We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Living the dream- 8 special nuns in Venice

I’ve had other visits from new friends who have found me via my blog besides the ones mentioned in my last entry. Today’s blog is all about a particularly special group of ladies who sought me out when they were planning their first trip to Venice not long ago.

Their email came quite unexpectedly- I opened my inbox to find a lovely letter written by a woman from Amityville, New York who explains that she has been following my adventures in Italy for a few months now, would be in Venice soon and wanted to meet me while she was here. She and a group of her friends will be staying only 2 nights then on to Florence. And she also tells me her name is Sister Patricia, and she is traveling with 7 other friends, also nuns.

I knew immediately that I wanted to meet them as well. There was no way I could let this opportunity pass me by! Sister Pat and I emailed back and forth a few times to work out meeting arrangements. I couldn’t have been more excited at the prospect of meeting this bunch! During our conversations, another interesting fact came to light- the nuns had booked rooms in a convent house here in Venice, Casa Carburlotti, which turns out is located just around the corner from my apartment. It even appears, from the house address at least, that this convent house is on the other side of my garden wall.

Is this coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe things happen and that the people you cross paths with during your life time do so for a reason- something I understood more completely after having read The Celestine Prophesy. I’m meant to meet these eight women from New York, of that I am certain. And how intriguing that of all the places they could have chosen to stay in Venice, Italy, they will be right over my garden wall? I’m thinking there is a divine hand at work here, it isn’t just the Internet Gods at play.

I’ve felt that divine hand several other times since I started this wild notion of mine to move to Italy. I’m not a particularly religious person either. I believe, but I don’t expend any energy towards it. I don’t go to church, but was loosely raised as a Catholic. When I decided I wanted to move to Italy and started putting the wheels in motion, things really moved in the right direction for me. Like I said, I felt that divine hand on my shoulders several times. So now, when 8 Sisters from Amityville, New York are scheduled to arrive in Venice with plans to visit me, I’m definitely thinking this is not a coincidence. I don’t know why our paths will cross, I’m sure I will discover that in time.

On the appointed meeting day, I only had to walk a couple of minutes from our apartment over to Piazzale Roma to meet the bus coming from Marco Polo airport where will I gather up 3 of the nuns. The other 5 arrived on a different flight about 2 hours earlier and had made their own way to Casa Carburlotti via water taxi. We never had any discussions about how we would recognize each other – it just happened. Three women got off the bus and went towards the luggage bin, I looked at one and asked “Sister Pat?”, and sure enough.. it was her. Pat and I shared a big hug, I met Sisters Ginny and Judy, we collected their stuff, and set off to meet the rest of their group.

It took a little bit of doing to locate the right address for Casa Carburlotti. Typical Venice- the house numbering system here in Venice is pretty mysterious. Where 315 should have been, it wasn’t. There was 505 instead. How could the numbers go from 314 to 505, and what happened to the houses in between?? We looked up and noticed a nun in long black habit waving at us from way down the street. That must be it. Maybe we had the house number wrong? I’m familiar with this street, I walk it almost every day. Sure enough, at the end of the street is Casa Carburlotti, at number 315!!! Definitely a case of odd house numbering! Sister Olympia, one of the local nuns in residence, led our 3 nuns to their rooms where we met up with the other 5- Sisters Peggy, Diane, Gerry, Kathy and Eva.

After briefly settling in, I walked them all over to Campo Santa Margharita where I left them to have some dinner. The next morning I picked them up and we made our way first to the train station to procure their train tickets to Florence for the next day, and then we took vaporetto #1 to the Rialto market. We weren’t there 2 minutes when the skies opened up and let loose. We were soaked! What a rough morning for sight seeing. I left the nuns to tour St. Marks on their own in the afternoon, with a plan to meet up for dinner later.

My husband Michael joined us all for a nice dinner at a local place we love, Trattoria alle Burchielle near Tre Ponti. It was good food, good wine, great fun with special new friends. Thanks to Sister Peggy’s parents, gelato for all was dessert. We hated for the night to end, as we were learning so much about these wonderful women and having so much fun!

The next morning I ran over to Casa Carburlotti to say goodbye before the Sisters left Venice. I teased them that I needed them to start working on some prayers to help my house in Baltimore get sold!

The house is still unsold, ladies!!!!

Just in case you are reading - many thanks to my special friends Sisters Pat, Ginny, Kathy, Peggy, Diane, Judy , Gerry and Eva for giving up so much of your precious vacation time in Venice to come find me! Come back soon!

Clearly, I don’t attribute this new connection to the Internet Gods entirely. Somehow I think there are other forces at work, and I am sending an appropriate special thank you.

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