Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bella Italia

To any who might be reading, I probably won't be putting photos up very often unless I come across someone who can help me with the technology.

But I did make it to Italy without problem. I spent a night in a Ramada Hotel near Oleggio, west of Milano. To keep myself awake that afternoon I walked into town, up to the cathedral, and back (of course), walking for almost two hours. En route I saw some cows, got barked at by dogs, heard roosters crowing, saw two rather large, classical rats....even the rats in italy are nicer than rats I've seen anywhere else!

It was wonderful to be out in the country like that, after all those hours on planes and in airports.

I did love that the Munich airport had a "Room for silence and peace" or something like that. It was an interfaith chapel and provided a welcome break from the sterility and noise of the airport.

I spent a couple of nights with friends in Milano. The little apartment I stayed in, right in the middle of the city, had a view out the balcony to the "hippodrome" area. So even though I was surrounded by apartment buildings and the terrible traffic of Milano, I could look out and see horses galloping across the way, in a large expanse of grass and trees. Quite an unexpected treat.

The women's retreat, held up in the hills of Velletri, near Rome, went very well. I never know for sure how my Italian will come back to me. It has been seventeen years since I lived here!! But it just kind of came right back, and I spoke for four different sessions, and only one Croatian word escaped in the whole three days. :-) So I was very thankful for that. I don't know why my brain retains languages so well, but I think it has to do with the close connection between music and language. So even though i don't speak or hear Italian very often, I do sing and play a lot of music, and I figure that must make a difference.

Today I arrived at the home of dear friends in Napoli. We may go to see Pompei while I am here, but my main reason for coming is to be with my friends, and just this one evening has already been such a blessing. Amazing how friendships can span time and distance, and souls can remain united throughout all of it.

Italy is just as beautiful as I remembered it, the gelato is even better than I remembered, and it was wonderful to have a real cappuccino the other day!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Trails

I just love this picture of Prince Charming and Catherine the Great walking together in the snow. You wouldn't guess from the harmony this image conjures up, that only moments before he was shaking snow from the branches onto her head, and that in the parking lot they were after each other with snowballs.

(They are, of course, Drazen and Catie Grace, our friend who spent the night with us the night of the Great Snowfall.)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Muchos Too Muchos to Do-os

So many things I'd like to write about, and several photos I'd like to share!

But I am planning a trip to Europe, preparing for retreats that I'll be leading there, tying up loose ends over here so that I can leave without nagging worries, and of course working and keeping house as usual. Oh, and trying to visit with as many friends as possible before not seeing them for six weeks.

I feel a bit like this, hopping around in circles, not sure which way to go next:

And yes, by the way, that is snow. And that is my front porch. Memphis actually got snow. Snow that accumulated and stuck! Snow that covered everything and made it beautiful. Snow that children could make snowmen from. Snow that stuck well for snowball fights.

It was March 7, after a winter with not one snowfall. After quinces and daffodils and magnolias and forsythia had bloomed.

I even took a break, because our young friend Catie Grace was overdue for a birthday spend-the-night-with-Uncle-Drazen-and-Aunt-Sheila gift. So we got out and enjoyed the snow, and for a night and a morning, I did not feel "snowed under."

In fact, I slept so well that night, I was the first one up. (Actually, that's not unusual.) So I got out and took some pictures. I think I had the camera on "dusk/dawn" setting, because it was dawn. I guess that's why they are blue. But I kind of like it.

Here you can see the east-facing houses across the street catching the first light of sunrise.

I don't know when I'll blog again. In a way it feels like a distraction from the things I ought to be doing. But it is also a welcome break. So we'll see.