Who knew that Italians would be so sweet to throw an american-style 4th of July party for their American friends! Stefano was extremely hospitable and had a group of us out to his house in the country where his family has a farm and makes their own honey—that is delicious by the way! Neil was designated to be the head grill man cooking corn on the cobb, bacon (almost bacon—pancetta) and delicious hamburgers. We had salsa, american-style cookies, Coca-Cola; and what 4th of July wouldn’t be complete without watermelon. Thankfully, here in Rome, fireworks are a regular occurrence during the summer months, so we weren’t missing out on that. However, because the fireworks are happening so frequently, Arthur has become quite scared of the loud booms at night making us loath them—at least for now.
As the month came to a close, so did Rome—”and it never seemed so strange.” You get the feeling that it’s a lot like the last month of school when you are a kid—you kind of “check out” because you know summer is just around the corner. Well, August is that for Italians. It’s a time for vacation, family, and friends. It’s amazing how a city of 4 million people can begin to feel so empty. If people weren’t beginning to leave for holiday, many of them were closed up in their homes trying to keep cool as this summer has been the hottest summer in Rome since 2003. We don’t know any difference other than adjusting to life without air conditioning and we’ve managed quite well we think! We’ve found ways to keep cool as the Romans do by having them show us where to go with trips to the park, a day trip to the beach, and regular treats of gelato and grattacheca—similar to a snow cone. Something great about Rome is that it’s a city full of water fountains called nasone where you can get a cold drink of water after being parched from tirelessly walking on the hot pavement. Plus, the kids think it’s a lot of fun to aim for for their mouths.
We also had some great time this month with our dear friends, Lorenzo and Iolanda, before summer break began from their universities . They have helped us so much with our language learning and have become really great friends to us. They were so sweet to cook us another classic Italian meal (yet again!). We have to admit we are rather spoiled by being surrounded by such great cooks! We ate outside, as we do just about every night, on our outdoor space on our terrace that we are soooo thankful for with the heat from this summer.
We also had a double-date night with them in Trastevere, which is a charming zona full of beautiful architecture with colors of pinks and corals, overflowing vines, and old, stone streets. After a delicious dinner, we walked along the Tiber river where they set up all kinds of tents with restaurants and stores for the summer months. It was one of those evenings that felt rather nostalgic and was a memorable night for all of us.
Most of what we do here in Rome is the “normal” and mundane life like anybody else—grocery shopping, laundry and hanging it out on the line to dry, and cooking and doing the dishes. But, there is certainly real joy in the everyday. Sitting at the kitchen table reading God’s Word with a warm cappuccino and realizing that your son has gone to get his Bible, too and is fully engaged in the story of Jesus and watching it come alive brings no greater joy! Loving Jesus is what really matters in this life—and sharing that love of Christ with others.