so I sat in the park across in the Piazza close to her home where there is a senior center of sorts and there were lots of seniors out enjoying the first day of sun we had seen in quite some time. I had 3 stop and talk with me, so I am thinking of getting their early again this Friday as well.
In case you were unaware there are a lot of senior citizens in Italy (check out this link to see where things have been and where things are heading for the Italian population breakdown.) and this number is sure to increase in the coming years as Italy has one of the lowest birth rates of any country. A lot, and a lot of them are really lonely. It seems God is opening up doors into this community and I am excited to see where He leads.