Thursday, September 22, 2011

the swing of things

since my last post...

we had angela's parents over for a cookout while they were here visiting and i took them to see our artisan friend that we met a few months ago.

ryan went with some men to a formula 1 race in monza, italy.

formula 1 race

i made a slideshow for our "back to school" party. we had a great time getting to see our students again, catch up on everyone's summer, and meet the new students we will have. 

we began contacting all of our students (new & old) to plan our lesson days and times. i will have 12 students this semester and ryan will have 10.

we had our friends jonathan and simin over to our house for taco night.

student party
ryan and i got a scooter.

we went to see our friends samuele and jonathan play beatles music one night.

we started back the thursday night italian bible study at our church.

we had a church meeting.

we had a tuscan churches women's meeting in pistoia where we shared stories of the people who have had the greatest impact on our christian walk.

fall came to florence.

we started classes this week.

we went to visit and took a cake to a 91 year old lady on her birthday.

we did the grape harvest with the harding students.

we started our weaving class today.
learning to weave
making bracelets
picnic with the smiths
we had a picnic with the smiths who are moving back to america next week.

all in all, things are pretty much getting back to "normal" compared to the sporadic summer schedule.

this weekend we are walking a 5k "corri la vita" and having the HUF students over for dinner, games, devo, and telling them about what we do here.

time flies here and i'm doing my best to keep up.

god never ceases to amaze me everyday.

we are so blessed by your prayers and support.

fino alla prossima volta (until next time).

Friday, September 9, 2011

movin' right along

first things first, i just posted the video we made for the retreat that i talked about on my post yesterday so everyone go watch that right now.

ok, so the day after the retreat 16 of us celebrated kyle thompson's birthday by renting vespas and riding through the hills of tuscany. it was a first for me to get to drive one and i will say it is exhilarating (i got up to 110 kph, just sayin'). we started in san gimignano, stopped for lunch in volterra, and our last stop was san galgano before returning the vespas that night. we rode all day long and i really was one of the most fun italian adventures we have had so far.

the next day we had to get back to the real world, well kind of, get some things done in preparation for the semester and get settled back into our apartment since we had been staying at the villa all through the retreat. however, on wednesday ryan left with kyle for a 4 days scouting trip for HUF of some significant WWII sites in southern italy. they had a blast and i did too because angela and i had a 4 night slumber party. while they were gone we ran a bunch of errands, cleaned the church building, prepared a lot of things for emily's goodbye reception sunday morning, and had an "avanti only" cookout for her friday night.
beautiful church right on the beach in southern italy
"kaptain kyle"
ryan swimming in a big cave

sunday morning before church, we had planned a going away "party" for emily. we invited all her students and friends and i has prepared a slideshow of her time here. while the party was going on i was outside filming goodbye sentiments from her students and everyone who has been a part of her life here in italy. i put it all together the next few days and was able to give it to her before she left.
so this monday we welcomed our newest avanti member, KELLI CLICK. i don't have a picture with her yet, oops but she'll be around so more on her later. anyway, to celebrate her arrival we all went to our favorite scandicci pizzeria "gallo" (rooster) that night.

tuesday night we went to an all you can eat pizza place in empoli with a ton of friends for emily's last real hurrah.

we spent most of wednesday at the bible school really dragging out this goodbye-emily-thing. that night just us avanti peeps and a few of our favorite other people went to our favorite scandicci eatery and gelateria for our real last fling. we had to tell her goodbye for real that night and it was pitiful to say the least. if ryan hadn't interrupted she and i would still be standing in her bedroom in a weepy embrace.
em's last night
she left early early yesterday morning so in an attempt to keep ourselves preoccupied, ermenita and i spent most of the day cleaning out/throwing away/donating/organizing/labeling the clothes in our church clothes closet. i think there were at least 10 giant trash bags full of clothes that we went through. it was a good distraction and now a huge storage closet at the church is completely cleaned out, yay. then last night we started back up our thursday night bible study at the church.

coming up next week we have a cookout for angela's parents who are visiting, a "back to school" student mixer, bible studies, regional churches women's meeting...looks like things will get back to normal after all. then our classes with our students start the week after that! i'm so looking forward to getting back with all my students and acquiring many new ones.

emily is going to be greatly missed here, but i know she will do great things wherever she ends up in this world. i'm thankful for the time we had here with her and all she taught us.

now you are all caught up on our recent "goings on", you lucky blog readers. keep praying for us and this new semester.

i love this time of year, which apparently now brings the most heavenly smell of fresh grapes inside our bedroom window everyday because of the grapevine growing up our outside wall. happy back to school time for everyone. enjoy the fall, y'all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

i love my roots and i love where i'm at

so, it's been almost 3 weeks since we have been back in italy. we had so much fun in the states but it went by way too fast. we got to spend a week at the beach with ryan's family, 3 days at the lake with my grandparents, and all the days in between with my family and all of our friends in memphis. we ate way too much (as usual) , but it was a really great time. 

everyone was so worried that we were having "culture shock", whatever that is, but we didn't, i guess. i just feel/say "this is my american life and that is my italian life". to compare them in any way would probably make me crazy. not to say that there aren't some ways of living we have acquired here that we won't continue there someday, because that's definitely not true. and this doesn't mean that just because it's culturally disgusting to take your trash out (or do anything beside sleep) barefooted in italy doesn't mean i stop doing it here. AND this doesn't mean that one culture is better or worse, it's just that the way of doing basically everything here is different from the way we do it there and that isn't's just DIFFERENT.  i love my roots and i love where i'm at. ok, enough of that. 

just to make sure we weren't going through culture shock, we tested ourselves by arriving back in italy 1 day before our church hosted 90 italians at the harding villa for a 5 day family retreat. ryan and i were the "dorm parents" for all the people staying at the villa and assistant teachers in the teenager class. the retreat was wednesday through sunday and our days consisted of meals together, devotionals, singing, classes, sports, card games, a talent show, a day at the park, and a beautiful worship together sunday morning complete with a potluck. it was really special to be able to catch up with all the kids and teenagers we had gotten to know at camp and be encouraged by the example of so many around us. 
debbie and mario having too much fun in the kitchen
jonathan, me, and em
the whole group during a devo
all of the children

i hope everyone has had an equally enjoyable august and i plan on blogging tomorrow to get you caught up to what we are doing now. thanks as always for your love and prayers.