Saturday, June 29, 2019

Life in Italy - Day 1608 (2019) Palmarola, a wild uninhabited island

Giovedì 27 Giugno 2019
I woke up with an hour to spare before my organized boat trip and saw Emilia on the street with whom I had a good convo. Then I got breakfast at Bar Tripoli and talked to Rita!! She said she collected a kilo of beans in the fields yesterday after first watering all the plants with water she drew from a well. All this AFTER she had already worked the day shift at the bar. She told me about a tunnel that goes from the east side to the west side of the island she wants to show me sometime 😱 She also told me not to worry about the gossip birthed from the recent port-side drama because even she and her friends have to deal with gossip here in the winter. She said that if a girl so much as smiles at a man, the island people are already saying that she is sleeping with him!
I paid only 27.50 to the Cooperativa Barcaioli to be driven 45 minutes across the sea to the other island. The skipper's name is Vittorio and he took about 20 of us there, explaining every nook and cranny, including the famous plant fro which he island gets its name, the Palmanana (little palm tree).
Our first stop was by a cave where you body becomes translucent when you swim in there, and the rock is both purple and rust colored. I also swam outside the cave to the south corner where there are beautiful round rocks and grass and fish with a tail shaped like a V outlined in a blue stripe. The current was so strong it took me away quickly and was incredibly hard to swim back to our boat. I wasn't sure if I could do it because I was hardly making any headway. I did it!
Then we drove through the huge cave after which is some of the most beautifully colored water you will ever see in your life. Baby blue, with diamond-shaped waves in baby blue and large underwater rocks dressed in yellowish rust plant life. I wish we could have set the anchor down there. We continued past some gorgeous hills on the west side and stop under the three arches to swim. A nice 25 minute swim in and  under the arches. I noticed different colored sea grasses growing on these rocks. They are rust and yellow colored. Very pretty when you look out as far as your eye can see because it is so clean and clear with these little sturdy trees on every single rock under water. The view from the boat was even more enjoyable than the swim itself because I sat on the top floor of the boat and looked down on the water which is a seafoam green color yet crystal clear sparkling under the sun and lapping in calm waves over a pebble sea floor. Above are gorgeous hills and rock formations adorned in soft green grasses and yellow flowers the shape of perfectly round pom poms. They look softer and light yellow here than they do at Ponza because the grass around it is soft too. Then we passed more varied colors in the water like teal and mint green and royal blue and we continued north west before stopping at the main beach for over an hour. I later learned one can stay on the boat for that hour and go to the other side of the rock which has a chapel on top wherein lie the relics of San Silverio. I was highly disappointed to have not been previously informed that one can stay on the boat in lieu of the beach. The beach is much less pretty than the sea on the other side of that rock!!!! Darnit!!!!! I was so exhausted. But of course I forced myself to swim and did see two delightful things: about 30 fish called Occhiata, swarming around underneath a boat (like I had seen yesterday) and even lower, scouring the sandy seafloor, there were about five fish with the two black vertical stripes one at the neck and one at the tail. They are all so beautiful. I lay on the hot white oval pebbles of the beach for a while. We boarded again and turned the corner called the Catedrale (Cathedral) and onto the east side where we entered a cave said to look like the palate of a cat's mouth. Passing the middle of the island where the stone is white and comes to a sharp point, the water rolls like velvet, a perfectly transparent mint green, where the shadow of the boats is seen down to the sea floor. We swam in this and it reminded me of Tropea. I swam over sand able to see for long far distances into endless shades of baby blue, mint green, seafoam green and turquoise water. JUST GORGEOUS. I saw the kind of fish that is black and oval and advances slowly on the sand. I also saw pretty spiral sea shells on the sea floor. A guy next to me grabbed an octopus from the water by the hand and let it lie on his back. It slowly crawled around on him. I had to dodge two jelly fish.
I slept the whole way back until we reached the light house of Ponza where little balls of red and yellow plants grow in the steep hills.
Upon my return, I saw Francesco my skipper friend and chatted with him about his marvelous day at sea!!! Then, my good friend Alessandro sat by me for nearly 2 hours for an aperitivo at Bar Maga Circe. He is such a deep thinker. He said he used to be a player but now he wants a girl who is as autonomous as him and who is realizing her own dreams in the world. That way, both people have something substantial to share and exchange with each other and one doesn't depend on the other in a unbalanced way. He told me about how his dad never wet to school but taught himself all about technology and learns every day. He told me he views me as a resident of Ponza, one who really belongs here.
Then I went to Bar Tripoli just to hug the owner Vincenzo, hug Lavigna, and say hi to Roberta the waitress. Then Nanni, a retired architect described all the minerals that create colors of the sea grasses I observe. The green is from a mix of yellow sulphur and blue Poseidon. Talking about nature's elements, he went onto discuss things one can prove as sure through science. Thus, he said he is agnostic since one cannot prove the existence of God. I told him it takes as much faith to believe there is no God as to believe there is. All of us base every decision in life on faith in something we have no empirical proof of.
Then I ate dinner at Oresteria, and both the owner Oreste and the four waiters are extremely nice to me. They made a hamburger for me with melted cheese on top per my request, with a side of thinly sliced roasted potatoes, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. But the side of scarola vegetable would have been much better with LESS SALT for heavens' sake! The mille foglie dessert was delicious but too sugary and gave me a sugar high afterward. But during the whole dinner, I sat outside under the gorgeous lights still hung from the San Silverio festival and this is the last night I can adore them. They are soft yet bold yellow and cobalt blue under a cobalt sky.
I listened to Tim Keller's sermon on Authentic Christianity. He says real Christians are not perfect; but they ARE teachable and open to Jesus' correction. When Jesus reveals a area of sin, their response is to ask Him "help me! Weed out this sin out of me." Real Christians are not those who are not simply those who are influencing people around them to believe and change their lives in Christ; rather are those who want to cultivate intimacy with Jesus, to know Jesus closely.
I always get sad on Thursday nights because it means my time in paradise is coming to an end.
Then Leonardo, the lawyer who first informed me of the existence of this island, came over to talk to me. He asked if I live here now, since he sees me here so often. We caught up on the news of each others' lives and I told him that intimacy with Jesus means God tells us what His projects are so we can be involved and participants in them!
Then I went to visit Katia, the gelato maker. She had made gelato here for 25 years!!! She and I laughed our heads off as I told her funny stories of my various mishaps and foibles. A nice breeze came and caressed us at Ponza for the rest of the night so I went for a walk. I saw Sandro standing in his second floor balcony so we had an entire conversation from that distance- me from down below and he from his balcony. Sandro told me he is scared of people who think they have found the answers to their questions in life because it seems to close off the communication to all the open ended questions. He said life is about posing questions, not finding answers. I told him there is nothing negative about a person being convinced there is absolute truth. It doesn't mean you reject other people. It means you reject other beliefs but not people. He said it scares him especially if it changes relationship dynamics, like it did with us (in that it really chapped his hide that I won't date him). Oh well! We had more friendly banter about immigration and his plan to sell all and move to a city where he can flip houses (redecorate and then resell) and go to cinema and theater. I continued my walk and went to bed early for a change!!

