After 8 hours in the air, 8 at the airport, and 6 on a bus I have finally arrived in Novafeltria! The town is charming, no one speaks English, and it is far away from just about everything. A few travel notes:
File this one under “this only happens to me”. A woman with whom I was travelling had to deliver a computer to someone in Rome for a friend of her family. This “someone” happened to be a priest, so I told her not to worry about finding him at the airport, because I am a priest-magnet. We found Fr. Oscar straightaway, and he had brought a friend with him to translate. I asked Padre a few questions about his ministry (in Italian, of course), and told him a little about mine. A few moments later, over espresso, he told the translator about my job, and all three of us went on to talk about the Crusades. My first conversation in Rome is about the Crusades! It seems there are some things I can’t escape. (Full disclosure: When Oscar revealed he was from Peru we got talking about Gustavo Guttierez, so that one was my fault).
Our apartment is nice, but a little farther from the center of town than I would have hoped. And by farther I mean “up a very steep hill”. At least I will still be in shape when I get back to the US. It also has a gabled ceiling which results in my hunching over all the time. I also slammed my head on the ceiling when I got up in the middle of the night. My poor roommate, a kind young undergraduate from Indiana, is almost 6 feet tall and she is really struggling with the height issue.
Fear not, Mother, I made it to Mass. The Chiesa San Pietro is quite similar to your average parish in the US. On the outside it is clear that it is quite ancient, but the mass was hardly archaic. There was slightly hokey music, everything was overamplified, kids were screaming in the back. It was just like home!
After meetings and practicing, our Sunday is beginning to wind down. I look forward to cooking some pasta tonight (and, judging by the state of my bank account, for many nights to come), and enjoying an evening promenade with my newfound friends.