Heather in Rome

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - St. Augustine

Wednesday, March 29

Middle of the Mission

It's Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of the mission. No mission is the same and this one is so different than Ireland or Portugal. In Portugal we had an hour and a half bus ride each way on the way to and from our host families to the city center. Those were days of early risings and late nights, often going to bed around 1 am. Then there was Ireland, where the days were equally busy, but the long bus ride was taken out and replaced by a 20 minute walk. Much better and more sleeper friendly. Now there is this mission in the Netherlands, which is so laid back and not busy. It's strange to have so much time.
There are a few reasons why we have less to do this time around. All the open houses (where we go to people's homes at night and talk with a group they have invited) are being conducted in Dutch so we are no help there. Then, while in Ireland there were 4 high schools and more elementary schools to visit, this time there is only 1 Catholic school that agreed to have us visit. And even there, the classes we visit have to have the permission of the teacher (as opposed to the principal) so there are many times when we are on the school grounds but not going into a classroom. During this open time we go to the lounge where students hang out when their teachers are absent (instead of using substitutes, the class is canceled) and try to strike up conversations with them. Some times it works, but so far the conversations I've had in the lounge haven't gone deep. Still, it's good to be present and to show that Catholic Christians are normal people.
The rest of the time we have been in Geldrop we walk around the small town and talk to people in the streets. There is a carousel for the mission and it attracts the kids and parents with small children. We hand out free tickets for the carousel and then talk to the parents while their kids ride 1, 2, 3 times. On Sunday there was a special treat when we went to a city 40 minutes away (Den boss?) where Anne-Marie is from and visited St. John's Cathedral. It was huge, old, with beautiful stain glass windows. The group of us went for a walk of the city, with A-M as tour guide. Before that, 3 of us ate lunch in the park with flowers covering the grass like a carpet. It was great. It's rare to have time to see the country when on mission so it was a special time and very unusual.
Yeah, I don't want to spend all of my free evening on the computer so I'm going to go. I'll write more after the mission, whenever I can fight my way onto a computer at the Domus. I can't say I'll try too hard right after returning home though. I hope everyone is having a rich Lent. Fasting, almsgiving, and something else...


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