Life in Italy - Day 1607 (2019) Kayak from Hell

Mercoledì 26 Giugno 2019
Last night I set my alarm for 7 am to be able to make it for the 10 a.m. ferry to Ponza but I prayed that if God wanted me to go on the earlier one, He would wake me up. I was awoken at 4:44 a.m. after three hours of sleep. I slept on the ferry ride and then made it to Ponza by 11 a.m. I had a lovely chat with Mina and Maria, two sweet girls who serve coffee at la Baghetteria al Porto.
Today I was incredibly indecisive about which side of the island to do: the east or the west side. If I did the west side I would explore Cala Ciccata. If I did the east side, I was determined to do the whole coast. I decided the latter and took the ferry to Frontone and was blessed to find my friend Alessandro on board with whom I talked the whole ride (he lets his friends sit with him on the top level). At Frontone, Lavigna gave me a warm welcome and rented me the canoe, informing me it is 10 euro an hour but that if I rent it for the whole day we could "see about a price." Well, I made the wrong choice because she actually charged me full price. 50 euro because I was gone for 5 hours. I cannot fault her and Enzo; she told me the price in advance, but I imagined they would make me a deal because we always talk and smile at each other. Moreso because 50 euro for a canoe is RIDICULOUS!!!! You can rent a boat for that price and have MUCH MORE FUN because on a boat you can lie down and relax in between swims; in a canoe, you must work the whole time.
What's worse is that Enzo's canoes are built and shaped so poorly that they do not steer straight. Every time you put the paddle in the water, the nose points either extreme right or extreme left. It never remains straight.
On the west side of the island, Vincenzo rents me a much better quality kayak for 10 euro for the WHOLE DAY!
Then I found there was wind on the east side of the island today which made it impossible to see the seafloor from the canoe.
Regardless of these negatives for which I will never again rent a canoe from them, I will now write about the beautiful things I saw today.
I went out from 12 to 5 p.m. Despite the extreme difficultly in navigating such a poorly constructed canoe, I steered that thing along nearly the entire east side of the island, just as I had desired. I took it the loooong distance from Frontone beach all the way to Cala Gaetano and stopped at five different locations to swim. Butterflies were a constant presence during the voyage. The entire five hours, there were butterflies flitting just above the sea's surface.
My first stop to swim was just before the white rock called Cavalino where there are tons of pebbles on the sea floor. I swam all around that inlet and only half-way into the cave because it was dark and scary. The water today in this inlet was slightly (a hair) more turbid than I like and I had to dodge two jelly fish so I got out. On the other side of the Cavalino white rock I canoed into a huge cave like a huge throat the opens up like a concert hall. I sang opera in the because there is a gorgeous echo in there!! It's called la Grotta d'Amore (cave of love. Outside the cave, I circled the huge stone in front of Cala Core and the water was clear and calm emerald green above round stones. I continued to Cala Inferno beyond where there is a submerged and rusty sunken ship. I parked the canoe on the rock slabs before the curve and looked up. The rock here is purple and red. Just amazing! What minerals cause this color!? There was also rock the same texture of elephant skin-how elephant skin has long wrinkle lines by their legs and chest. This was pure white rock. I jumped in and it was a marvelous swim!!!! There were so many fish down there, especially the tropical ones of lime green and violet. There were two different types of these tropical fish, evidenced by their varied designs. And these were bigger than the ones I had seen of the same species elsewhere in Italy. A whole school of these sprinted around and around trying to escape or chase a smaller brown fish, smaller than my palm. It was a high speed chase too, zipping around left and right. When they weren't on a chase, they were all gathered together feeding on something in the rock. The sea floor here is gorgeous. There are huge diamond shaped white rocks covered in green and yellow sea plants as sturdy as they are soft. There is sand in between the rocks and a turquoise blue water the deeper you get. This 3 dimensional experience was so intriguing. Everywhere I swam, fish appeared out from under rocks and scurried quickly away. I saw a school of big fish with bumpy heads and stripes going from their back vertically downward but only half-way down their body. I would have swam for an eternity here had it not been for the two jelly fish I had to dodge.
I continued on to the Cala dell'Arco Naturale (Natural Arch). What's pretty here in addition to the natural arch (which you can swim or boat through), is the other huge rock sticking out of the sea right across from it. It's like a tiny island of its own full of plant life and greenery.I canoed into one of its narrow crevices but insects crawled out of the rocks in swarms all around me! I wanted to swim around this mini-island so badly but it is a main passageway for boats so I parked on the beach after canoeing under the arch and swam. It was pure pure blue like the blue in ice packs, somewhere between seafoam green and teal. I swam into this endless color, admiring the wave pattersn below it. I swam in and around the boats, under whoch were often gathered schools of fish called Occhiata in Italian (big black eye, big black dot where the tail meets the body and iridescent skin that changes color in the light from seafoam green, to blue, to silver). When I swam over the rocks to shore I saw lots of those fish that attach to the rock and look like salamanders. They have intricate patterns on their cream and brown skin. I also saw two grouper fish one following the other.
Then I took the canoe to another rock in the middle of the sea that was flat enough to park the canoe on. I loved this spot!!! The rock wall here above the water is made up of thousands of cylindrical tube-like pieces similar to the pipes of an organ. Gorgeous white cylinder tubes of rock! The water underneath was a mint green, just like the mint green my mom decorated my bedroom in. Here, I swam back and forth from the big rock to near the caves. Schools of bigger fish swam swiftly away from me as if they are not used to humans being there. These were bigger fish than in other inlets but of the same oblong shape with a bump on the head and vertical stripes halfway down the body. There is miniature Christmas-tree looking algae growing on each stone underwater here, and they are of a soft light green color. I had to escape two more jelly fish here without which I would have spent more time around the big rock where I had parked, to gaze into the turquoise blue of the scary deep, accentuated by the bright yellow seagrass growing on this stone underwater
I took the canoe in between a cluster of diamond shaped rocks big enough to appear above water and just barely fit through them with the canoe to enter another inlet where the rock wall above sea level is half dark brown and half bright white. There I lay on the hot rocks for a while and then swam, but there were no fish to watch here. I continued to canoe through another narrow path between two big rocks and into Cala Gaetano where the water seems emerald over amply- sized square-shaped rocks lying on the seafloor. I so badly wanted to swim here, but something let me know it was time to turn back.
The journey back was so so so hard that I literally thought I was going to have to yell at nearby boats to request they drag me back. I literally felt I may not make it because 1. There was a contro-corrente (current going against me) and 2. Contro-vento (wind blowing against me). I had already felt like the muscles in my arms had burned up all their strength on the second stop on the way going. Imagine now! I prayed "Jesus help me" the whole way until I arrived to shore at 5:30 p.m. and by the grace of God, walked to Frontone beach just in time for the small beach ferry to pick me up. In fact, the skipper scolded me saying "Signorina, l'ultima é alle 6. Noi non dovevamo prenderti. È per puro caso che siamo qui." (Girl, the last ferry pick up is at 6. You missed it. We are here by pure chance and didn't have to pick you up). He explained he only did so because as they were surveying the vast beach area, they saw me and he had compassion on me. Well bless God!!! He suggested I ride with his company tomorrow to another neighboring island called Palmarola which is uninhabited and wild. I promised I would.
Then I got my beloved aperitivo on the port at Maga Circe, vodka and strawberries and God spoke to me. He told me to hide myself in Him as if He is a vase that I totally immerse myself in. In that way, He surrounds me on all sides and I am kept IN Him.
 I tried to call my mom for the 4th time this week to no avail.
Then I took a bus to the other side of the island and saw an absolutely gorgeous rose-colored sunset the whole way! It was setting beside the beautiful island of Palmarola, whose form and contours are breathtaking to loo at.
I had a dinner appointment at a restaurant called Così Com'Era with my sweet friend Nausicaa (a Greek name but an Italian girl from Puglia). She's a pharmacist here. We had a great time talking about everything under the sun! The food was great too. The appetizer of potatoes and octopus was not my favorite though, because the potatoes were too pureed like liquid. I prefer roasted potatoes with my octopus!!! The pasta was amazing! Linguine with tomato sauce and stuffed calamari (squid). The dessert was soft sweet ricotta filled with dark chocolate shavings atop a thin angel food cake soaked in rum. Only thing is the restaurant is so hot that we literally dripped with sweat while eating our meal. They have no air conditioner.
Nausicaa then asked me about God and Jesus, how we can know them. How does He reveal Himself. I told her through scriptures, dreams, and people who confirm what scripture says. God also reveals Himself by every act Jesus ever did because He is the exact representation of God Himself. She asked "isn't that quite pagan to need a human representation of God? Doesn't that minimize God?" I told her no because Jesus was mot MERELY human; He was also present with God before all time and before creation. He descend from His place of glory to live for 33 years and re-ascend to return to His rightful place in glory.
She asked "but aren't we all God?" I told her the evidence that we are not God and that God is a greater entity than us is seen in the fact that we have some evil in us: jealousy, envy, anger, and pride are far from the perfection that God is, but He still wants us so much that He came yo get us and restore us to a relationship with Himself, i rami con la linfa (the branches to the vine). I suggested she read the Gospel of John. 

Life in Italy - Day 1606 (2019)

Martedì 25 Giugno 2019
Today I set my alarm for 8:15 a.m. and walked all the way to Via Veneto (50 minutes) to he US Embassy to renew my passport. The meeting was on time and I was only in there for 15 minutes! Very efficient and I must wait 15 days to go pick up my new passport in a different location.
I walked back by way of Via della Poesia and Piazza Farnese because it is just gorgeous and the sky is perfect pure blue again. I took an hour nap and met up with my friend Jann again, Dutch professor at Cardiff University with whom I enjoy talking. We ate at Miraggio, where the food is absolutely great and authentically Roman. They have both fish and meat options. We like all our dishes: fried moscardini (baby octopus), sauteéd broccoletti, and pasta called Calamaro with olives and cherry tomatoes. When I complained that the side of fagolini (beans) I had ordered were too hot to eat, the waiter tried to convince me to change my mind "sono buoni proprio per questo" (they are good BECAUSE the are hot") and tried to convince my friend to eat my order of beans for me. This waiter ignored the fact that I told him I was still very hungry since I couldn't wat the beans and didn't offer to being me the other beans option that are not spicy. He charged me for the uneaten beans (THIS IS "CUSTOMER SERVICE" in Italy guys, prepare yourselves). Also beware, patate fritte at THIS restaurant di not mean frenc fries; they mean homemade potatoe chips. When we brought this misleading info to their attetion, they tried to make us feel stupid, made fun of us to the chef as if we are dumb tourists who want frozen french fries (no!) and tried to convince us these taste good so we SHOULD eat them. The chef is so good here and the food so yummy yet they have this waiter who ignores feedback and requests of customers which ruin your experience!
Regardless, Jann and I always have great conversations; he is as introspective and perceptive as a psychologist.
Work on Tuesdays is always challenging because I work a large section alone- the outdoor alley! But now that my boss has hired a substitue for us so that no colleage has to give up their day off when the other is gone (he granted my request in this), the substitue helps me. I must say it is difficult with his help because I have to adapt to having delegate the responsabilities I am so used to doing all alone. I am very comfortable working alone because I remember all the things I must do. But we are getting into a grove, as it us the second Tuesday I have handed over some of what I do to him. It was even fun after because I realized it was easier to give him full responsibilty for certain tables instead of us sharing responsibilty for the same tables.
Anyhooters, I thorhoughly enjoyed serving Caleb and Katie from Chicago. Somehow I found out they were Christians and we all three ended up praying together! It was so so so encouraging! Then I served a couple from Manchester on their honeymoon like young spring chickens just out of their parents' homes!!!! It was beautiful! I served two tables from Paris: one was a grandma and her grandson and a married couple. I LOVE PARIS!!! The married couple and I laughed a lot because I ofte do photobombs of tourists taking selfies on the street and they caught me!!! Then, I served a fantastic family from Madrid who were so nice to me and tried our strawberry cake!! I served a mother-son duo from Mexico who were precious, two exuberant families from San Francisco with whom I had lovely conversations, a couple from Bolzano Italy (so they speak German and Italian), two tables from Brazil, a town that is 40 degrees all year long called Salvador de Baia, and 4 social worker ladies from south Germany where it's green. 

