Trey vs. Nintendo Wii

Posted in kids, Team, technology at 3:50 pm

I got a kick out of watching Trey play with my teammate’s Nintendo Wii. Somehow, as the littlest, his turn to play seems to get skipped sometimes. So as we were leaving their house, he told me he hadn’t gotten to play yet. So we all sat down to watch him play a round of Wii golf and Wii boxing.

And he was really good. I was really impressed at how he was able to just pick up the remote control and play it. The games really are intuitive enough that a five year old has no trouble at all. We all laughed as he went nuts during boxing, but was able to hit the golf ball really gently to knock it into the cup.

I suppose I need to start a Wii jar to save up our extra €€€.



Posted in culture at 2:22 pm

Nothing says, “Welcome home!” like a 3.2 on the Richter Scale. We didn’t feel a thing, but our teammate, Marcus, said he felt his bed shaking.



The Language Switch

Posted in kids, language at 3:04 pm

Even before we left the US, I was a little concerned about whether or not the Italian was going to come back after six months of little use. Some friends of ours who moved from Italy invited us over for dinner just before we came back to Italy. They speak a crazy mix of Italian, Spanish, and English at home, so we settled on Italian as the common language. And it was tough. It sort of reminded me that I really did lose some of that ability.

But somehow a switch has been flipped. It started at customs at the airport, when I had to explain to the agent why I was bringing 12 pieces of luggage, plus carry-ons, into Ancona. But I pulled it off!

Then today I noticed that the kids started calling me papà instead of dad. Later, Trey told me a story, and after realizing there were Italians around, he switched to Italian. All of these are little things that make me think that we will be able to switch back into our second language.

But keep reading the blog to read about all of our language goofs!


I Knew I Was Home

Posted in culture, travel at 5:45 am

Our flight to Ancona was completely normal. No lost luggage. No bumpy flights. No missed connections. After another round of goodbyes at the airport, it was as if we all, at the same time, realized we were going home.

As we waited to get off the airplane in Ancona, I first noticed the change when the stewardess opened the airplane door. The rush of hot, Italian air hit me and it was just different somehow. I knew I was home. I smiled as I rode in the taxi going to my house and realized the driver never started the meter – a good way to rip off an inexperienced foreigner. I quickly asked him how much he was going to charge, and thus avoided a suprise later. I knew I was home. As I sat in my living room last night, enjoying the cool breeze coming in the window, I heard a noisy scooter drive down our street. I knew I was home.

And it feels really good.


Lots of Lasts

Posted in family, friends, home service at 9:04 pm

We’ve hit that time in our home service when we’re doing lots of “lasts.” Last Mexican restaurant. Last Sunday at church. Last walk around our favorite walking trail.

The hardest “last” of all is the last visit to see family and friends. We went to Heidi’s dad’s house yesterday. Heidi was pretty sure she saw her dad tearing up as we drove away. This morning was our last Sunday at Central Christian Church. They’ve been such a blessing to us, and have made Rockford feel very much like home to us. Tonight we went out with some friends (at a Mexican restaurant – we killed two birds with one stone!). Tomorrow will be our last dinner in the US. Tuesday we fly to the airport.

We are incredibly ready to go home to Ancona. But this week of “lasts” has been difficult on us all. I suppose it’s all a part of being a missionary in a foreign country.


The Return of Normalcy?

Posted in friends at 4:17 pm

I was struck the other day by the strangest feeling. We were at a friends house for dinner, when they asked me some detail about dad’s accident. As I answered, I realized that it was almost 7 PM and it was the first time that day that I had thought about dad’s death. It was a weird, almost guilty feeling – as though life moving on were a thing that somehow dishonored my dad’s memory.

I quickly scolded myself. I can’t imagine that dad would have wanted all of us to mope around for months on end. The day before, at church, was especially difficult for me, so it’s not like I never think about it. But time marches on, and there’s no sense in feeling guilty about marching on along with it.


Amazing Cloud Photo

Posted in family, photography at 1:35 pm

Cloud PhotoMy father-in-law took this picture on his farm a couple of days ago. Pretty amazing…


Well that’s disgusting

Posted in culture at 10:44 pm

The US Embassy in Italy does a pretty good job of communicating with all of us foreigners who have registered with them. They occasionally send out emails warning us about demonstrations in certain cities. Always very low key stuff. Today’s email was a bit different than most:

This Warden Message is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to the non-collection and disposal of garbage in the region of Campania and province of Naples. Americans in this area may be exposed to a possible health risk from piled up and burning garbage. This Warden Message expires on December 31, 2007.

Garbage collection has been disrupted in Naples and the region of Campania since May 2007, leading to a waste disposal emergency as large piles of trash lie uncollected for weeks. Some residents are setting trash piles on fire. U.S. citizens traveling to or through the area may encounter mounds of garbage, open fires with potentially toxic fumes, and/or sporadic public demonstrations by local residents attempting to block access to dumps.
Authorities generally do a good job of collecting garbage in the tourist zone comprising the port and central historic district, Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano, the Amalfi coast and the islands of Capri and Ischia. Health officials state that they have detected no outbreaks of infectious disease related to the garbage crisis and are disinfecting areas where garbage has piled up. Local physicians have indicated that airborne particles and fumes from these fires can aggravate respiratory problems. Depending on what is in the garbage, a fire could release toxic substances into the air.

Health officials are monitoring the situation closely. Americans in the area are encouraged to follow developments in the media.

This is a new one for us, that’s for sure. Guh-ross…