Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanksgiving, Roman style

I have never been away from home on Thanksgiving. This would be the first time I was without my family, without our traditional meal. As a staunch traditionalist, I was having a hard time reconciling myself to this. I teased my family that they would have to set their laptop at the end of the table and we would have a family Thanksgiving via Skype. Thankfully, we didn't have to do that...they came to me.

My mom, dad, and sister, Lindsay, flew out to Rome the week of Thanksgiving to see me and spend the holiday with myself, Lynda, and our students. My other sister, Megan, and her husband, Josh, stayed behind in the US because it was the in-laws year for Thanksgiving. (Sorry, Meg...but kind of glad because that meant that mom, dad, and Linds got to be here...only wish you guys could have as well!)

We spent the week leading up to the big day seeing some of the sights in Rome...well at least they did, I still had work to do! I joined them in the afternoons and for was perfect.

I was a little worried about getting a turkey because I'd been told that you couldn't buy a whole turkey in Italy. Italians just don't eat turkey like that. So, a week or so before Turkey Day I asked Sister Maria Jesus where I could buy a turkey. She said she'd look into it for me. Well, imagine my surprise when she called me downstairs on the Monday before and handed me a very large box which contained....a turkey. The biggest turkey I'd ever seen. Really. It weighed in at....33.2 pounds. Oh my gosh. Not to mention that it still had some of its feathers on it! Thank goodness my dad was here and knew how to deal with it!

We cooked the turkey on Wednesday....wasn't sure it would fit in my oven! We made pies the night before and had a lot prepped before Thursday. Then, on Thanksgiving students helped to cook food from their family tradition. It was fabulous! We decked the dining hall out with fall colors, leaves, pine cones. and turkeys made out of potatoes.

The dinner was fabulous! The turkey turned out great and all of the fixings were delicious. After dinner, we put up a fake tree, decorated it, listened to carols, and (I'm proud to add) Lynda, Lindsay, and I performed a little lip sync routine to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas."

All in all, my first Thanksgiving away was quite good. Of course, it helped that most of my family was here to help me celebrate.

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Monday, November 30, 2009


I first fell in love with Italy in 1993 when I spent a summer outside of Venice with some incredible host families. Venice was a magical city that has since become the standard by which I judge every other city by. That's pretty tough to live up to...

So, returning there with our students 16 years later was, as they say so often, epic. I wasn't sure if Venice would hold the same wonder, magic for me that it did while I was there in high school. I wasn't sure if I'd simply fallen so deeply in love with it because it was the first place I'd been where I was kind of on my own, away from mom and dad. And I will admit that I was fearful that my memories of Venice would be so overinflated that I would be disappointed in the real city.

I am happy to say...Venice remains my favorite city in the world. (Outside of Burlington/Brown's Lake, WI that is....)

It is still a city of wonder, of beauty, of romance, of magic. There's just something about it that can't be put into's just something you have to experience. It has that certain je ne sais quoi to it...

We spent quite a bit of time wandering the back streets of Venice and I'll admit that we got lost. Again, sorry guys!!! I still lost my breath as we turned a corner and there was Piazza San Marco. The church still takes my breath away and the view looking out into the lagoon is still my favorite in the world.

We toured San Marco and for the first time ever I went out onto the overlook on the second floor that overlooks the piazza...and that's where I almost killed myself in Venice. I was out there admiring the view when I stepped backwards as I was turning, missed a step, and went flying forward. If not for the railing, I would have gone over the edge and landed SPLAT on the very piazza I was admiring. My camera skidded to a stop just before going over the edge. Thankfully, I didn't kill myself, but I did jack up my ankle pretty bad and spent the rest of the weekend hobbling about.

While in Venice we explored Doges' Palace, Burano, and Murano. When I was in Venice before I didn't make it to any of these places and it was great to see them finally.

All in all, my return to Venice was everything I'd hoped and some things that I'd rather forget ever happened. My love affair with Venezia continues and what really excites me is that even though I will be away for my birthday this April I will be spending it in Venice...can't ask for anything better for my big day!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

A little piece of heaven called Cinque Terre

Last weekend a group of students, myself, and Lynda made our way to the Italian Riviera region known as Cinque Terre. A national park system, Cinque Terre is five small towns connected by hiking trails along the Mediterranean Ocean. For years I've heard how amazing Cinque Terre is and how for many it's their favorite part of Italy. Quite honestly, I concur!

