This time last Saturday I was running around like a crazy person trying to get my errands run and pack my bags before leaving early Sunday morning and now I have been here almost a whole week!
Here are a few things we have noticed while here that remind us we are definitely NOT in America:
1. There are no water fountains anywhere! We are always so thirsty but don’t have quick access to a water fountain when we are out and about. Several times a group of 10-15 of us will swarm a little deli and buy out all their water bottles at once. Oops!
2. Everyone smokes and the smoking is EVERYWHERE- inside restaurants and stores and all over the streets. Occasionally right in your face… I have inhaled so much second hand smoke. “Designated smoking areas” don’t exist and people of all ages have a cigarette in their hand. 😝
3. Also, dogs are all over the place. They are in leashes but are still everywhere- in restaurants and stores, even the grocery store!
4. We are continually confused on how the Italians are all so skinny… there is so much bread! Several of us realized we haven’t had a fruit or vegetable in several days (SOS) so we fumbled our way through the Italian grocery store this morning (using hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate) and bought some fruit. An apple has never tasted so good. And last night, we ended up eating at a Japanese restaurant for a break from the carbs haha!
5. Speaking of, the prime dinner hour is 9:30-10. We have had reservations at 7:30 several nights and were the only ones in the restaurant. However, when we go back out later after dinner, everywhere is packed.
This morning we ventured to a flea market and all I have to say is it was RANDOM. Two whole streets were filled with a variety of tents with vendors selling everything from shoes to makeup to quilts to cherries. The makeup kind of looked like it had been taken out of the trash or the return pile at Walmart… it was weird haha and I am concerned if people actually buy it.
On the other hand, the fruit here is sooo yummy! It is prime cherry season here and we got a big bag from the market to share.
After lunch, I came back to the monastery and took a darn good nap and did laundry before a group headed out for one last gelato run to our beloved Cremi. Then it was on to our favorite park for another look at the incredible view.
Evann, Ashley, Gillian and I arrived at the top of the hill at the park that overlooks the country side just as a thunderstorm was coming over the mountains. We sat and quietly watched the clouds move in, had ourselves a cherry picnic, and snapped a few pics before we heard a huge crack of thunder and felt rain sprinkles on our faces. We decided to head on back so we didn’t end up completely soaked and thank goodness we left when we did!
We arrived back just in time to head up to the clock tower (which has an incredible view of the whole town and mountains) to watch the storm roll through. After watching for a while, our stomachs began to grumble and so we headed out for our last dinner in Arezzo at Mariano’s. Right as we were walking out the door, the rain intensified and we had to run back in and grab our rain coats. It was almost like the Oklahoma weather you all have been having at home hopped, skipped and jumped over the ocean to pay us a quick visit. Mini monsoon anyone??
After dinner, we returned to the park for one last glance and found a beautiful sunset waiting for us there.
Okay at this point, I feel like I need to start a weather/picture of the sky blog.. my apologies for all the pics of the sky, sunsets and clouds. But I LOVE looking at them and being reminded of God’s creativity and faithfulness no matter where I am in the world.
My mom shared this verse with me today and I feel it goes right along with the idea of the sunset/clouds serving as a reminder to me of God’s great faithfulness:
Psalm 63: 7-8:
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
Well today was another full day of walking as we soaked up our second to last night in Arezzo and I am exhausted but at the same time refreshed and overflowing with joy and love for the people I am with and this country I am in.
Tomorrow we head to Cortana for our free day- we shall see what awaits us there!