I’m really afraid of flying. I already wrote about that. What I didn’t say was how much I’m REALLY AFRAID OF FLYING. I thought my flight to Dallas was bad. Then I got on a flight across the Atlantic and figured out how scared I actually am. I didn’t used to be, but I get anxiety about a lot of things lately. I like to be in control, so I especially don’t like not being in control of the aircraft speeding thousands of feet above ground and sea.
At the beginning of the flight, I was in tears- just so afraid. Every time there was turbulence, it would start again. I convinced myself I was going to die that way. I slept 30 minutes on the flight and was awake for 30 some hours total with the time changes and all. I questioned why I even decided to go on an overseas mission trip in the first place.
On our final flight from Frankfurt to Italy, we flew over the Alps. It was so breathtaking and such a good reminder of how big God is. If he can make that, he can hold a plane up for a few hours.
Then I got to Bologna. I landed safely on the ground. And now that I think about it, my anxiety went away at the end of the flight. See, I bought wifi on the plane to talk to my mom and asked a lot of people to pray for me. I guess that worked because only a supernatural being could take away the intense fear I had.
I immediately felt so stupid for ever doubting the decision to come here. I mean, we talked about God’s purpose at briefing in Dallas. We talked about how much money was raised to get the team here and how significant that was. Obviously I was supposed to come.
And the city is beautiful! It’s dirty with graffiti and smells like New York in the summer, but that doesn’t matter. There’s so much history and so much life and so much great architecture. There’s also a lot of darkness. We prayer-walked around campus and I learned a lot about the students, regional politics, and spiritual beliefs.
Basically, I realized I was meant to be here. I certainly wasn’t comfortable getting here, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t okay.
I think living in Italy is going to really show me this. I like schedules and streets that make sense and proper grammar. Last summer in New York I was in my element. Bologna isn’t like that. Italians aren’t always on time, apparently. The atmosphere is very chill. The driving is still crazy, but people are fine slowly walking down the streets. I also struggle with directions. It’s not easy to see street names all the time, so I’m still very much lost and still trying to figure out my reference points. And finally, I’m trying to speak a language that I’ve only been learning for three years. I’m shy in English and I’m actually pretty good at it. Imagine my fear of speaking to the Italians in their language. I’ve done mostly listening so far and not a lot of responding, but I hope I can humble myself accept that I have to make mistakes in order to learn.
I’m certainly out of my comfort zone, but that’s fine. Being out of your comfort zone only makes put away your pride to rely on God and other people more, which is something I still have trouble doing.
Usually I like to blog about big issues and relate it to spiritual things, but I’m gonna finish this one with what I’ve been doing in Bologna so that my fam can read it, so anyway.
Yesterday I moved into my temporary home, which is a pull out sofa with two of the staff girls living in Bologna. They made me espresso, which was my first taste of Italian coffee and it’s just SO GOOD. Today I had a cappuccino at the apartment and an espresso at the bar (coffee shop). I’ve also had gelato twice already. And pizza with mozzarella di bufalo, which is just yum. And pasta twice. I’m being really stereotypical. (Also an Italian girl I got to meet today told us mozzarella isn’t actually cheese. It’s like a weird in-between of milk and cheese. So that’s odd?)
The staff taught us how to ride the bus today, how to buy groceries, and how to order coffee, and we also got a short little history lesson about the city. It’s fun here. I’ve been at several staff people’s apartments and it’s really neat seeing what real life is like and not just from the eyes of a tourist, which we all know I hate being.
I’ve listened to a lot of Italian today and understood most of it, which is so cool to me. I can’t understand when more than one person is speaking, but hopefully that clicks later. I’ve spoken a few words in Italian today, but not many. Mostly ciao, grazie and “vorrei un caffè.” Obviously that last one. Next week when we start meeting students, I’m excited and nervous to expand my conversation skills. I think I know a little more than I realize, so we’ll see.
Tomorrow we’re going to the regional office in Florence and then spending the afternoon as tourists, so that will be both annoying and fun. I’m ready for the sights and shops, but maybe not the masses of people. Bologna has been really cool because it’s not touristy. I haven’t taken pictures of anything besides one cone of gelato, two statues (because my boyfriend is obsessed with them), and un tramonto perchè era bellissima. See, I know some Italian. 🙂 I’ll post some more when I taken them. I mean, I have a whole month. Anyway, it’s only been a day and a half and God is already teaching me about his sovereignty and the importance of taking the gospel everywhere- even to First World, stereotypically Catholic countries like Italy.