While we went in November and the weather wasn't the greatest, it was spectacular! Just imagine sharp cliffs falling down into rolling waves of aqua water. Hills covered in lush green vegetation and vineyards. Stunning! We stayed in the town of Vernazza and I am so glad we did! Most of the other towns shut down during the "low season" so we were blessed to be in a town that had more than one restaurant open. We arrived on Friday evening and Lynda and I set out to grab some dinner. We had a nice evening and even got a little adventurous with our fish selections! Saturday we took the train to the first town, Riomaggiore, and the walked along the Via dell' Amore to Corneligia, the next town. The walk was lovely and the view was at times breathtaking. Just when you thought it couldn't get any did! From there, we took the train to Monterosso and explored the little beach community.

Arriving back at Vernazza, Lynda and I had an incredible pesto dinner. Cinque Terre is known for its pesto and let me tell you...that little green sauce is a little piece of heaven here on Earth. Delizioso!!! Love it! ;0

On Sunday Lynda, myself, and some of the students grabbed a quick breakfast at a Sicilian bakery and oh my stars! the pastries were to die for. So good!

All in all, it was a great weekend and just a nice time to relax before we headed for Venice and the last 3 weeks of school. Eek! Where has the time gone?!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

When in....London

Cheerio Rome...hello London!

Two weekends ago I headed to jolly ol' London. All. By. Myself. Woo hoo! I boarded the plane super excited with a lot of plans for the weekend. I couldn't wait to visit a city that I'd been dying to see for a long time. There was so much I wanted to see and do. Imagine my surprise (and fear) when I was almost derailed at customs.

I just happened to choose the line with the grouchiest customs agent who scrutinized my passport for a ridiculously long time. She asked me a million questions and basically what ended up happening was she questioned my reasons for entering the UK. After all was said and done--I am not allowed to enter the UK for 6 months. Ugh!

Needless to say this wasn't exactly how I imagined my London adventure starting. Still, I was determined not to let it put a damper on my trip. After all...I was in LONDON!!!! I spoke the language and didn't have to think before I spoke...people were polite...nothing could spoil my time!

I made my way to the B&B I was staying in and was so pleased to find that it was very nice and in a neighborhood that I felt safe in. I stayed at a little place near Victoria Station that was run by the nicest British couple. My room was lovely! And!! There was a queen-sized bed! Ah! I didn't have to sleep in a narrow twin bed. I plopped down upon it and it was as if I was drifting upon a cloud in heaven. So nice!

But! I hadn't traveled to London merely to enjoy a nice I made myself get up and head out to explore. First stop, Starbucks! I was forewarned that they probably wouldn't have the Pumpkin Spice Latte that I'd been craving, so I wasn't too disappointed when I discovered that they didn't have it. Instead, I ordered my favorite standby: Toffee Nut Latte. Sooooo goooodddd!!!!

I took my latte (in a red Starbucks Christmas cup nonetheless!) and walked down Buckingham Palace Road. I soaked in the sights and was pleasantly surprised as I went to cross the street to see that painted on the road was a sign telling me which way to look. Gotta love the thoroughness of the Brits! Finally, I happened upon Buckingham Palace. Sadly, the queen was not in so I couldn't pop in for a spot of tea! Still, it was a pretty impressive sight. I spent some time wandering around the palace and then headed back to my hotel so I could get ready to go and see...WICKED!!!!!

I have been dying to see Wicked for forever, but every time it came through Phoenix it either sold out quickly or I wasn't in town. Well, The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie so it was only natural that I should be anxious to see Wicked. I had amazing seats and am very pleased to say that I was not disappointed at all. It was one of the most incredible musicals I've ever seen. I want to see it again right now!!

On Saturday, after enjoying a lovely English breakfast and a chat with the hotel owner, I boarded a double decker tour bus to see the sights of London. I figured that since I'd never been there before and I was alone the bus would be the best way to see the sights. And I was right! I saw Westminster Abbey, the parliament building, Big Ben, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, the replica of the Globe Theatre, and so many other great sights. Such fun! Halfway thru the day I hopped off the bus and popped into a pub for a pint and some fish and chips. So good!! Plus! They had Heinz ketchup on the table...yuuuuummm..

On Sunday I boarded the bus again and saw a lot more of the city. I got off the bus and explored the British Museum where I saw some of the world's best antiquities. I saw the Rosetta Stone! So cool! From there, I made my way to the British Library where I saw original manuscripts of Beowulf, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen's Persuasion. I even saw her writing desk!! Then, I walked over to King's Cross Station and found Platform 9 and 3/4 just for a student who is a big Harry Potter fan. I must admit, it was kind of cool!

