|Manuel and Eliana|
So last Wednesday night was just about one of the hardest of my life. I had to say goodbye to the Martoranas. I should know better. I should just bow out gracefully and not say goodbye . . . then there would be no crying. It was truly an incredible night, though. I felt surrounded by family. It was truly the most wonderful feeling. Saying goodbye is never fun, but it's a part of life. At one point I was just standing there crying, and Manuel said, "Eli, hug her . . . Eli you have to hug her, I can't, will you please just hug her." After saying goodbye to Salvatore and Marcella, Manuel and Eliana gave us a ride home. I cried some more, we said goodbye, and then I had to go finish packing.
|Last night with Salvatore and Marcella!|
|Rimini reunion with Gjika and Strong.|
We made it to Milano and the transfer circle. It's probably the best part of transfers. You get to see all the missionaries you know and love. But then you have to say goodbye again. I had to say goodbye to my Sorella Jones. It's always hard to leave a companion, but it's harder to leave a trainee. She's just so special. We grew so much together, and I can't believe our two transfers are over. She'll do great things on her mission, I'm sure. At least I only went a couple cities away, so we're still in the same zone.
|Beautiful Sorella Walch and Anziano Reese.|
|My sweet MTC companion, Sorella Baer.|
|A cute car we found while doing casa.|
Sorella Lawrence and I went to Torino to meet Sorella Gunnerson and my knew companion Sorella Russell. I feel like I've known her forever even though we never served together. She's one transfer younger than me. Mostly we just have a lot of fun everyday. Don't worry; we still work. We've just been in some weird circumstances. I'm glad she's my companion because we just laugh . . . a lot . . . each and everyday. I feel like we're on a really long scambio, and yet at the same time I feel like we've been companions forever. Every once in a while I realize we've literally only been comps for a week. I still don't really know much about her . . . but I feel like I do . . . I can't really explain; it doesn't make sense.
|She does case; I take pictures.|
So Sunday we had to take two buses and the metro to get to church. Collegno has a really beautiful building, but we won't be using it this summer, because it's under construction. So it took an hour to get to church instead of 15 minutes. That's okay. We get to go to church in Torino. Because I'm in the same stake, I saw a bunch of stake leaders I already know. Our high councilman was just like, "Sorella Ervin . . . I think you're lost, you do realize this isn't Vercelli?" I'm glad they have so much faith in me.
Church was amazing. Our ward is super great. Our bishop actually knows my bishop from home, or at least he thinks he does. We have some really incredible members. Our ward mission leader invited us over to lunch with his family including his non-member sister-in-law. It was so much fun, and we had the greatest conversation ever. I love the moments when people realize they have to do something to get an answer, but they want the answer, so they're completely ready to act.
Monday was district meeting. Anziano Pagano made us barbeque chicken pizza. It tasted like America! Anyway . . . later that night we decided to do pass-bys on our bikes. We didn't realize how far away everything was. No one was home or had time . . . so we just rode our bikes for four hours. Collegno is not flat. We almost died. I honestly don't know how to explain how tired we both were. I wish you could have witnessed us riding up the hills. I'm sure it would have given you a good laugh.
Yesterday we taught an amazing lesson to a woman in the hospital. I was so impressed with her faith. She has a lot of trials, and yet she is one of the happiest women I've ever met. It was such a testimony to me that life isn't supposed to be easy. If it was easy we wouldn't learn anything, and we couldn't really be happy. In consiglio [ward council] our Vescovo [bishop] said, "We were looking over the last two years, and we realized the moments that were the most difficult, where we had more to do, were the moments the ward was stronger. They were the moments in which we had more faith, in which we worked together, in which we were happy. So we're going to add more activities. We don't have a church, so it's already hard, but we think it could be more so. This is how we'll strengthen the ward." How beautiful! I know it's true. The moments that are difficult truly do bring the most joy if we will look beyond ourselves.
Today was an adventure if I ever had one. Sorella Russell needs her suitcase fixed. We were told a certain store would fix them, but it's a little far. We tried to go anyway. The problem is, a bus doesn't go there, and we didn't really know how to get there. We took two buses, and then we didn't get off at the right stop on the third bus, so we had to wait at a stop for 30 minutes to go backwards. I don't know how we got so far away. The closest we could get to the mall was a 15 minute walk away . . . on the freeway. We did it though . . . with the suitcase. We're champs. Turns out, the store doesn't fix suitcases.
It's okay, we trekked across the freeway again to Ikea, and we just walked around. Ikea smells like America. I know it's not an American company, but it kind of just feels like it is. Then we ate lunch at Ikea. We saw people getting gelato out of this cool machine, but we didn't know where they got the cones. So while we were eating we awkwardly watched people until we figured it out . . . then we got gelato. So, Ikea offers a free bus to the metro if you buy something. We bought food . . . so we got a free ride back. It took us two hours to get there . . . and only about five minutes to get back. So now we know we can take the Ikea bus for free there, and only have to buy lunch to get back. I don't really ever need to go back to Ikea though . . . so it's useless information. We still need to find a place to fix Sorella Russell's suitcase, but we'll figure it out. At least we're prepared for when we go on The Amazing Race. We will win.
I love you all and I hope you have the most fantastic week full of adventures. Maybe try not to trek across the freeway though . . . it's terrifying.
|Sorella Russell and her broken suitcase.|
|That's where we were trying to go.|
|The view from the freeway.|
|Another view from the freeway.|
|Walking down the freeway.|
|Lunch at Ikea with Sorella Russell|
|Lunch at Ikea|
|This is the most awesome gelato machine in the whole world.|
|On the Ikea bus (me and Sorella Russell).|
|Last view of the Ikea store.|