July 5, 2010

being a light

"For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light." Psalm 36:9
"You are the light of the world." Matthew 5:14

I lit a candle tonight but I couldn't see the light hardly at all. The wick had huge walls of wax surrounding it and that little light wasn't able to shine bright. I thought to myself how our lives can become surrounded by walls and how sometimes we have to get through those walls and break them down for our light to be seen once again.

So, I took a kitchen knife and carefully cut around the candle leaving the wick as free and happy as a little wick could be. I lit it and am staring at a beautiful light and wishing that breaking down the "walls" could be as easy as it was for me with my little candle tonight.

July 2, 2010

long overdue

I can't start this post without first making myself some Napoletano espresso...be right back.

Okay, that's better. I not only feel like I have been absent from the blogging world but also the world in general. I just finished my first year of teaching English at a little private school called St. Peter's and boy, was it stretching. I absolutely LOVED the location of my school, which sat right across the street from the sea and my favorite little coffee shop but the teaching itself was a lot different from any other school I have taught at. For discipline, I had to rely on hand signals (good hand signals) and small phrases in Italian at the beginning. :) It definitely was worth all the, "I don't understand," and "Could you repeat that please?" At the end of the school year, hearing all my beautiful students speak English, whether it be basic or almost fluent, my heart took joy in their joy.

My mom came to visit me in my little Italian world for Easter and it was a trip we will carry with us forever. We had a magical time, exploring Napoli, then Roma for 2 weeks and I am just so proud that she took that step to get on the plane. I know it can be very scary to travel internationally but she did it, and did it with grace. After being blessed with my mom's presence, my beautiful cousin came over as well. We spent 2 weeks laughing, crying, eating, walking, visiting, taking pictures, making memories and picking up where we left off 7 years ago. It was so refreshing for me to spend time with pieces of my heart and to show them my life.

Now, I'm sitting in my little studio, listening to the sounds of scooters and Italians talking (screaming) back and forth to each other and wondering how in the world I ended up in this place. I have been here for 2 years, on my own for over a year and I'm still not married nor have any concrete plans for it in the future. Antonello is working hard to finish school and his thesis so he can graduate in October and then find a job to start earning some money. Does everything revolve around having enough money?

I sat and read my blog from the very beginning and could see God's fingerprints all over this story of Antonello and I. It brought me back to the place where I was so stinkin' excited for this unknown adventure! As I write this entry after being here for 2 years, with Antonello for almost 3, those fingerprints are harder to see but I think that may be because I am blind. :) I don't think I would ever recommend someone to pick up all their belongings and move away from everything they have ever known, all their friends and family and all that they hold safe to start a life somewhere new and unfamiliar. It has been difficult and it is difficult and I am just trying to see and find those fingerprints again.

When I do see them though, it's like they have been there all along. They are bright and true and in my face and all I can say is, thank you God. Thank you for bringing me here, stretching me, refining me and not letting me stay the same.

I finished my espresso and always feel better to be able to share my heart, even if it is in a blog.

30 days and Antonello and I will be in Seattle, hoping to see more fingerprints.

March 18, 2010

don't waste it...

I was listening online to a Twin Lakes Church service the other day and Rene, the pastor, was speaking about problems and what we can gain from them. He spoke about problems having value and producing an element of growth within our lives.

As much as I understand and can see that growth every time I go through problems, it's still no fun and I can't wait for them to be over. But then he said something that struck my heart when he started talking about having wisdom through the trials. He quoted something a woman had said (who was going through a very difficult time) to her pastor after having being asked, "How can I pray for you?" She replied, "Pray that I'll have the wisdom not to waste all this."

Pray I'll have the wisdom not to waste all this. Not, pray this will be over soon. Not just to throw my hands in the air and say, forget it, I'm done and wait for life to be comfortable again. Be present in the moment, in the day, in the hour and commit to finding something good.

Sarah, don't waste these trials and beautiful lessons you've been learning. There is so much light to be seen yet. Have the wisdom and courage to recognize it.

January 28, 2010

two loves

This is my little cousin Sam. I adore him. That is "Blue", his toy dog sitting on top of his head with his hands in his pockets. I am thankful beyond words to have him in my life. I just wanted to share a little glimpse of this gift from God.
My other love and the one who inspires me daily is this beautiful woman. My mom. We took this picture at Christmas in front of our tree and I just can't wait to see her in two months when she flies across the ocean to visit me for Easter. I miss her...

January 1, 2010

am I satisfied...

Once again, time seems to have slipped through my little fingers and the first thing to go is...the blog. :( So, here is a little tid-bit of how I spent my time during my time back in Seattle for Christmas break.

My beautiful cousin, Jillian, came up to Seattle from Olympia to stay with my mom and I for the weekend after Christmas and we had a blast, reconnecting, shopping, eating, cooking dinner, singing, and just laughing about all our wonderful memories growing up. It was a hard Christmas for her and her brothers, seeing that her mom, my aunt, just passed away months before. I am so grateful for the time I spent with her and she is now in the planning stages of buying a ticket to come visit me this summer! Wohoo!

Jillian and I at UW Village

Eating delicious hot dogs

I was also so so so grateful to have spent much-needed time with my besty, Kristin, who is due this April!!!!!!!! I cannot believe it and I am just beside myself with joy. I laid my head on her beautiful belly one night and as that little girl moved around, I, of course, cried tears of joy. I am so extremely sad I will miss the birth of this little treasure but am looking forward to the day where I can hold my little niece.

Kris and I in our high school pose :)

see how perfect her belly fits into mine!

