Our team is finally (thankfully) out from under the foggy influence of travel fatigue, and I’ve watched everyone get more and more comfortable with the daily routine, using public transport, ordering food, and speaking to the Italian students. Even though I’ve been to Milan twice before, it always takes me a few days to re-remember how things work, and I’ve had some hiliarious moments as I’ve tried to stumble through pronunciations or figure out what someone just asked me.
It helps to remember that if we feel unsure, the Italian students are often just as nervous (if not more) than we are. We might be in a foreign country, but at least we get to remain in the comfort of our own language.
On the first day of English Clubs, we played games and made small talk and laughed as we tried to pronounce everyone’s name. My name is hard even for Americans to pronounce and remember, but it’s a real doozie for them. However, Gabrielle, one of the girls on our team, simply switched out the “e” at the end of her name for an “a”, and voila! She has an Italian name! Some of the students even mistook her for an Italian when they glanced at her nametag. 🙂
The first day was good, but the second was amazing! Instead of going to a classroom, we all trooped to a beautiful park that sits a short mile or so from campus. In the bright sunshine and pollen we played soccer (pronounced “futbol” here, just as in Mexico), and even taught the students to play Ultimate Frisbee. They got really competitive!
I brought my tennis shoes to play, but I ended up talking in the shade with some of the girls who didn’t want to run around. As we discussed cultural differences, our families, and our dreams for the future, I found myself thinking that these girls were the ages of my sisters.
The awesome conversations continued at the “aperitivo” (happy hour) at a campus cafe. We crowded over twenty people around the tables, laughing at the wind that kept blowing our napkins and food into our laps.
Today was probably the best day yet, but it’s 1 am here in Milan and tomorrow Jordan are boarding a train for Turin early in the morning (a last-minute trip that we planned just today!), so I need to sign off.
But please don’t stop praying! All week, in both my personal times with Jesus and times with the team, I’ve been learning about the necessity, urgency and privilege of prayer.
They move the heart of God to move in the hearts and circumstances of people, and we know that nothing we do will have lasting fruit unless it’s done in His strength.
- That many students would join our team as they go sight-seeing around the center of Milan tomorrow (10 hrs from the time of this post)
- For our team to be encouraged and joyful
- For the three students I got to share my story with tonight!!! (Ohh, it was so exciting!! But you’ll have to wait until the next post. 🙂 )