Life in Italy - Day 1605 (2019)

Lunedí 24 Giugno 2019
The sky is such a pure blue today! I walked all the way to the Spanish Steps and sat under the palm tree where the blue seems bluer. I read until I heard the noon and a half bells from the French church which are soooo beautiful. I secretly ate the cherries I had purchased at the market near my home of Piazza San Cosimato. I don't want cherry season to end!!!! I was filled with overwhelming thankfulness again shen I passed under the tall and majestic white sculptures of the Altar of the Motherland in Piazza Venezia. I read my Dostoevskij book for hours which always challenges my brain linguistically in a way that I love.
I took a short nap and then enjoyed work! I served an Asian news anchor with his two kids from the San Francisco Bay area, a very sweet couple from Hungary who are polite, a lone female traveler from Minnesota, a mother daughter duo from a place that sounds like "Portoguba", precisely Peniche, a family from Idaho whose kids were seriously mature and good communicators, and a hilarious family from the states who mademe laugh so much because the mother was brave enoigh to order the oxtail bit then psycjed herself out the more she looked at it and visualized it being a literal tail of an ox and simply COULD NOT stomach it. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Life in Italy - Day 1604 (2019)

Domenica 23 Giugno 2019
I went to Santa Maria Maddelena church where my favorite priest teaches profoundly. Today is the celebration of the body and blood of Jesus. The priest said hunger is not bad. We are all so hungry (spiritually and emotionally) for God. Our hinger is proof that we are not God and therefore, cannot satisfy ourselves on our own.
"Io divento fibro di ciò che ho mangiato. Abbiamo fame ma mangiamo alla tavola giusta? Se mangiamo le cose adultere e inquinate la nostra vita si spegne. Mi devo imporre a bere dell'acqua vita sopratutto quando non la vogliamo (I become the fiber of that which I eat. We are all hungry but do we eat at the right table? If we eat adulterated and polluted things, out life will lose its essence and vitality. I have to forse myself to drink the Living Water especially when I don't feel like it or want to). "There is nothing more intimate than eating. Kisses and caresses are still outside the body. But what we eat is inside. A mom often says "I could eat you up" to her child.
Though the sun was bright and the skies were a perfect clean blue, I went inside and took a two hour nap that was a fabulous good sleep.
At work I served a group of four English ladies who ended up laughing so much and getting so loud they surprised themselves and said "you must have put something in our wine. Or else the mushrooms you gave is were magic mushrooms!" They told me to watch Killing Eve on netflix because the table next to them is "so killing eve eight now". I served a table full of 4 Asian ladies who are from all over Canada and Australia, a cool family from Florida who get along with each other so well, and have a way of communicating that exudes their mutual respect for each other. I served a couple from New York with that heavy accent we all love and know from the movies, a Scottish gay couple who said the hottest their summer gets is only 25 degrees Celsius, a charming couple from a town near Montpellier that sounds like "sette". It was really nice practicing French on them. I also served a sweet couple from Upper Austria, from Brugge Belgium, and from the Ukraine. The latter was super nice and seemed to be ashamed to tell me their nationality but I the Ukraine has so much history of tension with Russia that it is full of interesting and strong people!
After work, I went to spend tome again with the guys I call the Three Musketeers because one of them gives me motorcycle rides. I never get tired of motorcycle rides.
Then I called my dad and we talked until 2:30 a.m. on video chat.!! He told me he used to work for a record store called Tape City and had to learn about all genres of music. He said he became really good at selling music because e would let people hear new music on the big speakers and they'd but it. He said his car was full of A tracks and he would wear them out on his car stereo while he drove around with his friends even to the next town over. 

Life in Italy - Day 1603 (2019)

Sabato 22 Giugno 2019
Today is the first official day of summer and the sun is out with a light soothing breeze.
Today I have a lunch date with my friend Lisa from Indonesia with whom I studied Italian 5 years ago in Siena. But I woke up with the absolute worst debilitating period cramps. I took the meds and writhed in bed until finally able to take the metro to her. We went to a African Restaurant in Via Gaeta 26. I ordered the non-spicy meal of pieces of meat, a side of vegetables and their typical soft bread. Thank God I said non-spicy because even that was like fire.
Lisa told me what life in Asia is like: fast and progressive. She said everyone uses digital money to pay for things. There is no more need for cash. They all use apps on their phones to take a taxi, to order food, to send confidential documents; etc instead of having to physically bring them to a store. She said there are even apps that organize your rent in a different apartment in a different country each month if you want to change where you love each month and there are public group shared office spaces that you can become a member of instead of having to pay for your own store front and overhead. These shared business spaces offer services as well. She said many independent business owners are selling their products through Instagram and are forever in different countries be it jewelers, hairdressers and more. She said Italy is so so so far behind all this but she still likes coming here for its charming idiosyncrasies. Dang!
After eating that spicy meal, my period cramps struck back in such an excruciating manner that I could not walk. So I was forced to take a taxi home. I slept two hours until my work shift. Great sleep.
I took meds to get through the work shift despite heavy cramps and I met and served lovely people as always. The new staff member who was hired to cover us in our absences is growing by leaps and bounds. I am so thankful for my amazing boss!!!!
The work shift was rewarding ad usual. I served a couple from Hungary, a couple from Montreal with Italian roots, a couple from Pennsylvania who moved to busy Las Vegas, a cute couple with curls from just outside Paris, a very nice and open-hearted friendly couple from Moscow, 7 Asian women who live in London, a lone traveler from Kaledonia (near Australia) and a father with his three sons from Helmont Holland who owns a gorgeous restaurant and gave his sons this trip to show them he is proud of them.
I went out with the three guys I nickname Three Musketeers because one of them gives me motorcycle rides which I love. He tells stories in the most dramatic way, with flailing arms and broad movements.  He loves to have an audience. Today he told stories about ships ramming into the port of Milazzo because Romans were navigating😂😂😂He talked about having watch fisherman kill tuna fish and the water turning from blue to red to black with blood and the line of wives standing on the banks praying their husbands would not be harmed in the process. He talked about a Sicilian man who became rich off of the sale of fish like tuna and swordfish but he had a son who was mentally handicapped who was beat up badly and stolen from because he was decked out in gold bracelets, watches and necklaces with wads of cash in his pockets 😨😰 Strangely two young guys were murdered within two weeks thereafter and everyone wonders if they were THOSE SAME guys who stole from the rich man's child. 🤔
He talked about the waves of the sea in Milazzo are so powerful that they will knock you naked, literally pulling your swimsuit off.

Life in Italy - Day 1602 (2019)

Venerdì 21 Giugno 2019
I got up with only a hour to get to the ferry and as I headed down to the coffeeshop, I crossed paths with "S." Thankfully he respected my request to not approach me or speak to me, which means he finally respected the word "No." He said nothing at all but had a dumbfounded look on his face.
I had breakfast at Bar Tripoli and said goodbye to my two different friends who rent out boats, Luigi of Noleggio Azzurro and Cocò of Noleggio Cocò. I said goodbye to the three business owners Massimilliano of the linen clothing store, La Marina and Carlo of La Baghetteria coffeeshop and Vittorio  of the Baghetteria Supermercato. And also to the sailorman named Gipo and friends.
The ferry left 25 minutes late so I had to take the regional train to Rome which is set to arrive at 4:11 p.m. when I should already be getting dressed for work!!! The Italian Orchestra was on the ferry! They had played last night with Renzo Arbore, all 13 of them plus two singers. It was so cute to see how many of then were tanning on the ferry, practicing drums, some listening to music, some reading books. It reminded me of choir trips I took in high school- being with so many musicians is special and unique because they have a particular expressiveness.
I contacted my new friend to let her know I decided not to change apartments but would love to keep in touch.
At work, a butterfly followed me around and flitted by my arms, legs, head, hands for a long time. It was again God's message to me of new beginnings, that He is making all things new.
Work was cool. I so enjoyed serving a nice older couple from Caglieri Sardegna. We spoke to each other about life on their island. I served a couple from Sicily (😍), two girls from New Jersey, a couple from Venezuela who moved to Miami and love it, a young and shy Swiss couple, a couple from Brasil, a couple from Norway, a lone traveler who is an Armenian born in Iraq, lived in London and now lives in Belgium. What a unique story!! I loved most the family from Saudia Arabia with whom I laughed. They taught me how to say "Shifteekev" which means (I hear ya!) and videoed me saying it for all their friends to see. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Life in Italy - Day 1601 (2019) Kayaking the West Side of Ponza Island

