July 2008 Newsletter

Posted in Newsletters at 8:53 am

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July 2008 Newsletter


Tri-Cultural Windows

Posted in Ancona, church, culture, photography at 5:46 am

A friend of Marcus recently took us on a guided tour of Ancona. I’ve lived here for over two years and hadn’t ever done any kind of tourist things, and was kind of looking forward to learning some new things.

As we winded our way through some of the historical streets on Ancona, we came upon a building I had driven by, but hadn’t ever noticed. It’s very ornate, and over the years has been the home of many rich merchants. Our tour guide explained a very unique feature of the windows. First, they have rounded arches, which are very typical of Roman architecture. But they are also double windows, which are typical of Venetian architecture. But they also have pointed tops, which are typical of Arabian architecture.

Ancona has been influenced by all kinds of cultures over the centuries. The ruling power of the time left its mark on the economy, the language, the government, or in this case, the architecture.

I immediately thought of the church. Right now, we have Italians, Americans, and Romanians who are all active participants. We’ve had Irish and French visitors. Sometimes the cultures clash a bit, but for the most part they all come together and make a really beautiful thing.

A Suprising Finale

Posted in Ancona, church, family, friends, photography, Uncategorized at 4:34 am

We have a group of 15 university students from College Heights Christian Church here in Ancona right now. They’ve been a great group, really ready to dive in and experience the culture and learn about our church.

On Monday, they hosted a day at the beach. They invited people they had met and we also invited the church to come and enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill (something that few of them had ever experienced).

It rained off and on all day, and after weeks of hot, humid weather, it was cool and windy. Just about dinner time, some church members showed up, and we got the grill going.

That’s when the storm clouds rolled in. The owner of the beach let us use his outdoor seating, which had a roof. We started seeing lightning hitting the ocean near us. And then, all of the sudden, it hailed on us. Ice was bouncing off the roof and into the area where we were seated. We quickly moved the food out of the rain, and took shelter under an awning. One of our church members said he had never seen hail before! And about 10 minutes later, it all stopped. We shook our head and laughed at the horrible weather for beach day.

And then we noticed the rainbow:

I’ve never seen a rainbow so large before! It was a full semi-circle that went into the sea on one side, and up and over the city of Ancona. I tried to stitch two pictures together above to give you an idea of how big it was.

God has the best endings.


The Sunset from Our Balcony

Posted in Ancona, photography at 10:30 am

Click below for a larger sizeā€¦

The Sunset from Our Balcony

A tiny taste of racism

Posted in Ancona, culture, family at 10:19 am

We’re in the middle of an apartment search. Unfortunately, our landlord needs her apartment back and has given us six months to get out. It’s not the best timing, but we’re doing our best to stay positive about things.

A realtor called me back today. I had called to inquire about an apartment, and she had a few others that might work. She described several which sounded good, and she said she would contact the landlords for me to set up the appointments.

An hour or so later she called. One of the landlords was nervous renting to a foreigner, and wanted to know what I did for a living and would only make an appointment if I could show proof of income. Neither of these things is illegal, unless she only requires these things from foreigners.

Neither the landlord nor the realtor has ever seen me. My accent on the phone was enough to tip them off. Unfortunately, I’ve seen countless examples of racism here. I’ve been in many a conversation where the subject of “those darn stranieri” gets brought up. I usually listen and then point out that I, too, am a straniero. At which point they quickly point out that I’m not the kind of straniero they’re talking about. They mean those stranieri that don’t have the same color skin as they do.

I know my little confrontration with racism was just that – very minor. And I imagine the landlord will apologize all over himself when they realize that they asked the “good kind of foreigner” for proof of income. But I can see where a bunch of seemingly little examples like this could build up over time and cause a whole lot of tension.


The Mayor?!

Posted in Ancona, family at 10:17 am

Today we were pleasantly suprised to get a note in the mail from the mayor of Ancona, Fabio Sturani. I’m pretty sure that’s his actual signature. “Benevenuto al nuovo cittadino” – Welcome to the new citizen.

I know … you’re probably jealous.