8.20.2008

Travelogue: Italia::Genoa


Part One: The Dilemma
It was a misty evening in early December when we first put foot to pavement in Genoa, Italy. Luminous in the fog & fading sunlight,the city rose before us; tiers upon tiers of palazzos & piazzas, winding streets & whiskered old men, just waiting to call us 'bella' and rain down unwanted kisses on our cheeks. (I didn't find out that last part until too late.) We'd booked into the local youth hostel, which sat on the uttermost tier of the city. We had just enough money to stay there until we were expected in Ljubljana, roughly 3 weeks later, where we were going to be working with a new church, teaching evangelism and prayer. We didn't know quite what we were supposed to do in Italia for 3 weeks, the five of us, except travel through it before reaching Slovenia sometime right after the New Year. We ascended the crowded hills, our bus actually scraping paint off its sides as it navigated the narrow city streets; walls looming. A few hours later we found ourselves pacing in the courtyard, shoulders hunched against the wind that blew in off the Ligurian Sea. The youth hostel, we discovered, was closing for the Christmas holiday just 5 short days hence. ("Buon Natale! Now get out!") We couldn't afford to stay anywhere else, so we paced, trying to figure out what to do. We prayed. And prayed. Over the next couple of days we kept praying, walking around Genoa's innumerable circuitous streets and alleys and asking God what we should do. I seem to recall a brief side-trip to il palazzo di Christopher Columbus, where I filched a rose from his garden and said, fist in the air, "That's for the Indians, man!"
Librarium Sanctum
There was a definite bite in the December air, so we sought out all the public indoor meeting places we could find, in order to pray. It ended up being libraries mostly; I recommend seeing a city primarily through its libraries. I will never forget the quiet rooms and black & white checked floors in the library in the neighboring village of Portifino, which couldn't be more Italian if it had Isabella Rossellini riding by on a Vespa, jaunty red scarf fluttering, bottles of vino askew. These prayer times seemed to set the stage for our entire time in Italy, although we little knew what we needed to learn before we could be led by the voice of God. We sat on rocks looking out on the Mediterranean and looked south to Israel.

3 comments:

Mum said...

The other day I found the postcard you sent me from Roma. What an incredible journey. God is good!
XO-Mum

Jon said...

i didn;t know you went to ljublijana. i was there less than a year ago with miss joann.

rosa said...

ljubljana is such a cool city! We were there in the deep snowy season.
We hung out in an all night club called Bunker and talked to students about Christ. It was a very interesting, heart-breaking, moving, tiring & loud month.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.