Over all, it was a fabulous trip. I really love London. It's such a great city and I look forward to getting back there someday (or at least after my 6 month ban has been lifted!) so that I can explore more and get to know the city a little better.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Playing catch up...

Again, life has been so crazy busy that I haven't had a moment to update the world, and you all know you've been waiting on bated breath, as to what I've been up to. Sorry that again you have to settle for a run down....what can I say? Life in Rome moves at breakneck speed...

--Justine's visit: after we returned from Siena we spent the next couple of days doing the whirlwind tour of Rome. In 2 days we managed to see the Colosseum, Pantheon, Piazza di Spagna, Fontana di Trevi, St. Peter's, the Vatican museum, Piazza Navona, and Trastevere. Of course we also managed to get several trips for gelato and cappuccino in there as well. Her trip out here was short, but sweet. It was such a blessing to have her here.

--Jeff and Nancy's visit: My boss and another colleague spent a week with us here in Rome. It was great to have them here. They brought goodies with them: post-it notes, construction paper, peanut butter, and more. They're great fun to be around and it was an encouragement to have them here.

--Halloween: The students were away for Halloween, but that didn't stop us from having a post-Halloween costume party here at the convent. Considering that they didn't have a store to go to to buy costumes, they did an amazing job coming up with creative costumes. It was such fun!
--Tiramisu lesson: Sister Marie Cruz makes the best tiramisu and she graciously taught myself and several of my students how to make it as well. It was fun watching her cook and the students interacting with her despite the language barrier.

And somewhere in between all of that I managed to get to London for a weekend. That trip, though, deserves its own post. So, I will end with this: we are now exactly one month away from the student's departure to the States. Where in the world did this semester go???

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another countdown...

3 weeks from today my mom, dad, and sister come!!!!

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Siena and beyond...part 1

Well, first, let me say this: JUSTINE IS HERE!!! Ahhhhhh!!

She got in EARLY on Tuesday morning and I found her at the airport...conveniently waiting for me at the large pillar with "Meeting Point" painted on it. Hmm, what a novel idea! I practically ran to her, ok, not practically...I did run to her...and gave her a big hug. Hugging Justine is always interesting considering that I am close to 5'10'' and she's 5 feet. So, Anywho, we headed for the train and arrived 20 minutes early. Much to her chagrin I "forced" her to have a cappuccino. She was in heaven! Yes, the caffe here is that good, but she's also something of a coffee connoisseur. After our delicious and much needed coffee, we boarded the train bound for Roma. It was fun watching her expressions and hearing her excitement. It's like reliving it all again! After a not-even-crowded-but-crowded-for-Justine bus ride, we made it to campus, dropped her stuff off, went to the store, and picked up lunch at the tabacchi. Then, after some yummy panini we met Lynda at the bus stop as we began our adventure to...Siena!! and Pisa!!!

We took the bus up north and quite honestly I wanted to jump out of it after an hour. It's a 3 hour bus trip. God Bless Justine for going along with that idea after having been on an airplane for too many hours.

We arrived in Siena after dark, but...WOW. What an amazingly beautiful city. It's medieval in its architecture and layout, so imagine lots of stone and frescoed buildings. We checked into our hotel (so great by the way!! Our room looked out at the duomo and you could see the tower at the Campo). After we rested for a bit we headed towards the Campo to enjoy a glass of Chianti and the view. We were, after all, in Chianti country and when you're in Chianti country...well, you just have to have some! So, we had a glass of wine and marveled at the Campo. I can't believe that it's the same place where men compete in the highly dangerous and competitive Palio horse race. If you don't know what that is...check it out here:
After our wine we made our way to Osteria Nonna Gina's. According to Lynda, the food was supposed to be amazing. And can I just say this? I was not disappointed. I even went so far as to remark that if I were to be hit by a moto on the way back to the hotel then that was ok because I'd just had one of the best meals of my life. We started with an antipasti platter that was super yummmy with marinated and roasted veggies: eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onions, and black olives. I had the penne all'arrabbiata. It was like a spicy bite of heaven. The sauce was amazing. Seriously. Justine had the gnocchi with a creamy pesto sauce and Lynda had her favorite, ribolitta. For dessert, we each had tiramisu. Oh.My.Gosh. Again...a sweet treat that could only be described as heavenly. Finally, we were blessed by an offering from the restaurant...amaretto. Sigh...remembering it all now makes my mouth water. As Justine said, every other restaurant will pale in comparison.

