Whoop whoop guess who's officially been living in Italy for a month?! Yup, this awkward American blonde girl hehe. I'll be honest, there haven't been too many crazy things this week, but a lot of learning
and I tell ya, I'm very much different than I was last Wednesday! Andwhat more can you ask for?
I'll go out of order and start with today, and then talk about what happened this week, cuz why not haha😬 For pday today, S. Smith and I went to the beautiful Palazzo Reale today, and it was beyond gorgeous.
I didn't just feel like a Disney princess- I WAS ONE! Woo hoo! Totally beautiful with staircases and art and thrones and even an armory! The gardens and the ballroom were by far my favs! Only not good thing
today was that I totes accidentally touched one of the horses set up in the armory, only to find out 10 minutes later that the horses were taxedermied (idk if that's a real word sorry not sorry). Yup, I legit
touched a stitched-up horse corpse with fake eyes and lived to tell the tale... Ew. On that lovely note, let's review what happened last week, shall we?
Thursday actually was kinda a crazy day (at least for my stomach lol). Let me preface this story by explaining how much I loathe vegetables. I love spinach and other leaf things, but anything else, I have to
kinda force down. I know I know, vegetables are healthy and important. I donut care lol. Ok, so we had an appointment with a less-active in our ward. We finished and were about to leave (I was excited cuz we
were gonna have pizza for lunch😛) when her nonmember friend showed up, so they invited us to stay for lunch. Great. Lol obvi I was totally stoked that we got to talk with this nonmember lady, but there
was def a small part of me that was bummed I didn't get my pizza lolol I know I'm awful😂 lunch was tomatoes, bread, salad, a huge bowl of rice, and cake. Tons of food. Then that night, we got invited over by
a lady in our ward whose son isn't a member. And she wanted us to stay for dinner. Ok, Italian dinner = a freaking ton of food. So normally if we know beforehand that we have a meal appointment, I eat hardly
anything during the day. Whelp, we didn't get that prep, plus we'd had an Italian-sized lunch... I basically died. Our dinner consisted of abowl of pasta (delicious but huge!), a bowl of sliced zucchini,a bowl of sliced peppers, a bowl of peas, bread, pork, salad, and a bowl of strawberries. Luckily at one point when it was just the two of us, my comp scooped my peas into her bowl. What a saint. Remember how I said
I don't like vegetables? Yeah same. Needless to say, my comp and I had to pretty much roll ourselves home that night.
Friday, we spent most our day at the church. The Torino Sorelle had a baptism, and our church has the font. However, the font takes hours to fill up, hence why we were at the church. Around then, it was time to
have English class. However, the water for the font was coming in cold! So S. Smith and A. Yee boiled pots of water in the kitchen while A. Rogers and I taught English class. Funny story- we were teaching
about animals, and Ada starts asking what the English word is for this one type of animal. Neither Rogers nor I recognized the word, so we had her describe the animal to us in Italian. Her only description was
that it ate everything. Rogers and I look at each other, like what even is this animal? Probs some dinosaur or something lol! Finally we looked up the word. Any guesses on what it was? Yup, a hamster, duh!
Still kinda confused on that one (idk man maybe hamsters are different here than in america?😂) The baptism went well though and Ada stayed for it which was pretty cool!
Saturday, we spent our entire day at the church again. In the morning, we met the anziani there to practice our musical number for sacrament meeting (A. Rogers accidentally volunteered us lol🙄) We kept getting
the giggles while practicing though cuz the anziani kept practicing their opera voices (cuz Italy lol) and then planning a musical number flash mob lol😂😂 Then there was a stake youth activity going on all
weekend! So we spent all the rest of the day helping set up and decorate (there was a Disney theme going on that I was totally digging lol!) and then we spent HOURS cutting and peeling fruit. Yay service!
Sunday we had church at 3, because all the youth had a combined sacrament meeting that morning in our building. So we made ourselves some freaking delicious pasta and headed to church. Our musical number
went well, and we got lots of compliments. Luckily, none of us got the giggles during it. Unluckily, bishop now wants us to do musical numbers like every other week now. Oh joy. Lolol. Then brother andsister Gallo invited us to their home for dinner. More pasta and meat and cheese and lasagna and of course gelato. So good (and no vegetables so yay!) and then guess what? (Ok warning: my nerd is about
to show hard core lol) Ok remember in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 when Will is on the Flying Dutchman and he challenges Davy Jones to that one dice game thing? And like they bet their souls and whatnot? Yup,
the Gallos taught us how to play it! And it's my new fav game hehe and I felt like a pirate every second so yay!