Giovedì 20 Giugno 2019
For the first time this summer in Ponza I slept until 10:30 a.m. It'a because Celeste rented me a house not in direct sunlight.
So I hurried to get a cappuccino from Rita at Bar Tripol and ran to the bus stop, saying "hi" to Paul who rents out "gommone" real quick. I heard a mom telling her son that the beach of the port is the only beach one can arrive to today since it is a festival today.  I kindly informed her this is not the case because the buses are still running.  She was so thankful for the news and they joined me at the Caletta. Her named is Fede and her son Loris from Prenestina Rome. I rented the canoe and stayed out at sea for 5 hours! From noon to five!
I first took the canoe to la Cala Dell'Acqua where there is a huge rock in the middle of the sea called Tartaruga because it supposedly looks like a turtle. I swam on the side of it heading towards the walls of La Caletta and what a wonderworld! I literally felt like I was in a fish tank decorated with all types of terrain. I love how under the water's surface is like another world of hill, mountains, craters, and foliage. It is a marvel to me. I swam along the rock wall, observing fish that swerved in and out of the yellow and green plants. A grouper, a sarago (like Finding Nemo), the like green and purple tropical fish, and then I swam into a huge school of anchovies!!! It was so fun to watch them run away from me as I dunked my body deep down into the water. There were rocks on the sea floor that looked like they are covered in carpet! So I dunked my body down head first to get a closer look. It looks like carpet because it is a ton of little balls of sea grass that look exactly like pom poms!!!! Balls of light yellow like tiny pieces of broccoli or pom poms. The rocks covered in this "carpet" were next to sand, turquoise blue water and green Posidon grasses. Lovely! It that holes of the rock wall I saw a school of slender yellowish fish the length of my hand, feeding on stuff. There were several jellyfish today that I successfully dodged by one stung me on the leg!!!
So then I got out and canoed around the turtle rock and observed its contours of rugged ridged rock. On top are pom-pom looking flowers - round balls standing on their stems growing out of rock pointing upward to the blue sky. There are also growing out of the top of the rock little tress ghat look like Bonzai, sturdy and gnarly in shape!!! These plants growing atop the rock are gorgeous. I canoed to opposite side of Cala Dell'Acqua where the rock become stark pale yellow. I went slowly because it was so incredibly beautiful to see completely transparent water perfectly still over yellow and rust colored pebbles. Imagine that! The I found a cave in which I could ride with the canoe. It was a long slender passageway that opened up into the belly of the cave. Interestingly it was well lit in the deep belly of the cave due to two holes in the "ceiling" through which the sun shone brightly. The rock in here is AMAZING. The colors are literally purple and bright orange rust. Do you believe me? Purple and orange rock, no joke! And there are the exact same color bright orange tiny fish sprinting around in the (color of goldfish). I sang in there because there's an echo. God kept telling me all morning "praise me. Adore me. Worship me. Honor Me. Love Me." With His every request, I sang words specific to His desire. It was wonderful. He wants me to focus on Him with my thoughts rather than on stupid crap. He wants to reach out to the people of the nations, revealing Himself to all peoples', and we can be a part of that.
Out of the cave I turned the corner of Punta Papa and found a way to "park" the canoe on a huge rock on the tip of this corner. I climbed the rock and jumped off of it. Here is a convergence of so many big rocks on the angle of the curve so there were lots of different color blue: baby blue, royal blue, and turquoise blue. I swam in and around there a few minutes and saw some fish until I spotted another jellyfish. Ciao man!
Then I took that canoe back passed where I started and BEYOND, into this narrow "alleyway" of the sea that takes you between rust colored rock. I was gliding through there so fast it was fun. I entered two other caves too and then parked it under yet anther corner/angle/curve of the island walls that leads one into the Cala Lucia Rosa. I stopped on the corner of the angle because the water was emerald in color. There, I enjoyed a super fun swim in yet another intriguing seafloor of varied types of stone, algae, and foliage. Here I saw tons of "carpet-like" covers for rocks- white pom pom little ball shaped trees on the rock. I dunked myself even deeper here, head first for a long time which hurt my ears. But I don't care because each time I do it, I see a fish or two who hurry away from my as fast as a JET. I kept turning my head sideways to see the contrast of deeper blue where the water gets deeper. There is something both mysterious and scary about that blue. I never venture out into it but I like to look at it.
Then I canoed from there directly across to the series of big stones everyone here associates with Cala Lucia Rosa. But the journey between the angle where I had just swam to there is gorgeous because it is endless seafoam green that looks like velvet, the same texture of velvet as it rolls above a sandy floor. I reached a beach and laid there. I truly needed to rest. I rested until the sun warmed me and swam again through two caves that open at the other end. But my arms were burning like I couldn't go anymore and the wind started. So I headed back and I believe it was God who caused that wind to push my canoe all the way from there back to La Caletta. I barely had to do any work and it is a long way!!! It was so much fun too, because it seemed like a ride. A ride at the Water Park called Lagoon, where the current pushes you along.
Upon my return, I entered slowly so I could admire the hills above the beach called Le Forna. The houses on those hills are of gorgeous colors: royal blue, grass green, pink, yellow, etc.
I met up with Fede and her son and we too the steep incline up to the bus stop. I saw a group waiting at the wrong bus stop so I informed them of where to go. They are group of 3 couples from Puglia Italy and I LOVED talking to them. Extremely nice, open, and happy to converse like all Pugliesi.
I had so missed going to my favorite bar Bar Tripoli for aperitivo so tonight I made sure to go there the hour that "S" is never there. All the outdoor tables were full so I asked two nice girls if I could sit in the empty seat next to them. They said yes! They are two Austrailian sisters who go on trips together, Stephanie and Emily. Two Roman guys next to us struck up a conversation so all five of us had a blast talking together. They're called Luca and Diego. I immersed myself in the setting sun over the calm waters of the port for as long as I could.
Then I went to a restaurant about which I had read a poem. It was written on a wall on a portion of the hike I did with Sandra. It's called Trattoria Monte Guardia. They are high on a hill and have a view that leaves you in awe. During the whole meal I enjoyed a view of the calm port below. It's a family run place with Angela in the kitchen. My appetizer was generous, including three things: sautéed mussels, fried achovies, and an assortment of marinated fish (tuna, cuddledfish, octopus and anchovies). My second dish was less generous: 5 big shrimp cooked in white wine. No where near as good as New Orleans shrimp, sorry Italy! But the experience was good and reminded me of the family run restaurant wth a terrace view in Vernazza Cinque Terre and reminded me how much I love Italy and her family-run restaurants. Today is my mom's birthday so I called her and wrote her an awesome letter about all her good qualities and characteristics.
I made the long descent to the port to hear a concert in the piazza by Renzo Arbore. He sings traditional Neapolitan songs. I was so moved by the mandolins of traditional southern Italian music and the romantic atmosphere it creates under a moonlit sky on the vast open sea that I almost cried. I was flooded with memories of hearing similar music on the Amalfi coast the night I walked alone from Positano to the Grotta Smeraldo under a full moon that shone on the black slippery sea like a spotlight. That whole region of the Campania is known for warm hearted people, fishermen who untangle their nets after the night at sea, women endowned with an ample bosom, ceramic tiles hand painted in floral designs, the smell of lemon trees wafting in the hills, big dinners of many family members around long tables, and starlit nights. I was brought to emotion for how much I love this country. A singer beside Renzo Arbore, named Gianni Conte sang many solos tonight and his voice reached that part deep inside my chest that unlocks my heart. I could listen to it for hours because it is a like a cry from ages past calling us to pay attention.
Then I took a walk on the main drag waiting for the fireworks of today's festival- San Silverio. It's the most important festival of Ponza that happens on this day every year. Saint Silverio was from Fregene but was exiled here on the island of Palmarola for his faith and died of starvation. Thus, the sermon tonight was on martyrdom and how Jesus encourages us to to be afraid of what we will say when people question is about the faith because the Holy Spirit of God will give us the words to say in the right moment.
So, on the main drag (PisaCane) I got a crepe full of gelato!! There, I saw Vincenzo who's always walking his dog with Luca and his wife Eleonora. I also saw and chatted at length with my skipper friend whom I call "Zio" Francesco, my new acquaintance Emilia, my friend Eleonora with her sweet mother, Giuseppe the Pharmacist, Sandro the B&B owner, Herta the Austrian Biologist, the precious lovable Nausicaa who hugged me so deeply we both cried, and I met a new girl who is a photographer named Fede. What a great amount of sweet encounters!!! I also met a guy from Detroit named David who came to Italy to meet his long lost family members: one lives in Ponza and one in Pistoia. He was in a bad formerly called Adrenalin now called DC Drive and there's a documentary about them.
The fireworks didn't start until 1 a.m. but lasted a long and fabulous 20 minutes!!! I was so hyped up after all this activity that I couldn't fall asleep until 4 a.m. 😂😂 AND I still felt the rocking of the waves in my body from being in a kayak all day. 

