Monday, July 26, 2004

Us At The Beach

Us at the Beach Posted by Hello

X-Files in Italy?

So, we went to beach today to help celebrate the one year arrival date of Marcus Van Dorn, team member.  We are going to all the places that he went one year ago today.  First we went out to the airport and had a cappucino.  Then after lunch, we went out to the beach, where he went with the crew of people that were here last year (Jason, Jacob & Haven Casey, Matt Hodges, Martin & Susan Brooks - We were in the states for Home Assignment and Heather was in the states to be with her sick grandmother).  Later tonight we are going to the same restaurant they went that night, which so happens to be one of our team's favorite restaurants, La Bussola (which means "the compass"). 

The beach is a different world.  It is the one place in the world where men, women and kids walk around half naked (with swimsuits, mostly).  Something to note about beaches in Italy - modesty is sacrificed.  A very small percentage of women go topless.  Young girls (elementary age and younger) do not always wear tops.  And the scariest of all, men wear speedos.

When we were getting ready to leave, Marcus, Angie and I wanted to take a few snapshots to remember the day, when I saw a tall, skinny, elderly man walking by with a cigarette hanging from his mouth and wearing a speedo.  My eyes felt like they were blinded by the flash of an old camera.  After a few seconds went by and the blindness went away, I thought how he looked like "cigarette-smoking man" off the TV show, X-Files.  I immediately wondered what the CIA was up to in Ancona, Italy.

We proceeded to pack things up and leave the beach.  I think we made some great memories today that last a long long time.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Sounds of the City at Night

In Italy, things seem close and open, rather than in America where things seem apart and closed.  From our balcony tonight, you could hear a virtual buffet of sounds.  From the ristorante in the piazza below, you can hear the dishes clink and clank as someone washes them in an effort to clean up.  From the open windows of several apartments surrounding us, the sounds of conversations, laughter and friendship are heard.  A woman talking on the phone comes from another.  In the distance a car drives by, however it is alone in it's venture.  In Italy between 8 PM and 10:30 PM people are at home, having dinner and enjoying each other.  The sound of a concert in a nearby piazza is heard as people are preparing to go out for the night.  However the sound that always peaks my interest comes from an apartment on the backside of our building.  Drifting up from an apartment below are the sounds of traditional Italian music playing from an elderly couple's radio.  In reminds me of a time that existed forty years ago or more.  Their lights are almost completely off, which is common in Italy at night to prevent heat from beng produced by the light bulbs.  This couple, whom we know only from seeing them out on their balcony, are sharing in a moment of closeness.  It derives from an intimacy of their lives, enjoying the sounds of a music they love most.  Ahh, there is nothing quite like Italy at night.  The lights, the sights and most of all, the sounds.

Suggestions of refreshment

We were getting ready to go to the store in the early evening and I looked out our home office window, when I saw a certain yellow haze covering the buildings.  I looked further outside and saw that there were clouds covering the sky.  And these weren't your run-of-the-mill fluffy clouds that make you want to jump because of their appeared bounciness.  These were dark grey, menacing clouds that would make most kids scared.  To us, they were a welcome friend.  As the days lately have been hot and muggy, we have dreamt of respite from the heat.  This was a sign that one was coming.  I heard the wind start howling outside as it began to find it's way into our apartment through the large open windows.  The sound of leaves flying off trees and blowing on the ground below emphasized what was about to happen.  I partially closed the shutters of our office window, just in case it started to do something before we returned, our papers wouldn't get soaked.  We left the house and headed to the corner grocery store (less than one block from our house).  As we walked the wind picked up and began blowing dust around, then into our eyes.  The feeling while not enjoyable, was overlooked because of what it was trumpeting in.  We went into the store and heard several people whispering in excitement about the coming storm.  As we were paying wind ripped through the open doors of the grocery store.  We grabbed our bags and walked out into the beginnings of a sprinkle, but you would have thought it was a dowpour for the way that we carried on.  We looked to the heavens and silently thanked God for the cool drops that were wetting our face.  By the time we got home, it had picked up and during the elevator ride, had become a hard rain.  The wind and rain was coming through the windows where we saw neighbors in the building across pacing their balconies drinking in the summer refreshment.  One neighbor saw Angie lowering our shutters a bit and said with a smile, "It's raining!"  Angie returned the smile and happily agreed.  I am now sitting in a cool room where just a few hours before I was almost paralized by the humid summer heat.  It is funny the difference that the temperature makes.  Irregardless, we will enjoy it.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Where The Heat Sticks Like Honey.

That does it....It's hot.  Well, the cool summer we were enjoying left about three weeks ago.  It has gotten increasingly hotter since then.  It is one of those kinds of hot where everything feels sticky and air from the fan doesn't seem much different in temperature than the air around you.  I know it will get hotter though, I remember in years past it definitely being hotter.  Times where while riding on the elevator you feel like the air around you is so thick and hot that you almost stop breathing and desperately wait for the doors to open on the fifth floor (it is slower compared to elevators we have ridden on in the states, but fast than most in Italy).  Enough of that, so it's hot.  We will get through it.  Normally every year on September 1st, no matter what the weather has been like the summer previously it is like the heat miser heads to the hills packin the scorching sunshine with him.

In actuality I know that it is God who brings in the cool air in September and I am thankful to Him for it.  Cooler weather makes it easier to complete tasks, provide motivation and makes living much more comfortable all around.

Friday, July 09, 2004


One of the things that Angie and I missed from the states were the store bought Starbucks brand Frappucino's. This week we searched a little bit on the found some potential recipes and on the first one **voila** Frappucino. It is as if we poured it straight out of the bottle. Well, one less thing to miss now!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Mmmm...Fresh Baked Bread.

Have you ever been walking by a bakery early in the morning and caught the scent of freshly baking bread? In Tulsa, off of eleventh street, Wonderbread is always pumping that smell in the air. In Italy, there are many small bakeries throughout the city. On a corner about a block from our apartment building there has been an open business space for several months. About two weeks ago we noticed a new bakey and pastry shop going in that space. It looks like they are moving pretty quick on it, therefore it could open soon (something that doesn't happen often). Since many businesses close in August, for an Italian holiday and the heat, I expect that it will open up in September. It excites me, however not just because of fresh baked bread and sweet homemade pastries, but because it means new opportunities. Throughout our life here, we are looking for opportunities to meet people and befriend them. Through those friendships we hope to be able to share the message of God's gift to them. As I pass the shop they are working on I can't help but wonder who will meet because of this new bakery. Will a relationship be struck with the owners, employees or frequent customers we might meet there. Join with us in prayer as we move forward with new opportunities and pray to God for us keep from missing any opportunities as well.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Watching the news...

2 WORKS FOR YOU--Homepage of KJRH-TV, CHANNEL 2--Tulsa, OK

I was surfing the net and came upon the site above. From this site we can actually watch the news live or archived (for the past month) from a tv station in Tulsa. I had also been researching the possibility of watching college football games online in the fall. There are a couple of services and it looks more and more like a possibility. It makes the world continue to feel smaller in some senses to be able to take part in things from home, thereby reducing homesickness. And uhhh....those of you in Tulsa...hope you didn't get rained on during the fireworks last night, the forecast said rain was possible.