Tonight when I was walking home and thinking about how much I hoped someone was home because I forgot my keys, I found myself a part of a curious scene. Fire trucks, yes, fire trucks filled my street, yes, my street, of little ol’ Via Pisa. And there was smoke. And people. And as I walked closer I saw that the attention of everyone was centered towards the area of the door into the apartments. And I heard yelling and shouts from one of the floors of the building. And yes, as I came closer it looked to be that every eyes was fixed upon smoke pouring from the very door I was wanting to enter! And then as I got closer I realized that they were more concerned with the little shop one door away from that door that must have caught fire in some small way quite recently and where the smoke was actually coming from. So I cautiously approached the door and luckily Peter was around to buzz me in. No bodily harm done to anyone, friends. No need to be alarmed. Just a slight weapons malfunction. We are all alright here. How are you?

Before any of this I went to Rome Baptist to help prepare for Sunday worship. I played guitar and stumbled over the worst chords in the world to play if you actually want your guitarist to keep up with you on a song he has never heard before. Who plays in the key of A flat anyway? But it was fun. And there was also a severe lack of me knowing what was going on at any given moment or knowing what people expected of me. Yes, I have never been a part of your system before so of course I know exactly what is happening at any given moment. So apparently I am leading or maybe just helping to lead or maybe singing too the worship songs for the whole church as well as playing music with Kathy for the offering as well as playing a song with a guy I just met for the ‘special music’ time. I will be a busy guy for a few hours this Sunday. But the guys I met, Paul and Jean, are from western Africa and have been in Italy for a couple years for various reasons. I think Paul is schooling it up. They kept inviting me to everything they knew about that they could invite me to. Most of these things, as in all but one, I already knew about and planned on attending. They were very friendly and nice in that way. I had met Paul a week ago, and tonight he actively sought me out to talk with me. Maybe because they feel I am the new guy. Well, I guess I kind of am. It was really good to meet them and talk again and for the first time. Doing the special music with Paul and another girl….. I guess.

Before any of that I climbed a tree and read in it, while the sun burned the clouds with fire to the west, just glimpsed over and through the cracks and gaps in the concrete canyon walls.

And before any of that I ate a lot of bread. And I mean a lot. In fact, I realized that I never had lunch; I just ate bread over the course of the afternoon. Marianna had a bunch that a bakery was just going to throw out to give to the refugees, but they didn’t take it all, so she gave me a bunch. And the good Lord knows I like my bread and do not refuse it lightly when it is freely offered to me. So now I have a bunch of bread. Also I have a pile of now six books placed precariously on the edge of my little table-desk. Just thought you might like to know.

But before any of this, Lindsey and I went out to make lunches at St. Andrews, which is the name of a Bedouin Soundclash song, in case you were wondering. I like that song. And so we made lunches. Most of the volunteers are UN or embassy wives with far too much money for anyone’s good and far too much time on their hands. This is one of the reasons Tim stopped helping on these days. Awkward gossip hour just didn’t do it for him. A couple of them got really snappy at me for doing little things that I thought would help (which actually would have helped) but apparently messed with their time established system. And then when I tried to tell them how I was making the world a better place with my presence (that was a joke) – when I tried to explain to them why my little help actually was a help if they chose to see it, they decided I didn’t know anything and cut me off with the ‘I know you were just trying to help’ line. This made me feel really looked-down-upon. But yes of course, I really am nothing and have never been out of my house before today and have never been put in charge of people or had to do anything hard ever in my life and have certainly not ever done this sort of task and never ever hung out with homeless people before and have surely never had to make any hard decisions in a high-stress work setting with people counting on everything I say and do. Not anything like your life and how you were faced with the life or death choices of what cute, hip outfit you were going to wear so you look great giving food to poor people and the great task of how you were going to belittle everyone in your path who doesn’t operate on your level of richness and obvious cultural sensitivity and overall awareness of the other half (or rather 99%) that doesn’t live like you.

Was that too bitter? Sorry, I guess I just really don’t like it when people think they know me and treat me like I am five-day-old chicken-boy. Yeah, that was pretty mean. I take it all back, but not enough to delete it from my post.

I did have the chance to talk to a couple refugee buddies for a more extended period of time which was great. I am glad that one of them at least went out of his way to come talk to me. He wants to make a movie of the refugee situation in Europe and show it back in Afghanistan. I asked him why, what does he think that would accomplish (not in a demeaning way, I honestly wanted to know his goal in this [because I think it’s a great idea! {You see how many parenthetical breakdowns I am pulling out right now?!}]) . He said that maybe people do not come. Maybe they stay in Afghanistan. But what do you choose if your choices are life in a country on the rocks or a life in the streets unwanted in a foreign land? It was good to talk and laugh with them. Maybe they will play soccer on Saturday.

And before any of this I woke up.

And before that I was sleeping.

Sorry for my extreme verbosity. I actually thought this was going to be a shorter post.


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