Thursday, January 31, 2008 0 comments

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is having a good new year. For New Year's Eve (called Capodanno here, the cap of the year), we had a party at the church building. We brought food and ate together, both the traditional lenticche and cotacchino (lentils and some sort of pork) as well as a potluck assortment of other meat and side dishes. Eating together with the church is often interesting here--the congregation is so multicultural (there's typically at least nine nationalities represented on a Sunday morning) that at potlucks you might try various recipes from all over the world--Chinese pasta, a type of rice dish from Ghana, American hamburgers, etc. I took some chips and dip as well as my favorite pumpkin muffins.

After we ate, we played some games and had a bit of a talent show, or as Lewis put it, a talent-less show. The highlight of this was Mario, who was once the Italian roller-skating champion, and now twenty years later is still quite comfortable on wheels. We also wrote down how to say 'Hello, how are you?' in all the languages represented. (See photo). Then we spent some time singing together, and then prayed together as the new year began.

After getting the new year off to a good start, the first three weeks of January were rainy and dreary. It didn't rain to hard, but a good steady drizzle for three weeks will drive you crazy. We did get a good snow one, about the same time it snowed a bit there, and it was quite beautiful for a few hours, but after two days of snow, it changed back to rain so we had mostly slush. Finally, about a week ago, the sun came out again and the weather has been wonderful the last week, sunny and actually clear enough (doesn't happen often with the incredible smog here) to see the Alps in the distance several days in a row. I have included here a picture from my balcony from the first day I could see the mountains, once the trees finally lost enough leaves. I've never seen them quite so clearly again. It always amazes me on the few clear days we can see the Alps from here--they aren't far at all. How in the world can we not always see those huge mountains that are right there?? But, with the smog, it's a rare day that you would know there were mountains at all. The three weeks of gloom, I certainly have appreciated the sun this week. I now understand why people get seasonal affective disorder.