Once all of the American students arrived in Pescara, Italy we met up with our Italian host families. Mine was comprised of a father (Ex-Italian Marine), a stay at home mother, a son (Mario?) and a daughter(Marcella). Marcella was thugged out…in an Italian-European way. Our clothing style mirrored each other but the attitude with which the style was sported was different. I was definitely chillin’ in my hoodie and baggy jeans, but I didn’t have this cocky thugged out persona like Marcella. The true 15 year-old girl was revealed as she squealed with glee at the unveiling of the SpaceJam t-shirt courtesy of my local Wal-Mart. I carried both my Walkman and Discman on the trip with an assortment of music: Integrity Praise Music, Fred Hammond, That Thing You Do Soundtrack and a few others. Mario heard me listening to the That Thing You Do Soundtrack and started yelling “Tom Hanks! Tom Hanks! I love Tom Hanks!” If I could appease a 19 year old Italian guy with a soundtrack to a movie associated with Tom Hanks, then appease I did and handed over the soundtrack as a gift.

Thankful to our high school Italian teacher for placing my good friend Candice and me with two girls who were good friends, we had several opportunities to hang out together. We were intrigued to see Italian high schoolers chill. One night a big group of us (6 Italians; 2 Americans)met in the downtown area to sightsee. Five of the Italians pretty much talked to each other while one stayed with the two of us. I believe his name was Marco. He asked us what we did when we weren’t at school. Candice told him that she was active with her church’s step team and dance team. I told him that I was in my church’s orchestra and teen choir. He found it fascinating that two young people would willing participate in church activities. We had to break it down to him that there were various churches in our area that were very contemporary. I decided that he needed a taste of contemporary Gospel so I let him listen to my Fred Hammond CD for a few minutes. I wish I had a video to capture an Italian dude jammin’ to Gospel. lol From there we shared with him that church and Christianity don’t have to be boring. After giving him a taste I knew that I wouldn’t be taking Fred home with me. At that time Gospel was hard to come by over there so I kindly handed over the CD to which I received a “Grazie! Grazie!” and a hug! He kept saying “I don’t know how I can repay you.” Then he mentioned that his mother worked in a gelati shop. BINGO! There’s my payment. lol I exported a little bit of American culture and received two scoops of Italian culture in return.