Thursday, February 16, 2012

At home in Padova

Tuesday, February 14
Today we help Steve and Patti by painting the inside their new home, which they will be moving into at the end of February. We started this last Saturday and by the end of today, we have painted two bedrooms, a bathroom and the living room. Now we head back to our cozy quarters for a delicious Valentine's Day dinner purchased at a nearby rosticceria.

We are thrilled with our little Padova appartamento. Though the temperature outside is consistently below freezing, we are mostly toasty warm, except for one day when the freezing wind was howling and the central heating couldn't quite keep up. Our appartamento is owned by our church here, International Christian Fellowship, and it is two floors above the church's office. The church uses it to house short-term missionaries and interns, but it was going to be unoccupied this month, so our staying here helps the church maintain some income while saving us a little money over the rate we would otherwise be paying in the San Salvatore agriturismo Casolare dei Fiori.

If we put our laptops by the window of the bathroom or the small bedroom, we can just manage to pick up the wi-fi from the church office, though we sometimes lose the connection and have to wait a few minutes and try again. If we need to use Skype to call home, we just have to go down below and unlock the church office to get better reception.

One of the best features of this place is the location. Just across the piazza is the Despar grocery store, so we can easily buy our food fresh for the day. The farmer's market in the centro is open daily and is only a five-minute walk, and the stazione is only 10 minutes a piedi. However, the church has loaner bikes, and we can get to most anywhere we need even faster. If we have to go farther, we are right next to many major bus routes.

We could happily stay in Padova for the next three months, but it is too easy to keep our American identities here. The church community is definitely international, but it is not particularly Italian. Most of the members are African or Eastern European, with a smattering of American, Italian, Filipino and other random nationalities thrown in. True, the sermon is translated into Italian, which is helpful for our language development, but we end up speaking English most of the time. Living in San Salvatore takes us out of our cultural comfort zone, and we are more likely to have encounters with Italians, some of whom are my relatives. This is more in keeping with my purpose for living in Italy. But meanwhile, we are enjoying every moment of our three weeks in Padova.

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