Monday, August 31, 2009

First week

So I have finally been in Italy for about a week now, and I love it already! Things are much better than I ever expected, considering how nervous I was before I left.  God has been so GOOD, answering so many prayers and really giving me a peace ever since I got here.

 My apartment is incredible though, BRAND NEW…which I was not expecting at all!! Me and my roommate Allie, who I really get along with and is great, each have our own room, then the place has a huge living room and balcony. It is missing some American luxuries such as air conditioning, a dish washer, and a dryer…but I am excited about living this way for a year! We really lucked out though, and the school is spoiling us (I guess last year they had some problems with the apartments, so they made sure that did not happen again). Trieste is a great city though, much more city like than I expected. The people are very nice though, it is an older population; however, the language barrier is very difficult, so I will definitely be trying to learn Italian as fast as possible. I have barley seen any Americans though, if even one, so it is not a very touristy town which I love!

 There are about 12 Teaching Associates working at IST this year, 2 boys and the rest girls, and I am actually one of the youngest ones. Everyone is very fun though, most all of the new hires being from the East Coast…but we are all sticking together, which has made things a lot easier. The whole staff at IST is really great though, very helpful and welcoming! Things are very different here, education wise, much more laid back and not structured, so that will definitely take some time to get used to….but it will be so good for me to loosen up a bit J Italians as a whole really have a different lifestyle, which has been interesting to experience- much more laid back, relaxed, not in such a hurry all the time, not as focused on efficiency as Americans. It seems as though at any time you see so many people at a bar/cafĂ© enjoying wine or gelato in the middle of a “work day”…I’m wondering what these people do for a living! Meals last 3 hours, if someone says something starts at 9 it usually does not begin until 10, and a lot of time is spent just hanging around enjoying each others’ company. So all of this is great…and for most of you who know me, know this will be a change…asI like my plans and things on time hah. But its going to be a great learning experience and I know I will come back happily changed and more relaxed!

 We have spent the first week mostly settling in and exploring the city, trying to find our bearings. Our apartment is pretty much all set up, electricity and internet are finally ON (the first 3 days we had neither, so that was an experience!). The apartment is very stark, as we don’t have too many resources to decorate with (nor want to spend the money hah), but we are trying to make it as homey as we can. The group of interns has been hanging out- cooking dinner at the boy’s apartment, swimming in the Adriatic Sea and eating dinner at a pizzeria along the water (my favorite things so far!), and getting drinks at bars in the piazza. Even as I right this, I cannot believe this is my life…cannot believe I get the opportunity to live in such a beautiful country, I am so so blessed.

 GREAT NEWS though….I found a church…and other Christians! This is so so encouraging, as a lot of you know this was one of my biggest concerns and prayers ever since I accepted the job. One of the directors at IST is actually a pastor too, so him and another teacher at the school attend this church (her husband came over to Italy to help with the church). One day I overheard conversation they were having with another New Hire (who I also found out is a Christian!) and asked about the church. They invited me to go this past Sunday and were so so welcoming!! The church is a tiny congregation that meets in a small bulinding close to my house….but its GREAT! Most of the people there speak some English, so that was encouraging…however the sermon and most of the service is all in Italian, so that will definitely be challenging. For this reason, please be praying that I can pick up the language quickly. The church itself is so neat though…the first hour we worshiped with guitar and a jimbe J, after each song anyone had the chance to pick the next song or pray or speak…it was so neat to see worship like this! Then we took communion and the pastor spoke (in Italian, but I caught a few words here and there and could read in my bible). I am really excited about getting more plugged in and hopefully being able to understanding more and more each week. But God has proven his faithfulness YET AGAIN, and I am SO excited to know I have found fellowship and a church to plug into…I would not be able to survive this year without it.

 It looks as though God is doing big things at the school this year…lots of new staff and changes being implemented, so I cannot wait to see how he works this year! I am transitioning fairly well…I just had my first day of really hard homesickness and missing people today. I know there is much more hard to come too, but I also know I am EXACTLY where I am suppose to be right now J I already CANNOT WAIT to come back in 3 weeks for Matt and Jessica’s wedding!!! But I wish so badly EVERYONE could come visit….really anytime if anyone would like a vacation to Italy come on out! We have 2 extra beds and a couch!! Love you all very very much J