It's such a small world! Marina's mom has a friend in California who in turn has a friend who lives here in Rome, which is why Marina and I spent Friday walking all around the south part of Rome with a short Filipino nun named Rosalie.
When we met Rosalie she immediately greeted us with the traditional Italian baci (those cheek kisses you see), grabbed our hands, and said "Now we will walk."
Rosalie, who is in her 60s, has been living in Rome for about four years now and wanted to show us some of her favorite churches--and by some I mean about six. That woman took us up and down so many streets, in and out of churches and chapels...and she never got tired!
She always had something to show us in each of the churches. A painting in a small side chapel, the way certain candles were lit and others weren't, stained glass windows high above the doors, in one chapel she even showed us a chapel in one church holding relics from Jesus' passion.
At each church Rosalie made sure we took time to sit or kneel and pray quietly. She was so grateful for the opportunity to show us around and kept repeating how lucky we all were. "If you two did not come to Rome, you would not have met each other! You would not have met me! But look at us, we are all friends now because of this miracle," she would say, clasping our hands in hers.
Yes indeed, we are all friends now. And it's getting to that point where we realize our time in Rome is dwindling. Already Marina and I are planning a reunion because we don't like to think of a time when we won't be making dinner or exploring Rome together!
It really was a miracle that we met here and not in the United States--who knows if we would have become such close friends. And now we are like an old married couple with our routines. After we make dinner she washes the dishes and I dry them and put them away. Her boyfriend is here visiting this week and I've already been over for dinner at the apartment they are staying in. "I miss you already!" she said when she called to invite me. It had been all of five hours since we saw each other last (when we had breakfast together).