Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Don't Ever Take Directions from the Anziani . . .

Every day is better with gelato.
So, this week was literally insane. I don't quite know if there is another word to describe what happened. We found out my dear sweet companion Sorella Curtis had signed us all up for the talent show with the American ward. We had to come up with a plan literally the day before. Sorella Curtis and I sang for everyone. It was sweet, it was great, they loved it . . . BUT, the anziani truly blew everyone away. Three of them sang Sweet Spirit. Yes, you read it right. They sang (well . . . lip-synched) “Sweet Spirit” from Sons of Provo. What did the fourth anziano do? Well, see, he was the sweet spirit. The night before they asked us to bring them some of our clothes, and then he wore them. Luckily a member in the ward also had a wig. I will not lie; it was the strangest experience of my mission. The members loved it. ALSO, there was lots of American food . . . the perks of serving with the military ward. 

Friday we went to lunch with Lisa (one of my favorite people in the world) and her family. I love Italians. They are so much fun, so loving, and they adore their Disney. They taught me Disney music in Italian from the Aristocats. Fun fact, in the Italian version, Thomas O'Malley is, in fact, Romeo. Also, when he sings, he sings in dialect. Coolest thing I've ever heard. I realize very few of you find this as excited as I do, but it sounds just like one of the old songs from the south. I think it's my new favorite type of music. 

Oh, a couple of people asked me about the Roman ruins last week. Here's some advice, don't ever take directions from Anziani. Oh we found it, but we had to take a bus for an hour instead of a short little train ride. So . . . we saw it for about 20 minutes. Don't get me wrong; it was incredible! Someday I hope to actually see it better. There is a room with an old baptismal font. How amazing is that?

We were visiting a new convert this week and I complimented a wardrobe in her house. She opened it to show me what it contained . . . only a record player and about 1,000 records of opera. HEAVEN. Turns out she studied opera when she was young, and one of her brothers was a concert pianist. We're going to go over and sing with her. Yes, I'm excited. 

We were going to go to Venezia today, but we're going next week instead. Today, we just chose a random town on a map, and we're going to go see it. That's the thing about Italy, it doesn't really matter where you go, it will be absolutely amazing. There's always something adorable to see. 

I'm starting to realize all the many blessings I have received during my mission. I can't even begin to count all of them and yet I know they're there. I think that you are one of my greatest . . . my family, my friends, those who write me, and those who pray for me. I want you to know how much I've appreciated it. I truly love you. Grazie davvero tanto. [Thank you so much.]

Sorella Ervin

Pictures from Udine . . . 

That's right . . . a chapel in the Udine train station. I love Italy!

Sometimes you see a sunset and you just know God exists and He loves you.

This is a pretty accurate representation of our relationship.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Calming Down

My new companion, Sorella Curtis.
Look how cute she is!
So, life has calmed down a little after the space transfer. It's beautiful here in Pordenone; I absolutely love it. Today we're going to Udine to see some ancient ruins. How exciting is that? I know, super exciting. On Sunday I went to sacrament meeting twice - once with the Americans and once with the Italians. I understood nothing when I was with the Americans. So look forward to some awkward conversations with me when I come home. One of the youth came up and asked me a question; I just stared at him blankly until one of the Anziani translated for me. My brain is so confused by which language I need to speak, so I've been speaking Italian with Americans and English with Italians. I know; it makes no sense. I always thought missionaries were exaggerating when they said they couldn't speak English anymore, but it's a thing, it happens. Yesterday I was saying a prayer in English, or trying anyway, every other word was Italian. That's okay, the spirit understands all languages . . . even mine. 

Scambio with Sorella Strong. Highlight of my life.
I was able to spend ferragosto with Sorella Strong. We did some good old fashion finding work like we used to do down in Rimini. We ate Greek salad, un sacco di cereal. Literally, it was just like old times. Except now we speak in Italian. Weird. I love her. I've been so stressed about everything, the space transfer, getting to know a city in five weeks . . . going home in four weeks. You know; life is weird. But she just talked me through everything, and now I'm fine. There is no more stress. 

Fun adventure. We're going to district meeting, and my bag broke. It just flew off of me and landed 50 feet away. It's okay; I fixed it. Then when we were coming home I tried to tell Sorella Curtis something. Bad idea. She turned around, almost hit a pole, and swerved at the last minute, and then I hit her . .  . so I will not be talking on bikes anymore. We were at home, and I hit my head on the corner of a cabinet. Just like old times at the MTC. Then on the way to an appointment, we get lost; Sorella Curtis tries to ride up a curb. She fails and ends up on the ground with her side in a big slab of concrete. About 1000 Italians stopped to try and force us to the hospital. But she's fine. I'm fine. It was just a rough day. BUT, yesterday we found two new investigators, set a baptismal date, and rode our bikes in the rain. A perfect day. 

I love you all so much! I hope your week is perfect!

I love the sky in Italia.

This is our huge church. That's what happens when you have
a military ward. Perks.

This is the coolest swing I've ever seen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bergamo, Baptism, and . . . Pordenone?

Sorella Gluck, Sorella Lemos, and me.
So this has been a rather full week. Thursday I went to Milano Centrale for transfers. I saw un sacco [a lot] of people I love, and I got the two cutest companions in the world: Sorella Lemos from Argentina and Sorella Gluck from Germany. How lucky am I? I'm pretty sure I was put here to be a peacemaker between the world cup finalists. It's okay though, there has been no blood spilt, although there have been challenges to calico. But really, they're amazing. I've been super lucky with them, and we've had so much work. Bergamo is literally a city of Miracles; we have so many appointments, we can't cover them all, and we have to choose who to see. Never had that happen to me before. 

