Day 80: Getting by with a little help from our Rinns

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The Rinn Family in our neighborhood, celebrating Spring.

Being expats means that friends become family. That’s something beautiful that I’ve always enjoyed about living in other countries. Birthdays, Christmas, New Years, Easter, ups and downs all often need to be celebrated (and comforted) with those around us who are near in addition to those who are far but only really connected through the Internet. I’ve learned to be discerning when choosing the people who you bare your soul to overseas. If you are choosing this overseas journey for yourself, know that you WILL need to make friends, even if you consider yourself to be a loner. Sometimes friends are the only thing that will help you adjust to a new culture and place.

The PashbyMauls have been so blessed to have one unique family as close friends here in Italy, the Rinn family. We’re dedicating our Day 80 to them because they had us over to dinner today, and that’s always an event that’s looked forward to in our household. We got to know the Rinns after beginning to attend Trinity Church Vicenza, where Joel is the pastor. Jessica, Joel’s wife, is an amazing cook and we enjoy hanging out with their 5 kids: Niko, Emmaline, Annaelle, Etienne and Theo. As a girl with only one sibling, going over to their house makes me realize how involved and interesting life can be when there are more people to chat with.

We simply love this family. There is always something going on, and usually some undercurrent of excitement in the air. Drew does well with the youngest, Theo and Etienne, because they hang off of him, and I in turn think that’s the cutest thing ever, so Drew racks up cute points while we’re there.

Another reason we love hanging out with them is that Joel and Jessica have lived here and plan on living in Italy long-term. Jessica is of course Italian, so that isn’t too surprising! It’s always fascinating to chat with them about cultural differences between Italians, Americans and tonight we also included French people in our discussion.  Wine, French cuisine, expat life, accomplishing many tasks at the Italian post office, and Michigan stereotypes were all topics of discussion tonight.  This was all over an amazing meal prepared by Jessica: gnocchi made with semolina in 3 different ways, the final way was Romana, with butter and sage sauce. There was a bottle of Bolgheri Brucciato as well as an Amarone from 2005, along with Jessica’s cranberry Brie bread and an apple dessert with a vanilla custard. A sampling of Joel’s homemade mandarino liquor rounded out the evening quite nicely. Yes, it was a little like having an Italian Thanksgiving, but then again, it always is when we’re at the Rinns. Rinn Family, we will never forget you and we will always consider you family.

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