It’s easy to struggle against and mourn what you’ve lost, and when you leave your home, job, country, church and friends, you lose a lot. What a wonderful discipline it is to practice gratitude for the things you’ve gained. Here are ten things I love about life in Lesina.
1. The climate. (I might not say this in July and early August). In the morning I do school on the patio and the air is a perfect 20 degrees at 9 am. In the evening I sit out again and pop off an email or two at about the same temp.
2. No bugs. Well, people continue to say there are, but for a Canadian this is like NO bugs.
3. Fresh Mozzarella. Made daily, squishy, juicy, tasty, 13 euros per kilo mozzarella made from the milk of the water buffalo. The parmigiana and other aged cheeses are nothing to scoff at either.
4. Gelato Artigianiato. Fresh daily as well; creamy, incomparably rich ice cream. A Sunday afternoon tradition for our family.
5. Pane. Made to order daily, pick up at 8:00 am just around the corner, still warm from the oven, 2 euro for a round half kilo loaf of soft whole wheat. Also known as "Breakfast".
6. The produce (I know, I know, there seems to be a food theme going on here). It is so fun for me to go downstairs, run across the street and gather my produce (which again is delivered fresh daily) for the day’s meals. The butcher cuts your cuts for you, the fish market gives you clams still in the shell for 2 euros per kilo.
7. The products. Italians like quality and it shows in the products. I have never had such streak free windows or shiny chrome with minimal effort.
8. The market. Once a week vendors set up along the avenue by the lake and you can find all matter of clothing, material, shoes, household products, curtains, linens, produce, even furniture for amazing prices. So fun to shop in the open air under canvas canopies.
9. The culture. I love that wherever I go all the little businesses are family owned and operated. Brothers, Mothers, Fathers, Sons. The butchers, the bakers, the farm fresh Cheese-makers, the old dad alongside his two handsome sons at the shoe stall in the market. Italians are super social and they are never in a hurry. Everyone is friendly, and loves to talk. Sure, sometimes they like to be dramatic, but it’s fun to engage rather than walk around in your own little bubble. It makes one feel alive, warm, and connected. I love it and it is so conducive to ministry.
10. The vista. I will never tire of olive groves, poppy fields (or poppy-pops as Nicholas calls them), vineyards, shorelines, cobblestone streets, balconies cascading with vines and blossoms. It’s not all romance and beauty; there is plenty of garbage, graffiti and dilapidation mixed in so as to create a Beauty and the Beast contrast. But mix it all up; the good, the beautiful and the ugly, the people, flavors, sights and experiences and you will find yourself smiling and asking, “What’s not to love?”