So, Wednesday started out with meeting Cody, one of the ICS, or International Campus Staff, to go down town. Side note, ICS are long term team members. We were on a mission to sign me up for the beginners Italian Language class that his wife, Jennifer, is taking. Well, we get there and from the little bit that the teacher spoke in English, that class was moving too quickly, so we left our numbers, and they were going to call with a time for my classes. After that I rode the bus, by myself to Ryan’s, another ICS staff member, house to have lunch. Ryan and his wife Karli were hosting a lunch for Kelly, Annet, and I to welcome us to the city. Karli made carbonara that was oh so very yummy. After lunch Ryan allowed us girls to ask questions we had about what we would be doing here in Italy. About half way through jet lag got the best of me and I was knocked out. :( Fortunately, everyone understood. I felt terrible. On the way home, Kelly and I went to go see if we could get my phone to work, and to run a few other errands. Thank goodness for someone who understands the culture and can help me out.
Today started with the joyful trip to Ikea, pronounced here as E-Kea. The three girls were all off to get bed and bath stuff for the new apartment. Here is where jet lag and stress just kicked my butt. We walk in and with a few moments, Annet, Kelly, and Julia have all gone their separate ways shopping. Totally something that would be fine and I would do myself in the states. However, I look up to look at signs to see where things are and realize, wow, I am lost, and I can't even read the signs to know where I might want to go. Now, this is no fault of the girls, it is my fault as I do what I do, I wander. So, I start to get frustrated at the fact that I have no idea where I am and I start to just feel that feeling of, "what am I doing here, and I want to go home!" So, I continue to just walk through Ikea and finally bump into everyone again. My very smart self *sarcastic sigh here* does not ask any of the girls to buddy up with me, which would have been a very easy thing to do. Instead within a few moments again I am on my own. I decided hey I should just do my best and use this as a growing experience. I get to the bedding stuff and go to pick up a duvet cover, and realize I can't read what size this is. At this moment of realization that this is just how it will be for awhile, I am ready to just sit right there on the floor and cry. Not good. Long story short, I survived the experience but I had taken a beating.
When we got back to Jesse and Tricia Marcos' apartment I was ready to go back to Linda's where I was staying and just hide under the covers and to sleep it off. So I got on a bus and rode back to Linda's. I had a wee bit of a celebration when I realized that I did it all by myself. Seriously, I think I aged to 5 that day.
Linda was so very kind and helped me feel somewhat normal for being so overwhelmed during this cultural adjustment, and by 3 in the afternoon I was sound asleep on her couch. At 7 pm she woke me up in time to say that she was off to a bible study and would be back later and we could have dinner. So I decided I would do my best to stay up until bed time. Success!
Friday, started off much better. Kelly, Annet and I had made plans to go downtown and explore, all for the purposes of helping me to get a general sense of direction downtown so I would not always feel so lost. It was awesome. In the time I was awake the night before, I had really studied some maps of downtown and it really helped. The girls were so gracious in letting me take the lead to see if I really knew where I was, but also being for me when I wasn't sure. :) After we had walked around for a bit we went to this department store called Coin. There I found the bedding I was too frustrated to find at Ikea. Again success! After, that we began to head back to the bus stop to go to Jesse's for the staff meeting. On the way there, we saw a protest by the area high school students against the curriculum. Cool, very cool!
Staff meeting was the first time the whole team had been able to get together. We started the meeting with some prayer and devotional time. Sweet! After that Jesse shared the history of how campus crusade ended up in Bologna, and how the team arrived there too! Some very cool stuff...more on that later. We also discussed as a team what our schedule would look like, and how it fit in with Agape Italia's view of what ministry in Italy should look like. I am pretty excited to get moving on some stuff, but we will also be testing the waters, so to speak. We are the first team here, so we are on ground zero. I will get you more details as they unfold.
Saturday and Sunday
To round up the week, I relaxed and had a lazy Saturday. I slept in, opened the serranda, i.e. shutter like things on the windows, and enjoyed the view and noises. I wrote some thank you cards and some letters to send over to Texas. I caught up on some book keeping for expenses and just really enjoyed the day. A lazy day back in Texas is well, nice, but in Italy it is amazing! That evening Kelly and Annet came to Linda's and we had dinner and chatted the night away.
Sunday morning started with church. Oh, how I forget how awesome it is to hear worship in another language. When I arrived I quickly picked up on them singing Alpha, Omega, beginning and end... and started to sing along in English. After that they sang another song I knew and I also sang along, in English. Two more songs and it was time for prayer. I loved listening in, even if I had no idea what was being said. I was glad that God would know every language that every tribe would come to Him in. Praise that we have an infinite God. When the teaching began, I gave up feeling like trying to marvel at the sound of Italian and just read quietly where I am in my personal devotional time, numbers. Maybe I would have better off listening to sermon I wouldn't understand.
Afterwards, Kelly and Annet were introducing me to a few friends that they know from Nuova Vita and a few spoke English. Paolo, one of the guys was amongst them. After a few minutes of me giving him a hard time about inviting us somewhere on Saturday night and then not calling us, he asks where I am from. When I reply that I am from America, and from Texas, he said, "No, you’re kidding, you sound like your Australian." Several minutes later, he still doesn't believe me. I pull out my passport and show him that I am from Texas and he thinks it is a fake too. Funny right?
After church, I came home and just relaxed. I had pizza for the first time since I have been here and no kidding ate the whole thing. PS for those who don't know, it is culturally acceptable and the Italians will eat a whole one plus other courses in a traditional meal.
So, tomorrow I should move into my apartment and may be without internet for awhile, but I will catch yall up when I can! Oh and Tuesday I start language school. Also next week before Friday, we will go to campus and start well…something great.