June 28, 2010

Swirling Words

Posted in Trek through Italy at 4:57 PM by goingbeyondzebra

Well my first week at the office has come and gone, but what a week it was!

I started off my writing assignments at a sprint. Before I’d barely stepped into the office Monday morning I was being given work to do, and I was excited to do it. After finishing a short intro to a journaling portion of the book they are giving to everyone at the Transform 2010 Conference in July, I turned my attention to doing a report on camp.

Now I haven’t written anything much formally since I graduated college, and after attempting to whack out the journal intro, I could tell I was a bit rusty. Thankfully I had already written a lot about camp here on my good ol’ blog, so I didn’t have to come up with too much new information to put down; I just had to make it nice. Well, I finished, but I wasn’t happy. First of all, it was about 300 words too long. Second of all, it was just, well, bad. After going over it several times, I was able to cut it down to only about 150 words over, but I still wasn’t pleased. I turned it in anyways so my boss, Anna, could give it a look and maybe help trim it, since she is a self-proclaimed slasher extraordinaire. The next day she hadn’t had much time to look, so I went back to it to see what I could do. I didn’t give it a complete re-haul, but I came about as close as you could. I typed, deleted, swapped, changed…I felt like a musician who, coming back to the piano after a time, sits down at the bench, gives their knuckles a good crack, and starts hammering away at those scale progressions. But I could feel the flow coming back, and it made me ecstatic.

I finished the report and felt much better about what I had done, and I had managed to get it down almost to what it needed to be. It was close enough that Anna said she thought they ought to be able to work with it. I haven’t heard any feedback about it (this was about a week ago) so I am guessing that means it was fine!

The rest of the week was full. There were meetings, office work, internet procuring (we have internet in our flat now, HURRAY!) birthday celebrations, baking (Cheesecake brownies WOO!), a trip to Forterocca (more about that later), and gelato runs. It has been lots of fun working in such a great environment, in a real office, doing real work (even if it isn’t technically a paid job). Every other job I have had has just been something for me to do so I could earn some money, and it is so refreshing to be working with such different motivations, and doing something that uses my talents and that I enjoy!

On Friday we got to go to Market again, one of my favorite parts of the week! Unfortunately, the last time I drew money out of the bank it gave me two 50 Euro notes, which is very inconvenient. People in Italy HATE giving change, especially if it’s a larger bill. They may even refuse you instead of taking the bill. In order to buy some fresh fruits and veggies, I really needed to break my 50. I had wanted a scarf almost since my arrival, but thus far on my market visits I had been unsuccessful in finding one I liked for a good price, but thought this would be a good reason to further my hunt. So I went scavenging through the clothes portion of market, hoping to stumble upon a decent purchase that I would actually use in order to procure some change.

After several unsuccessful searches, Tiff and I stumbled upon the motherload. Piles and piles of soft, swirling fabric came before our very eyes. There were oranges and blues, stripes and flower patterns. Woman after woman was stopping by to dig through the wonder and would surface triumphantly with a patterned trophy. And they were only 2 Euro a piece! Of course, we stopped and looked.

After gathering and discarding for several minutes (I felt like I was back at Atlanta’s Mart, you never know when odd skills like this will come in handy), I had whittled out a pile of around 7 scarves. Tiff had picked out one too, so I added hers to the pile in order to have a larger purchase for my fifty. I looked up to get the vendor’s attention when I noticed something a bit odd. There was our vendor, a slightly older man, maybe in his fifties, laughing and talking to customers, wearing a very frilly, ribbon and flower bedecked women’s hat! Thankfully he was just doing it to be funny and so there were no real awkward moments, and I was able to use what little Italian I have to try and join in teasing him about it. As he took care of my purchase, I told him he looked “bella” (beautiful). He responded with the equivalent of “oh yes, very beautiful, you are beautiful too!” A very nice man, he even knocked a Euro off my purchase and didn’t bat an eye at my 50. I hope to get to buy from him again.

Tiff and I also made lunch for the office on Friday. Usually a different full time staff member prepares lunch for anyone who wants it every day (and I am talking Italian lunch here, which is more like dinner, no cold sandwiches and brown bags here!). However, Tiff volunteered so I decided to help, and it went quite well. We made a Spanish omelet, Bruschetta, pasta with a pesto type topping, salad, and a bit of fruit. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, though I think we could have done with a bit more food since people showed up that we weren’t expecting when we started cooking. After work, the interns met together for our weekly “Unwind” session at Anna’s, where we had a kind of question and answer session about ourselves. That evening, almost the entire OM team came together and went to a Café in town which was having an appetizer event for five Euros a piece. Quite a bit of fun, the food was very interesting, and we got to top it all off with a run to Sergio’s, the Gelato man.

Saturday was just a relaxing day, and I got to spend a good portion of it reading. I was also able to set up a “date” with my boyfriend Mark, which was very exciting! We watched two episodes of Lost together (we just started season 5, so no spoilers please!), and got to chat for a while. I was glad we got to spend some time together, even if we weren’t actually “together.”

Yesterday I visited a new church with the Harrells, Aaron (another intern) and Tiff. It’s about 45 minutes away and is fashioned after U.S. type services since it is run by an American pastor who has lived here for about twenty years. It is called The Lighthouse (Il Faro) and they try to make it more like a community center along with church. They have a library, a bookstore, a game room where kids can come after school, they host concerts and the whatnot, all to try to reach out to the community and draw people in. The service was very typical American style, though very different for a church in Italy. I realized that I do believe I like the brethren style of church a bit better. I think I’d kind of like a mash-up of the two. Some of the organization of the American style mixed with the freedom of the brethren style.

We then had a going away party for one of the Forterocca workers, Iz, who is going back to the states for a few weeks to try to raise support for the center and for herself. The night ended with a few of us at Anna’s, playing games, watching some movies, and doing some work.

It was a good week for the most part. There are some stressful times, and some times where I still miss home a lot. But it is exciting working here, I like looking out the window and seeing the mountains, or walking down the street with flowers exploding out of every corner, framed by the decorative, Italian style (even the holders for the drain pipes are decorative!).

So that’s that! I’ll try to keep this updated more so the posts won’t be as long. With the iffy internet and crazy schedule of this last week it was hard to coordinate a time to write here, but I think I am starting to get the hang of things now. Hope you are all doing wonderfully, be looking for a new post with more details about Forterocca. Farewell and have a great night!




  1. Linda said,

    How much room could one more little scarf take in your suitcase? 2 Euros…I’ll pay you back! 🙂 This is certainly going to be a treasured memory for you, isn’t it I am so glad to “hear” you sounding so happy. I pray that the Lord will use this special time to reflect His life-giving grace to those who walk in darkness in Italy.

    • Sure! What colors would you like? And would you prefer a silky type scarf or a more cottony scarf?

      • Linda said,

        Muchas gracias! I guess I’m more likely to use a scarf in the fall/winter, so maybe cottony would be better. Thank you so much. That will be fun!!

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