Tuesday, December 16

You know it's been a good day when...

...you've got four Christmas cards AND a Congratulations card from England in your postbox when you get home!!

Thanks people, see you all on the 28th December :-)

Saturday, December 13

Spontaneous Saturdays

Planning to not plan.

This box of Frosties cost me €1, ONE EURO people!  Yes, I may have found it in the 'near best-before' bargain bin that I used to frequent so often as a student ten years ago, but my oh, my.  Frosties in this neck of the woods (Pescara) are usually around €3, maybe more...so yes, €1 is definitely a BARGAIN and I can definitely devour the whole box before the 16th December so there's no problem there.

Anyway.  I'm off track...oh...actually I'm not...I'm living my spontaneous Saturday!

A day of rest, real rest, a day of well, what Bruno Mars 'The Lazy Song' encapsulates, doing stuff because you feel like it, not because you have to.  In 'religious' terms it's considered a Sabbath, based on the story of creation and that God rested on the seventh day.  It's a day to stop, reflect, 'rewire' our brains, bodies, spirits and emotions, giving them all back to God, to his rhythm for us.
When I lived in London, Sunday was definitely my day of rest.  I used to go to church, then do whatever.  I remember walks to Hyde Park, bus rides to Picadilly just because, lengthy gazes at paintings in the Tate Britain, basically doing anything that was completely unrelated to my 'day job' but without planning it.  That meant no SMART notebook slide, no marking, no planning, no conversations about school but it also meant avoiding people, at least people I knew, unless I felt it necessary to speak to them in that moment of the Sunday.  It meant I didn't plan to see anyone, I just left things to chance.

Here in Pescara my time is filled, not with one thing as in London, but many things.  My week comprises of work (with it's day trips, meetings etc), Italian school, my piano lesson for an English lesson exchange, church, Meetup and dinners/lunches with friends.  It means that my time, my time for solitude, is sometimes reduced to the transitions on my bicycle.  As weeks go, I know my weeks aren't tough at all, in fact they're pretty relaxed but if I can't handle myself in the little that I have to combine now, how am I ever going to cope with more?  One day I might not be so 'lucky' to be young, free and single but have a husband and family to coordinate, cook for, entertain, take to school, the doctors, and everything else. 

I remember my housemate telling me how she saw how much I enjoyed 'my own company' and that's completely true: focused bible reading in solitude is a daily discipline I started after an Alpha course in 2006.   My current reading sessions of a book by Peter Scazzero entitled 'Emotionally Healthy Spirituality' has helped me see why this solitude has always been important to me but what's more awesome is the realisation that it is myself that controls my own solitude.   

Basically, establishing a Sabbath boils down to the a little two-lettered word consisting of an "n" and an "o"...yep..."no".  I've got my rhythm, I know where I have to be and when and my 'free' time is up to me to fill.  Basically, Monday and Thursday mornings, Monday evenings and all day Saturdays start each week as 'empty' spaces, with no regular commitments, however things get planned in: work meetings, house chores, bank stuff, socialising etc fills up that time each week and so as a result, my Sabbath is now Saturday, the only full 24 hour period I can keep empty.  The only thing I am allowing myself to say 'yes' to in regards of a Saturday, as I did last week, is something Bible related, and even then it's preferable not to be a 'planned' event but at short notice.  Everything else, all other invitations, as strange as it sounds to say no to coffee with a friend, is refused with a polite 'no'.

So, today, it's a Saturday, what am I doing?  After a morning reading the book above, I ended up going to the swimming pool near my house to watch some of my class in their saggio (a presentation of where the kids are at the moment in terms of their swimming skills).  It came about because I realised none of the other teachers were going and that it would be nice for the kids to see at least one of us there.  As I thought this at 2pm, i.e. in short notice, I had enough time to get changed out of my pyjamas and walk on over and I'm glad I did.  It was great to see the kids in a different environment, sharing their achievements and progress with their families. Some of them swam four lengths, more than I can do!

On the way home I decided I wanted to make a Bread and Butter Pudding so headed to the supermarket to get milk and cream where I found the above Frosties in the Bargain Bin.  And there we are, back to the beginning.

Happy Saturday people :-)

Monday, December 1

When in Rome...


I found this weekend so peaceful and relaxing, strange when I spent it in Rome, a city I originally detested.  It was my fifth time there and each time I like it just that little bit more.  It's difficult to walk around and see so much stuff without uncovering something new in such a big, mixed up city.  Although I saw many things that I've seen before, there are so many places, literally thousands, to discover.  There are over 900 churches in Rome, 600 of which are catholic, I think I saw...ooo...six of them this weekend.

Anyway.  Here are a few photos of my visit.  Forgive me though, I've not got a clue what they all are, except the obvious!


I cried a little inside when I noticed the roads that had had tarmac just dumped on top of the cobbles beneath