There's lots more to share, but it's almost time for dinner. So, just wanted to whet your appetites. Here are some great pics, too!

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

39 hours....

until Justine gets here!!!!!! I cannot wait!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Va bene

One of the things that I appreciate about Italians is their ability to take life as it take it easy. I like that about life here...until of course it impedes my ability to live my life and do my job. In those moments, those moments I say: get moving!!

The bank. I finally got an account set up last week. It only took us 6.5 weeks. This was because the banker we initially contacted was on holiday in August. Then, he went on holiday in September. Finally, after having everything he needed for 5 weeks he told us they couldn't help us. So, we turned to a colleague and she helped me to set up the account. The college sent their first wire for the account yesterday. I still don't have access to those funds. The banker told me to would get there. Va bene. My students leave today for their fall break.

Phones. After the debacle with the phone guy in August, it was decided that we would purchase cell phones for students to rent from us. I ordered them nearly 3 weeks ago. Nothing. I was told they were on their way. Va bene. My students leave today for their fall break.

It seems that at times Italians take their laid back lifestyle too far, but what ends up happening is it creates unnecessary stress and frustration at times for those who are counting on and relying upon the "system" to be in place and for it to help. Va bene means "it's ok" or "no worries." I've heard it a lot and frankly...sometimes I want to shout and say "No! It's not ok. Stop messing around and get with it!" In those moments I refrain and remind myself that I am a guest in this culture and as a guest I must tread lightly.

All I know is that as I navigate this languid country it is only by God's grace that things work. By His mercy I was able to get money for students and by His mercy the phones came in this morning. Thank God for His grace and mercy...with it life here in Rome really is va bene.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's what....

Wow. I can't believe how long it's been since my last post. Guess that means life in Rome is good!

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks with lots of activity. I kind of wish I could say that it's slowing down, but the truth is it's probably only going to get busier. Such is the life of one living the dream...hahaha.

So, here's what's been going on:
1) Bike ride on the Appian Way. Students and I went on a little adventure to the Appian Way 2 weeks ago. Sadly the website that claimed that this was a park with lots of open space and lots to see lied. Yes, it's the oldest highway. Yes, there are ruins to be seen. But! I didn't see lots of open space nor did I see lots of picnic spots nor is it a totally bike-friendly road. There are lots of cars on the road...driven by Italians! (Trust me when I tell you that I'd rather drive in downtown LA or NYC during rush hour before I'd ever drive here) Still, it was fun to get on a bike...even though it's been years!!! Ahhhh....

2) Students began to travel: 2 weeks ago our students ventured outside of our little nest here in Rome for parts beyond. Some went to Budapest, some went to Ischia, some went to find their family's castle...while a couple of other students went to Milan/Lake Como. Needless to say, it was quiet around here. It was great the first night, but by the second...well, I was missing some of the noise.

3) Firenze, part 2: Last weekend we took students to Florence. It was such fun to see the city thru their eyes and re-experience it. We of course went to the Accademia and saw Michelangelo's David, went to the Uffizi gallery, the Baptistry, and up to Piazzale Michelangelo for a great bird's eye view of the city. Lynda and I managed to track down La Spada for another amazing meal and we stayed at a great establishment. All in all, it was a good trip. I even got quite a bit of Christmas shopping down. Hooray!

4) One-on-ones: I have been meeting with students individually for the last couple of weeks one-on-one in an effort to get to know them on an individual basis. I love being able to sit down together and just hear about who God created them to be and listed to their stories. It's such an honor to participate in this journey with them and to bear witness to what God's doing in and thru them here. I look forward to continuing these after break as well.

Overall, it's been craziness. But good! I can praise God because we finally have a bank account. Of course I am also praying for His help and strength as I go to withdraw money tomorrow for the first time in a language I don't speak. Please let there be someone who speaks English! After the bank, I am meeting with a student and then I am facing down Ikea again, hopefully sans any emotional turmoil.

The next several weeks will go by in a haze as they'll be even busier. Here's what's coming up so that you can prepare for what lies ahead:
--Justine visits ONE WEEK from today for 5 days
--Jeff and Nancy arrive a week from Thursday for a week
--I go to London for the weekend the first weekend of November
--I take students to Cinque Terre the second weekend of November
--I take students to Venice (!!!!!!!!) the third weekend of November
--Family arrives the last week of November for Thanksgiving
--Students leave Dec. 10
--I leave Dec 15.