Life in Italy - Day 1600 Endless Fun on Ponza the Island

Mercoledì 19 Giugno 2019
Even though now there is a ferry that leaves at 10 a.m., I still woke myself up at 5:30 a.m. to have just one more hour of swim time (crazy).
I got to the train 30 minutes early! Upon arrival to the island of Ponza, I took a bus to Le Forna. On the ride, I met a sweet family from Tuscany who got married here 30 years ago and return each summer to celebrate that. I descended the stairs to rent a kayak from Vincenzo and Francesco who own and manage La Caletta.
I had friendly chats with them.
I started off in the kayak in the opposite direction than the week prior. Toward the Le Forna and on past it. The contours of the hills above me looked as if I were sitting inside a cracked egg - sharp pointed pieces curved over my head. There was beautiful lush greenery growing in the ridged rocks. I continued further and saw these huge rocks sticking out in the sea and were the color cantaloupe/peach. Absolutely precisely that color and so beautiful. Perched on that peach melon rock was a grey spotted sea gull, so cute and tender with tufts of soft fur on the back of his neck like a new-born chick. I continued along the coast and the rock changed color again, now I saw what looked like red paint on tumeric colored rock. The red looked like chalk, as if someone had gone in the rock and hand-painted on there with red sturdy chalk. Then I continued along the coast and a slender tunnel forms between two tall rocks. I fit the canoe between that narrow space and glided through. Inside there was an even dfferent color rock- bright orange almost neon. This orange seems alive.
I made it all the way to the inlet called Lucia Rosa by turning a curve. On the curve itself of seriously gorgeous rocks!! One is tall, pointy and colored bold tumeric like chalk. Next to it is another tall rock of brown stone but with slanted slabs that are flat with what looks like bright tumeric colored chalk painted on top of the brown slanted surface. Like a sun-burnt tumeric chalk color. On the highest quarter of these rocks are short and sturdy dark green plants growing at an angle on a horizontal rock. Plants that could probably remain there defiantly in times of strong winds. Then I continued past the four or five huge stones characteristic of this inlet. On past these huge rocks, I parked on a beach and immediately jumped in the water. I swam over large round pebbles in seafoam green colored water looking for life. There were sea urchins and green grouper. Then I swam into a cave. In there was more neon orange walk in the caves walls and guess what else!!!!!???? Neon orange colored fish- jetting quickly away from me- more than then of them. It was as if the fish wanted to mimic the color of the rock. It is the same orange color as goldfish have. Then I swam out and around that inlet but my arms got tired and cold. Back into the canoe I slowly rode around in this same inlet as slowly as possible marveling at how crystal clear yet seafoam green the water is in this particular spot. I moved slowly over huge rocks in the water, barely skimming them. The rocks augment the beauty of the water, because of their color, their rugged texture and their yellow and green algae coverings!!! Perfectly clean crystal clear as if looking through glass, I could see everything under me from the canoe!! Then I continued on further along the coast and past inlet called Lucia Rosa and into another inlet I had never seen or noticed before!!!! I parked there on its very steep beach!! You have to climb up and pull the canoe upward. From there, you see the entire island of Palmarola out in the distance beyond the sea on the west. I laid on the hot round rocks until warm enough to swim. I got in and enjoyed how the shallow is full of round smooth stones and seafoam green colored water. As you get deeper the rocks give way to sand and the water turns baby blue. There were some fish here that escaped from me. I warmed on the rocks again and God spoke. God said "you will hear my voice in a foreign land. When you cry out to me I will respond to you." He also told me that when I (we) make mistakes that cause a mess, I (we) tend to re-do the same mistakes hoping to resolve them that way. But it only makes it worse. Instead, when we make a mistake it is better to pull back and evaluate, asking God how to react. We don't necessarily need to go in there and resolve the mess. It's often best repent and give the mess to Him.
Then I canoed back to the angle, the corner where Inlet Lucia Rosa heads toward Le Forna. There, I parked and swam for a while and it was the most exciting swim of the day. Under the waters surface is a grand variety of terrain on the seafloor: huge slanted rocks along the coastal walls covered in yellow sturdy algae and a school of matching yellow fish-exactly the same bright yellow as if lit up from the inside by a light, there was green waving Posidon on the floor with fish feeding on it, round rocks, and rippled sand that ripples out far out like wave patterns of a baby blue color. This variety was fascinating and I enjoyed watching many fish speed away from me: one that looks like a zebra with thick blue and white stripes and a fading blue splotch near its stomach, green intricately patterned grouper, black and white horizontal striped fish, fish woth two vertical black stripes (one by the neck, one at the tail), and the tropical lime green striped with violet swirls fish. I dodged several fuschia colored jelly fish thank the Lawd! Then I returned safely to shore at the Caletta.
I decided to immediately head up and God was gracious to me in letting a bus pass the moment I got up to the bus stop. This allowed me to return to the port, dressed decently for aperitivo.
Bar Tripoli was full so I went to Maga Circe and there noticed a familiar face I had seen on Instagram. It was Gillian and her husband Mark. I introduced myself and they invited me to their table. We had a great talk! They've lived in two African countries during their marriage and now in Rome. They have an amazing ability to adapt. Then Gennaro the owner of Maga Circe came to say "hi" to me. He is such a nice man.
I watched the lovely port under that  yellow setting sun and then I ate dinner at L'Oresteria. I had a wonderful botarga linguine pasta!
Riccardo the server called me "principessa" the whole night and said things like "desidera del pane?"
I am happy to note that Il gatto, the black cat who hangs out by the clothing store seems to remember me from last sunmer and allowed me to pet him for the longest time. I just get lost in cat affection!
Then I went near my friend's karaoke bar on the port and he was there. He, Luigi, informed me that last Friday, after "S" yelled at me with his finger in my face, he went straight for Luigi and yelled at him also, in front of all Luigi's clients.
Luigi says that "S" was extremely angry and with eyes open wide yelled something like "you need go learn to stop talking about people." They later resolved the incident between them but I asked Luigi why "S" would think he had bee talking about him. Luigi said that it'a because Luigi had previously told "S" to "you should really leave Faith alone and give her space. She only wanted you as a friend. There are many other girls in the world to court. Don't follow her around." That's when "S" lost it because he said Luigi is the second person who said I claimed that he has followed me in his boat. According to Luigi, "S" said "I never followed Faith in my boat. It was by pure coincidence that we were in the same inlet. She is CRAZY." I don't know how to many people he has told I am crazy now but I don't care. Hopefully it means he will leave me alone and think about something else now. 😀😀😀👏👏👏👍🏼👍🏼

Monday, June 24, 2019

Life in Italy - Day 1599 (2019)

Martedì 18 Giugno 2019
I spent the whole morning in the sun on the steps of Piazza Trilussa reading the Bible and getting a tan soaking in the fabulously radiant rays. I had a fantastic interaction with Gabriel of my favorite coffee shop and prayed over him life strength energy and vitality.
In the piazza, I saw Carlo by chance, the guy friend I had lunch with every single Saturday of 2017. We talked today about why he went M.I.A. It is because needed to be alone, sort out his career, mourn his dad's death. I encouraged him and we hugged.
God spoke to me in the piazza. He said I do not have to ever do anything I do not want to do, participate I don't want to participate in, I do not have to respond to any question I don't want to respond to, talk to anyone I don't want to nor spend time with anyone I don't want do. I know this information is already obvious to most people but I grew up in a perfectionist performance-oriented patriarcal family wherein I measured my loveableness on the basis of how much I pleased others. A master people-pleaser. I have come a LOOONG way, but I have a long way to go.
He wants me not to be distracted. Jesus wants to entrust me with his mission and with His words and to be about HIS business on this earth.
Given what happened last Friday morning wherein "S" yelled at me on the port of Ponza, I sent him a voicemail informing him how in two MAJOR instances last summer he did not respect my "no" and that is why my request this year is that he is not physically come near me nor talk to me despite how good of a person he is. If for some reason he does not respect my personal space and boundaries, the message I sent will serve as proof in case I need to go to the police about it (a last resort if course).
Work was fantastic! I served a family from Poland. Hearing their language spoken was so interesting. I served a couple from Normandy France (😍), a confident lone traveler man from Amsterdam Holland, a humorous couple from Essex England (people from Essex are always cool!), a funny lady from Chile, a couple from Portogole (?), a sweet couple from Buenes Aires Argentina who smiled a lot and two girls from Munich who like traveling. Joy. 

Life in Italy - Day 1598 (2019)

Lunedì 17 Giugno 2019
Today was one of those days where all the errands you need to run get taken care of!!! This is rarity, especially due to weird office hours in Italy. First off, I tried coffee from a trendy coffee shop in a free standing truck on Via Marmorata called Tram Depot Testaccio, BUT it the milk to coffee ratio was not to my liking...too milky for my taste. I then paid my taxes and asked if my rental contract could give me a tax deduction. She waited for me to go print it out at the store next door and come back to file (a rare kindness) and we found out that my apartment rent gives me 300 euro back! So not only did I get my tax filing done but I will get money!!! Then I picked up my papers that I had left last Tuesday at the internet point store. My confidential information! Mohammed from Pakistan had kept them safe for me that whole week! So thanks to him my identity did not get stolen because my personal information did not get in anyone else's hands! Praise the Lord! Then I picked up my repaired sandals from a hispanic guy and they look so cute on me!!!!
Then I ran into my friend whom I'd met two years ago. He now lives in Detroit USA where he was recently ordained a priest 8 days ago. I had been thinking about writing him an encouraging email ever since Easter. It is a total God moment that we bumped into each other today since in Rome people are like needles in a hay stack and he os here for only a few days. God had also ordained our meeting two years ago when he was going through his roughest time of crisis, not knowing if he was to become a priest or not. We had talked a lot, gone out for meals and prayed. God showed him his calling shorty thereafter and he is thriving. So today we went to lunch and caught up.
Work was kind of boring as we have not been having success filling up the restaurant. Most people want to sit outside in the summer and we only have 7 tables out there. I am worried about this lack of a full house for my boss. The new guy he hired so that each waiter will not have to give up their off days to replace/cover fellow colleagues when they are out is helping us! I am so thankful to the owner for doing this! It means I can still swim all summer even though two colleagues are out. He is such a good boss!
The people I served were gold, as usual. One was a couple from BellaRos, between Poland and Russia, a family of three from Poland, a friendly English couple, 5 friends on a trip together from Texas, a super shy French couple, a couple from England who returned to be served by me (yipee!!!), a group from Athens Greece (I love how they speak with so many "th, th, th" sounds), a fantastic family from Orange County California with whom I connected, a grandma and granddaughter from Norway. But the most interesting was the Polish girl who is in a relationship with a guy from Philadelphia, a cool match! It is also my Egyptian colleague's last night of work after years of service to our restaurant so I wrote him a letter and it made me cry. 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Life in Italy - Day 1597 (2019)

