Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Chapter 7- What NOT to do on your first day in Italy

Yep that's right- I'm finally in Italy!! Super heartbreaking to say goodbye to the Roman district... And the teachers... And of course my amazing Sorellanza district... And America... Buttttt it's okay because ITALY!!!!!!! And what a fantastical, psychotic, indescribable journey it's been thus far... (Sorry in advance for the lengthy email
but I have lots of awkward experiences lol so it's worth it!)

Ok first of all, traveling was CRAZY! I was able to sleep quite a bit and call the family which was nice, but I was tired and nervous and was just so not ready to leave 'Murica lol... Plus our plane landed late in London... And we already only had an hour layover anyway...And then they made us go all the way through security AGAIN... so our group got split up, with 5 of us on the 1st plane, and the other 3 left waiting.... And I'm sitting there on the plane with S. Lo Russo thinking "okeeey what hecking thing have I gotten myself into?!?” Like forreals, maybe I should just go back home to my beautiful comfort zone (after all, there's Netflix there!) And then guess what
happened?! I look out the window and I saw the Appalachian mountains!! We were finally coming over Italy... And wowzers it was love at first sight!!!!! I sat there glued to the window and then we finally landed! I legit did a high school musical jump off the plane onto my beautiful new homeland!

Ok remember in tangled when rapunzel keeps going back and forth between "yay I'm so glad I left my tower" to "I never should've left” to "Best. Day. EVER!" Yeah this is basically me the first 24 hours before meeting my trainer... Like yay for Italy but also what the fetch am I doing??? Plus my brain was tired so it just made everything
worse... Pres. Dibb and his wife picked us up and we dropped our stuff off at the mission office, and then we were off to the duomo to start proselyting. We get on the metro and I see a lady and I'm like "hey I like your scarf!" And she totally just glares at me and moves away (I even checked later on to make sure I hadn't accidentally said something wrong or offensive in Italian... Nope, this lady just hated me haha) Luckily the next lady we talked to was nicer and even wanted a B of M (whoot whoot!) lol but remember in the movie "The Best Two Years" when the greenie first gets to the mission and he's like "Elder, what language are they speaking?" And his trainer is like "That's Dutch..." And then the greenie is like "That's not the language they taught me at the MTC!" Cuz yeah that was me… We finally get off the metro and walk up some stairs to see the beautiful, massive duomo! And I was rather fascinated by this beautiful, massive duomo! And you know what happens sometimes when you're fascinated by a beautiful, massive duomo? You tend to stop focusing on your footing, and typically end up falling down dramatically... Yup, day 1 in Italy and I'd already tripped lol…      It's gonna be a long 17 months...

We had dinner with the mission pres and his wife, and then went to the hotel. Jet lag has been kinda killing me so I don't remember much other than that there was a huge spider in the bathroom and that I totes passed out on top of my bed... The next day we had more training, and then we got to meet our trainers! I got the amazing
Sorella Smith (who I adore cuz she's nice and funny and she loves all my movies and books!) and we are living in Collegno, a city inside Torino. So I get to see the mountains (which I love!) and we're right by the French border. Our apartment is super nice, plus it has 2 balconies. It's close by a gelato shop and a lil comic book/nerd shop like on Big Bang Theory (tons of marvel and Star Wars stuff!!).There's also a street market right outside our door every Saturday! Like for reals, I just love my new home!

A bit about Collegno... It's not a super successful city honestly. It's a poorer area and there's hardly any progressing investigators, and rarely any baptisms. A lot of people say it's one of the lesser-pretty areas in Italy. Aaand I absolutely love it! It's a pretty huge area, so although we walk a lot we also take the bus, metro, and train (which I love cuz Italy is just beautiful). The ward here is amazing! They were super excited to meet me cuz there hasn’t been a greenie Sorella here in almost 2 years! My comp and the anziani here have really been working on strengthening the ward here and working with the non-active members, so I'm super excited to continue
working with them and finding potential investigators through them. It's kinda crazy, cuz our last pday in the MTC, we went to the temple for the last time😪 while there, I just felt such a love for this country of people I hadn't even met, and a desire for them all to experience the love of Christ and the blessings of the temple. And I
remember having like a mental conversation with God, where I kinda just promised Him "okay Heavenly Father, I promise I'll do whatever I can to help the people in whatever area I'm in. I'll do my best to put Your will above my own. If You put me in the area You need me in, and promise not to leave me alone, I'll focus on all the people- not just worrying about baptisms or statistics, but putting my focus on helping the needs of non-members, members, and inactives equally." And lemme
tell you, the minute I stepped foot in Collegno, I knew this was where God needed me. And boy, am I excited to figure out what things He wants me to accomplish here!

As with all missions, life is busy and tiring but good! We have studies and planning like always. We teach English class Wednesdays and Fridays (yay cuz I actually know English). It's fun cuz we teach it with the Collegno anziani, Anziano Rogers and Anziano Yee. I just love them- they're awesome, obedient missionaries and are just super fun! Sundays are crazy and fun- our ward has close to 100 people which is awesome! The bishop had me introduce myself and bear testimony and
whatnot in church this week which was definitely an experience lol😂 my comp and the anziani all said my Italian was better than theirs at 2 transfers (I'm thinking they're lying but they're adorable nonetheless lol). And the members are all super patient with my lack of language skills haha so it's all good! During the week, we meet
with members a lot (a few of them have other family members and friends we get to teach next week!) they always feed us a ton! It’s hard to get a lot of lessons in during the day, because travel time can take up to an hour each way, and they typically keep us for like 2-5 hours haha! They just love talking about the gospel and life lol! I love these people! The youth we have are darling- we're planning an activity for the them that they can invite friends to so that'sexciting!

A couple fun things about Italy I've learned during my first week:
- There are dogs EVERYWHERE! S. Smith said she never saw dogs here until I showed up, so evidently God loves me lol🐶 I always speak Italian to them which is basically my winning method for talking to strangers about the gospel haha!
- Fizzante is my new fav. Basically it's carbonated water and its weird but awesome. Also Fanta is way better here- like it's legit orange juice with bubbles lol
- There are lizards everywhere! And also pigeons.
- Remember how I have an irrational fear of escalators? Yeah same…   And we ride them constantly...
- The food is okay I guess... Just kidding like wow I love it! The members feed us so much (like there's no such thing as a meal with less than 3 courses) and it's all just great. And don't get me started on the gelato cuz dang I could eat that stuff for every meal😉🍦

P day today, we went to Stupinigi, a palace that was used as a hunting retreat for royalty. It was huge and gorgeous, plus we got to go with the Torino Sorelle: s. Ardnt (who I met at the MTC and is one transfer ahead of me) and s. Harris (she's on her last transfer!)

I love this country. And this city. And these missionaries. And this food. AND of course I adore these crazy Italians! Sorry mom and dad-
I'm never coming home!!!

Sorella Smedley

1. Goodbye America-hello Italy!  2.Contacting on the Metro  3.The Duomo where we proselyted 
4. President and sister Dibb & I   5. My trainer, Sis. Smith, & I at the train station   6. Sis. Smith and I on our apartment balcony
5. GELATO!! Yum!!  6. Little mint green cars everywhere-I need one!  7. Sis. Smith & I taking a break on the swings  8. Lunch appt. & chilling with Francesco (& his adorable dogs!)
9. The rest of the pictures are from Stupingi Palace- it was beautiful!!                                        



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