COVID, travel

Church: Pandemic-style and Travel Tuesday: Venetian-style

Last night we went to the 6:30 pm Monday night service offered by our church. This is actually only the 2nd time we have been there in person since March. All services had been offered virtually, but they’ve been back in person too now for a while. 

I especially wanted to go in person last night because it was going to be our Pastor’s very last time preaching. He and his family just accepted a call to head back to New Jersey where he is from. What is up with everyone moving lately?! 

Of our two pastors, he is the younger one- close in age to use and the father of 3 elementary aged kids. I’m disappointed that he is leaving! He’s really funny and relatable and does a great job. His sermons always get to you, know what I mean? 

Last night was a very emotional service for him and despite choking up in tears multiple times, he managed to get out a very inspirational “10 Lessons Learned” sermon, relating his past 10 years here with God’s teachings for us all. 

Church in general is pretty different now, too. For my “pandemic documentation” purposes as you’ve seen in other posts, here’s a quick rundown on how it’s currently operating:

  • Sign up in advance online. Space limited to 120 people. 
  • Every other pew is blocked off
  • In the occupied pews, people need to sit on the outside ends, leaving 6 ft in between parties
  • No hymnals or bulletins
  • No shaking hands/sharing peace- everyone just “waves” at everyone at that time. It feels dorky and kind of made me cringe, but I get it… 
  • Everyone wears a mask
  • Communion is done differently- received at the end of the service and is distributed at the exit as people file out in socially distanced lines (with hand sanitizer stations along the way).

Again, looking around the church and seeing everyone all spread out and wearing masks is WEIRD. I really, really don’t like it, to be honest. I get it, but I still don’t like it and it just makes me feel kind of yucky. I really hope that eventually things can go back to normal!

Travel Tuesday:

A travel blogger/ Instagram user that I follow recently posed a question to her audience: “If you could beam yourself back to any travel MOMENT in time, what would it be?” 

Note she didn’t just say “where would you go”- the question was to consider a specific moment.

I gave it some thought myself and while there are probably countless travel moments I would LOVE to be able to experience again, one that stood out to me was from our 10th anniversary trip to Spain/Italy in 2017.

Specifically, an evening in Venice. It had been a cold, rainy day- very unlike all previous weather on this trip (we were blessed with overall the BEST weather- sunny and hot almost everyday, except this one day.)

 Anyway, it had rained And it was about 20 degrees colder than it had been the day before. I had to buy a heavy sweatshirt because all I had packed was a jean jacket!

As we only had 3 days in Venice, we had no choice but to brave the rain and hit the streets all day (our new 5 euro umbrellas in tow). It was cold! And wet! But beautiful, nonetheless.  I toured the fine sights of Venice wearing my black Nike leggings and tennis shoes, because I thought they stood the best chance of drying out quickly.

By the end of the day, we felt like a couple of tired, wet dogs. It was dark out and getting later, so the streets were quiet. We wanted another pizza (we ate pizza like, every single day in Italy, sometimes multiple times a day. Not kidding. I think we counted something like 10+ pizzas that we consumed.) 

Many finer restaurants were closed by this time. We found this little “osteria” with dim twinkling lights- a cute, casual place with big glass windows along the whole front. There were only a handful of people in it, and we got a cozy spot alone at the high top bar looking out at the quaint street. 

We shared a pizza diavola- basically their version of a “pepperoni pizza”, but let me tell you, this was no regular pepperoni. THIS WAS THE BEST PIZZA I HAD EVER HAD IN MY LIFE! We still talk about this, regularly. 

We each got wine, we ate our (nice and warm!) pizza and sat and talked and laughed about how wet and disgusting we felt after the whole day traipsing around in the rain. The bartender was a really cool guy who tried to teach us some more Italian words. 

It was one of those moments that you just will always remember! I thought the rain would ruin the day for us, but in reality, that day turned into one I’ll never forget.

What travel moment would you beam yourself back to, if you could??

Daily Gratitude:
I’m grateful for Pastor Steve. He was a great pastor and I feel lucky that we had him all these years. I will really miss him! 

4 thoughts on “Church: Pandemic-style and Travel Tuesday: Venetian-style”

  1. I have not been to church during the pandemic. Even though they are taking lots of precautions I just haven't felt safe, plus with Paul in daycare, I know we are at risk of being carriers so I feel like it's best for me to stay home. My church does offer outdoor mass so once swimming season wraps up for Phil, I'm hoping to go on Sunday mornings – but by myself because taking a 2yo to church is not very fun and I end up getting nothing out of it! Eeks. Let's see… a travel moment I would beam myself back to… I'd say the Thanksgiving I spent in Paris in 2013. On a business trip that fall, I sat next to a guy in first class and we got talking as I was wearing my run club jacket and he was a huge runner. It turned out his girlfriend lived in Paris and he would be in Paris for Thanksgiving. So we exchanged info and I ended up going to his girlfriend's house for Thanksgiving. I NEVER talk to people on planes, like ever. So this is such an out of character story for me. His girlfriend was from Russia or another slavic country – I'm blanking on the details. So she had some other friends from the region there so it was a very multi-cultural gathering. I know it probably sounds crazy that I went to a near-stranger's house but it was a super fun night and something I'll never forget. This guy was a professor at a university in Maine and we had exchanged many emails so I felt like I 'knew' him and he seemed trustworthy.


  2. I haven't been to the mosque very much and my family has only been once since lockdown. It's very different but we are able to pray and celebrate Eid at home 🙂 I would love to go back to the family in Mauritius or travel somewhere new!


  3. That's awesome! What a great story. That is the best part of travel- all of the unexpected encounters. I'm not that great at just talking to people I don't know either, but sometimes it works out and it's super interesting!


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