Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Medjugorje: Technological Advances

You will probably be pleased to know that, thanks to the generosity of our dear spiritual director, I no longer have to pay for Internet connection. Believe it or not, there is a restaurant here with wifi and Father brought an iPad!! lol I certainly could not believe my good fortune.
Not too much has happened since last I wrote, but I will bring you up to speed nevertheless.
Last night after dinner, I went for a walk in the fields and vineyards behind the graveyard and prayed my rosary in Italian! Yes, I finally acquired a pamphlet with the Italian prayers, so I can communicate with Heaven in multiple languages. I want to be able to pray the rosary in as many languages as possible!! So far I am good in English, Spanish, Italian, and a bit of Croatian. Also in an Irish accent. ;) I am loving that I get to use my Italian here, because even though I don't actually speak to many Italians, the shopkeepers here usually know a decent amount of Italian, and sometimes it is easier to communicate with them that way.
This morning I woke at 6am and went on my own to the crying statue of the Risen Lord to douse some things I bought last night in His tears. Even at such an early hour there was a line! But it was ok, a good time for reflection and enjoying the morning sunlight. Then breakfast and Holy Mass, and a talk by a priest whose name I completely forget, unfortunately, because the talk was quite good, focusing on conversion and prayer of the heart.
Later tonight we will attend a talk by Ivan, the visionary. Now, I am lunching with Father: crepes with walnuts and chocolate syrup. How decadent. How delicious. How divine!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Medjugorje: Apparition Hill

This morning our wake-up time was 5:30am so we could be ready and breakfasted by 7, because that's when the bus came to take us to Apparition Hill, so as to avoid the heat of the day.  We climbed to the top, stopping at all three of the first three apparition sites and praying the Joyful Mysteries.  Strange things have happened to my stamina for prayer here; while at home I struggle to complete even two decades in a row, here I pray multiple rosaries every day without a second thought. 
After the Hill, we had a bit of a snack (it was still only 10:30am or so) and headed out to a little church where hangs an image of the Divine Mercy, the very same image that came to life and healed a crippled man in Italy to provide the third miracle necessary for St. Faustina's canonization.  It did not come to life today, but Father said a very beautiful Mass beneath it, after which we sang a Divine Mercy Chaplet. 
When we got back into the village, we stopped by Vicka's house, where she gave us her blessing, and then we were shown into the apparition room, where she had seen the Blessed Mother every day for almost twenty years when she was too sick to join the others at the apparition site.  I wish I could upload the picture I took there of the spot where the Blessed Mother had stood (hovered?) so many times, but alas this computer does not have a handy little slot for an SD card like my laptop at home does.
That's all for today.  I am under strict orders from my confessor of last night to spend half an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration this afternoon, so I must be going to the chapel!
May God bless you through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace.  :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Medjugorje: Sunday things

This morning after breakfast a group of us went to the stations of the cross and tagged along with a group of Irish pilgrims, which for whatever reason delighted me exceedingly.  They were by far the friendliest group of pilgrims I have yet encountered.  Those darling Irish.  I quietly practiced praying along in my best Irish accent, but I dropped it when they offered to let me read one of the stations and went back to American English so they wouldn't think I was crazy.
Today being Sunday, we went to Mass and then to lunch, and then we went back to the stations of the cross to wipe our hankies on the knees of the statue of the Risen Lord, which cries real tears (scientifically proven by the Germans, so you know it must be true ;).  So, now I have a hanky with Jesus' tears on it.  Pretty sweet awesome, ya?  I think so.
Also of note: our priest has finally arrived!!  I am super excited about this, even though he has been resting and I haven't gotten to see him yet.  He will probs be at dinner.  This is where the real fun starts.  More tomorrow!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Medjugorje: Safe Arrival

Just arrived in Medjugorje last night, after about 24 hours of 3 flights, 2 layovers, and 1 3-hour bus ride.  By the time I went to bed last night I had been awake for around 32 hours after not sleeping for more than 4 hours at a time for several nights in a row.  Needless to say, I was so tired that I had pretty much lost my grasp of reality and was slipping in and out of dreams as we checked in and ate dinner.  No joke.  My group went to an apparition last night at the Blue Cross, whatever that is, but as soon as my head hit the pillow for a " quick nap" after dinner I knew I wasn't gonna make it.  I slept til 8am this morning.  Quality nice.
At this time I would like to point out that the keyboard here has the "z" and the "y" switched, and I am a skilled touch-typist, so every time I type a "y" it actually come out as a "z" and I have to backspace and type in the other one.  Seriously, you'd think that I'd be able to figure it out, but every single time.  Just keep that in mind, that I am putting in so much extra effort for this post.
One other instance of note is that, when we stopped for a bathroom break during the bus ride, I got to chatting with a couple of nice Italian ladies who said that I spoke Italian "very well!!"  I was so pleased.  Nevermind that I failed out of Italian 4.  :D  Apparently Medjugorje is just full of Italians nowadays because some Italian actor had a major conversion experience here, upping the press coverage of this village in the Italian media.
So, other than those few tidbits I don't have anything interesting to say.  I'll probably be back to this internet cafe in a couple of days to blog about something more exciting.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Birds

