Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Like Milano and Torino, Brescia also had its own beautiful castle. We went there a lot for the stunning views. I love this cute pic above of me and Sister Baird, and the shots below with Elders Kelly and Merrell.
This is the postcard view.
And the view from the top.
Italian cemeteries are gorgeous. They're full of cool monuments. But the system's a bit wacky. You can only leave someone buried for 30 years unless you pay extra money. After 30 years they dig them up, put their bones in a box and stick them in the wall. I guess that's what happens when you have millions of people living in a country the size of Arizona. Can't have the dead taking up so much space.
Sister Baird's family always takes a summer vacation in Maine, and so do their friends the McMenemys. They were vacationing in Italy that Spring and decided to visit Sister Baird. It was really fun hanging out with them that day. They offered us whatever we wanted. "Any luxuries, anything" is what they told us. We went out to lunch and toured Brescia with them before sending them off to Tuscany.
Besides Lago di Gardo, we had another gorgeous lake in our district - Lago di Iseo. We went out there a couple of times on preparation day. It's really pretty. I'd just sat there, enjoy the scenery, and write letters home.
We would later return several times with our future friends, Katy, Rino, and Felice; They bought us ice cream while I sang opera for them. I got a lot of applause from bystanders too. Felice is an enormous opera lover and loved hearing me sing. He'd bring me opera CD's all the time. He also worked in a book factory and actually gave me all 5 (since there were only that many at that point) of the Harry Potter books in Italian for free. I still have them in my bookcase. I've read them all once. Reading them is actually a bit like studying. Though I speak Italian fluently, it's not my native language, so it demands much more attention from me. It's like reading a textbook, albeit a textbook that you really enjoy.
For my last 4 months in the mission, I got a new president. He was great, and I loved how he acted like a new greenie missionary. He and his wife were initially nervous and confused and not really sure what they were supposed to do. But he was very smart, spoke Italian perfectly (he'd been an Italian professor at BYU for 35 years) and had a lot of great ideas. He was also a lot more relaxed about music rules and other rules, which made me very happy.
Katy and Rino were the first baptisms I had in the mission. They knew Felice from working with him. They randomly showed up in church one day asking about tithing. We taught them all of their discussions at the church, and Felice baptized them. During one of the discussions, it rained super hard and the lights went out!
After Katy and Rino’s baptism, Felice invited all of us to dinner. He played the accordian while I sang "Nel Cor piu non mi sento" (the first Italian song I ever sang when I was 13) and he made us lasagna. It was a great night!
I got the chance to see "The Barber of Seville" while I was in Brescia. Brescia has it's own small opera theater, and it was a really good production. Both Rosina and Figaro were really good.
We went tracting in this park a lot, and I always thought it was really pretty.
Sister Baird was ridiculously popular and got loads of letters. I felt a bit lonely and sent a plea out to my family to send me more mail. This was my sister's response. I would only get a few cards at first, so initially it looked like it would spell "love starved."
Elder Merrell, the blonde haired missionary in some of the previous pictures, wanted to make chocolate salami. He asked the sister who was in Brescia before me to give him the recipe. It included 6 tablespooons of sugar, which in Italian would be "cucchiaiini." When she wrote him the recipe, she wrote "6 c of sugar." Elder Mellor took that to mean "6 cups of sugar." The salami was so sugary! It was grainy and gross!