Posted in Uncategorized at 2:11 pm

Last month our language school hosted a “cena internazionale” – an International Dinner. Our school has students from all over the world, so it was fun to be able to try foods from all over the place. I even tried the Sushi – I’m not a fan!

Heidi whipped up some delicious chili and enchiladas. Of all the foods from home, we miss Mexican the most. Heidi’s chili was a big hit. One of the teachers that wasn’t able to attend the dinner told my teammate that he was going to make sure and come to this month’s dinner so that he could try the chili that he had been hearing about. I guess all the other teachers were raving about it. The school secretary kept bugging Heidi to give her the recipe. She was having guests and wanted to make it for them. She wasn’t able to, however, because some of the ingredients are difficult to find here in Italy. Jalpeños are almost non-existent. You can buy them canned, but they are imported and very expensive.

Anyway, just a fun story about Heidi’s delicious cooking!



Posted in Uncategorized at 1:51 pm

Today Matt and I went to a bookstore and found the kids’ libri di compiti – homework books. Italian kids have to complete a book full of worksheets each summer before school starts. Even though our kids weren’t enrolled in school last year, we thought it was a good idea to buy the book and go through it with them. Mostly so we can learn the “instruction words” … color, cut, trace, etc. It was encouraging when I got home and Chloe was excited to see her new book!

We’re a little over two weeks away from school for the kids. Pray for them as they begin this new adventure!


Chiuso Per Ferie

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:36 am

Everything is closed! August, and especially the second half of August, is vacation month for Italians. Nearly all shops and business are closed for at least part of the month. Quite a few are closed for the entire month. Perugia is a ghost town! Even the bus system has a lighter schedule. Signs are posted in store windows that say “Chiuso per Ferie” – closed for holiday – are everywhere.

At first, I thought it was kind of inconvenient. The place where Heidi and I go for our morning coffee during our break between classes was closed for three weeks. We’ve spent a lot of time waiting for busses when we forgot about the lighter bus schedule. But the slower pace of life has it’s perks. Normally (but not this year) August is hot all over Italy, and the slower schedule means a lot less sweating! People take time to chat with neighbors along their way.

I suppose the “American” in me will appreciate the convenience of things being open again. But the growing “Italian” in me has appreciated the change of pace.


Today was a good language day

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:14 pm

Some days we do better with our Italian than others. There are times when it seems like we can’t get our mouths to form a complete sentence. But other days we can at least hold our own in a normal conversation.

Today I had to go to the bank because we went to the ATM last night and the machine shorted us €€50. I called my bank in the US and they said it was better for me to start the ball rolling with the bank who owned the ATM. Easy for them to say, I thought! This particular bank was open from 2:45 to 3:45 in the afternoon; the only time I could go since we have class in the morning. I waited in line to talk to a teller, and they pointed me toward a group of cubicles. I found one that had someone in it, and explained the situation as best I could. She was very polite and helped me fill out a “Declaration” stating what happened. About 30 minutes later, we were finished. They another employee came in and explained that it cost too much money for them to wire the money back into my account, and that we should just wait for them to balance the ATM and then have me come pick up the €€50. Plus, just having me come get the money was più semplice – simpler. However, this meant that the process started all over, with a new declaration.

The bank employee made small talk, asked me what I was doing in Perugia, that kind of thing. And I was amazed to hear what came out of my mouth … actual, mostly-understandable Italian!

Finally, almost one hour later, I finished the whole process with a promise that she would call me by Friday, Monday at the latest when they are done counting the cash in the ATM. As I walked out I realized that I used up this employee’s entire afternoon shift!

It remains to be seen if I ever get my €50 back. But I can at least be happy that today was a good Italian day.


8 Great Years

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:28 pm

Today is Heidi and my 8th wedding anniversary! God has given me my perfect partner. Here’s to many, many more…


San Lorenzo

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:57 pm

Today is a holiday in Perugia. The main duomo (cathedral) in Perguia is named for Saint Lawrence. His sainthood is celebrated today, August 10. Just outside the duomo in Perugia is a large piazza with a beautiful fountain. There was a stage set up and the local Perugian orchestra played several classical pieces. During the second song, huge smoke machines filled the entire piazza with a heavy fog, and suddenly a beautiful laser show started. The kids were amazed!

It’s always fun to go to these big events here in Perugia. There are people everywhere! Young and old show up … partially for the event that is taking place, but partially just to get out and socialize. There really isn’t any kind of community event like it in the US.


Well that was … odd

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:27 pm

Today was a rainy and blessedly cool day in Perugia … perfect for laying around the house! We decided to head for McDonalds for dinner. The bus that takes us home stops for about 10 minutes at the train station before the driver begins his route. We all hopped on to get out of the rain. We were settled in our seats when suddenly a man jumps up and yells at the driver to “Apri!” (open) the door. The busses have three doors. The front and rear are for entering and the middle is for exiting. The man was standing at the middle door to get off, but, since the bus was stopped and shut off, the other doors were the only ones open.

Two or three times this man continued to yell at the driver to “Apri!” the door – each time getting louder and more impatient. I remember wondering why he didn’t just get up and go out the other doors. After an uncomfortable few moments, he finally stormed off the bus, yelling the whole way using words that I think I’m glad I don’t understand yet! The new driver who got on the bus to begin his route (who had nothing to do with the whole situation) didn’t even flinch as the man yelled right in his face.

We watched as the man ran up to two police officers standing outside the train station (which is new and I imagine has something to do with extra security) and yelled at them at the injustice of having to go out a different door on the bus. They patiently listened and then the man stormed into the station.

One thing this situation taught me … Italians can be very passionate people!

Another thing I learned … it is not illegal to not open a door on the bus. ☺



Posted in Uncategorized at 2:40 pm

Tonight I let my teammate Josh talk me in to joining him and his neighbors for their nightly conversation. Just outside his building is a small park, and his neighbors have a ritual of bringing their chairs out around 10:00 PM to talk about everything and nothing.

His neighbors are very nice people … very forgiving of our sometimes-broken Italian. Bruno was my favorite. He had an opinion about everything: church, poetry, music. Most conversations came around to the same point … everything in Italy is better than everything everywhere else!

It’s through these conversations that we learn about the heart of an Italian. We learn what they think and why they think the way they do. These things can’t be taught in a classroom and read in a book. This kind of education comes only from experience. I hope that there are many more conversations like this to come!