Even though all evangelical church options require a hike to the city, it's the perfect excuse to spend the rest of the day in Rome. This Sunday, I took the metro to the Spanish Steps and couldn't help but think of my students from Parry McCluer last year. I really do miss (most of) them.
Being an overcast and chilly Sunday morning, I was one of very few tourists in the area--an extremely uncommon site as I would discover later on that afternoon (below).
Just a few blocks away, I found myself tossing a ten cent coin into La Fontana di Trevi. I didn't care how incredibly cheesy or touristy it was if it meant coming back to Rome! With forty-five minutes still to spare, I stopped for an overpriced cappuccino and perused some shops on La Via del Corso...all before 10:30am. I guess you could call this "type-A traveling." It's effortless being a tourist in a such a city overwhelmed with history, monuments, and beauty for its own sake. No matter what road I may wander, I find that I am always in the "right place."
|view of the ritziest shopping district in Rome from top of the Spanish Steps|
The title of this post was largely influenced by my experience at Rome Baptist Church this Sunday, where the pastor proudly reported that the congregation was packed with more than forty nationalities! We were just one of four separate Sunday services, all in different languages. Having never been a part of such an eclectic group of worshippers, I couldn't have been more thrilled. Through traveling, I am reminded again and again just how BIG God is. I realize that's a gross over-simplification, but it's the best my simple human mind can do. He hears and understands all prayers, in every language, even before the petitioner opens his mouth. Men and women from Hungary, Poland, New Zealand, Kenya, Japan, and elsewhere joined together to sing in one voice to the same God. He is BIG enough to unite peoples from the far corners of the world with otherwise nothing in common, simply because they love Him. After being forced into a briefly embarrassing public introduction of myself as a newcomer, I soon realized I was surrounded by Americans working at the Embassy and a number others that had either visited or lived in Washington D.C. for a time.
After church, I decided to check out the U.S. Embassy for myself, formerly a palace and allegedly the most beautiful embassy in Rome. On the way, I ran into a family I had met earlier at church and in talking, we discovered that the dad is currently one of the students at the NATO Defense College where Benito works. Is it too soon to be having these kind of coincidences after less than two weeks in Rome? We exchanged contact information and are sure to meet again between church and College events.
Heading back to the metro at La Piazza Spagna, the rain started up again. Just minutes later, however, an umbrella magically appeared over my head. Mike, a gentleman from Moscow, was here on business. Small talking through a mixture of broken English and Italian, we made our way back towards the Spanish Steps together. At the bottom, as we neared the station and I prepared to say "thank you" and "goodbye," Mike asked instead, "So, where to next?" If only meeting men in the States were this easy!
After a long stretch on the metro, I was hardly enthused about spending a very wet thirty minutes waiting for the bus back to Infernetto. But just as before, another kind human being offered me shelter from the storm. As I shared an umbrella with this complete stranger in a foreign country, the woman engaged me in small talk and didn't seem to mind the baby Italian I offered back. Fine, I guess I'll stay!