I have been back in Italy for just over a month now… Time is flying by like crazy! I haven’t updated in awhile, as I’ve been busy, but busy has looked much different than it did when I was here in the fall.
I’m living with the same host family and working the same schedule as before, but I haven’t been traveling nearly as much during my free time. During my first three months in Italy, I traveled to new cities 2 or 3 times a week. Italy is an incredibly beautiful country, filled with so much history, art, and rich culture. There is so much to see here, and I don’t know if I could ever really “see it all.” I still plan to make some trips of course during these 3 months (including Paris this weekend and Sicily in a few weeks!), but not nearly as much as I did the first time.
Instead, I am focusing more on learning about normal, everyday life here. I have grown to love Cittadella so much! It is a small town, perhaps a just bit bigger than my hometown of Ferndale, Washington. I love my Italian family, and am thankful that I get to spend so much time with them, including the extended family members, who all live very close. I have found that the more I do “normal” things, the more at home I feel here. In the mornings I usually go swim laps at the local pool, go for a run, visit the public library, or go for a walk with one of my friends. In the evenings when I get done with work I usually go out with friends, either in the center of Cittadella or in other surrounding towns. I have become a coffee addict, drinking at least 3 coffees a day (a cappuccino in the morning, an espresso after lunch, and another espresso or cafe macchiato in the late afternoon.) I’ve returned to the same church I attended in the fall, which is great, too!
I’m happily surprised with how much Italian I’ve learned so far. I still haven’t started language school yet since I’ve been back, but actually I feel like I have been learning much more quickly than I did before. Most of my friends here are Italian, so I am getting lots of conversation practice! It’s still far from fluent though, and my spelling/writing needs a lot of work… However, I have found that speaking Spanish is a lot more difficult now - it is especially hard to switch quickly between Spanish and Italian (I have some Latino friends here, so I speak Spanish as well). The two languages are very similar, and I often speak the wrong one or speak a mix of the two together. Also, sometimes when other people talk, although I understand what they say, I can’t tell which language it is. It’s a crazy and super frustrating feeling…I hope that it gets easier to distinguish the two as my Italian improves!
As for what the Lord has been teaching me lately, I think that He has been revealing to me one of my greatest weaknesses - my tendency to get distracted. This plays out both practically (leading to transportation disasters and me always being late), but also spiritually. Personally, I have found that I tend to seek God fervently when I am experiencing difficult times, but when I am in a more peaceful season of life, I often forget my desperate need for the Lord, and slowly push Him to the side. This is a different kind of spiritual battle, I think, because it's not necessarily so obvious. It happens during the "good times," when I'm happy and having fun. It's not that I've stopped having a relationship with God altogether, but rather that I don't seek Him with the same enthusiasm and passion that I do other times. He is teaching me now to make Him my number one priority.
Somebody asked me yesterday if I ever feel “homesick.” It’s kind of a tricky question for me to answer I guess, because sometimes I feel like I have several homes. I miss my family in the States, and Honduras and the people there have especially been on my mind/heart a lot lately, but in general I feel really happy here, and I’m so thankful for that. The Lord is blessing me with a joyful season of life right now, and I am trying to enjoy it to the fullest with thankfulness.
Also, some random fun things I've gotten to do the last month:
Learned to make handmade pasta with my Italian mom
Went to a Cittadella soccer game (and witnessed the crazy celebrations following a win)
Visited the beautiful seaside city of Trieste (see photos here)
Went Salsa dancing a few times
Spent Easter weekend in the Dolomite mountains with my Italian family
Went to Padova with one of my best friends here to get tattoos
I believe in God's grace through Jesus. I love to learn, in a variety of contexts - reading God's Word, interacting with people from diverse backgrounds around the world, and as a student of Linguistics and Foreign Languages at Western Washington University. Pages of My Passport is dedicated to sharing this journey of learning through written and visual content.