Monday we had a super long but awesome district meeting, and then typical missionary stuff the rest of the day. We had to bike over to the church to put in our weeks' numbers. And that was pretty much all.
Sorry I'm boring lol😂
Yesterday was new missionary training, which was basically one of the best days ever because THE SORELLANZA WAS REUNITED!! Oh my stars, words could not describe how fetching excited I was to see my MTC
district again! So much hugging lol and I was in heaven! And of courseI had to tell them a couple super awkward stories before the meeting hehehe... Cuz my life is awkward lol! Training itself was super
awesome! I learned a ton! I especially loved some bits of a talk from Elder Holland that was shared, and it made me think a lil bit about not only missions, but also following Christ in general, and being true disciples... Cuz guess what?
I'm sick of all the smoking here.
I hate riding our bikes home after a long day and having the wind
fight against us.
I don't like what the humidity is doing to my hair.
I'm frustrated that I'm not fluent in the language.
And I'm 100% done with our drunk neighbors partying all night long.
But guess what? That doesn't matter.
Because it's not my mission- it's His.
When we commit to follow Christ, we're willing to do all that He did. He constantly served. He comforted others. He loved everyone. He was rejected. He was alone. He died. When we commit to be His disciples,
we are fools if we assume we won't ever be expected to do what He had to do. His life was HARD! He was a perfect man- 100% sinless- and yet He suffered more than any human being. How can we possibly expect our
lives to be any easier than His was, as we are following Him?
It's a lot like in D&C 122:7-8
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast
into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the
elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son,
that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Oh snap! Look at that⬆️
At one point in the talk, Elder Holland said something about how when we feel ourselves being alone or rejected or heartbroken, to remember that we are shoulder to shoulder with Christ, for so was He alone,
rejected, and heartbroken. And I can think of no greater aspiration in life than to do just that: to walk where He walked; to live as He lived; to suffer as He did. And though the path is not easy, though,
even with all that, I'll not even be a fraction of the person He was, there's no place I'd rather be than standing shoulder to shoulder with our savior and brother Jesus Christ.
This idea has already started to change me, and I hope it'll do the
same for you beautiful humans. Have the best week ever❤️
1. The youth activity! 2. Church selfies with sassy Camilla & I 3.When people fall asleep in class :) 4. Sorellanza reunited!5. New Missionary Training 6.&7. I love crazy train stations 8. Waiting 5-ever for our bus, so why not selfie?!9-12. Torino and Palazzo Reale13-15.The outside of my palace 16. Welcome to my castle!17. Just me & my throne :) 18.When you realize you touched a taxadermied horse 19.Chillin in the armory 20. It’s like I’m on the set of Beauty & the Beast!
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Hi favorite people! No car chases or anything this week, but definitely some fun, difficult, and spiritual experiences (lol just me living the missionary dream over here✌🏿) P-day today was rather fun (and tiring lol). Went shopping in Torino- freaking huge and beautiful! Tons of typical stores (Prada, Gucci, and everything in-between) all surrounding the gorgeous Piazza San Carlo. Got myself some fav books in Italian, and my first official Italian shoes (the first of many, I can already tell😍)
English is weird. Yes, I do like English better than Italian most of the time since I'm at least somewhat fluent in it. But English is weird. Which is why it's easy to understand why the people in our English class get confused easily and make mistakes. I understand that firsthand (look at all the hilarious mistakes I've made in Italian) However, usually in this English class, I can keep my composure. Well, we were describing the color of objects, when this older lady stands up and says "I... is... brown!" Which she's not lol- she was referring to her hair. But I completely lost it and had to turn and face the board. I was dying😂
We celebrated Anziano Yee (our district leader) last week cuz it was his birthday! Any excuse for pizza and party hats, am I right? Never a dull moment with Italian missionaries lol! We also had an appointment with the Tribastone family. The parents are members, but their daughter is not. She & her boyfriend are super nice to us though so it's fun to visit with them & teach them. They fed us wayyy too much food as usual but it's delicious so you do what ya have to do🙃😂 did I mention they have a super cute, funny puppy? His name is Pepe & he loves toys (esp dinosaurs) & I adore him cuz he reminds me of my dogs. He kept trying to distract me throughout the night by being hilariously adorable. He's the perfect blend of yoda and dobby😍 lol now that I've spent basically a paragraph describing a family's dog, I
guess we'll move on lol😂
Not gonna lie, this has been a harder week for me. I love visiting with members & doing finding, but let's be honest; it's rough not teaching 5 investigators every day! Or even 5 every week! The language is frustrating because there's SO MUCH I still don't know or understand yet. It's easy to feel frustrated with people as well- people cancelling on us, being with a comp 24/7 (although I do adore her the majority of the time so yay!), and people being super rude when all I wanna do is tell them about Jesus! And funny story, I woke up the other morning and felt sick, but I wasn't gonna let that get in the way of our work! So I kept giving myself mental pep-talks on staying positive & looking for the beautiful things throughout the day! After all, I live in Italy so it shouldn't be too hard. As we were waiting at the bus stop, I saw a bird- super cute, totally singing. Awww. And then. A bigger bird swooped down and killed it. Yeah, screw positivity.