WHEW! Tired yet? Well, hold on because the next couple of weeks...or month really...look like it's going to be g0-go-go...after all, there's no rest for the weary!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009


I went to Ikea today with Lynda to help her pick out some stuff for her new apartment. Normally, I love Ikea and all of their fun wares. Today, though, was a different story.

Who would have thought that Ikea would conjure up feelings of homesickness? Who would have thought that while I stood in the midst of kitchenwares that I would want to cry? Everywhere I turned I saw something that had once occupied my house in coffee table, my side table, TV stand, planter, decorative items....all reminders of home and what I've left behind. I miss my belongings because they were mine and they made up my home, but I think that what I miss most about them is that they occupied space where I spent time with friends and family. And right now I don't have that...I don't have any friends here and my family is an ocean and many states away from me. I know that eventually I will make new friends (in fact, I had coffee at some girls' home on Thursday night. It was great!) and my family will come to visit, but I think for's best if I just avoid Ikea all together.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Guess what!?

22 days till Justine comes for a visit! I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

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Favorite hideout

I discovered a new hideout for myself today. On my way home from church I hopped off the bus at the stop before ours and made my way to the park at Villa Torlonia, formerly the residence of Mussolini.

I wandered the lush green landscape for a bit, taking turns sitting in shaded grassy spots, on sun baked benches, and beneath a green canopy of tree branches. I'd never been to the park or the villa before and was surprised by how big the area was. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Granted there were lots of people there, walking, running, playing with kids, picnicking, and enjoying the great Rome fall day, but somehow it still felt secluded and if it were my very own sanctuary. I did my Bible study and listened to my iPod. The perfect way to spend a Sunday and some much needed time alone with God.

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Lynda and I managed escape to Florence this weekend. Ok, we didn't escape per se. We had a meeting for a professional organization that we belong to. I have been to Florence once before, but it was an extremely short trip mainly due to a torrential down pour and horrendous thunder storm that forced us back to the safety (and dryness) of the villa we were staying in. So, I was really looking forward to getting back there...even if only for just a night. (Plus, and let's be honest about this, one of the other reasons I was really looking forward to going was because I needed a break from work...I needed a night away!)

We arrived just after noon so that we could have a couple of hours to relax before our meeting began. We grabbed a quick lunch and walked around the city and ended at Piazza Michelangelo, which overlooks the entire city. I forgot how much I really do like Florence. In fact, I love that city. First, it's incredibly beautiful. The buildings are charming and rustic. There are frescos all over the place and it's just a really clean city compared to Rome. Second, it's a slower-paced city. It takes its time. It knows that life is meant to savored rather than rushed. It reminds me of the difference between Tucson and Phoenix in terms of size and atmosphere. I love that mountains sit all around Florence and the green of Tuscany envelopes the city.

The meetings that we attended were very beneficial and we made some great contacts, but what really stood out was the food. Oh my stars! We went to a dinner for new directors at an amazing restaurant! It was a true Italian meal in that there were 4 courses and it lastItaliced nearly 3 hours. We started (appetizers are called antipasti) with three kinds of bruschetta, mussels, and a seafood salad. Then, it was time for primo piatto, typically pasta. We had an amazing spaghetti dish with clams, ravioli, and fabulous funghi (mushroom) risotto. For secondo piatto we had cinghale, wild boar, with fried polenta (I've never had boar, but this was excellent!!) and bistecca alla fiorentina, steak. The meat was followed by the most incredible roasted potatoes. For dolci, we had a light custardy-type cake. It was good, but then again Italians aren't known for their sweets outside of gelato. The meal was incredible. Students have asked if we can tell them where it is because we're taking them there in 2 weeks for a weekend.

Overall, it was a great trip and I feel refreshed. It was such a blessing to be able to get away and entrust the students (and house) to my RA. He did an amazing job and I trust him immensely.

If you ever get to visit Italy you must do two things: 1) come see me! and 2) do not miss's an incredible city that holds many hidden treasures and will cause you to fall deeply in love with its charm and culture.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Again, God is so good! He encouraged me so mch today thru His people and new faces that I am overwhelmed.

