I came to the realization that I have been here almost a month. Almost. God has been so faithful in helping me adjust. This past weekend we went to a picnic for Giuseppe's end of the year party. Italians are very keen on spending hours together over food, and when I first came it was hard to sit and try to understand people for hours on end. I was surprised when I found that I was genuinely enjoying every minute of the picnic and loved talking with people. At this point I have become friends with some of the people Monica and Igor know, so I had a base of people I could spend time with. I have also met a couple Americans that have lived in Italy for a while and I was able to talk with them and even got invited to an night picnic in a couple weeks.
When we got home we had an hour to rest and then we had friends of the family over. They were wonderful. We laughed and talked for hours. I must mention the irony of the dinner. Monica is a wonderful cook. She makes all sorts of foods for the family and outdoes herself at parties. Let me say that I am not a picky eater at all. I have eaten cow tongue, pig's ear, and chicken's foot, but when it comes to seafood I would rather go hungry. When it came time to eat, my plate was set in front of me, and I was staring at the biggest slab of fish I had seen in my entire life. It was comparable to the size of a steak at Applebees. My heart (and stomach) sank as I heard the other people at the table sing thier praises about the choice of food. I begged my gag reflex to behave itself, and took a bite. I wish I could tell you I was wrong and that I liked the gigantic sea creature on my plate but it is not so. I forced a smile and ate the fish as quickly as I possibly could. My performance deserved a Grammy.
Italian party menus always have multiple courses, so I wondered what was next. Perhaps some of the awesome bread and cheese that we usually have. Oh no, what was brought next was shrimp on kebobs. I took a kebob, willing to give the shrimp a try even though I haven't liked them for years. I bit into one and felt my stomach twist. Nope. Can't do it. At this point my mouth had told my stomach that it didn't like what was going on, and I started to feel a bit queasy. Praise the Lord for our dog, Foxi, that came to my rescue. I slipped her the remaining shrimp with spy-like skills. No one ever knew. I love that dog.
Besides braving seafood attacks, I am getting to know the family better each day. We went up to the Italian side of the Swiss Alps today and drove to thousands of feet in the air. I couldn't believe the view. I love knowing that no one can outdo God. I am in the land of beautiful cathedrals, historic buildings, and impeccable taste, but those mountains easily outdid all of those things in beauty and majesty. His creation is beyond anything we could ever hope to create (although I may speak to Him about this whole seafood issue. I don't know whose idea it was to eat it. Me and that person will have words when I get to heaven).
Peace in Christ