27 April 2005

sorry i have been slow to keep you updated. the past few weeks have been perfectly busy. last weekend i stayed in florence again b/c the sailing trip was canceled b/c of the weather. since i havent been to any of the tourist spots in florence since i have been here and i wanted to go to the bargello museam to see donetello's david so i did. and the week before this one i went to the biboli gardens and to fiesole. but last saturday a friend of a friend of calais' (livio) came to florence. he is from genova and was in town for a concert. so we met up w/ him and had coffee then he taught us an italian card game called scopa (broom). that night we met up w/ two more of his friends (ceasare and davide) and went to the interpol/spoon concert and then to this italian house party like 30 min outside of florence into tuscan country. it was amazing. me and calais were the only americans there. it was in this little italian cottage and i could touch the ceiling if i stood on my tip toes. there were two rooms packed of ppl. one w/ a dj and ppl dancin and then the other w/ tables of food and wine. we were in that one. afterwards we drove back to calais' and played cards all night until we walked to piazza michaelangelo to watch the sunrise. it was my first one b/c all my previous attempt were shafted by the cloads and bad weather. we went to bed at 730a and then got up at 12 for brunch at ary's diner. which is like americans 50's style diner. monday night i went to bologna b/c livio goes to school there and he gave me the grand tour. tuesday night was the blonde redhead concert in this tiny venue like alley katz. friday morn me and 3 friends caught a train to cinque terre and hiked the hardest trail out of the 4. you can hike between each town. saturday calais and allie met up and we hiked the other 3 and then went to geneva that night and stayed w/ livio and his parents at their place. it was a gorgeous apartment. livio and ceasare gave us the tour. sunday was livio's bday so we made pancakes and a special L shaped one for him. it was his first time havin pancakes! the next day we went to the aquarium. one of the biggest in europe i think. and i got to ride on ceasare's vespa scooter! so yea long story short for sure on my fun times. but just so you can get an idea of whats been goin on. the main thing i wanted to share was that i read this book called 'love' by leo buscaglia. it is the kind of book ill read every year. along w/ the prophet. but here is a quote:

'man can learn, relearn, or unlearn to the point of death. there is always more to discover. no matter how much knowledge he has, man can never know everything about anything. change is the end result of all true learning.'

i cant believe i have less than a month left here. and only 12 days left of school. as soon as i get comfortable i have to leave. we are all passing moments in eachothers changing lives. its almost like this is a mirage of unity before being rescattered into the world. the inevitability of it all is so uncomfortable as of now.

11 April 2005

its funny how the church will find itself. connections are divinly made in order for the family to become aware of its presence in a city or place. yesturday when i went to church w- my friend calais at the church she has been going to, i realized this. michael, a guy i had met at a friends going away party, was there, which was not a coincidence b/c he had told me about this church awhile ago and i hadnt had the chance to go but we still ended up at the same place. and also girls id seen around school were there. the church is a house church and i felt like i was walking into open arms. during worship as we all gathered in one room around a piano and 2 guitars, just looking around, God just gently reminded my heart that i will never be alone. but that every person there including myself, that came to florence thinking they wouldnt find any christians, ended up in the same boat. it really spoke to me of Gods sovereign love for his bride. and my spirit was surely smiling the remainder of the day.
also the past 2 nights me and calais have been hanging out at a bar called i 5 tavoli (the 5 tables). and i have come to love the group of friends so much. they are all italians except one girl from latvia. they are all just so individually precious and as a group they are so- one. they equally love eachother. we were all supposed to go sailing this weekend to elba but it was postponed b/c the owner of the bar, alfredo, also one of their best friends, got into a motorcycle accident breaking both legs, one arm and both hands. so they all stayed to run the bar for him. they are really teaching me so much about how friendship should be. italians definately are not shy about showing their heart. even in the simple act of kissing both cheeks to greet and say good bye- in the states would be thought of as invading ones space and would definately not be done upon first introduction, is a staple to italian culture. david and liga are the couple of the group but they are anything but exclusive. they both are just as affectionate, in friendly ways, to everyone else and almost put their relationship on hold in respect to others. the groups core is- francesca, cecilia, david, liga, suzi, gabrielle, julia, e alfredo- and though they stick together- they are definately not a clique. me and calais are making ourselves part of the group and they love it. we walk through the doors greeted by a cheerful 'ciao!' and as we sit at the bar we get surprised with new invented drinks that we all share along with chips, frys, and conversation. they mainly speak in italian so i try to understand but their body language definately speaks for them often. we are getting to practice our italian along with them getting to practice their english and we have grace for eachothers lack of fluidity of speech. i really love it and just with in the past week i can say that i will really miss it here.

