Take from this world. There is so much that it offers you.
Learn from others. Sit at the feet of the wise. Learn their ways.
Humble yourself to God's direction and wisdom.
Be willing. Give back. Love.
These are my goals.
Join us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sum Sum

A summary of the last four months.
November First to February Second was spent in Italy.  While in Italia I lived in Forli and volunteered at a nursing home.  I visit Venezia (Venice), Firenze (Florence), Siena, Pisa, La Spezia, and Roma.  On February Second I got on a plane and landed in London.  I spent a week there visiting friends, (and London and the Stonehenge), before heading north to Harrogate for a week.  There I stayed with some one via couch surfing and got to see some of the city.  During that week I went over to Skipton by bus and then walked about six miles up to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.  I visited Malham Cove and camped out above Malham Lake.  Heading back to Harrogate and then to London I flew out on February Fifteen to Tampa, Florida.  There I met up with my uncle and aunt and spent the weekend with my cousin and his family.  On Sunday I flew up to Chattanooga where I was picked from the airport and driven four hours to Cleveland, GA where I visited my uncle and cousin for a week. On Sunday my cousin took me to Gainsville where I got a but to Atlanta and then Chattanooga.  In Chattanooga I met randomly, (God's awesome), met up with a friend and we wet caving that night.  The next morning I left at eight am from Chattanooga after a good ol' southern breakfast.  Boarding a Greyhound in Tennessee sealed my fate.  From then on it was loud, annoying, stuffed, stuffy, smelly riding through Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, S Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington.  Because of two completely separate break downs and delays all around,  I arrived into Spokane just a little too late.  My connection to home sweet home had already left, but some how I managed...
I want to say that Italy was beautiful- people and land alike.  England was very moist but the company was worth it all.  Florida was sunny and warm as was seeing my family.  Georgia was relaxing and peaceful- the best time ever spend with my cousin. Tennessee was a miracle and a kick in the pants.  And the rest, is history.


In November, 2010 I left for Italy not really knowing what to expect.  It all kind of happened so fast and when I had to leave it felt like only the beginning. While I was there I took Italian classes twice a week at one of the colleges.  By the end I would partially dream in Italian and respond without even thinking in conversation.  But learning the language was really only a bonus.  For some reason when I first arrived I never really thought about meeting and having friends.  The first Friday night, though, I was engulfed in these Italian young people that immediately accepted me into their beautiful words.  After that, life gradually became confusing.  The more I began to interact with people and listen to the words coming out of their mouths, the more I was confused and frustrated and loved it.  Most of them spoke English some what and would kindly help me.  Every Saturday afternoon the youth would get together and have a meeting and before hand usually play some calcio, or soccer.  I loved hanging out with everyone and I was so grateful how they included me in everything.  Most of the time I would need a translation but Luigi was always close by to lend a helpful mouth.
During the week, much of my time was spent working in la cucina, or the kitchen.  Of course my skills were not up to the standard of Salvadore, the head chief, but I would do little things like wash and cut vegatables and meats, and tackle the continuing flow of dishes.  I enjoyed working in there because most of the kitchen staff didn't speak much English.  This forced me to practice my Italian because there were no Luigi's around to tell me what things meant- I was on my own.  Hand signals and examples of products combined with lots of words were used to display what needed to be done and how to do it.  I started catching on and tried to remember words to look up when I got home.  Some times I would bring my dictionary to work with me and those days were honestly less productive because of my constant 'search for the word'.
I love my Italian friends.  I miss them too.  I'll be back though.  Ciao.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Day of Sunshine.

The Yorkshire Dales are a beautiful and some what mythical place.  They remind me of some where that tales of creators never to be discovered were thought of and told around fires.  I walked through Dry Valley on my way back from Malham Tarn(Lake) yesterday.  It was a shallow valley of green and rock surrounded by and submerged in fog.  A rock wall split the small valley in half and several other rock walls cut in and out as I walk along.  About a quarter of the way down I found a sheep that was dead; its back right leg had been eaten and some of the intestines were strewn about.  The night before I slept just above the Tarn in a field.  During the night I heard sheep grassing by my tent.  The dense fog that rolled in about seven that evening didn't let up the next morning as I packed my tent and sleeping bag.  I started down the valley about mid-day; past Malham Tarn, through Dry Valley, and over Malham Cove to Malham- where I spent the night drying out in a B and B.
Malham Cove was at one time a massive water fall.  The melting water from the glacier ran through the valley and over the falls.  Water still runs through there but not over the falls- it runs under it.  Just above Dry Valley, run off water from Malham Tarn disappears.  It flows underground for about three miles and re-appears underneath Malham Cove to continue though the Southern Dales as a stream for animals to bathe and drink from.
Walking through the Yorkshire Dales I got some funny looks from the locals- the sheep and cows.  A few of them stomped their feet as a warning.  I was hauling about thirty-seven pounds so I was in no position to just up and run for it.  (I don't think fighting sheep and/or cows with horns is a good idea with or without a pack on, thus running was my option.)
My final words for this subject are these.  The Yorkshire Dales is a wet and beautiful land- the order is important.  It is extremely wet.  Moisture comes from all angles, there was no way to get away from it.  In the same respect, beauty is in everything.  There is no escaping the green and lush hills dotted with animals and lined rock walls.  I thought I'd seen what heaven will look like so many other places but if heaven had to choose its face, this would be it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Its been awhile!

So much to say!!  Enjoyed hanging out with my dad and sister, (road tripped it)!  Siena is the best!  Snowboarding was great!  Christmas was fun! (But I missed my family.)  New Years was really REALLY loud!!  I was sick for about a week- from New Years on.  (That wasn't fun, btw.)  I just started Italian classes again!  I'm understanding Italian alot better now!  AND I leave in two weeks.
I'm kind of excited to continue on my journey but at the same time, I will really miss it here.  I have made quite a few friends- quality friends.  Also, I'm just starting to get ahold of the language.  There are many words and phrases I've been able to pick up that I wouldn't have otherwise if I wasn't in here.  I'm so greatful for this oppertunity.  I love Italy and I will be back some day.
Working in la cucina has been really good for me.  No one in the kitchen can speak English fluently.  This makes it nice for me because everyone is constantly telling me things in Italian!  Some of the others can speak some English so we work together some times to figure out words.  I'm always asking, 'Come si dice?', again and again.
There is a lady here that always talks to me about her teeth.  I don't understand all of what she's saying but she just comes up to me and starts talking and talking.  I understand that her teeth hurt and she can't eat very well.  But pretty much everything else is lost on me.  Everyday she has a little different story about how, today here teeth are this or that and she can or can't eat this or that.  I think that's what she's saying.. haha.
Mario is a bipolar.  (That's my own diagnosis.)  He is seventy-five years old and works here at the nursing home part time.  He opens and closes the gates every morning and evening and sets the table per pranzo e cena.  He is a character some times.  One day he will be happy and joking around and the next day he won't talk at all or mumble about things all day.  Some times he sings while setting the tables.  One morning he came in with his head down and looking very depressed.  He mumbled things for awhile and we couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.  Eventually we figured out that he had left him brief case on the bus and it had forty euros in it.  I felt a little bad for him... but it was kinda funny.  (Not that he lost the money or brief case just the way he was acting.)  Him and this other lady that works part time as well have at it some times-  thats kinda funny too.
It's been a fun time here!  I'll miss it.