For the day of Christmas, my mom and I headed down to Olympia to spent time my cousins and had a Christmas like we haven't shared in a long time; together with actual family. It was difficult to know that Aunt Jonnie wouldn't be there with us but to know that our family is somewhat coming together after such a long time of strife, will hopefully put a smile on her heavenly face.
As for Antonello, he stayed in Napoli with his family this year and although it was a little hard to be apart, it was glorious to see his face at the airport when he picked me up in Rome. Oh, what a handsome man I have. :o)
Right now, I am just working working working and trying to find more peace in this country. The language still eludes me at times but I am trying to learn. I titled my blog, 'am I satisfied...' because there are many times during the day, living in this city, where I think, am I truly satisfied here?
  • Am I satisfied with the constant traffic?
  • Am I satisfied with having to take the bus every day to work, which is absolutely packed 70% of the time?
  • Am I satisfied with how difficult it is not to be able to speak the language fluently, even with my own in-laws?
  • Am I satisfied with my little water heater that takes 1 hour to heat up so I can take a shower and wash the dishes in warm water?
  • Am I satisfied with the MILLION people who smoke here all the time?
  • Am I satisfied with not having my neighborhood and familiar roads surrounding me daily?
  • Am I satisfied with living so far away from my mom...again?
  • Am I satisfied with not having my good, solid girlfriends around me?
  • Am I satisfied with not being married yet and desperately wanting to start that part of my life?

Then, the kicker. I think back and read through my journals of how I ended up here in the first place. God brought me to California, to Twin Lakes Church, to go on a missions trip, to be placed with Antonello's family for lunch that Sunday, to take an Italian class at Cabrillo College where my professor adored Napoli and knew of a great Italian school I could go to, to go to that same exact Italian school, to find an apartment right across the street from where his mom works, to have someone at Antonello's church, recommend me for a job teaching English, to being hired to work for St. Peter's where I am currently working....

...am I satisfied? I feel as though my spirit longs for my "comfortable" life I had back in the States but I have to stop myself and think. I would have missed out on seeing and living this beautiful plan that is now part of me.

I am reading back through one of my favorite books, "Ruthless Trust", by Brennan Manning, and I will leave my post with this:

"The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it his presence and his promise."

Am I satisfied? Tonight, I'm overflowing...

my gift

December 17, 2009

my berfday

Antonello threw me a surprise birthday dinner for my 30th and I felt so blessed to share it with his family and a few friends. Some of our friends couldn't make it because of the flu that has been wandering around but it was wonderful none-the-less.

I worked a very long day on the 14th, from 11:30-7:00 pm that night, so I was pretty exhausted by the time Antonello picked me up from work. He drove me back home so I could rest a while and then get ready for our "date" together. I had no idea that he was planning this dinner so when I walked into the restaurant and saw little 'nonna' (grammy) standing there trying to hide, I knew something special was up.

It was a wonderful night full of amazing appetizers, wonderful pasta and bread, and champagne with strawberry/whip-cream cake to top it off.
sitting at the table together waiting for some food!!! I thought I had opened all my presents but his parents were saving this one for me as a surprise

I just couldn't believe my eyes....as I screamed "MAMMA MIA"

my own little oven....aahhhh....
(my place is pretty tiny, so this little oven is a piece of heaven for me and my kitchen)

my dude

one of the many beautiful walls that covered the entire restaurant

my birthday cake with fireworks on it :o)

the manly men

the beauties

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday and I loved every minute.
Now, I am trying to clean my house and pack my things before I head off to Seattle once again to spend some time with mom, friends and family for Christmas. Antonello has to stay in Napoli so I am venturing off, yet again, to fly cross-country. Whew...it takes a lot of mental and physical power to keep traveling back and forth.
The other night, Antonello surprised me (again) by calling me after I had an English private lesson at my house and told me to look down from my balcony. Well, that little sneaker was standing on my street smiling at me, telling me to get down there so we could walk to our favorite neighborhood pizzeria to pick up a couple pizzas. On the way back, it started to pour down rain and we were caught in it. It was way fun pretending like we were in a race to get the pizzas home and were literally racing through my narrow streets getting drenched. Fun times.

December 11, 2009

a new song

It has been awhile since my last post and so much has happened in the last 3 months. I found a wonderful job at a private school teaching English and even have a couple private lessons at my house during the week. It has provided a level of stability that I so desperately needed. I am finding my way around the city, and although the bus is still difficult to take, I am experiencing Napoli in such a different, beautiful light.

I am so so so looking forward to traveling back to the States for Christmas and having some time off of work, of a different country, of a different language, etc., but I will miss my love. :o)

There was a point, a wall, that I hit sometime in these last three months where I didn't think I could fall deeper in my culture shock, what am I doing, this isn't for me, I miss my comfortable life I used to have, HOLE. I fell into a hole that surrounded me and wouldn't let me go. I was feeling pretty horrible, to say the least, with all my different emotions/feelings/actions/words/thoughts and I prayed every day for some kind of release, for some kind of answer.

Isn't it usually true, that the way we come to a place of light is by going through all the darkness and climbing our way through those holes? Well, I've been doing alot of climbing and am coming to a place in my life where I can finally see how beautiful it is. Not because I'm living in Italy. Not because I'm engaged. Not because I'm living some sort of romantic movie because I'm not. I'm seeing how beautiful God is through all of this and that is a song worth singing.

I am grateful to live life among these Italians, with Antonello, with his family and now with my new work family. WOO-HOO for a new song!