Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Final Months and Fun Friends

One of the investigators we worked with was a 14 year old girl. We invited her to a young women's activity and hoped she would come. Unfortunately she didn't show, so instead we hung out with all the youth in the ward and had a ball.

After everyone 14 years and older left to attend seminary/institute classes, the 12-13 year old boys came up to us and did a hilarious skit. They were a bit insane but we had a lot of fun with them. We also made banana bread with the young women, and it was still in the oven when they went to seminary. They asked us if we would be capable of watching it, and I said "well, I'm not sure, but I think a year and a half of mission life has made me ready for this new trial of watching the banana bread." Needless to say it all went well and was very tasty. MMMMM Buono!

I heard a cool story while visiting the Larchers - the parents of Emily Larcher, my MTC teacher. Before there were missionaries in Italy, Brother Larcher's brother was living in Germany and ended up meeting the missionaries and joining the church there. He then took the missionaries down to Italy because he was sure his parents would accept the church, though he thought his brother never would. It turned out that the parents never accepted it and his brother did! They held church meetings in their home with just their family for over 3 years. They were a fantastic family and were also our landlord's in our house.

This is me in front of the ancient temple of Athena built in 73AD. I loved walking by it. It's incredible how much is standing after nearly 2000 years!

Brescia was the only city I ever served in that allowed bikes, but as you can see, they weren't always in the best shape. This bike broke apart on Sister Fitches as she was riding it. She later bought another bike, and that broke on her as well. Fortunately my old bike actually held up for the entire transfer.

While I was in Collegno, I noticed there was a really nice, barely used bike helmet just sitting around in our closet. I'm assuming the missionary it had belonged to had kept it from her previous bike city, but had never served in one after that and hadn't bothered to take it home with her. So I took it to Brescia with me since I knew we'd use bikes there. It ended up getting stolen (though the bike wasn't) while we were at an appointment. That really surprised me since I'd never seen anyone but professional cyclists wearing bike helmets in Italy. Why would some street kid just up and steal my bike helmet?

I can't remember why, but one day my companion stuck my bra in the freezer.

I loved this family. The dad, Riccardo, was a great gospel principles teacher, and the family was a riot! It was always so much fun to hang out with them.

I've never seen these flowers outside of Italy, but they looked like long, orange and yellow broccoli. These people with me were friends of Maria, the blind lady whom we'd walk to the cemetery. They sold flowers just outside of it.

I used to use a hot water bottle whenever I had cramps. The first time Sister Fitches saw me using it, she laughed out loud and said "it's too low to be a boy!" And we took this pic on the right to remember it.

Due to Italy's proximity to Northern Africa, you'll find a lot of good ethnic cuisine. We always loved lamb kabobs with the meat shaved in front of you.

We loved being around the Movchanyuk family. They were super nice and always fed us excellent Ukranian food.

We didn't get a lot of Root Beer in Italy (Italians think it tastes like medicine). But we were able to get a few bottles when someone visited a US army base.

Some of the graffiti in Brescia was actually pretty well done. I wouldn't object to it so much if it all looked like this one with the eyes.

A lady with the last name Moroni was running for public office, so we kept seeing signs everywhere that said "Vote Moroni." I had to take a picture.
(Moroni was Mormon's son, a revered Book of Mormon prophet).

Augusta was a good friend that loved being around missionaries. She had a very interesting character too, and she taught me a really good lesson while driving. She was a bit of a crazy driver! She never once got in an accident, though, because she sure knew how to control her car. We arrived at an intersection once, and she accidentally got into the right hand turn lane when she needed to go straight. I told her she would never make it and was sure there would be an accident if she tried to cut the guy off. She replied "of course I can make it. Watch this!" I thought for sure she was going to do some crazy swerving, but she actually signaled the guy next to her to roll down his window and asked him politely if she could go in front of him. It threw me for a loop! I'd never expected she'd get out of the situation by being polite. I ended up being in the same situation about a year ago, so I took a leaf out of her book, and it worked.

My last district meeting was fun. We finally got our copies of the new missionary manual "Preach the Gospel," so I had it for a grand total of two days of my mission. We also took profile pictures and talked about our best experiences.

In Elder Stuart's final dedicate to me, he left me this adorable picture of a mother of 4. Since I was the first sister any of my Elders had ever served with, I became the instant mission mom to 4 elders.
The baby on the right (Elder Stuart) says "I'm going to miss sleeping in late on Mondays after assigning everything last minute to the sisters."
The baby next to him (Elder Swett, the greenie) says "look, the sisters are bringing another spiritual experience for my soul stomach."
The baby playing with the other baby's head (Elder Johnson) says "look mom, they gave me a Frenchman to play with."
And the baby whose head was being played with (our French Elder, Elder Tereaux) says "Do something mom. These Americans are driving me crazy!"

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