Sunday night we had a baptism. She is, without a doubt, one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. She was adopted a long time ago but it wasn't official. Finally it was, and she could get baptized. I love miracles. I was able to teach in Young Women, give a talk, and see a baptism all in six days in Bergamo . . . which was really good because now I'm in Pordenone. 

So Monday night we got a call from President Dibb. When you're in a trio, it usually means someone's getting transferred . . . and it was me. President Dibb first asked me if I was unpacked and then apologized because I'd be packing again. I had less than 24 hours to get everything ready. Talk about stress. 

I'm literally so sad. I had the best companions in the world for a matter of six days, and not even a full six days. But it's okay, because now I'm with Sorella Curtis, and she's amazing, too. So Tuesday morning the zone leaders stopped by to drop off nametags I ordered (forever ago) and say goodbye. Che tristezza [how sad]. Then we went to the station in Bergamo. Here's the deal, remember Sorella Burkman? I know; she's great; I love her. She took my spot in Bergamo, and I took hers in Pordenone. It was great to see her for a whole two minutes before we had to catch a train. Literally we had to run. Thank goodness the anziani were there because they carried my bags to binario 7. All of us were running all the way. We were either on a train or waiting for one for six hours. We took four different trains, but we finally made it to Pordenone. 

So here I am. I don't know anything about the city, the people, anything. Except that the American base is here. Which means there is an American ward, which means I have to speak English. I DON'T REMEMBER THIS LANGUAGE! Writing is fine. It takes me a while, but speaking it is quasi impossible. It's okay; at least they'll get me ready to go home in a few weeks. Still freaking out.

I'm a little stressed, mostly just because a lot has happened in the last week. I'm in desperate need of a nap. Thank goodness it's p-day. 

Vi Voglio Bene!

The Mole! Coolest building in Torino.

MTC Group


Garner! I almost didn't recognize him it's been so long.

But it's been even longer for Pace.
First time I've seen her since we've been in Italy.

Nick was jealous of all the picture taking.

Don't ever leave Russell and Killpack with your camera.

Almost all the sisters from my MTC district.

Members from Milano


Anziano Lloyd . . . and Betchi, again!
Two of my favorite zone leaders.

These are my two angels. I think the reason we stayed together
for such a small amount of time is because they're just
so wonderful . . . they didn't need much time to change my life.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Well, it's that time again. Transfers! Transfers have changed a little, so everyone gets called on Saturday now. Which is nice, so you can say goodbye to members at church on Sunday. Anyway, we were at home Saturday to do weekly planning. We weren't really thinking too much about transfers until about 1 p.m. when we found out someone from our district would be getting transferred. Then we started getting a little nervous, mostly just for Russell though; we figured I only have one transfer left, so I'd just stay in Collegno. YOU ARE NEVER SAFE FROM TRANSFERS.

So, this is our companionship picture. I think it pretty much
sums up our lives together.
Well, we left the house to go to our appointment, and as we were waiting for the bus, Anziano Pagano called. I just figured Russell was leaving, so I handed her the phone to talk to him. She looked a little surprised, but nothing too bad, and then she handed the phone back to me. So here's the deal, I'm going to be in another trio. ANOTHER ONE, but this time in BERGAMO. That's right, I'm getting transferred for my last transfer. I was super surprised as I hung up the phone. I just looked at Russell and said, “I'm in a trio.” Russell looked surprised and said, “I'm going to Trieste, where's Trieste?” Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. “But . . . I'm going to Bergamo.”

So, we found out our companionship is getting closed. That's fun. We started getting everything ready for the anziani to take over our companionship. But mostly we were just really sad Saturday . . . then we did some pass-bys and casa. Surprise, surprise, we got caught in the rain. We were huddled together in the entrance to a house of some person we don't know with the umbrella in front of us as we watched the crazy intense hail, rain and the river in the road. That's been pretty normal lately. 

Caught in the rain. It's really starting to get old.
Fast forward to yesterday. I got a call from the office and I was talking to Anziano Johnson for a while. He's one of my favorite people in the world. He was just telling me to bring the keys and the phone to transfer circle. BUT, then I asked if there was anything special to do for the apartment and he told me just to make sure everything was clean for Anziani Reeve and Johnson . . . what? Surprise, we're not getting closed, just whitewashed [when two new missionaries take over an area at the same time], AND my dear Anziano Reeve is taking my place, so that's exciting. We're so excited that there will still be four missionaries here, even if it's not us. 

All in all, I'm excited. Don't get me wrong; I'm also heartbroken. I hate leaving after only two transfers; it's just not my favorite at all. But, I'm excited to work in Bergamo. Sorella Walch loved it. I can't wait to tell you all about it next week. I love you all!

Sorella Ervin

On the train, looking at nothing but corn for hours.
It was really fun to watch all of the cars try to drive through
the lake in the middle of the road, until . . . 
. . . this guy drove through the lake way too fast. But then his
car died at the end . . . justice.
Hold to the rod, the iron rod!
So . . . there was a fight between the tree and
the lightening. The lightening won.

Sorella Russell, Elisa, and me

Me, Sara, and Sorella Russell.

Me and Elena!

Little Camilla!

One of my favorite families ever!

My district . . . again

Me, Miriam, Vanna, and Sorella Russell.
LOOK AT MIRIAM's shirt! This is why we're besties.

Sorella Russell at the Vicedominis


Raimondo and me



Sorella Russell, Raimondo, and me

Famiglia Trabastone
Angely. She's amazing. I love her.

Alessandro, Claudia, and their adorable kids after
family home evening.
Me and Sorella Russell

Me and Sorella Russell on bikes (Thanks, Alessandro for the picture!)