It only took 2 1/2 years.

Last week while walking around in the piazza Paul and I ran into our neighbors who live right beside us that we never, ever see. They were there with their two young children, Matteo and Sara. When I say we never see them, I mean it was the first time I have ever seen the man. We also had to ask our doorman their names (which are Pierre Paolo and Claudia).

By the end of the conversation we had all decided to go to the birthday party of another neighbors’ son together.

So, Sunday evening off we all go. There are two parts to this story. The first part is the birthday party itself. I have no pictures, much to my regret because that is really the only way you can begin to grasp an Italian birthday party, unless you have read Shannon’s blog (
The party was held in a medium sized room. There were tables around the walls for the parents to sit and all the kids were in the middle. Two people, called animatori, were in charge of games and children. The first game consisted of a child sitting in what can only be explained as a giant top and spun around really fast. I just waited for some kid to throw up.
Then, a big blowup slide went up. After about 20 minutes of that, there was a puppet show and then balloon animal time.
The kids seemed to have a great time. But I don’t think that as a child you realize how chaotic and loud birthday parties are because you are part of the chaos. Parties are totally different as an adult. I wish I was still a kid sometimes.

The second part of the story takes place during all the chaos and noise. Pierre Paolo begins a conversation with Paul by asking him what we do. Come to find out Pierre Paolo is an atheist. Why? Basically he can’t understand why a loving God allows children to be sick and bad things to happen to them. Claudia on the other hand prays and believes in God. She is quite anti-tradition.
We are really excited because 1) we are finally getting to know this couple who we have lived by for 2 1/2 years and 2) we had a really good conversation with them about God and 3) Claudia is very open.

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