>March 25, 2010
Rocca di Papa, Rome
Meals are interesting here. It starts off with carbs. Either pasta or rice (rice with milk and meat). Just that. Then they bring out a meat dish. Then salad and fruit. On the table there is bread, normal water, sparkling water and always a bottle of white wine…. with 10% alcohol! After 1 glass, I get so buzzed. And suffer with a headache the next day. While the Europeans drink it like water!
Meal times are always fun because we get to interact with different nationalities! Czech Republic and Cameroon over dinner the first night. Taiwan, Bangladesh, Poland, Sri Lanka, Slovakia and Slovenia (who knows the Tootills!) over breakfast yesterday morning. Hong Kong, Uzbekistan and Khazakhstan over lunch yesterday. South Korea, Malaysia and Croatia over dinner last night. We are trying to get into the Latin American clique, but the language barrier is so high.
The IYF is done in 4 languages – English, Italian, Spanish and French. Everyone has a headset and there are translators. I sometimes just go through all the different channels just to hear what the translators are saying. I wish I were multi-lingual. One Pinay here (part of the service team) speaks 6 languages! For the english translators, there are 2 girls alternating. One is very good, and the other one struggles a lot (and makes a lot of extra noises like “eeeehhh”, “uuuuurrrhhh”). Once, she went: “Hail Mary… Blessed are… etc etc.” Haha funny.
The Forum itself is inspiring, yet very taxing. The speeches are so full and rich, and it takes all your concentration to follow. But it is so full of learning.
Yesterday we were welcomed by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko (President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity). A message was read to us – from Pope Benedict XVI. A talk on love (“Made to love: the truth and beauty of love”) by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the Archbishop of Bologna (with sharings from some participants – from Russia, Madagascar, Uzbekistan, Uruguay and USA). A talk on the problems of the youth (“To live and grow in true love: challenges and difficulties for young people in our times – An overview of the situation of youth today”) by Monsignor Tony Anatrella from Paris, France. And group discussions. It was a full day. We ended with a multi-lingual mass. This is beauty.
In the group discussions, I mentioned that in the Philippines, divorce is illegal. One other delegate was so surprised! And I think, even shocked that there existed a place where you couldn’t get a divorce. I am still mulling it over if she was shocked in a good way, or shocked that there was no way out. I hope it was in a good way. And then, when talking about homosexuality, there were more liberal views from the European countries. It is interesting to see all this, and how we are all learning from one another.