Monday, October 14, 2019

updates and travels

Over a year after the previous blog update and my sincere intentions to start updating more regularly, I’m finally doing another update (and once again have intentions to resume posting more often than annually). 

Soon after my last post, when I wrote about Hope for Life and Sarah, I intended to give an update about Sarah. Within about 24 hours of writing about her, several people offered to contribute to what was needed for her to acquire a new leg. It was amazing to me – I had described her situation and what a beautiful woman she is, but I hadn’t expected to raise money. So, about a month or two following the blog update, thanks to donations received, she was at the rehab center getting her new leg. Since then, she’s been getting around well. I had fully intended to do an update immediately to express my appreciation – but I didn’t.

Since then, a lot has been happening within SMA and among the lay people who are involved with the SMA. There have been meetings (of course). Some were for the lay people who are involved with the various units of SMA. Then, this past May, there was the big SMA meeting that takes place every 6 years to elect new leaders and set the goals for the next 6 years (a one-month long meeting!!). Following that was a meeting for just the US SMA (only 2 weeks), and then the usual meetings here in Rome. I feel like meetings have been a major part of my life for the past 6 years – meetings and other administrative things, but I knew it would be like this when I agreed to take up the position (which is part of why I hesitated to agree immediately to come live in Rome for 6 years). There were a lot of preparations for some of these meetings – and the meetings had, in my opinion, very mixed results (more on that in the future), as meetings will do.

In Rome during August most people flee to the beaches or the mountains to be with family and in cooler, fresher air. Rome can become a bit hot. The people in the SMA house also leave – the priests who are here to study go for extra classes, to help in parishes and for holidays. The bosses take their leave at that time since the rest of Rome is also on holiday, so it makes it difficult to get official business done. For the past 5 years, I’ve been the one to stay at the SMA house in Rome during August. We can’t all abandon the house, and the mass desertion leaves me happy to be the one to stay and take care of whatever needs to happen. I spend the entire month sweating, but it’s also a solitary and peaceful time, and mostly a time when I can focus on work I want to get done – I enjoy the solitude, setting my own schedule and deciding what and when I want to eat, focusing without interruption on things I want to get done, etc. 

I then get to take my vacation at another time – a time when things are busier in the house and in the city, and a time when there are fewer people traveling…making traveling a bit more peaceful as well. 

Pompeii, with Vesuvius in the background

Vesuvius, from Naples

This September a couple of friends had time off and came to visit. We spent a little over a week in Tuscany and then another week in the southern part of Italy. Tuscany lives up to all the beautiful descriptions that are out there about it. 

The Vie Cave - what feels like a maze that meanders through what feels like canyon outside of Sorano (but, it is neither a maze nor a canyon)

a view of Sorano - after wandering through the canyon

re-entering Sorano, after going back through the canyon

lunch in Tuscany - with the view seen in the picture at the top of this post

the remains of a castle at the top of Montemassi, a village we stayed in for a couple of nights

view of village from the castle
another view of the village

One of the little hill-towns we stayed in, Manciano, was having its annual wine festival (Festa delle Cantine) for the 3 nights we were there. So, every night found us wandering the streets with a cup of wine, that was regularly being refilled, around our necks . 

souvenirs following 3 nights of a wine festival

The parts of Southern Italy that we visited were just as amazing and beautiful as Tuscany – and with just as many delicious foods and wines. 

Blue Grotto

with Jessie and Arthur - long-time friends who were visiting
the town is Polignano a Mare - this rocky beach we swam at is also seen in the next photo, through the arches that we had to walk under

In spite of a lot of movement, the time off left me refreshed and relaxed…and a bit more hopeful than I had felt following the meeting from May.
One of the Trulli houses of Alberobello (also called "Mushroom Houses") where we spent a night.....unfortunately, those HUGE beer steins were only filled with rain water from the previous day

I can't call this graffiti (painted on a wall in Pisticci)


a couple of "yarn bombed" trees in Sorrento, where we were waiting for a ferry to Capri and the Blue Grotto pictured above


At 5:59 PM, Blogger MJ said...

I love all these photos. After talking to you and hearing about the trip I was hoping to see more than just the few that you sent us--thanks so much for all these and the descriptions to go with them.

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I should send you more pictures from my camera. Then you can write more to help me remember in the next 20 years.


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