I'm pausing the apartment tour just to say Happy New Year! Last year was an incredibly difficult year for me and my family and though there were moments of great joy (my graduation and wedding), I know that we're all ready for a new year. As I move forward in life, I often find myself reflecting on my time in Italy in the summer of 2009. One of my favorite places was an old pilgrimage route in Vicenza leading up Monte Berico called the Scalette. The route consisted of a series of paved ramps and pavilions, covered by beautiful ribbed vaults and domes. Pilgrims used to climb the Scalette on their knees while praying the rosary and pausing often to reflect on their lives and prayers. The architecture of the Scalette was designed to facilitate that prayer and reflection by limiting the pilgrims' view of their surroundings (as shown in my drawing above). It was only when the pilgrims reached the end of the Scalette that the full beauty of the cathedral atop the hill was revealed. To me, this place is a beautiful reminder that though I may not be able to see or understand where my life is heading, something beautiful surely awaits. In the meantime, God is with me as I continue to journey up this hill. May this new year be filled with blessings for us all.