Just kidding though- perspective is everything! Missionary life is freaking hard. Anyone who says otherwise is smokin something (did I mention that's a huge thing here? Yep, gotta love Europe lol) Being a missionary is both harder and more fun than ya ever think beforehand. But perspective helps. I was sick of riding bikes the other day, but then I was like wait. I'm riding a bike. Through the trees (Italy is so green- they even have palm trees!). Past fields and train stations. Over both dirt trails and cobblestone streets. In Italy! And ya know what? I was happy! And not just because I felt like I was in a quidditch match or something as I flew through the trees😉 yeah life is hard (not just mission life lol but life in general!) but it's up to us to decide how to react to it all! It's up to us to trust in God's timing over our own (and to trust that, like in Mosiah 4:9, He knows more than us!) It's up to us to enjoy our lives, not just simply endure them!
Want another funny story? We have an investigator named Luciana, who’s the mother of the Sassi family in our ward (they converted about a year ago). She's darling, & calls us her granddaughters. She insists on calling us by our first names & having us call her "Nona” which makes teaching rather... Interesting. She crochets herself rainbow sweaters & hats, & makes matching outfits for her millions of dolls located all throughout the house. She brought us out some lil treats (we shortly realized that half of them had coffee in them, & the other half had alcohol lol). She likes to play "games" aka have us roll up her yarn or fix her jewelry as we teach her lol. And she's obsessed with the fact that I'm a "baby" missionary. Thus, while my comp talks to her, Luciana makes me read the Italian dictionary... Which is a
struggle given that I don't know enough Italian to even understand the definitions she wants me to learn😂 yesterday, she handed me this weird, deformed bird thing and told me to play with it! And all throughout the lesson she kept reminding me to play with this creepy bird thing, and I'm like wow what even is my life?😂😂 she left the room for a bit and my comp and I were dying bc I'm supposed to play with this stupid bird! And then we look over and notice all of Luciana's lil Dalmatian toys and we completely lose it lol😂 legit tears of laughter! Even better, she gave me the bird as a gift😂😂
We did some finding in the park yesterday, and invited Deborah with us. She's in our ward, and just got back from her mission in Rome last year. I adore her- she's seriously just the best! We talked to a lot of people, although got rejected 90% of the time. It's kinda a struggle when the people don't even want God or Jesus Christ in their lives, let alone organized religion. Just kinda breaks my heart. But we try nonetheless😊 I found myself understanding Deborah's Italian for the most part, which made me feel better about the language. However, at one point we asked her opinion on an investigator we have
named Berta (she and her sons believe all that has been taught & are ready to be baptized- the only holdup is that she was baptized in her old religion, and doesn't understand why she needs to be baptized again. She's just not understanding priesthood authority). Deborah was speaking faster at this point so I couldn't really understand. However, I felt the spirit prompt me as she was talking. I felt the impression that if Berta wasn't getting this concept, she needed to be taught about the restoration of the church (specifically priesthood authority) in a different way. A specific object lesson came to mind. We said goodbye to Deborah, and on our way home, I decided to tell my comp about the idea. After I finished, she was looking at me strangely and I was like oh crap. And she was like "Sorel, how much of what
Deborah said did you understand?" I told her I understood pretty much everything up until she was talking about her advice for teaching Berta. So S. Smith told me what Deborah had said; the EXACT same things I'd just told smith I'd felt prompted about. Legit the exact same object lesson and everything. Wow the spirit is cool, am I right? Wish us luck as we teach Berta this weekend👍🏿😁
Sorry for the long email. Again. I love and miss you all. In fact, the only thing stopping me from swimming across the ocean to be with y’all is this amazing gospel I'm so blessed to share. I know it is God's true, restored church, and that at its center is our brother and savior, Jesus Christ. Have an amazing week, my favorite humans, and remember that I love y'all (and so does God! Yay!)
