Guest blogger, Elaine, back for more adventure in Europe with the G4's.
We've enjoyed delicious food and wine, the beautiful Tuscan countryside, fun cooking classes, exposure to some of the finest art in the world and best of all, great fun with each other.
Particularly memorable was last night's Mass. We kicked off Advent by attending services in Florence. The Mass lasted 90 minutes, and the priest was very into his work! There were no ushers, readers or servers, just a one-man show. Attending Mass in a foreign language can be challenging, but usually we can follow along. As the services began, he walked to the back of the church, yelling at the tourists outside who were noisy. He continued his rant and, even though we weren't following his every word, he was definitely expounding on cell phones (gestures say a lot). We couldn't understand Italian, but he obviously prayed AND preached with a great deal of passion, sometimes pounding his hand on the altar. At one point he walked over to Nina, called her 'bambini' and asked her something. UH - blank stares from all of us to which he questioned, "Italian?" We all shook our heads no! At the peace greeting, the entire congregation, according to their custom, came forward and shook his hand. No donation basket was passed around. Instead all donations were brought to a basket on the altar. He frequently laughed and interacted with the people - at least those who understood him. Quite an experience!
I'm headed home tomorrow with lots of stories and good memories.