At the end of a transfer we had a tradition of playing Ringos during district meeting. Ringos were cookies that were vanilla on one side and chocolate on the other. We'd ask the cookie a yes or no question, spin it, and if it landed on the vanilla side it was "yes" and chocolate was "no." These were my responses from my last transfer in Collegno, and they all came true.
1) I would stay in Collegno for another transfer
2) My companion and I would have a lot of fun together this transfer
3) I would eventually serve in a bike city
4) I would have a baptism in my mission
5) I would always be known in Italy as the "brava, bella ragazza con un carrattore un po cattivo" (I'd been called that 3 times so I asked the ringos if I would be known by that forever. It literally means "the beautiful, fantastic girl with a bit of an evil character! But in that sense it means more of a "fiery" character).
One Wednesday after email we went downtown without having planned on anything in particular to see. We thought we'd just wander around and find something there. We ended up finding something real cool. First we found an incredibly beautiful church and toured that. And then we found out that Torino has the shroud that Christ was supposedly buried in (it's well known as "the Shroud of Turin" but I had never heard of it before). It sits in a case in the Torino Dome. It belongs to the pope, and he only has it shown to the public once every twenty years. We didn't get to see it, of course, but we learned all about it. We also saw all these photos and a video on it. The photo negatives of it give an incredibly clear outline of Christ's body, full of wound marks and prints. They showed us all these scientific evidences that supposedly point to it being the real thing. We saw a whole bunch of copies of it (before it belonged to the pope, it had belonged to different kings who'd had copies made of it as presents for other kings). Whether it is the real thing or not (and I have my doubts), it was still cool to just accidentally stumble upon it since it’s something really famous I’d never known about. They also had other cool things at the museum like what kind of thorns they suspect were placed on Christ’s head.
I found it really interesting while I was there, and all the evidence they gave us seemed really plausible, but there were three things in particular that bothered me. One was that there was only a wrist mark when LDS belief is that there should have been a wrist and hand mark in each arm (watch "The Lamb of God" if you've never heard that theory). The 2nd was that the man inside was 6 ft tall, and all accounts I'd heard about Christ's physical size was that he was slightly taller than the average man, which in that day and age would have made him about 5 ft 3in. And the last thing was that they only take it out of its case once every twenty years. I'd think if they were really confident that it was the real thing they'd hold it up for scrutiny and allow it to be examined more often.
I later did some research on it and found out that the scientific evidence points to it being produced around 1200ad, most likely by a talented artist. They assume that he had a man wrapped within it and used red paint and different thorns to simulate the situation.
But still, even if it's just a work of art, that's pretty impressive! The photo negatives of the shroud look incredibly realistic. I personally think the artist intended it as a piece of art and not as a fabrication of the original shroud, and that its possibility of being Christ's actual shroud didn't come about until well after it was created.
We hiked Torre Pellice again during my final transfer in Collegno, and this time we made it to the top. We took a much easier path this time, as opposed to the one we took before that had made me hurt so bad after wards from all of the chestnuts all over my hands. That one was shorter in distance, but more difficult as a hike. And that combined with the snow and the mud caused us to slide so much that it actually took us more time in spite of the shorter distance. This time we made it to the top with 4 and a half hours to go up, and 2 to go down.
There weren't as many missionaries hiking this time as we'd had the first time. It was just me and Sorella Anderson of the Torino district, as well as some Elders in the Torino zone who were 2 weeks away from finishing their missions. The Torino sisters had an appointment scheduled that day that they didn't want to cancel. We figured we'd do splits and have Sister Wright and Sister Nyland go to the appointment while Sister Anderson and I did the hike. We thought that was best since we were leaving soon and the others would still have a chance to hike it at some future point if they wanted to.
These rocks we're leaning on is actually an altar that President Snow made when he dedicated Italy for the preaching of the gospel.
I got a chance to go back to the Egyptian museum since I'd enjoyed it enough to return, and my companion had never seen it. Here are a few more pictures of us with the artifacts.
Though we had lots of fun touring around Torino, most of our fun was at home just hanging out doing our missionary thing. The pic below is the "heart attack" I gave Sorella Nyland when she first got to Collegno.
This pic is from one morning when Sister Nyland put her head in her arms and claimed to be praying. I teased her and said "no way, you were asleep."
And this pic is from the time I tried to get Sister Nyland to stop helping me with the dishes by throwing bubbles on her. The mission rule was that the greenie doesn't have to cook or clean for the first transfer so that she can get extra language studying done. I took full advantage of that as a greenie (my apologies, Maria-Rosa), but Sister Nyland insisted on helping me. Since I hadn't helped my trainer once, I felt bad about letting her help me, so I started throwing big bubbles on her to get her to stop. We laughed about it, and finally I allowed her to help me.
My 22nd birthday fell during my final transfer in Torino. We went out as a district to the Pizzario/Pastario restaurant. My sister had sent me a cake mix for my birthday, and we made it up and brought it to the restaurant with us. It was a really fun night!
One day while tracting in Rivoli, a person in a Sylvester suit was playing an accordion. I thought it was cute and took this picture.
I saw tons of beautiful art in Italy, but this ugly thing was erected in Rivoli just before I left. It's a fountain of golden, naked children dancing around it. Weird!
Pia was an English lady I met while doing street tracting. She was raised in England but had Sicilian parents. When I gave my first discussion to her, I kept stumbling over it because I wasn't used to giving it in English, so she told me I could do it in Italian if I was more comfortable with that. Now that was funny! She cracked me up, and I loved hearing a very British accent coming from someone who was clearly Italian.
On Easter, we got enormous Kinder eggs. Kinder eggs were yummy hazelnut chocolates with toys inside. At Christmas we had a kinder egg Christmas tree and each egg had an ornament inside. At Easter the eggs were a lot bigger and they had bigger toys. We also ate a colombo cake (like pandoro except shaped like a dove) and visited the Vicedomini family again.
My sister had sent me that little blow up Christmas tree, but it didn't get to me until the end of January. So we just kept it up through Easter. It was our Easter tree. Unfortunately my mom's Easter care package never arrived, and she didn't want to pay the $100 to track it.
Just before I left we had a good time tracting at the park. We'd just talked to yet another argumentative Jehovas Witness when we started up a much more pleasant conversation with a lady nearby. She'd asked us who we were and we told her that we were missionaries. She was very excited, she immediately started talking in English (she spoke fairly well), and she said she wanted to know all about our religion. We did a first discussion with her (in Italian since her friend was there), and they were both very attentive. Then we gave her a Book of Mormon. She then said "Well, I don't want you to think that you have a new member of your church because for right now I'm a Christian, but I don't go to church because I don't have a religion in particular. But if I read this book and find that I like it and that there's truth in it, I could become a practicing member of your church." She then said "I can tell that you two believe and that you're not false because I can tell you're good people, and I can see the sunshine in your eyes." We left her beaming from ear to ear. And the next day while walking down the street, she saw us from her car and yelled out "hello, sisters" to us. It made me happy to be able to leave Collegno on a positive note.