Guest post from Scott's blog:
Monday, December 9, 2013
Learning to Live In Another Culture
We have been in the land of pasta, pizza, and olives for 3 months now. It has been a learning experience to say the least. I am challenged all the time to believe what I preach. "It's not wrong, it's just different." It is treacherous to begin comparing systems and cultures with 3 months of limited experience and not being fluent in the language. I don't desire to compare as well, I don't understand nearly enough about the culture and history to be accurate in my judgements. My desire is simply to keep a record of some of my observations and impressions in this blog. For the sake of processing my thoughts and for the sake of having a record of my experiences. I will begin with my most recent experience from today...... then work my way backwards.
Today we traveled to the car dealership to purchase a car. I went with money in "murse" and having studied important details like mileage, dependability, and of coarse on our budget, price. I knew the car I wanted, we looked it over with the dealer and test drove it. Then we began to talk details. We wanted to take it to a mechanic to look it over before the purchase. In order to do that we had to get insurance. Antonio our director began to make some calls and check on line for Insurance quotes. As it turns out, to put insurance on the car will cost us nearly as much as the car costs. We have to start with the lowest rating as we have no records here in Italy pertaining to our driving. It's a shame as I have never had an accident or speeding ticket in the US. But it is what it is. After 3 months of looking and studying and reading and planning....... our budget was busted by having to pay a lump sum of 1300 Euros for a year of insurance straight off. But this is part of learning to live in another country with different laws and different ways of doing things. Now we know better what we can afford and it also molds our priorities. We have to consider how many liters the car will consume per 100 kilometers (fuel mileage is determined differently here) Cost of fuel, diesel is cheaper than benzine(gas) but is more expensive to insure (but gets better mileage), horse power (bigger motor = high insurance) Distance from where we live. (It will take three trips to complete the purchase and get the car home if we buy from a private owner) Cost to maintain. (Italian makes are easier for the mechanics to work on and parts are cheaper) So, we have more work to do looking at cars on the web, making phone calls, checking insurance quotes. Trying to find a car that is near us and preferably near our friend Fabio who is a mechanic. (We live 1hr apart)
Thinking about the process we have gone through in arriving in Italy. It involved allot of waiting and trusting The Lord. Not passive waiting, but active waiting. What I mean is we were doing allot of correspondence, praying, setting up meetings, more praying..... Since arriving in Italy the process of active waiting has continued. We push ahead while at the same time waiting upon The Lord to work on our behalf. Some times, when we have done what we can do, we are just waiting upon The Lord. He shows Himself strong on our behalf! It is a wonder how He has opened doors and made it possible for us to live here, serve here, learn and grow here. Sometimes when my strength is spent and I am under the burden of stress I remind myself of all that He has done. That I can only do so much, very little really, and that my Father who loves me is strong and will carry me.