Wednesday, February 5, 2014
First stop: New York City, ice storm permitting, tomorrow morning.
Next: Malpensa Airport, Milan, Italy, for a van pick up to transport me and my team up the Pellice Valley, via Turin and Pinerolo.
Destination: the end of the road: Bobbio Pellice, 8 km. from the French border, which became my home away from home two years ago, as some of you will remember.
The Project: Incarnate 2014. With 6 of our staff joining several staff on the ground, and 10 artists from 8 nations arriving within days, we will begin 3 months together--pursuing creativity, community, and Christ. We'll be immersed in local culture, sipping our espressos at the foot of the Italian Alps, waking with the roosters. And if that farmer across the street is still interested in giving us cheese-making lessons, he's on!
We'll be engaging with local artists, partnering with nearby churches, and exploring the area’s rich Waldensian history (the Pellice Valley is home to the Waldensians; you can read that thread by beginning here). We will also take a week to explore the art and culture of Florence and its surroundings.
The luggage palooza is over, the visas procured, the funds....being procured still...and the myriad of details finalizing for my team of 6 to move over to Italy for 3 months. As we closed this phase of the project, we celebrated with coffee and churros, and separated with a "see you in the morning." We would rendez-vous at 9 am tomorrow to catch our flight.
And then things went sideways: the Delta pilot who had given me the buddy pass called with good news/bad news. The good news was I would get on the flight to Milan, leaving from NY. The bad news: I wouldn't get on the NY leg of the journey; the flight was oversold. I'd have to change flights. Dang. Gotta love stand by.
Thus began a manic phone marathon, concluding with: changing airports to catch a 7:45 am flight to LaGuardia, transfer to JFK, and meet up with everyone later in the day. Then on to Milan--first class! If nothing else goes sideways...
Baggage reclaimed from the team pile, driver bribed into getting up for a 5:00 am departure, final belongings stuffed into two carry-ons, dodging New York ice storms, Global Entry and buddy passes firmly in hand, I am off for four months in Europe.
Glamorous as that sounds, sometimes it takes nerves of steel...