Thursday, 17 April 2014
Six Months in Italy
And just like that, six months in Italy has come and gone.
I knew the milestone was approaching, but somehow April 18 slipped by without my taking time to really let it sink in.
I think it’s because the “everything is new” phase has worn off and we’re in the groove of our new normal. I’d been waiting for this period in the transition – waiting to mark the normal life moments. Here it is. We’ve arrived. And like most things in my life, I have mixed feelings.
In some ways our move here has been everything I dreamed it would be. We’ve embraced the European city life. Walking everywhere, seeing the same families and people as we walk our kids to and from school. Shopping at the market and grocery store multiple times a week. Eating meals outdoors at cafes in the piazzas. We live near family, and while they’ve traveled and worked a lot, we see grandparents, cousins and auntie and uncle more than we have in the past few years. We’ve opened our home to an intern from the US, and we regularly have friends over for meals or hangouts.
All of these things were in the dreams and plans in my heart for years. They’re the things I wanted most for our family.
But with those things comes some challenges.
While I love most of what we have here, I still miss America. Which is funny, because there are so many parts of American life I’m not a fan of. I’ll probably always miss Target, and a dryer, and peanut butter (we’ve stocked up – hallelujah), and margaritas (technically not American, I know), and aveda shampoo, and feeding my children goldfish crackers and wheat thins. I don’t think I’ll ever not miss our Minnesota lakes and abundance of awesome playgrounds.
It’s still hard to make friends too. If I could just get this language business down, it would be much easier. I mean, I see the same moms several times a day, and most of us can easily walk to each others houses. And usually I understand what they’re saying, I just can’t get my words out. It’s so frustrating for me as a perfectionist introvert to try out a new language. I speak like a cave person and I’m so embarrassed. Don’t worry, I DO in fact have friends. English speaking friends. I’d just really like to relate to the families we do life with day after day.
I’m torn about what to do for school for my girls. It comes down to me always thinking about what the “right choice” is for their education. They’re both doing great with learning Italian – the short time they’ve had in school is paying off in that area. But Mariah is bored with math and frustrated her classroom and school doesn’t even have a library. I really truly believe homeschool is the best option for her, but we don’t have the opportunity to join a co-op or even just hang out with other homeschoolers here. And that girl LOVES being social and needs to collaborate with friends. So I’m torn.
But overall, the good outweighs the bad.
March and April have been a time for me to really dig into God’s word. I mean, I’m home full time with mostly just housework to do, so I’ve taken advantage of this season of my life to read, research, think and pray while I can. Coming here and attending a church very different from my church in Minnesota has been a time where my faith and beliefs have been questioned and stretched and re-formulated. It’s been good for me.
March and April have also been full of beautiful and warm sunshiny days. That in itself makes life here feel more magical and dreamy.
May will bring an anniversary trip to Tuscany followed by a retreat to a beach town to welcome and train new interns. June and July I’ll spend my afternoons teaching English to first and second graders at the church summer school program. I’ve taken on the Children’s Ministry Director role at the church and spend some of my time training and organizing the monthly volunteers and programs.
So there you have it. An update on the Italian life for those of you who like to follow along. Now that we’re settled, we’re taking reservations for house guests. Please come and stay with us – we have a whole attic waiting for you!