Plus Belle La Vie

A More Beautiful Life

Month: December 2015

13 Days in Italy

Back in May, when I was just graduating from Polk State Collegiate I met Lori and Jim Spoto.

Pauline and I introduced ourselves to them after Jim gave a “charge” speech to the graduating seniors at our church.

Once introduced, I told them about what I planned to do this next year and they invited me to stay with them over Christmas break since I was not going home.

So with that I went to Italy and stayed with the Spotos in Italy for 13 days.

I went not knowing any Italian and left knowing quite a bit about the culture, the people, the customs, and a few pounds heavier from all of the fantastic food.

I saw many beautiful things in Italy, such as:

The city of Torino (Turin)

The Mole Antonelliana in Torino

The Sacra di San Michele (also, while here I saw the Alpes)


I was able to see and be apart of a blossoming church, which was established by the Spotos. When the Spotos were speaking about their church back in May, I didn’t entirely understand the gravity of having a church in Italy, but since being there and experiencing it I now know what it means to be a missionary, and to be one in a different country with different cultures and being seperated from your family.

While staying with the Spotos I was invited to many different dinners, along with them.

I had such good food, such as:

A genuine Italian Pizza

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and Gelato

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I loved my time in Italy and had fun meeting so many people. The only awkard thing was doing the kisses on the cheeks.
At first I didn’t know which cheek to start the kiss on and then by the end I was so used to the kisses that when someone gave me a hug I was rigid, because I didnt know what they were doing.

I love Italy and pray that I can go back one day and see the Spotos again. I don’t think I will ever be able to thank them enough for their kindness and generosity toward me during my stay in Italy.

Coaches, Planes, and Conversations

Currently, I am in Italy. The journey to get here took about 18 hours.

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My journey started in Cardiff where I was dropped off and waited 1 hour to get on a coach (which is a big charter style bus).

When I first got on this coach there was only a few people. So I was able to get a seat by myself and which in turn I fell asleep. I was awoken by a boy (around my age) getting into the seat next to me. As he was sitting down something from the shelf above fell on him thus hitting the floor and making a loud sound.

The boy sat down and put headphones in. I was now completely awake and just sat there staring at my phone (43% battery). About another 30 minutes passed and I was watching him play a game on his phone, the level he was on he had difficulty beating, but I thought I knew how to do it. So another 10 minutes passed and I tapped him on the shoulder asking him if there was a restroom on the bus. He looked at me, then said yes. He got up and let me pass.

After using the restroom I went back to my seat and opened up a bag of honey roasted peanuts. As I was eating them. I held them out to the boy sitting next to me. He was surprised I offered to share but gratefully accepted. I poured some in his hand ad our long conversation begun.

We talked for an hour about various things. I even helped him beat a few levels on the game he was playing. He was 19 and studying Art in Norwich (at least I think that is what he said from his English accent). We realized after an hour we hadn’t even told each other our names and with that I found out his name was Tom. I knew more about this guy in a matter of 2 hours than I knew about some kids I had classes with in College (Uni) or in high school (years 10-13).

When we were getting close to our destination to switch coaches. He mentioned that he was going to go buy a bottle of water and invited me along. I was so grateful for this because just before his offer I had realized I hadn’t purchased a bottle and was praying for the Lord to provide me an opportunity to get some water. So, I went with him to the grocery store we bought our water and then we headed to the station to find our next coaches.

He helped me find my coach and since mine would arrive before his would he sat with me and we talked some more.

The 30 minute wait flew by quickly and I said goodbye to Tom and got on my next hour and a half coach to Stansted airport.

When I arrived to the airport it was 10:00pm (2200). I was trying to find a place to sit and, also, plug my phone up to charge. Every place was filled. I found an opening on a bench and sat there watching my battery just die (22%).

The security to go through to the various gates didn’t open until 3 am (0300) so I would have to sit on a very uncomfortable bench for 5 hours.

30 minutes into my wait I met an Irish girl. We watched each others bags as we took turns to use the restroom and if we needed to get up and go for a walk to stretch our legs.

My flight was at 6:55 am (0655) and hers was at 6:20 am (0620). So we waited together in the crowded, cold, waiting area. I slept for about 40 minutes and she slept for more than that. I was curled up on the bench and she on the floor.

When it hit 3am we decided to just stick together. So we swapped names (Zelie was her name) and went through security together. When we got on the other side I followed her, as she showed me where outlets were.

We waited for 2 more hours together till 6, in this small restaurant, charging our phones (by the time I plugged my phone in it was 1%) and talked about so many things. We talked about our homes, showed them on maps. Added each other on Facebook. Talked about Ireland, I had a history lesson. The Presidential election. The education system. Food.

She said she was really missing potatoes which made me laugh.

Again, I knew more about this 18 year old Irish girl during our time just in the airport than people I “knew” back in the States.

Eventually, it came time for us to split and go to our separate planes. With that we said our farewells and went on our way.

From there I sat on the plane for 30 minutes and completely passed out. The plane took off and took 2 hours to get to Italy. When I arrived in Italy, I went through immigration and met up with Jim Spoto just outside the arrivals gate.

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I felt so blessed to have met 2 young people, my age, during my travels. Talking with them and learning about each of them made the time fly by quickly.

God definitely took care of me during this time by providing people who knew each area that I was in very well and with that they helped me out.

I am anticipating more adventures to come up while I am in Italy and to meet some incredible people during my Christmas break.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to talk to people.

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