Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Italy - Week 1 - Jan. 2015

Good Morning Readers!

Buongiorno from Northern Italy!

For the next four weeks, I’ll be posting here on Lagniappe every Thursday to chat about my time in Italy. I’ll have pictures for you and a small play-by-play of what’s happening. I hope you enjoy the tour.

I’ve been here a week and loving it. Still having a difficult time sleeping all through the night. Not sure if it’s jet lag or the powerful cappuccinos!

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Arrived into Venice, Italy at 2:20 PM via Frankfort, Germany—my first time in Germany. So thankful my luggage arrived when I did. Always a great way to start the trip. Thanks, to all you prayer warriors who've been praying for me. You are the best!

My son was waiting. So wonderful to see him after more than a year. We left for the small town of Cavazzale about an hour northwest of Venice. Loved riding on the Autostrada and seeing all the different automobiles.

Didn’t sleep much maybe a total of 3 hours on the 12.5-hour trip. Hoping to keep awake to offset the jet lag and adjust to Italy time.

Got a nice welcome when we drove into Cavazzale--a sheep traffic jam. Kinda felt at home. It's the type of traffic jams we have in Meeker.

Wonderful to see grandbabies! All three! Including the newest member, Ryan born on 16 January 2015! 

Isn't he adorable?

 BTW: It's okay to overuse exclamation marks when you're referring to your new grand baby. All rules out the window!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Dropped the kids off at their school. Son and DIL took new baby for a photo shoot while I strolled along the downtown area of the small Italian town of Cavazzale.

Stopped into a coffee shop and had a wonderful cappuccino. The best coffee here, hands down. It’s smooth and bold and just yummy. Italians know coffee.

Also, stopped into a pasta shop. The owner makes fresh pasta daily. Bought a serving of Gnocchi and Polenta. Can’t wait to try it!

Words I’ve mastered:

With the kids:
Andiamo – Let’s go. Hurry let’s go.
Basta – Stop

Out on the streets:
Un – One
Cappuccino – cappuccino.
Buongiorno – good day, good morning
Ciao – hello or goodbye,
una Persona – for one person, and am using lots of hand signals and pointing to objects.

It was my first time venturing out alone. I really wish I could speak the language. It’s beautiful and I feel so separate. So much an outsider.

The people here are quiet and reserved if they don’t know you. But they come to life when meeting someone they know. It’s been interesting listening to their conversations. Animated and lively.  I love it!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Saturday is market day in Cavazzale. The square in front of the school is transformed into an outdoor market. 

Trucks park in neat rows and the vendors showcase their fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, flowers, cheese, clothing, leather goods, and kitchenware. It’s fun to see the townspeople come to shop. 

They greet one another and are busy at the various booths purchasing their needs for the week.

I loved the smell of everything. It seems things smell sweeter and more robust here. Could it be that it’s all fresh? Or could it be because I’m in Italy?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Went to church on Army post with son and grandkids—Daughter-in-law still in recovery mode. If you think about it, could you say a few prayers for her continued recovery.

It was nice to worship with the other families stationed in Vicenza.

Really enjoyed the message—stay stagnate or awaken. Hmm, suppose I’ll have to take that to heart.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Stayed close to home today. Actually wrote some on my Christmas story set in Cavazzale. Prayers for daughter-in-law's healing much appreciated.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Mornings with the kids are awesome. Upon awaking they’re so sweet and cuddly. I love it. Then the race begins to get dressed, eat breakfast, and don coats, hats, and shoes. I believe that part takes the longest. Even getting the 5 year-old's hair spiked is not too bad. A new experience for this MawMaw.

We walk a few blocks to their Italian school. Today, after dropping the kids off at school, I walked to the Catholic church here. Went in to pray for a while. It was hard to concentrate for gawking at the awesome art, architecture, and sculptures.  Two photos of the shroud of Turin adorned the area above the side doors. So awesome.

Dark stained wood and candles throughout. The ornate altar has a burst of gold and finely crafted relics. The heady fragrance of incense used for years greeted when I walked in. Bringing back many childhood memories. 

A sweet young lady tried to tell me something but I didn't understand her. She kept pointing to a side wing of the church. I think it’s chapel where the morning mass is held. Did I miss out on a wonderful opportunity because I wasn't brave enough to let her guide me to where she pointed? Maybe. From now on I think I'll be braver. Seek out where God is leading. After all, the word He spoke to me for this year is SEEK. If I seek, I'll find.  That verse in Matthew (7:7-8) is one of my favorites.

Returned to the same coffee shop this morning. Met a lady I’d met the day before. Her son and my grandson are friends. She remembered me. It felt nice to greet her and for her response. The lady (owner) there seemed to recognize me and greeted as though she did.
Was kinda nice.
I felt a little more like I belonged. 

Wish I could speak the language. I have a whole new appreciation for people who come to America and don't speak English. It's a different experience when you can't communicate. When you're the outsider. But, seriously, I am reveling in this experience!

I know God is teaching me much through this. The art of truly listening and learning is always a valuable lesson.
Comprehension comes in bits and pieces. 

This time has made me acutely aware of how we communicate through body language and facial expressions. There is so much more to true communication than speaking. As a writer this thorough understanding is immeasurable.

Three ladies were sitting in the coffee shop next to me. I loved listening to their animated speech, their laughs, and watching their hand gestures. I was a bit envious--I wanted to be part of a group like that here. I desire an Italian friend to have coffee with, to learn from and share with. I'm afraid a month is not long enough to find someone like that. Especially here where people are reserved around strangers.

As I sat drinking my wonderful cappuccino, I became aware of using all my senses. Listening to the women speak so lively, the quiet strains of American music playing in the background, the sweet yet bold flavor of the coffee and cream, the small cars buzzing by and people walking briskly in the cool morning air (bundled as though the temperatures were much colder than they are), and the heavy ceramic of the cappuccino mug. It all came together and I'm grateful to have this time. 

Perhaps with prayers and seeking I'll find exactly what God has ordained for this time here.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

I'm finally getting into somewhat of a routine. Sleep patterns are still messed up, but then again, that happens at home.

See the Italian alps in the distance? 

Today I dropped the kids at school then headed for the coffee shop. After another marvelous cappuccino, spent some time in the church again this morning. There was a mass in the small room off the main church. Maybe I’ll make it to the mass one day. While it’s been a while since I’ve been to a Catholic Mass, I think it would be awesome to attend one in Italian.

Took the long way home today so I could enjoy the sunshine.
Added several hundred words to my story and found the house the heroine inherits from her grandmother. Perfect setting and location. Can’t wait to get her there!

Readers, thanks for visiting Lagniappe.

I pray you find 
"a little something extra" 
in each of your days.

Until next Thursday, Arrivederci!


Ann Ellison said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing it with your blog and the pictures. Your grandchildren are just precious!!!!!

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Marian, Delightful to read about your time in Italy! I would love to travel there one day. Enjoy your family and all that you are experiencing.

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

Ann, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I'll have more next week. Spending the time with the grandchildren has been such a blessing. I didn't know what I was missing!

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

Carrie, thanks for stopping by! You would love it here. Especially the old buildings. Really enjoying the time with family. It's been long overdue!

Sherry said...

I know the Lord doesn't want me to be but I am so jealous that you are in Italy! I would love to be there with you and we could jump right in with those fun ladies at the next table in the coffee shop! You know that's where I would spend a lot of my time. You have a great time and write on sister.

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

Sherry, I would love for you to be here with me! I keep thinking how much fun this would be with a group of friends exploring each of the regions! We may have to plan a "group" trip.