I went with Lynda today to sign the paperwork for her apartment (insert NOOOOOO here). Her landlord's son, Ugo, met us at the apartment and drove us to the office where we needed to be. (I will write more about this later because it was an experience) He is just the nicest guy and I don't mind saying...super attractive. :) Anywho, after walking us through the lengthy procedure he treated us to coffee and drove us to where we needed to go.

Later, a student approached me and verbally encouraged me. I was so touched by the outpouring that for the second time today I almost started to cry. What's going on with me?

As if that weren't enough...a student encouraged me on this blog and then she and some of the other students bought me flowers. Man! I am blessed. No matter what's going on or how I am feeling the Lord is always present and lavishes His love upon me.

Thank you to the students who have encouraged my heart today, thank you to my colleagues who have stood alongside me, thank you to my prayer warrior friends and family, and most of all thank you God for your unfailing love.

Need encouragement? Check out these beautiful flowers and be reminded that you are loved by those who know you, but more importantly by the God of all creation.

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Il Colosseo and more

When I was in Rome 2 years ago I was overwhelmed by the Colosseum. To me, it was the most impressive structure in Rome. It literally took my breath away. After I returned home and printed my pictures, I was shocked to see that I had well over 150 pictures or so of the Colosseum alone...a fact my friend Nicole teased me for.

I thought that I was over the whole 'stand in awe with your jaw slack at the sight of it'...not that it wouldn't continue to impress me, but I thought it wouldn't seem as grand, as staggering. Wrong. It continues, as does the Forum and Palatine Hill, to be absolutely breathtaking. I was again speechless at its majesty and grandeur. How could you not be!? Since many of you can't be here with me to experience it....I thought I'd share some photos. (I only took 127 this time, Nicole. :) )

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God's instruments

Life in Rome is good. How can it not be when you get to go to places like Pompeii, the Colosseo, and Palatine Hill for work? Life is good, but it's certainly not perfect.

There has been quite a bit of stress for me here in my job and it's sometimes difficult to grapple with because it's not as if I can leave here and find sanctuary in a home or an apartment that shelters me. No, I live where I work. I am constantly surrounded by my work and, therefore, I do not get a break. I knew this when I took the job and I am not saying that I don't like that aspect of my job, but when the stress hits it becomes a bit much. These past couple of weeks have presented some challenges for me and at times have broken me. And in those moments I cry out to Jesus and His response continually comforts my heart.

Yesterday was such a day. While on the one hand it was an incredible day. On the other it was tremendously hard. But God gave me two reminders of His love and His sustaining power. The first was in the form of a card my friend Tiffany sent from the States. While the card didn't hold any earth-shattering revelation, it was a token of love that my heart desperately needed. And I found great strength and encouragement in that. The second reminder was in the form of an interaction I had with one of the Sisters this morning. Granted I didn't understand 100% of what she was telling me, but I got the general idea of it and in that I once again found great strength and comfort.

I don't know why I am constantly taken aback by God's outpouring of love for me...that's who He is. In those moments I also experience a sense of awe...that the Creator cares so deeply for His creation...that He willingly walks into those painful times with us and then in response gives us tangible expressions of His divine love. Addison Road's Hope Now is playing right now on my iTunes and again....a reminder from God of His great love for me. Such a sweet reminder...when my life is like a storm, rising waters, all I want is the shore. You say I'll be ok and make it through the rain. You are my shelter from the storm. Everything rides on hope now. Everything rides on faith somehow and when the world has broken me down...your love sets me free.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

A picture is worth 1,000 words

There's been so much going on these last 2 weeks and I can't possibly recount it all. Well, I could...but you'd be reading for hours and who has time for that? Instead...I'll show you the last couple of weeks!

Our first family dinner made by the students:Align Left

Our first outing to San Clemente church. It's an amazing historical site.

This past week we journeyed to Pompeii. I had never been to Pompeii before and was amazed. It was incredible and we had so much fun as we learned about history and stepped back in time for a brief moment.

Notice Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

Students from Vesuvius as it "erupts"

As we arrived on the train platform at the Pompeii train station to head back to Napoli a man named Dominic stopped us and chatted with us while we waited for the train. It was one of my favorite moments in Italy. This is why I came here. To engage with people in this culture and learn something about them. He was so wonderful. He shared his life with our students, taught them about Italian culture and just gave them a wonderful memory of their trip to Pompeii.

Last night I took 8 students on a night tour of Rome. It was incredible!

We started at the Colosseum, then moved on to Vittorio Emmanuale, Campo de Fiori, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, and ended at Piazza dr Spagna.

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