Bare Walls–Cultural Insights

Imagine that you and your spouse are finally at a place in life to move into your first home after only a few years of marriage and lots of anticipation. It’s actually just a rental, but it’ll be all yours! Think about the joy of actually moving-in following the search with a real-estate agent, administrative bureaucracy, and signing of the contract. However, there are a few caveats.

Your new kitchen has no appliances, no cabinets, and doesn’t even have a sink!   Your home has no light fixtures or ceiling fans and there are wires dangling out of the wall in the place where a fan or fixture would normally be located.   The walls of your new home are all white, but dirty with use in many places from the previous tenants.   Your bathrooms have the most basic porcelain fixtures but lack counters, cabinets, and a mirror.   You finally make your way to the bedrooms and are reminded that your new home has no closets or any built in storage of any sort.

As unusual as this scene might be to the North American reader, this is the everyday  reality of the starting condition of most purchased or rented apartments in Italy.   This is the exact place that we find ourselves with our newly rented abode.   Believe it or not, it does have its advantages.   You don’t have to deal with the stylistic or design choices of the previous owners/renters, as they took just about everything with them when they left.

While we are adjusting to what is normalcy here in Italy, we don’t feel at ease with this whole process as of yet.   In the span of a few weeks we’ve chosen paint colors and appliances, designed and ordered our kitchen, and are in the midst of furnishing the whole rest of our apartment from the ground up.   Not only have we been choosing the minute details of exactly what to put in our home, but we’ve been arranging and negotiating directly with all the various professionals who will do most of the installations for us.   Needless to say, it’s been a bit stressful for us.

The Lord has been our sustaining grace in this joyful yet stressful moving adventure.   We aren’t yet living in our apartment because there are simply too many missing pieces from the puzzle for it to support life as of yet.   We’ve had the blessing of being able to stay with family–Jason & Allyson Greenwich–and our colleagues in Sesto–Terrance & Hillary Luker–since leaving Bologna.  Most days, we just long to have all the dust settled and the freedom to move forward with life and ministry.   In the meantime, we simply entrust each detail in this thousand-piece-puzzle to our Sovereign and Omniscient Father.   This apartment will be our home, office, and place of ministry, but it is ultimately His to use as He desires according to His good pleasure…

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One Response to Bare Walls–Cultural Insights

  1. Bekah says:

    just, wow. I had no idea. I feel so silly for thinking it would be exactly like in the US for you both in Italy, but it is always surprising how things are so different. I can’t even imagine having to start from bare walls and build up, and the joys and stresses that come with that…
    Praying for you both this morning. That Jesus would encourage your hearts and knit you together as you knit your house together….

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