1&2-visiting a new family in the area, playing with Omar & Zachariah 3&4- Anziano Yee’s birthday! 5- I love it here! 6-Me and Pepe the dog 7&8- Apparently I’m fluent in Italian Lol 9-12- Riding our bikes to the church and enjoying this beautiful country!
10- Cleaning the baptismal font 11-We found the Golden Arches in Italy! 12-Studying the dictionary at Luciana’s house :) 13-Piazza San Carlo
14-17 Pday shopping at Piazza San Carlo
18-20 Shopping, the ginormous bookstore and a video of Piazza San Carlo
21-23 A productive shopping day: My first Italian leather shoes, The Hobbit & our family’s favorite Where the Wild Things Are
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Hi friends and family! Somehow I've managed to live another week outside the US (shocking really lol) and what a week it has been! Sorry for the long email again, but legit last night I witnessed a miracle so just try to "endure to the end" cuz I promise it's worth it😂1. We have to pass by this billboard almost daily-so tempting, but I’ll be strong! 2. Gelato on the daily 3. Mother’s DayThursday, we did our normal missionary stuff. Then that afternoon/evening we went with our ward's relief society president, Sister Quaresima, to visit some of the older sisters from our ward,which meant long drives to apartment complexes and resting homes. (Side note - the nursing homes are WEIRD! Legit nurses with crazy
colored hair and wearing crocks, meanwhile an old man is screaming and mass is being held in the hallway and the oldies not attending are watching dance moms lololol) Nonetheless, the women were super sweet. And small. And old. Sister Quaresima took us back to her family’s apartment for dinner. (Side note- they have millions of snakes… I swear every family has dogs, cats, snakes, turtles, birds, or all of the above. They say we get to hold the huge snakes for a picture next time... I say we'll see how brave I am lol😂) they fed us tons of yummy pasta and then a rather interesting large bowl of tomatoes and tuna… Luckily, it was followed by gelato so no complaints here!
Sister Quaresima and her son were driving us home. I was super out of it; like just tired as heck bc that's just missionary life lol. All of a sudden some dude's motorcycle hits our car and someone else's car and then takes off through the intersection. And so what does one do in this situation when in Italy? Swerve between cars and go after them of course! I was wide awake at this point haha. The best part was how into it cute lil sister Quaresima was! Keep in mind, she's one of the
quieter, less crazy Italians I've ever met! Aaaand she's yelling at her son to go faster lol! The other car had joined in with us at this point. Sadly, the motorcyclist cut through a park so we barely lost him! Then the Quaresimas had a nice chat with the other car, and then they calmly got back into our car and essentially acted as though nothing had happened lololol... Never thought I'd be able to say I’d been in a street chase with the relief society president, but when in Collegno I guess haha!
Last weekend, ten of us lil missionaries got the opportunity to help with a project for refugees! (Side note- ever since general conference when they talked about the efforts to help refugees, I've been semi-obsessed with wanting to be part of it! So you can imagine my excitement when we got a call from the zone leaders to come help out!) the church was hosting an event in Torino and had invited ward members from the Collegno ward and Torino wards, as well as representatives from various organizations. So we got to meet everyone (and of course we had plenty of Books of Mormon and pamphlets for them, just like good lil missionaries😬) and we put together refugee kits, ate food and mingled, and watched Meet the Mormons! Super fun and crazy way to spend the weekend!
Monday we had zone conf in Torino for 5ish hours. Tons of good training from President Dibb, the Zone Leaders, and the Sister Training Leaders! Pres Dibb had me introduce myself (which was a struggle cuz I'm awkward lol) and then give my "birth" testimony. Then we had lunch which was fab as per usual (bc Italy😍) and then we had 2 "dying" testimonies from Sorella Harris and Anziano Blazzard (both of whom leave after this transfer, and are in my district) and needless
to say, it was hard to not leak from my eyes lol. Cuz here I am JUST BARELY starting my lil adventure called a mission, and these two humans whom I love are FINISHING theirs! It's seriously crazy!