04 April 2005

its april! what the heck! (by the way i found my bike- i thought someone stole it b/c i leaned it on the wall outside my school and it was gone when i got out of class but someone had just moved into the hallway inside the school building. so good thing.)

friday me and jamie (the girl that lives across the hall from me) went to viareggio beach. it is about a 2 hour train ride but a perfect beach to go too every weekend or during the week when it gets warmer. it has lots of sand. i love when sand hardens into balls and i can crumble them in my fingers.

saturday i went down the arno river to sit in the sun and write for awhile. when me and dana walked under the bridge it reminded me of richmond. and the sound of the waterful made by the river dam sounded just like the water flowing through the flat rocks of the james at belle isle. it was a very comfortable feeling.

i feel kinda lonely right now even tho there are so many ppl surrounding me. maybe b/c of the lack of consistancy. everyone studying here wants to fit in as much as they can by traveling every weekend and yes that is what i wanted to do but i am now just going to kind of go with the flow.
i was thinking while on the train to viareggio on friday- i saw a lady hanging up her laundry and i had a revelation -there is such importance in doing what you do- the everyday things. b/c if you didnt then there wouldnt be any solidity for travelers. the cultural experience could not be had. not that we should be living to appease the passing onlookers but i feel such high regard and respect for the ones that press on in the practical and do the things that just have to be done. like the ppl that work the vendors of the stands in san lorenzo and the central market- that so often in my mind simply act as a backdrop that i pass by daily to get where i have to go. if the guys that yell out, "ciao bella!" and make kissy noises werent here then something about italy would be missing. so really all the simple things or annoyances i often look over- are what become the foreground of my experience here.

the sad thing about this trip is that the same thing is going through my head right now that was going through my head before i left the states, "i cant wait to..." this thought of the future and excitements of what is to come. i definately never thought i would miss the states as much as i do. no matter how much i wish i was italian- im not- i just have the looks and the last name. it seems so often that nothing seems to be enough for me. and i cant find satisfaction. but at the same time i know that i am the one keeping myself from it. i feel right now that in my mind i am rewriting ecclesiastes but thats the process of life... right? im just being real.

"passion is not so much the level of emotional intensity or experience that defines our spiritual fervor as it is the direction toward which we hope. the notion of passion has been hobbled by myopic fascination with its upside, its cheeriness and its zealous ardor, to tingle with anticipation always, a wide eyed exuberance always. but Jesus suggested that when you are at the end of your rope and torn apart with hunger is when life of God can take deep root. Jesus spoke to the weary and the broken- he didnt challenge them to move past their despair and to cheer up- he encouraged them to embrace their disillusionment, to own their dark place and find God in it. when our reality is infused with expectation, trust and abandonment in the one who invites us to Himself with all our passions- exuberant and despondent alike- we are walking with God. desire can be the most vivid when it speaks from the empty place- where satisfaction is the most distant reality" -relevant magazine

"the entire life of a good christian is in face the excercise of holy desire. you do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when He comes you may be utterly satisfied." -augustine

"waiting isnt glamorous- it makes us vulnerable, dependant and anxious. when we wait, we have to grapple with the fact that we arent sufficient to continue unless God intervenes. spiritual renewal arrives when we become boldly aware of our weakness."

"we are saints whose worship is in the demolition that exposes hearts of flesh where stone has found purpose to form"

i dont like to face the fact that i am weak but nothing could be more accurate.

my prayer: God i wish to perfectly love you. unlearn me and overteach me.