Two weeks down and three to go! I feel like this photo from our Mid-Project Retreat sums it up perfectly. Magnificent scenery and smiles all around with an occasional torrential downpour and short-fused parents learning to flex and obey.
It has been a great project so far. Joel and the staff are working hard to lead the charge and students are faithfully building friendships and sharing their faith. The kids and I are homeschooling in the mornings, enjoying the park near our apartment, hosting the team for meetings and meals and joining them on campus as we can. It really is going beautifully, but I WILL say that city life is kicking our tails.
It’s the little things really.
Or getting chewed out by grocery store employees for not first weighing our fruit and printing out price tags before we get to the cash register. Cue hot tears of frustration. Forgive my fruit faux pas, guys.I don’t even use the suggested plastic produce baggie in America, so it’s highly unlikely that I will wear the recommended plastic gloves. And HEAVEN HELP US ALL if I hand the money to them, forgetting that they STRONGLY PREFER for me to put it in the little money dish for them to pick it up from vs. take it from my hand.
Brief episodes of harshness is so culturally fine and they totally move on knowing it’s not at all personal. Meanwhile, my harmony-loving self has spent 3 days not being able to shake getting screamed at (in English–which, mind you, is much, much worse than being screamed at in Italian) by a man who scolded and belittled me for bringing my kids into his restaurant to go potty during a thunderstorm.
Let’s just say it really is wonderful to learn a new culture and enjoy the beauty of new surroundings, but it ain’t all Colosseums and gelato. It has been really fun to watch the kids embrace city life and learn a few great life skills.
For example, the art of taking a selfie. (Nailed it.) How to ride the Metro and read a city map. (D is better at directions than me. I consistently rely on him to get me home from our Metro stop.) How to stick close(ish) in a crowd. (Let’s just say, my children have been described as “free range children”. But they are learning, nonetheless.) And most importantly, how to find chicken strips and french fries in a land flowing with pasta and pizza. (We may or may not have broken down and gone to Hard Rock Cafe.) So while we are trying not to cuss at the bus, offend the neighborhood, take things personally or lose sight of the mission, we are asking God to help us learn and grow and depend on the Him.