Domenica 16 Giugno 2019
Oh what a beautiful morning. It finally feels like that cursed pollen has decided to leave me alone!
I attended mass at Santa Maria Maddelena. One of the readings was
"Che ogni cristiano scopra La dolce inabitazione della Trinità cresca e frutifichi con una adesione sempre più ricca e fruttuosa!" (That every Christian discover the sweet indwelling of the Trinity, grow and become bear fruit by an adhesion to the Trinity ever more rich and fruitful). The priest said that the Holy Spirit reveals God to us more and more all the time, the Holy Spirit reveals all truth to us, and reveals to us the face of God.
The sky is so marvelously BLUE today that I sat outside the Pantheon to stare at it. Then I walked throgh the piazza Navona and then sat for so long in Campo de' Fiori where spices, fruit juices, fresh fruits and vegetables are being sold. It was a day of lingering in the sunshine which was so bold and bright in the pure cloudless sky. I stayed as long as I could before heading to work. My skin absorbed it like it's something it had desperately missed.
At work I served a fantastic couple from California Alice and Collin. Alice is from Paris France! She grew up in a family who owned a restuarant with a beautiful courtyard in the 17th District of Paris and has gorgeous memories of being there all day and night making friends on the patio.  I served 3 lovely ladies from Lyon France with whom I practiced French, a family from Calfornia whose daughter moved to Berlin (woa!), and a couple from Tucauman Argentina. Fun times.
Today is Father's Day so I called my dad and thanked him for all the good things he is to us. He always shows up to the call of duty, he is consistent and keeps his promises. We always know he is constant and present. We can count on him to hold up the weight of the family's needs. He never shirks responsibility. He always takes it seriously to provide for the family and doesn't miss a day of work. He is never let. He loves God more than anything which means He has no other god in the top priority of his heart and can thus love us in the right way. He is an emotional support whenever we need to talk. He listens to hours worth of concerns and then offers us prayer and asserts the truth of the Bible regarding our situation. He was touched by what I said. He's become more sensitive since his heart surgery. 

Life in Italy - Day 1596 (2019)

Sabato 15 Giugno 2019
Today was such a great day! I met a new Christian girl named Roberta who is from Puglia. Every person I meet from Puglia Italy is accepting and starts a new acquaintance assuming the best of the person in front of them, without prejudgment. I met her today because I am considering changing apartments due to the white mold that daily grows in my floors. I don't want to move to where Roberta is because I would no longer be able to daily walk in the ancient center of town nor stay out late at the disco UNLESS I BUY A MOTORCYCLE. However, her apartment is full of sunlight and is on the fifth floor which means not hearing the high heels pass on the ceiling above you at 8 a.m. They also have a cat named Eduardo!!
After having a fantastic conversation about our lives for 2 hours, I had a fantastic breakfast at Mizzica! A Sicilian coffeeshop.
Then I went home and had great interactions with my new housemate Luisa. I cleaned my room even deeper as she shared about her family, 3 siblings, her youth in Calabria Italy and how much she loves her job of giving out bank loans.
Then our landlord showed up and I was able to talk to her about the white mold that continually gross in the floors. I told her I never want to move out of the apartment but am worried about longterm effects on my health. She was very nice as she always is, but said there is nothing she can do about this mold. She told me to try bicarbonato and water to remove it. I tried it right away but the mold returned nonetheless by midnight the same night.
Work was awesome sauce though not busy enough for a Saturday night. Good because I got to serve my boss, his wife, and their friends. Even more joyous was the fact that the cute family from San Paolo came back to be served by me and I got to play with their hair. Then an English couple with a baby came in. She has almost one year and is already so friendly. She pointed at me the whole night so I touched my finger to hers like in the film ET. I also served a huge group of young teens from Cologne Germany who were friendly and cute. Another couple from Cologne Germany came in as well and were very pleasant. I got to speak a teacher from California who's a lover of wine. Her friend discussed the poor quality of American food due to pesticides additives and GMOs which makes this lady's Type 2 diabetes act up whereas Italian food doesn't give her ANY trouble. I served two tables of Italians in town for the Ed Sheeran concert- some from Bari Puglia, others from the Emilia-Romagna region. All were sweet. Two other Italians from Rome came in to be served by me because we'd built a good rapport last year.  And I served an extremely kind couple from the Czech Republic! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Life in Italy - Day 1595 (2019) Drama on Ponza's Port

Venerdì 14 Giugno 2019
I slept 8 hours for the first time all week!!! How lovely! I went down to get coffee at Bar Tripoli and as I walked down the stairs to head toward the boat for departure, "S" approached me and started angrily yelling at me at the top of his lungs!!!  "BASTA COL DIRE CAZZATTE SUL MIO CONTO. MA CHI TI PENSA? Io ho cancellato tuo numero e tutto. E NON PREGARE PER ME!!" (Stop telling people wrong inaccurate things about me. Who even thinks about you? I cancelled your number and everything. And DO NOT pray for me!).
I don't know what he thinks I said about him.
My only response to his yelling was "Leave. me. alone."
Two other men from Ponza saw the whole scene of "S" yelling at me on the port. They gave me hugs and said they would never permit themselves to talk like that to a woman.
I had ONLY spent a total of 5 Wednesdays/Thursdays in his company in 2018. ONLY 5 Wednesdays/Thursdays!!! After the fifth Wednesday, I stopped spending any more time with him and told him not to contact me anymore and here's why: when he initially invited me to take boat rides of the island and go for dinners I told him "I will only do so if you know that I am not interested in you, I am not attracted to you, and I want only friendship with you because you're a cool person." He said that he absolutely understood. He said I had been crystal clear in my communication and said it is totally ok for us to spend time together with the objective being only friendship.  I took his word for it because I generally trust people are AS SINCERE and upfront as I am. In that SHORT amount of time he convinced himself of the complete opposite. On the fifth Wednesday/Thursday, he told me "you love me and don't know it yet. You say "just friendship" with your words but your eyes say otherwise and I know the truth." He refused to believe otherwise, so I told him there would be no more time spent together.
Now, the only thing I've said to people this year about him is that I now no longer take free boat rides from men. I tell people that now I pay to rent boats and drive them by myself because I never want a man to assume I am "into him" when I'm not. I always mention that many good qualities "S" has. The only other thing I have told 6 people of Ponza is the FACT that last year "S" said the following two sentences: "you love me and desire me and won't admit it. I don't believe you when you say you only want friendship because I see something else in your eyes."  The only reason I told 6 people of Ponza these TWO sentences that "S" said was to protect myself when I go to the island. I felt the overwhelming need to protect myself because I am afraid he might not respect my "No" or give me my space. Why? Because he contacted me this May to see if we could meet up in Rome and became angry/accusatory when I said "no." And last summer 2018, when I told him "I want to spend the day alone" he came with his boat and purposely found me where I was swimming." When I had said "No, do not kiss me" he kissed me anyway. Thirdly, when I had said "I don't want us to spend anymore time together" he responded in anger "you exaggerate. You misunderstand. You create films in your head. I was joking when I said I want to marry you. You don't get my humor."

I am too naive a person. I have learned so much from that experience. Like, now one-one-one time with guys I do not cultivate unless I want to date them.  Because probably what happens is that even if you tell a guy you are not "into him", you tell a guy you are not attracted to him, you tell a guy you only feel friendship towards him, if you STILL take boat rides with him alone, if you spend time alone together for meals, if you share deep conversations with him and if you share long hugs, he is probably going to interpret all those actions and time invested to mean that you secretly like him and don't let yourself admit it, that you have romantic feelings for him, and in my case, he thought that my "no" meant "please yes." Now, he respected every other physical boundary. Everyone who knows me on the island knows I do not practice sex becore marriage and this guy "S" never ever pushed me
to have sex. He did not go there. He respected my stance on sex and knew it was of limits, good on him! But still, I expressly said no, I don't want to kiss you. (Regarding long hugs-I only hugged him b/c he begged me to saying "please can we hug? It is crystal clear that we are 'just friends' and friends can hug & embrace like this". And I am always down for long hugs- with guys, babies, parents, friends, dogs, & cats because it feels like a healing & nurturing activity). Apparently he was telling me that long embraces were totally ok in friendship, but believing it meant something more)

No means No. There's not much to discuss about the word "No."  So this year, no thank you. I would never want a repeat of last summer since he twisted so many words around, telling me friendship is what we are cultivating, but believing in another story... A love story that doesn't exist. So much trouble in so little time: just five Wednesdays/Thursdays in 2018.

After his yelling scene this morning, I boarded the slow ferry and enjoyed conversations a passenger about WWII history, prisoners at Gaeta who'd been part of the German Gestapo and the Apreana Army (if i understood correctly). Another passeger saw my shirt that reads "Gesù ti sazia l'anima" (Jesus satiates your soul) and he told me how much it encourages him because he also has a strong faith in Christ yet sees how many are ashamed of him.
I sprinted from there to the train and made it in time. Thank you Jesus that the train was not late.
Work was nice. I spoke to the owner of the restaurant about the messages I'd sent to him about believing I and my coworkers have a right to our weekly days off and shouldn't have to give them up to cover another coworker every time a he/she has an unplanned event come up. I asked if he was angered by that. He said no, all is well, he simply did not respond to me because he figured he could not refuse me my off days on summer since I had told him I'd already made plans for every week of summer. He said "mi devo organizzare e ho chiamato il figlio del mio amico di venire ad imparare." (I just have to work it out. I called the son of my friend to come in and start learning the job).  Praise the Lord!!! He is not gonna fire me for what I said! Instead he is getting a substitute to cover us when one is out. The whole shift I met and served fantastic people: a couple from Suffock, a family from Montana whose now moved to Tampa. They were extremely observant of every move I made 😱 yet friendly inquisitive. I served a couple from New Zealand, a Greek couple whose parents remained in Greece yet they immigrated to Toronto. I met a very artsy creative couple from New York and another lovely couple from Felixstowe on the water.
I probably burned a hole in my stomach the whole work shift due to the stress I feel about maybe having made "S" feel humiliated by sharing the two sentences he said with people. I would NEVER want to do wrong by him because he had been in every other way so good and nice, meek and mild. I mulled over whether or not I should ever go back to Ponza, my favorite place on earth. Because if a person there won't leave me in peace, how could I enjoy it?
After work, I went to the Gelateria where Carlos the Peruvian works to see how he's doing. He still does not like living in Rome and is desirous to find his place in the world, yet just completed all his paperwork to become an Italian citizen. This is good because it will allow him to travel more freely to even more countries, which is his passion. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Life in Italy - Day 1594 (2019) The wonders under the sea of Ponza Island

