Thursday, April 30, 2009

Newsletter - April 2009

Below is the link to our latest newsletter....
April 2009 Newsletter

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Contracts and Visas

We got our passports back after expediting their renewal (the expired February 2010 and they needed to expire after September 2010 for the yearlong visas we are requesting. So, last week we made our way to Houston, Texas where the Italian consulate is that has jurisdiction over the state of Oklahoma, among a few others. We had to go in person to present our application and documents. We are requesting a visa for "religious reasons", which is one of the valid reasons listed on the consulate's site. The visas are good for one year, but renewable in Italy, in the form of living permits issued by the main police station of the city you are living in. In our case, Verona. After inspecting all the documents, they told us the visas should be ready in 7-10 days. Not sure if that is literal or "business days". It literal, we could expect them as soon as Friday, May 1st or as late as Monday, May4th. If it is business days, then it would be somewhere between Tuesday, May 5th and Friday, May 8th.

(A building in Houston reflects another much like a Monet painting)

This week, the rental agency sent us the contracts to sign for our apartment in Verona. They also sent the bank information for the international transfers which would need to be done for deposits, first month's rent and agency fees. We did the transfers on Tuesday and emailed them copies of the contract Tuesday as well. We will be mailing the originals this week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

An Apartment in Verona

So, we heard back from our real estate agents in Verona this was actually around 2:30 AM last night when I called, that is 9:30 AM their time. Giulia told me she had "Buone Notizie" (Good News) for us! If we met the landlord between what he was asking and what we had offered the apartment was ours! I said okay and they are now preparing the contracts for us to sign. They will get us the landlord's bank account info for us to do an international transfer. Giulia, and on another occasion Elio (another agent), had told me they would be able to help us get utilities turned on. This is amazing, especially for the internet since one time we waited three weeks to get the internet on!

And here are some photos that the agency had emailed us.

Living Room:

Hallway coming from the bedrooms (living room is straight ahead):
Master Bedroom:
Matt's Office/Guest Bedroom:
Angie's Office/Guest Bedroom:
Private Parking area:

Here is the location of the apartment in Google Maps:

View Via 24 Maggio, 37 Verona, Italy in a larger map

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Route 66 - Galena (Mater & Red)

These photos are from a trip taken on Route 66 from Joplin to Tulsa.

Galena, Kansas. In person it felt like we were standing at the end of Radiator Springs looking down main street.
We were told this 'ghost writing' inspired the "Welcome to Radiator Springs" sign.

This firetruck got brought into town after CARS came out, so he's not the original "Red", but pretty close!!

This was the truck that inspired Mater. Obviously, the eyes were added later.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Apartment Hunting Continues

So, we have been talking with a real estate about one particular apartment in Verona for about a week now. They have sent us a layout of the apartment so we can better see how the rooms fit together.

They sent us a sketched version of layout. After I figured out which building it was on Google Maps, I overlaid the apartment layout sketch on top of the building in Google Maps. Google Maps has a scale on it, so once I scaled down the size of the layout to fit the building, I had the scale to determine the lengths and widths. The measurements may not be exact, but I think they are pretty close.

One of the things that we were asked to send to the rental agency was a "permesso di soggiorno". This is living permit for foreignors. We will not get one until we arrive in Verona and go apply at the Police Station, or Questura. Even then we will just get a receipt for one, sometimes you can wait up to six months for a permesso di soggiorno. However, a receipt should work. Since we are trying to take care of as much of this on this side of the ocean, I asked if there was another document we could use instead of a permesso. For example, could we use our visa, once we get that from the Italian consulate? You have to get a visa to get a permesso, so I thought it might be comparable. He said I should ask the Italian consulate, that they would know better than he. I called the Italian consulate. A man gave me the woman's email address that I needed to write for the information. She wrote back that she didn't know, I would need to check with the rental agency!!! Not sure what we'll do on this one.

I did call to see if they were waiting on that to show the landlord. Giulia is who answered and she said she would need to talk with Elio (the boss) to find out. I asked if they were still showing the same apartment to anyone. She said no, when someone makes out a proposal, like we have, they cancel all showings of that apartment. That means we are the only ones in the hunt for it at this time. We offered a little less than the requested monthly rent, which is common in Italy.

Tomorrow around noon, they are supposed to call and tell me where things stand with showing the proposal to the landlord. It may be a little hard to go to sleep tonight, with all the anticipation! Here's hoping and thanks for praying as you read this. Mainly, we just want to be where God wants us to be in Verona. We believe it is He who called us there and we are just excited to get there and see what God has in store for us!

Monday, April 06, 2009

One of the Things We'll Miss Over the Next Couple Years

Living one mile from Pei Wei, which is PF Chang's more ecomical faster food restaurant, will be something that we will miss when we return to Italy in two months. Mmmmm...lettuce wraps, me miss you long time.
There are chinese restaurants in Italy, but they are an Italian version of chinese food, much like the chinese food we are used to here in America is not real chinese food, but an American version of chinese food. In other words, it's just different, not bad, just different. We'll miss it.

Earthquake In Italy Near My Great Grandfather's Hometown

Apparently, there has been an earthquake in Italy this morning. It's center was near the city of L'Aquila that's in the region of Abruzzo. Abruzzo is the region just south of the Marche where Angie and I lived in Ancona. The province of L'Aquila is where the city that my Great Grandfather came from, Pratola Peligna. I haven't heard anything about that specific city, but in other areas of the province there are at least twenty are dead as buildings fell. Here's a link to an article about the quake...

Here is a site about Pratola Peligna, my Great Grandfather's hometown...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Matt's Sermon on Biblical Leadership

A couple weeks ago, I preached at Sandusky Avenue Christian Church, one of our supporting churches. I preached on Biblical Leadership. I used several Italian examples, good and bad, to support the sermon. If you want to take a listen, I'll post it below...

Biblical Leadership - Italian Style by Matt Crosser (64 MB)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Reality Entices

Now, that we have our pre-departure date set for June 8th, reality is setting in. First off, we know there is lots to do before we leave but so far God has been providing for us a smooth ride. One of the things we are doing is apartment hunting. This has been surprisingly exciting. I mean, I knew that Angie and I would enjoy this, but it has felt great. I am finding that part of myself that burns for Italy growing and growing. The thing is, while we have been living in a state of uncertainty, we could not dream of Verona all the time or it would have consumed us. In order to live in contentment while God was preparing us and our team, we needed to have balance. But now, it is unbridled. Three of the past four nights, I have stayed up very late, so that I could call about apartments in Italy. At 2 in the morning I am reaching them at 9 AM when they open. The other night I worked and called until 6:30 AM! The next night I went to bed at 11:30 PM, hence the one night out of four staying up. Previously, we have planned on picking out an apartment once we arrived in Italy, after gathering possibilities. However, we have been presented with a really good option. At this point we only have a couple more questions and we might proceed to put down a deposit, if they will let us from here in the states. As we put down roots, we create a stability that we have not had since we moved out of our apartment in Ancona in October 2007. This will feel nice. I have been searching in the neighborhoods nearby for stores, pizzerias, churches, coffee shops, restaurants, etc... It has been fun exploring with Google Maps! Hopefully, we'll know soon if we will have an apartment and I can post links on Google Maps.