She couldn’t believe that they were in Rome. They arrived yesterday morning, came straight to the hotel, showered, changed and went sightseeing after having breakfast. They visited St. Peter’s Square to see the giant Christmas tree and the Piazza Navona Christmas Market where they sold all kinds of Christmas sweets, toys, nativity figures, decorations, and gifts. They had lunch at a nearby trattoria before heading to the Colosseum. There was a Christmas tree there. It was late afternoon when they returned to the hotel. Everyday, they went sightseeing.
On Christmas Eve Service they attended a service at the Rome Baptist Church. It felt strange being in a non-Adventist Church but it was better than not attending church at all. On the Sabbath, they would find an Adventist church where they could worship.
The Rome Baptist Church was located in Piazza San Lorenzo, a traffic-free and attractive piazza. The members of the church were very warm and welcoming. The title of the sermon was, Joy to the World. The opening hymn was “O Come All Ye Faithful” and the closing hymn was “Joy to the World”.
“I enjoyed the service,” Kira remarked as they walked through the piazza looking for a place to have dinner.
“Me too,” Joel said. “Let’s try here.” They stopped in front of La Bottega di Cesare.
“La Bottega di Cesare. Do you know what that means?”
“The Workshop of Cesare.”
They went inside and were shown to a table. It was a nice, cozy place. After studying the menu, he ordered the Tortino di melanzane and Spaghetti alla Nerano. “You sound so sexy when you speak Italian,” she remarked.
He smiled. “I’ll do it more often then.”
“I won’t understand a word but I’ll enjoy listening to you.”
“I can teach you how to speak Italian.”
“That would be nice. I always thought that it would be nice to learn another language.”
“Yes, it’s good to know a second language.”
“What made you choose Italian?”
“When I was in high-school, I was dating an Italian girl named Isabella. I wanted to impress her so, I took some Italian courses.”
“What happened to her?”
“We broke up a year after we finished high-school.”
“Why did you break up?”
“We wanted different things. She was talking marriage and I wasn’t ready.”
“Did you date other women after her?”
“Yes. You remember Nancy, don’t you? She was at the church social where you and I met.”
“Oh, yes. She was the paediatrician. As I recall, she was very pretty.”
“Yes, she was but after I saw you, I only had eyes for you. I broke up with her the next day and I started coming to your church so that I could see you and get to know you better. I was very relieved to know that you weren’t dating anyone.”
“No, I wasn’t. I didn’t have much of a social life outside of work and church.”
“You seemed surprised when I asked you out on our first date.”
“I was. I didn’t expect you to be interested in me. There were far more attractive women at church.”
“But I wasn’t attracted to any of them, Kira. It was you who made my heart beat faster and me act like a lovesick school boy whenever I was around you. It was never like that with Isabella or Nancy or any of the women I dated. After dating you for a couple of months, I knew that you were the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”
“The day of you got baptized and the day we got married were the two happiest days of my life.” Another happy day would be when she could tell him that she was pregnant. They had been trying for a while now. Hopefully, one day…like Hannah, she prayed about it daily.
“Ditto,” he replied, smiling and gently squeezed her hand.
The antipasto came and they tucked into and then the main course followed. Everything was so delicious.
“Do you have room for dessert?” he asked.
“I think so. What are the choices?”
“We have two. Tiramisú which is rum and coffee-soaked ladyfingers or Frutta caramellata which is Caramelized Fruit.”
“What exactly is caramelized fruit?”
“It’s when you cook sugar until it browns.”
“Why not use brown sugar?”
“I guess some people use brown sugar.”
“How do we know which sugar was used in this recipe?”
“I could ask the waitress, if you like.”
“No, don’t bother. Besides, I’m full from the pasta and the bread.”
“All right, I’ll ask for the bill. And we’ll walk off our dinner.”
She was wearing comfortable dress boots so walking wasn’t an issue. Besides, it felt so romantic holding hands as they left the Piazza San Lorenzo and made their way to St. Peter’s Square to see the life-size Nativity scene. They spent a long time there, listening to the It was late when they got back to the hotel. They changed and tumbled into bed, exhausted.
Tomorrow, Christmas day was going to be another full day.