After the zone conf, my comp & I hopped on a train with the STLs to do scambia (exchanges) which was super tiring but way fun (as is every mission-related thing!). So for the next 24 hours, Sorella Smith was comps with Sorella Fuller, and I was comps with Sorella Stephens. Oh how I freaking love S. Stephens! She goes home this transfer too which is rather tragic because I love her!! We got to their apartment in Milano later that night. Then that morning, it was off to work! S. Stephens & I studied and then headed off to meet with Paula, a new convert. We checked up on her, and then invited her with us to teach at another appointment. It went great! Paula was so solid and confident despite being so new in the church! Then she joined S. Stephens and I for pizza at Rossopomodoro- my first super-legit Italian pizza! The verdict: totally in love! So freaking good!! Plus a much more enjoyable alternative to the oyster pasta S. Smith and Fuller had at a member's house... (Really though, I'm fairly sure God just knew I couldn't handle eating oysters, so he let me have pizza instead:) prayer works guys! Lol)
We then had more study & prep, and then got to teach Sonia (who we had passed earlier that day, saw her working, and set up an appointment). She, like most Italians, was fascinated with my hair lol. It didn’t help that it was rainy, which meant humidity, which meant my hair was more of a mane than usual lol. But the Italians love it and always want to touch it, so I guess it's the poodle life for me!🐩 After teaching her, we got gelato (cuz why not) and then met up with the others so we could head home. I was super sad to leave Sorella Stephens, but I learned a ton from her and got some new ideas for us to use in Collegno! So our 24 hours of scambia in foggy, rainy Milano was a lovely success!
Also we had a minor miracle. So traveling home from Milano was super hectic and stressful, and we freaking missed our train! So we had to catch one a half an hour later. Then our train kept getting stopped, so we got to the station late. And then the metro took 5ever. And then we got to the bus stop at like 9ish😪 buuuut guess what? Things happen for a reason. We're sitting there exhausted, when I look over and see this woman (probs in her 50s) sitting alone on the bench. And all of a
sudden, I feel this super strong impression from the spirit- just like a clear mental message. Wanna guess what that message was? Yup, clear as can be, "go talk to her". And I'm like, no. Cuz talking to people is a normal mission thing, but here, most the people typically not so kind. If they do talk to you, they're pretty much never interested in our religion. Again, I get the same message. Again, I'm like no. I don't know enough Italian to chat with this lady. Again, I get the same message, but more urgent. "Go talk to her NOW!". And so i turned to my comp and I was like "hey Sorella I'm supposed to talk to this lady" and she's like ugh and so I just go sit and then she follows.
And I'm awkward as heck.
And I have 0 confidence in the language.
But I try.
And so I start small talk. And I'd like to say I got the gift of tongues right then and there, but I so didn't lol. But I still had the spirit, and my comp pitched in with her AWESOME language skills and totally made up for my weaknesses in the language. This woman's name is Doina, & she's from Romania! We found out about her family and her job. And then she asked about what we did as missionaries, and get this- she's never heard of Mormons (whaaaat) and we were more than
happy to tell her:) my comp gave her our number, and then started to look for the bus. But the Holy Ghost was like "lol you're not done Kaylee" and I'm like aw danggers. So then in my awful broken Italian I tell her how much we've enjoyed talking with her and ask her if she’d like us to meet with her sometime to talk some more about her church. And get this- she said yes! And we got her number! And basically there's never been a person happier than I was! Because there are no
such thing as coincidences. And because after a week and a half of no success with finding investigators, we found someone who is ready for the gospel- someone who not only needs Christ, but who is at the gateway of being prepared to accept His atonement. And to a lot of you, this little experience is probs small and insignificant, but I feel so blessed to have been able to witness a small glimpse of God’s hand in our lives. Because as I look back, everything that took place
during the day on Tuesday was leading up to this 20 minute interaction. The role plays from zone conf; the things I'd learned from S. Stephens; missing our train literally by minutes; and a million other things. All for Doina. Oh how much love God has for her; how much love He has for EACH OF US INDIVIDUALLY.
And that is something even more beautiful than any castle or city I’ve seen here.
How great is our joy in bringing but one soul unto Christ. And even if I only find but one soul in all of Collegno, or even all of Italy, my joy will be full!
Have an outstanding week, you amazing humans❤️
Sorella Smedley4 & 5. Views of Collegno and the mountains 6. In front of our church- yes, we have an actual LDS chapel in Collegno!7. & 8. At this weeks Zone Conference 9. Street car in Milano (Milan, for you Westerners:) )10 & 11. My first real Italian pizza with Sorella Stephens & Paula 12. Yes, I’m eating gelato again- but with Sorella Stephens this time:)13, 14 &15. The streets of Milano