…cappuccino, leather, baking pizza, European cologne, intermixed with the less appealing acrid scents of cigars or cigarettes, diesel, and city sewage: these are the smells d’Italia, of Rome. The high-pitched whine of scooters, the lower rumble of public (or tourist) buses, the stacatto hundreds of feet, and a babble of Spanish, French, German, English, and Italian form the street music; a pedestrian soundtrack, you could say (I’m always thrilled when literal music fills the streets—accordion, saxophone, or violin—the latter always playing Vivaldi – but most often, the music in restaurants, buses, and stores is old American pop. I’ve heard more Phil Collins, Jackson 5, and Justin Timberlake here than I think anywhere else!). I’ve grown quite courageous in my wanderings, having learned that despite their honking impatience with each other, Italian drivers are remarkably accommodating to pedestrians. Look both ways, look determined, and step out, that’s my motto. So far, no ill consequences! However, both my well-traveled Tia (Virginia) and our Ravenna tour guide warned “watch out for scooters!” So we do.
Today, our last free day, was absolutely PERFECT for roaming the city: cloudless blue sky, hint of a breeze, and so warm that I had no need of a jacket. For a while I walked around with a group of girls; we walked from our hotel down Via Pinciana into the Walls of the City. Feeling pretty confident, we wondered why we don't walk around Greenville much, and decided that we're going to walk downtown from campus one day when we get back. Distance wise, it's not any further at ALL than what we do every day here! I split off from the grou eventually and went on my own, to find my namesake street-- Via Maria Christina, past the Piazza Populo. Then I headed outside the walls again, and crossed the Tiber. I got my last gelato (only 5th since I came)-- banana, bacio (an Italian hazelnut chocolate that's SOOO good!) and nocciola (hazelnut). They were out of tiramisu, waaah! Anyway, it was a wonderful lunch—Ryan asked me what’s so special about Italian gelato, versus, say Coldstone Creamery. It’s made with whole milk that’s pasteurized differently, for one (so’s their cappuccinos, yoghurt, and hot chocolate), so it’s creamier…then there’s the all-natural ingredients…they actually taste JUST like whatever flavor you ordered…and it’s got a lower melting point. Yummm.
Well, Clay needs my expertise in getting wine & stuff for his fam, so I’d better go. Please be in prayer for my dad, who is in surgery as I type. It’s his eyes again. He wants us to pray for his eyesight to be restored, and for witnessing boldness during & after it! Poor man…this is to remove scar tissue from the past 4 surgeries!
Pray for me, too. There are at least three conversations I’d like to finish with people here, about the Sovereignty of God, His holiness/our need for a Savior, and about Jesus being the only Way…about us NEEDING a way to God. I’ve been reading through Isaiah, Psalms & Acts, and have been sweetly struck with a Bigger view of God. The cure for depression, self-pity and fear is to think about Him! I love this hymn, and listen to it often. May it encourage you, too!
“Survey the beauties of His Face
And on His glories dwell—
Think on the wonders of His grace,
And all His triumphs tell”
In that sweet, triumphant grace,
--Me with my Journal-- Sina gave it to me for Christmas, and it's lasted EXACTLY this trip!