Giovedì 13 Giugno 2019
The sun woke me up at 6 a.m. and was fortunately able to fall back asleep until 8 a.m. I got coffee from the lovely Rita of Bar Tripoli and had a fabulous conversation with the guy from Naples who works next door. I was warned that today there is too much wind on the west side of the island to swim but I was stubbornly determined to swim in ALL the inlets I had observed from the kayak yesterday. So I took the bus there and, sure enough, it was crazy waves that scared me for how they SLAMMED against the sea wall. That could be ME being slammed.
So while undecided about whether or not to stay or leave the west side of the island, I saw a lady who owns  and works the beach bar there. We introduced ourselves- she is called Maria Pia which means "pious Mary." She noticed my Tshirt which reads "Gesù ti sazia l'anima. Perché spendi denaro per ciò che non sazia." (Jesus satiates the soul. Why spend money for what can never satisfy). She said "con lui c'ho litigato" (I had a fight with God) I told her fighting and arguing with God is far better than saying nothing to God. Because, at least you express yourself which is what He wants us to do in a relationship with Him. She agreed and opened up to me about her daughter and husband. But then when we got on the topic of sin and I explained that we are all in the same position before God-who sinned only one time and who sinned a million times are all on the same status with God = separated from Him until we except His FREE GIFT of redemption through Jesus sacrifice, she could not accept. She did not like the idea that all of us are on the same level with God regardless of who sins more or less. Then she said "tu andrai in paradiso e io ad inferno; forse si diverte ad inferno." (You'll go to heaven and I to hell. Maybe hell is really fun). I warned her that it will be constant torment and misery.
We talked about fun stuff too, like her love for swimming with a mask and passion for travel!
So around noon, I saw an elderly man who had the courage to swim despite those waves. Seeing him gave me the courage also and I ended up enjoying it because there were so many fish jetting around the rocks under that furthest cement slab. I am so happy when I have the chance to observe fish. I saw tiny skinny thumb-length iridescent fish, those sarago with two vertical black stripes, occhiata with the black dot where the tail and body meet, those with horizontal yellow stripes and those with lots of vertical stripes. The water temperature went back and forth between pleasantly warm and freezing warm and freezing. It was warm on the top two inches so I tried to become as flat and thin as a mouse does to only feel the warm part.  learned from last year to get out when I start trembling.
So I got out and just then, the elderly man and his wife who'd had the courage to swim were also leaving the beach. I said goodbye to lovely Maria Pia and the elderly couple offered me a ride to the next beach called Frontone. They are so sweet and come from the Amalfi Coast of Italy. They love to snorkle and spoke of the Albatrax area of Sardegna as their favorite place to do so.
I sprinted down the long hike to Frontone and it was a completely different story on this east side of the island. The water was as flat as an ice skating rink and as clear as a swimming pool. What a MARVEL.
Lavigna the nice girlfriend of Enzo and student of art therapy greeted me with kindness.
I then swam on the side of the beach with the rocky coast where there is a cave and two HUGE stones that jet out of the middle of the sea. I swam out all the way to those stones and explored around them with eyes wide open. Guess what I saw!!!! An EEL. She looked just like a snake and was polka-dotted purple. The funniest thing is she hid from me under a rock in a slivery way. I stayed there to watch. Then she peeked her back out to see if I was still watching and I'm like "YEP, I'm still here muahahahah!!!" Oh so great! The way snakes and eels move is super intriguing. After exploring around the rocky areas to my hearts' delight I swam across the whole length of the beach over the sandy areas. I was tired half-way through and very cold BUT - ya gotta continue because what else are you gonna do at the half-way mark?
Then I laid on the hot rocky beach that had steam rising up from it. This was of great comfort for my body. Once I warmed up, I swam again out to the boeys and then warmed up a second time on hot rocks. There was a group of adorable children from Naples who'd come to this particular beach without their parents. They must be in the grade of school where you learn math because they were trying yo figure out if "un quarto d'ora" (15 minutes) is LESS or MORE than 20 minutes. I offered to take videos and fotos of them because they were all holding hands in a single file line and running into the water together!!!
Then I saw that my friend Alessandro was picking up groups of people to bring them back to the port so I got on the boat too and talked to him for a while. He told me how he goes underwater fishing for padelle (a type of mussel) with a knife and a net and then eats them for dinner!!!
At the port I caught the bus to go back to the west side, still determined to explore all the inlets I'd observed from the kayak yesterday- hoping the waves had died down. I took the steep descent to "La Caletta" and asked Francesco if I could use the kayak. He said YEAH!! So this time I remembered to bring my underwater mask!!! There were definitely still waves but not as forceful as before. So I went to the same places and started to realize which color rock creates which color of water. Brown rock with tumeric color in it creates mint green and baby blue colored water, grey moon-like rock creates emerald green water and pale yellow rock creates seafoam green colored water. This is so exciting because it's like having an artist's pallet of paint in front of you. As I went, groups of more than 40 anchovies skipped above the water's surface- skipping and skipping fast (at least I think they are anchovies!!???). Then I found a way to set the kayak between two rocks above the water so that it wouldn't move and I swam!!!!i swam under the Pope's Fort and the old mine on the side closest to Cala dell'Acqua. Let me tell you what I saw! White rock that is sharp and porous. Sharp like hundreds of triangular pieces pointing upward and so porous that in each hole is living a SEA URCHIN. There are so many of these holes with sea urchins in them the rock looks polka dotted black and white. On another part of the white rock is growing bright yellow sea grass so bright it looks like there is a lamp or light bulb inside of it. This yellow illuminated grass looks like skinny gelatinous tubes. Funnily, there was a school of tiny fish the exact same color of bright yellow swimming in it, as if to mimic the color. Deeper on the sea floor was Posidon, the dark green long sea grass that waves on the bottom of the sea. I took another short ride in the kayak to the part of the SAME inlet where the rock becomes PALE YELLOW, which is gorgeous against a pale blue sky and a bright clear blue sky also. Great contrasts. I parked the kayak again in a safe place and swam. This pale yellow rock underwater looks like silly putty or play dough that you could mold with your hands. I touched it and it was soooo smooth. On this rock grow hundreds of white silverish crescent shaped shells that look as thin as paper. Literally that thin. So I got out and I felt cold this time- there was a breeze blowing on my cold wet body and wet hair. I hope this doesn't make me sick. I made it back to the caletta safely after first kayaking one side the turtle rock called Tartaruga and the coastal wall right next to it because I wanted to see that emerald color again. I am so fortunate to have not been stung by any jelly fish today!
I took the bus to the port, changed as fast a lightening and hurried to have aperitivo. Again Bar Tripoli was at full capacity outside. I wanted to join Alessandro but there was "no room in the inn." So I went to have a drink at Bar Maga Circe and basked in the beautiful champagne sunset. I listened to a sermon by Tim Keller called "You Must Be Born Again" which was SO COOL because it is exactly about what I had talk to Vincenzo about last night. He talks about how to be born again and what happens when one is born again. During this hour Jesus spoke to me, telling me how He will always fill me. He invited me to come to Him every time I a empty, to hold my hands out like cups and He will willingly gill me up. He said He wants to fill my bosom with His riches, so that I am stocked with a wealth of His perspective on life, His thoughts and judgments about what is truth, His gifts and power of His Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever work I am to do at whatever given moment. He said He wants to adorn me with His necklaces- this adornment of His means that He covers me by dressing me up in Him, wherein His adornment is my identity. Therefore it literally DOES NOT MATTER one bit if someone judges me negatively and harshly or hates me. If they do, it simply means they were not MEANT to receive whatever it is I am transmitting. Others are free to think and conclude whatever negative think they want about me because it simply has no weight and is of no importance. The important thing is that I am in God's "vestement" his clothing, wearing the adornment He places on me.
This is such wonderful and life giving info.
Then I went to dinner at my favorite Oresteria and by some miracle found a seat outside to, again, stare at the blue lights under the cobalt blue sky. This time I ate fettucine with fish eggs!!!!! (Botarga). The waiters Riccardo, Gianluca and Alisea are always so nice to talk to. Again, Vincenzo passed by this restaurant while walking his dog so we exchanged a few pleasant words about how awesomely our days went and how many times we swam!!! I pet his dog who is so cute and jealous! Then I went down to the port where the boats are and talked to my friend Luigi and met a Norwegian girl who is learning Italian. I was able to share the gospel of Jesus with her and how to find our identity in Christ.
Then I called my mom on video chat which is so fun.
What I am extremely happy about is that even though "S" returned to Ponza this week, he did not try to come find me nor approach me!!! 

