Something very unusual happened this past week. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to that work here in Verona has been slow. Classes haven’t really picked up yet so I’ve mostly been sitting around twiddling my thumbs, but I happened to be contacted by a translation agency in a little town called Porto Sant’Elpidio in Le Marche and they wanted me to come down for a week to work in revision and translation. Sounded like a great opportunity, so in the matter of a couple of days we thew together a quick trip.
I did not know where Le Marche was before this last week. I can name a good number the regions in Italy, but I can only label maybe 5 of them. In my defense, Anna is worse, and she grew up here. But when I told some friends where I would be they all said that it’s a beautiful region, so I started looking it up.
Sure enough, it’s really beautiful. Porto Sant’Elpidio is in central Italy on the Adriatic coast, and the agency is located right near the beach. This is a really nice time of year to see places like this because, for the most part, the tourists have gone home. The beach here is rather rocky but lovely. What I DIDN’T anticipate was the rain and cold, so that put a little damper (no pun intended) on the trip.
But when the rain stopped, I was able to go out running on the “lungomare”, which is a paved path that runs along the beach, and stand out by the water and listen to the waves, which I admit made it tempting to want to stay there. I guess I’m still a beach girl at heart ❤
One of the mornings I got a rude awakening by someone coming into the bed and breakfast at some ungodly hour, so I lied in bed for a while trying to go back to sleep. And suddenly the emergency lights came on and my room was FLOODED with light. Somehow all the other power had gone out, and I had no idea where the circuit breakers were. I decided, forget it, and put on my running shoes.
In a way it turned out to be a blessing, because I caught the sunrise and had some time to exercise before the rest of the world. And I needed PLENTY of exercise…
The translation agency has only about a dozen employees, but the work is plentiful. In the entire week, I saw so many different types of texts: mostly it was legal and economic, which were the ones I had to revised. But I also got to translate a short pharmaceutical text, as well as a couple of footnotes for a larger economic text, revised a translation on public works and infrastructure, and even *ahem* a lingerie catalogue. Didn’t see that one coming. And it proves that just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you know squat about underwear. But it was interesting and mentally stimulating!
But the work was grueling.bI arrived at 8:30 each morning and had a lunch break from 1 – 2:30. Then back to work until about 7 p.m. and all of those work hours were sitting in front of a computer. Not too terribly different from when I teach my online classes, but way less interaction. That part was a little discouraging. I found myself finishing in the evenings leaving the office in search of something to eat, rarely finding anything, so sitting in my room at the B&B until it was late enough to go to sleep. I kept imagining, if I lived here, I would have no social life whatsoever. There’s no church here, so my spiritual life would suffer, no time and no place to make friends… I wouldn’t make it out in one piece.
Then there was the issue of the Sabbath. Unfortunately in that kind of industry, it’s hard to plan ahead to make sure that you’re out of there in time for sunset, and sure enough that Friday, even though I had warned that I would be out of there before Sabbath began, I got a new project that, while it was easy, took me a lot longer than I anticipated and 45 minutes after sunset I was just finishing up. So on top of it, having that kind of job is not fully compatible with being faithful to God’s holy day.
Which was a real shame, because by the end of the week the president of the agency wanted me to stay. So did a couple of “colleagues” there, and one of them said I seemed really good at the work. In a sense, though, that was a reward in and of itself. I unfortunately have a hard time feeling like I’m “good” at anything, like I’m just chugging along doing my “best”, which is never really good enough, be it from lack of effort or just because I really have no clue what to do. So getting that positive feedback was something of an affirmation.
So while I’m sad that I had to miss out on the opportunity for a steady job and steady income, in my heart I guess I feel like I made the right choice. The last thing the president said to me before leaving was, “If you plan on staying in Italy, unless you’re working part time or make an exception for Sabbaths, you’re always going to have this problem.” To which I simply had to reply, “This is my faith, and I know that the Lord will help me.” In returned he wished me the best of luck.
Sulking over this the next morning on the train back to Verona, I found myself reading Habakkuk, and I was struck by the final verses of the book, which seemed to speak directly to my feelings:
Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
This was meant for ME that morning sitting on the train, wondering if I had made the right choice. Yes, maybe I had missed what, by earthly standards, had been a great opportunity. Another one like that might not be on the horizon. I may have to suffer from lack of money or stability for a long while. But the Lord is my strength and He will make me walk on my high hills. No amount of tribulation can separate me from the love of Jesus. Something else will come, maybe not as attractive as this offer, but it will be from the hand of the Lord.