I really, really have better things to be doing right now than blogging (namely: sleeping), but I absolutely must share with you the this-cannot-be-happening moment I just had the pleasure of experiencing.
I have been awake for over 17 hours now on only 5 hours of sleep.  I have spent 14 1/2 hours of that time working and approximately 2 of it commuting.  Not my favorite way to spend a day.  So, I FINALLY get home, ready to flop into my little couch-cushion bed and SLEEP at long last, when, as I am climbing the stairs to my attic room, I hear the sound of wings beating against the window.  The inside of the window.  My first thought is that it's my own bird, Jacqueline, but that thought is quickly disproved as I continue to hear the struggles of this unknown but undoubtedly larger-than-a-parakeet winged creature.  For some reason I decide to climb the stairs in the dark, so I actually have to walk past the part of the hall where the noise is coming from before reaching the light switch.  And as soon as those lights came on, the thing flew up at me like a bat out of hell, causing me to screech in a most un-lady-like fashion and then laugh hysterically from a combination of sleep deprivation, nerves, and a vague recognition of the hilarity of the situation.  After flapping around a bit more, while I continued to alternate between screeching and laughing at myself, the bird finally landed on the floor in the hallway.
It was a pigeon, mostly a dark charcoal grey.  She had flown in the slightly open hall window and had been unsuccessful in finding her way out again, like a lobster in a trap.  I could tell she'd been trying all day, too; she was pretty discombobulated, tired, and scared.  Luckily, I am quite skilled and experienced at catching and relocating birds, even wild ones, so once I composed myself I made quick work of tossing a piece of fabric over her, picking her up, and releasing her out the window.  She neither struggled nor made the smallest noise of protest during the entire process.
And of course, when I opened the door to my room, the first thing I saw was my own bird, sitting peaceably on the topmost perch of her cage, leaning against the bars and cocking her head with a most innocent air.  She can't fool me, though; I know she had something to do with this.  I'm just not sure what yet... the scheming little twit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Swing of Things


Well, now that I've got that bit of news out of the way...

My days have taken on a certain undulation which, though it would make me hate my life if it went on for too long, is oddly comforting in light of its temporary nature and certain anxiety-inducing events on my rapidly-approaching horizon.  Here is how things go lately:

I wake up either at 7am or 9am, depending on my shift, and catch either the 8:25 or 11:25 bus to downtown Pittsburgh.

I work an 8-hour shift at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, either 9-5 or 12-8.  Business is always slow, so I usually spend my time doing one of the following:
- reading all the "How to Be a Gentleman" books on display
- writing letters to my siblings
- chatting with the security guards
- staring into space
- straightening piles of shirts
- refolding things
- tucking tags
- untangling the phone cord

I drink about half of a 5-Hour Energy about an hour or two before my shift ends.  (By then I can barely keep my eyes open from a horrid combination of sleepiness and boredom, especially on rainy days!)

I catch the bus home and change into comfy clothes (I have to wear dressy office clothes at work. blech.) 

I eat food while I watch online TV.  Sometimes Skyping also happens at this time.

I do THINGS like a grown-up!  The other day I tidied up my whole room in an hour!  Woot!  I only do this if I'm not too tired to move, though.  (That's where the 5-Hour Energy comes in.)

At 10 or 11 or so (depending on when I have to wake up the next day), I climb into bed and read until I fall asleep.  Usually I only get in a few pages, 'cause standing all day is way more exhausting that you would think.  


Obviously there are variations to this when I go swing dancing or have babysitting gigs.  But this is the basic framework.  Like I said, this would drive me absolutely insane if it was a long-term thing.  But as things are it is ok.  The regularity is even a bit reassuring, 'cause thinking about going up to New York in less than two months sometimes freaks me out.  I have so much to do before then!  (June 22 is my official move-in date.  Yipe!)
And, in other news, I am taking a 12-day trip to Medugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina starting May 26.  Yep, that's a week from Thursday.  I have to organize and pack for that, too.  Che stress!!
So, that's the update.  I'll probably write again soon with details about my upcoming trip.