Life in Italy - Day 1593 (2019) PONZA ADVENTURES IN PARADISE

Mercoledì 12 Giugno 2019
Up at 5:26 am to go to the island of paradise! The metro was slow and then the train was slow, making me risk not getting on the ferry. I made it in time! I fell asleep on the ferry and thankfully a man woke me up because if he hadn't, I would have ended up back at my starting point😂😂😂
The weather predictions reported more sunshine and heat in both Palinuro and Le Cinque Terre, BUT Ponza is in my heart and I have friendships there.
So I arrived on the island and descended immediately at La Caletta on the opposite side of the island than the port. There was some wind but I swam and it was so refreshing. I swam not over sand; rather over rocks because that is the most beautiful type of sea floor to me. It was a mix of grey moon-like rock with yellow algae growing in it, big white round pebbles, and pale yellow smooth rock. The coast under the water's surface is curvy like a serpent, some rock extending far out from the shore. So I like to follow its lines. I saw a red starfish (which means female)- such a bright and pleasing contrast of color against teal blue.
I went back to my lounge chair to rest and was so sleepy but instead of wasting a day asleep I used the kayak that comes free with the chair rental! From this "Caletta" I went all the way to the Cala Ciccata. The water was so calm and still like a flat sheet, so I was able to see the wonders of the underworld. And let me tell you, it was SO BREATHTAKINGLY GORGEOUS. The varied nature of Ponza's rock is what renders the seafloor so incredibly inviting. It says "come explore me" with its mysterious and attractive contours. With a kayak one is able to get so much closer to the coast than in a boat, so I took full advantage of this. There is a place called Punta Papa (pope's point) underneath the Forte del Papa (Pope's fort) and the Vecchia Miniera (the old mine). Well there, I was amazed at a baby blue and mint green color of the water. I weaved in and out of those rocks. It's either the rock or the water that takes on this color! Above the water's surface that same rock is dry and has the color brown and tumeric orange. From there, I turned the corner into Cala Ciccata where the right side of that crescent is also sprinkled with these mint green/baby blue underwater rocks that you can weave in and out of exploring their details for days. The jellyfish were in this Cala (inlet), so I turned back not wishing to slap the life out of em wth my paddle. I returned to the Cala dell'Acqua and went again under the Fort of the Pope but heading towards the part where the rock turns pale yellow. That side of the Fort had a gorgeous and varied sea floor- it's composed of sand, rock and POSIDON. There is also a cave here one could kayak or swim inside of. The water seams more emerald and teal here. I wanted so badly to stop here and swim but I forgot my mask on the shore. I never swim without a mask because I am too afraid of what I can't see. So disappointing!!! Yet beautiful even to see from a kayak. I continued to the part near the Cala dell'Acqua made of a pale yellow rock that extends high into the pale blue sky. Those two colors are gorgeous next to each other!!! The sea floor below that is of smooth round stones about the perimeter of my knee. Then I continued into the middle of the Cala dell'Acqua where there is a huge rock standing out in the middle of the sea that the Ponzesi have nick-named "Tartaruga" which means turtle. Exploring its nooks and crannies is awesome for the colors as well. On the sea wall opposite the turtle, however, is magnificent! I'm talking about the sea wall on the side of the turtle rock that is that backside (derrière) of la Caletta. This area is teal blue and a fascinating mix of sand, Posidon, and mint green rock. 'Twould be another place in which to spend hours.
I made it back safely to La Caletta and saw my friend Herta. She is an Austrian Biologist. She spoke to me of how she first came to Ponza in 2015 and came here back and forth each year for months at a time in between her studies. She loves the land for all it has to offer from a biological standpoint. She talked about enjoying fishing in the island and how thankful she is to have gotten the most coveted job at the 4 star hotel here that is one of the few to write job contracts and health insurance for their employees. She told me about guys from Ponza and how almost all of them "ci vogliono provare" (almost all try to get in your pants) because they can't fathom a girl coming to an island alone and actually ENJOYING TIME ALONE. We talked about the difference between me from Northern Europe who seem to better understand this concept of women traveling alone to enjoy a territory without seeking a man.
Then I caught the bus just in the nick of time to have aperitivo at Bar Maga Circe. My favorite bar is Bar Tripoli but it was at full capacity and I am also making friends at Maga Circe so all is well. Besides Herta, I also got to see my skipper friend whom I call "Zio Francesco" (uncle Frank) who sat with me for a drink. I saw Vittorio the supermarket owner, Eleonora who does publicity for boat tours, the nice Napolitano guy who works next to Bar Tripoli, Valentina the girlfriend of Vincenzo, Rita the waitress at Bar Tripoli, Cristiana my neighbor who has a cute and cuddly dog, and I saw also the wife of Cocò who sells fruits and vegetables on the port. I had such a fabulous time too talking on video chat with my dad and my brother! I love and respect these men soooo much!!!!
Then I went to dinner at Oresteria and it was lovely because I sat outside under the blue lights of the upcoming festival. Imagine blue lights under a cobalt blue sky. Best!!! (There are red and yellow ones too but blue gives me that calming feeling). They served me PESCE PADA CON CARCIOFI (sword fish with artichokes) and it was DIVINE!!!! The I had their dessert called MilleFoglie with sweet mascarpone cream and almonds on top!!
Then my friend Vincenzo passed by the restaurant with his dog Margot and he and I had a two hour a conversation about Jesus and what it means to be born-again! He believes a lot in energy and different men who died for a positive cause in the world. He views Jesus as another one of these, but not as a part of the divine trinity nor does he see Jesus death as necessary to reunite us with God (blood sacrifice). He thinks we all have God in us, since we are made in God's image. Well, it's true we are made in God's image but we were separated from God when sin entered the world and we need to be reconciled to God in order to have a relationship with him. He said all religions danced the same tenants and basic teachings. I said Christianity is different than them all for one reason: others teach we can achieve righteousness (goodness) with our own efforts and good behavior; meanwhile Christianity teaches we cannot with or good works ever achieve the goodness God requires to be in a right relationship with God therefore Jesus became that goodness for us and lived by the law perfectly and then died in our place-the death sin caused- so that we can stand in God's presence and have a daily close relationship with Him. It's on Jesus' merit that we are saved.
Then I went to Bar Tripoli to buy water and there danced with Roberta the waitress. Then I saw my Protestant friend Luigi. He told me that "S", the guy I went on boat rides with five times last summer told Luigi "Faith is in love with me and doesn't want to admit it. But I couldn't care LESS about her." If he is going around telling people this LIE that I love him, I hope it doesn't mean he is going to try to follow me again with his boat!!!!!! That would make me feel like my freedom is stolen.
Luckily today, I was all alone and free to spend six hours exploring the sea and loved it!!! At 1 a.m. I saw the affectionate black cat in the street and sat down to pet her for forever!!!

Life in Italy - Day 1592 (2019)

Martedì 11 Giugno 2019
Was woken up three different times through the night but was able to continue to fall back asleep and get 7 hours.
I took a walk to my favorite French bakery Le Levain for the mackerel, artichoke and pistaccio paste sandwhich on olive bread, I stopped at my favorite coffee shop and spoke to my barista friends there and then walked an hour to the music shop Bandiera for my 2rd attempt to pick up my zip drive full of background tracks to my favorite cover songs to sing. I got the store hours wrong AGAIN so I had two hours to kill. Thus, I walked go get train tickets for tomorrow, dropped broken sandals off to be repaired and then to an internet point to print out important tax documents and appointment dates to get my passport. Then I forgot all those papers I printed AT THE INTERNET POINT. I must have been sleep walking or something to have left them there. It is full of confidential information so I pray to Jesus Christ of Nazareth that my identity doesn't get stolen as I wont be in town for three days to go retrieve them.
I made it to Lorenzo of Bandiera to pick up my zip drive and he had worked hours on finding the songs I'd requested yet only charged me 10 euro!!!!
Work was challenging because the chefs yell if ever I inform them that a client complained about the salmon being overcooked. He yells at the top of his lungs- you know nothing about cooking! I have cooked fish for 6 years! Don't you ever go to the manager about customer complaints! Come to e!! (But if you go only to him, he yells equally and refuses to correct his mistakes for future customers. The chefs are young and in the 20s. They get offended easily and take any feedback very personally. I trembled for over 30 minutes because people's rage and anger (if directed at me) has always had that affect on me because I am a sensitive person. Well, the angry hot-head chef told all the other chefs how mad he was about me informing the manager that clients often say he over cooks salmon which makes it hard and dry. So they all ganged up on me and said "you've changed lately for the worse Faith. You're different." I asked for detailed explanations and/or examples as to HOW I had changed or what was worse but they were unable to give me any answer or example.
I worked indoors on my own until my coworker arrived and then outdoors on my own. As usual, it was loads of fun because of all the fun and interesting people I meet from all over the world. Since June, each waitress has to work a huge section alone on both Mondays and Tuesdays because we are in only two staff members and the warm weather allows us to put seats outdoors. It is much more responsibility and physical labor with me having to carry heavy tables. I love the responsibility and there is an element of scary adrenaline if the customers all come in at once which makes you afraid you won't get to their tables fast enough to please them. What I don't love is carrying the tables because my back hurts so badly. I am going to have to tell them I cannot carry them.
Among the wonderful people I met and served tonight was a couple from Riverdale California, a couple from Kentucky, and a couple from Ohio with whom I had beautiful interactions couple, a group of friends from Cyprus who were demanding but then I got their smiles to come out and saw their soft side!!!  I met a lone traveler from Melbourne who just retired and seems to be looking for love with another woman his age. He's ready for a this chapter of life wherein he can freely travel as much as he likes.
Note: The owner is trying to get me to cover two different staff this summer when they go on vacation which would mean losing three weeks of my off days during summer and sun. I expressed respectfully that I would not do this and that he would need to find someone else to come in and work those days. He has not responded to any of my messages about this and it is causing me very very much anxiety.
The main scripture Jesus has placed on my mind today is "He will keep you in PERFECT PEACE when your mind is FIXED on Him."
My room is somehow full of pollen so I couldn't sleep due itchy eyes and allergies. I dusted every inch of the floor but it must be in my comforter too because I was constantly breathing it in and scratching my eyes. I slept only 3 hours before my alarm rang for my train.