Friday, April 9, 2010

La Dolce Vita

Dear friends, we are in week #2 in Rome. The kids are thriving on all the sunshine and good Italian food (there's my happy boy enjoying Nutella pizza outside St. Peter's Basilica), we are filled with grace from our daily visits to holy pilgrimage sites, and we are reveling in all the unique aspects of family life in Italy.

There are fewer comforts and conveniences, but people take life more slowly and seem to embrace it more here. Things like line-drying our wet clothes in the sun, eating the fresh fruit as we shop at the open air produce markets, and letting the kids cover public plazas with sidewalk chalk designs are welcomed. Things like rudeness and rushing, on the other hand, are not culturally acceptable.

The kids and I walk several miles a day to churches and playgrounds along the cobblestone streets with our double stroller and Ergo carrier. We meet my husband along the Tiber River in the early evening on his way home from researching at the Jesuit archives in the shadow of St. Peter's Basilica. The archives are only open 6 hours each weekday, so we are relishing the family time.

Learning to cook seasonal Italian cuisine (from signs and labels I can't translate) has been a challenging and wonderful way to break out of my cooking rut. Hazelnuts, sundried tomatoes, pesto, prosciutto, romano cheese and all those delicacies are abundant, commonplace and cheap.

Our hundreds-of-years-old charming fourth-floor walkup has wide open windows and a courtyard in the center, so we can hear cheerful noises of neighbors and passers by in the morning, noon, and night. There is a warmth and neighborliness and love of strangers, in a real Catholic spirit, that runs deeper than what I'm accustomed to in suburban America.

There's still no place like home sweet USA, but Italians have a beautiful way, Christ is present here, and in a sense Rome is always home after all.


Right Said Red said...

Thanks for giving us all a glimpse into your new life in Italy! Love it!

B-Mama said...

Looks amazing, JM! So glad you all are getting settled and already seeing the beauty in your new location. What a blessing!!

Kat said...

JM, thank you so much for sharing! I am thoroughly impressed that you actually packed those cables that attach your camera to your computer so that you can download pictures - you never cease to amaze :) Enjoy every moment of your time in Italy and make lots of memories!

Carol Kennedy said...

Your new adventure sounds great! We are expats in Scotland and planning our third trip to Rome (next week!!) with our three kids. We are very excited to visit St. Peters each evening, to stop in little church after little church to "find the tabernacle" and meet the saints that are pictured. Visiting Rome is an opportunity every family should have....and we have found it is best when you have the time to relax and explore a bit! God bless your time there!
If we see a double stroller, ergo carrying American family we will be sure to wave!!

Erin said...

JM- Sounds beautiful! What a blessed little time in the life of your family. I'm sure you will treasure this time forever!

Jessica Anderson said...

4th floor walk up!!! i am impressed! and i've been wondering if that's do-able here in nyc as we contemplate our next move. would love to hear how you're handling it and what your strategies for getting up and down with the kids & stroller & groceries, etc...I'm glad you're enjoying your time there so much!

texas mommy said...

Bellisimo!! So happy for your family to have this wonderful experience and that you are really letting is soak in!