I just saw my first scarf of the season

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:48 pm

I was in the center with Josh & Marcus this evening and I saw an Italian wearing a scarf. You may remember from previous posts how I just can’t understand why Italians are always so cold. It’s August 30th, the temperature is 60° admittedly cold for this time of year), but not even close to scarf weather.



Posted in Uncategorized at 10:05 am

So I was sitting in Driver’s Ed this morning (how old am I again?). About 20 minutes into class, an elderly man came in the room, begged everyone’s forgiveness, and asked to speak to the teacher. The older man asked our teacher how to get a driver’s license.

How the man got by the receptionist in the front office, I’ll never know. But our teacher very politely directed the man to the front desk, explaining that he could find out everything he needed to know.

10 minutes go by. The man walks in the room, again begging everyone’s pardon. He asks our teacher if he could speak to him for just a minute. So the teacher walks to the back of the room, stepping over the world’s fattest daschund (the old man’s dog). I hear the old man explain to our teacher that there is no way he could ever pass a test, since he was an old man. He not so subtly tried to bribe our teacher from having to take classes.

Our teacher was very polite, but the old man continued with every reason he could think of to not have to take the class. Tensions gradually rose in the room. I was kind of thinking it was tacky to try and bribe your way out of a class in front of those actually in the class, while the teacher is teaching the class.

I did kind of feel bad for the old man. I could see it had been a while since he had been in school, and I’ve heard that many men, especially from the war generation, can’t read. The tests that we take are now even on a computer – probably even more difficult for the old man.

But I do wonder if, after hours, some money won’t exchange hands and a 90 year old man walk away with a passing grade.


Making Mussels

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:51 pm

I was born and raised in the Midwest, so seafood was rarely on the menu growing up. Now I’ve found myself in a place where I’m five minutes from the sea. Seafood is on every menu, and is always available to throw on a pizza. I’ve always politely declined. The smell, the look of a whole animal sitting there in my plate, and the taste is all just a big turn off.

But, it is a part of living here, so I’ve decided I better just get used to it. I’m slowly trying more and more things, and for the most part it’s been good. But last night I decided to take it up a notch and make seafood. We were in a city called Portonovo and our afternoon at the beach was quickly rained out. We passed by a little shop where they sell fresh mussels. So I bought some.

After I get them home, I looked on the internet. Allrecipes came through again. Except that step one is “1 pound fresh, cleaned mussels.” These things were anything but clean. Some of them had other animals stuck to them that we had to chip off with a screwdriver! So we headed over here to learn fun things like how to remove The Beard on a mussel (pretty much just pull) and how to get the sand out (put them in fresh water and let them breathe – they’ll spit out the sand themselves).

After an hour and half of cleaning these things (a lot of work), I threw them in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, and some white wine. Five minutes later, we had a pan full of delicious mussels. What surprised me the most was, I liked them! A lot!

So here I am, almost 29 years old, and it turns out that maybe I do like seafood after all!


What would you do?

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:16 am

Yesterday we had a meeting at La Via with our interns. Across the street from our building is an old, abandoned, four story building which is perpetually for sale. The shutters on the windows are always shut tight, but last night one window was conspicuously wide open. As we watched, we saw three young people. In their hands were needles. They were using heroin.

There are several parks in Ancona that probably aren’t safe to hang out at after dark. It’s not uncommon to find a needle on the street. But our church is right downtown. And right across the street three kids broke in, shot up, and left.

As I watched, I was really unsure of how to react. Do we call the police? Do we yell across the street and tell them to stop, or that Jesus loves them? Do we call the owner of the building? I was honestly just unsure of what the best thing to do was.

What would you do?


A Whole lotta’ Rain

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:25 am

The sky had been kind of cloudy all day, but it wasn’t until a little after 6 PM that the rain broke through. I was waiting for a bus to go meet one of our interns when I looked across the valley from our house and saw the sheets of rain falling from the sky. I took shelter under an awning and stayed pretty dry until I ran to catch the bus. I was instantly drenched.

By the time I was downtown (about 5-10 minutes) the rain had all but stopped. But entire streets in the low-lying downtown were rivers. I saw muddy water pouring out of an apartment building’s front door (and I have no clue why). Storm drains were backed up and water was shooting up out of the drains. Piazza Roma, a large, open square, was a sheet of water racing downhill.

In 30 minutes, the commotion was over and the sun came out. People came out of their homes to watch the results. We haven’t had any rain for over a month. Thunderstorms are much more rare here than the Midwest USA, so it all kind of made me miss home a little bit.