Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Chapter 41: Christmas at the Discoteca

Heyyyy party people! I hope Christmas was as amazing for you all as it was for us here in Italia! ๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐ŸŽ‰❄❤
   Plus, yay for hiking to a fort to watch the sunrise for our last P-day together!

Thursday, we received an invite to go visit Rose and Diana for lunch... as a recap, Rose (age 90ish) and Diana (age 60ish) are originally from America but lived most of their lives in Italy, are a tad crazy, own a plethora of cats, and basically live on top of a mountain๐Ÿ” So, we took the hour long sketchy bus ride that literally winds up the mountain... as soon as we got off, I went to go vomit but stopped myself (yay) because WE SAW SNOW❄️☃️๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒจ so so so exciting! Well, Rose and Diana were super generous and had made us a roast for lunch and it was sooo good๐Ÿ˜ the conversation aspect, however, was... special... topics included:
  • The cats (all named after Twilight characters, mind you)
  • Rose's ex boyfriend who supposedly led a revolution somewhere in Africa, was a doctor in Panama (where he led yet another revolution?), was elected to be the leader of Panama but four days later they found him by a bus stop without a head? 
  • A million and one extremely racist comments from Rose 
  • Diana telling us all about pet therapy for horses? ๐ŸŽ
Despite all of that, it ended well. We showed them the Christmas video, and they were extremely touched by it! Rose especially, and it was nice to have a good, spirit-filled moment with them❤ And then, back on the bus we went๐Ÿ™ƒ

We went early to English class that night so that Omar and Nicole could teach us how to make Focaccia!! So fun and soooooooo good๐Ÿ˜› Plus they are just my favorite couple. They even gave us all Christmas presents after class❤ They're truly some of my fav people I've met here in Italy!

Friday morning & afternoon were pretty much filled with studies and then getting everything ready for the Christmas party that night. We weren't really sure if it'd be much of a success or not, since our past activities had a smaller turnout. But wow- we had around 40 people come (members and some of their nonmember families and friends). We started off by showing the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, which was super awesome!! Then, we had a huge dinner! I'm talking multiple HUGE pans of lasagna, lots of pizza, salad, and dessert of course. We also learned how to take shots (solely with coke and aranciata, mind you). So, that was new๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŽ‰

We played with the kids for a while too๐Ÿ˜‚ First, the girls wanted me to play dead whilst they attempted to save me๐Ÿ˜‚ #greysanatomy #amiright Then, Giulia and Martina took mine and Sorella Richards' name tags, jackets, bags, and reindeer antlers and pretended to be us๐Ÿ˜‚ they even tried teaching a lesson lol, so cute❤

Then, we went to the discoteca.

Aka, they'd turned our church into the most insane club in all of Italy. Possibly the world. I'm talking flashing lights, Italian rap, and my personal favorite, Just Dance ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐ŸผYou best believe we missionaries were front and center, totally killing it ๐Ÿ•บ๐ŸผYeah... we were dead tired by the time we went home, but the branch was still going strong๐Ÿ˜‚

Saturday was kind of a blur, thanks to our discoteca/coca-cola induced hangovers๐Ÿคฃ But we spent the day dropping treats off to our investigators and a few other people we'd been working with, and then doing some prep for Christmas! Sorella Richards and I wanted to treat ourselves with a very Italian Christmas Eve dinner. So we bought a stick of salami, a wedge of cheese, some grapes, and fresh loaves of bread, and basically had the best night-before-Christmas๐ŸŽ„

The highlight of the week, of course was Christmas itself! Seriously, there's something special about Christmas as a missionary๐Ÿ’š❤️ We woke up and got ourselves ready, and then sat by the tree to open presents. Sorella Richards was super adorable and got me a huge, mint green blanket๐Ÿ˜ plus it was fun opening the packages from the fam, so graciously filled with American treats and Harry Potter/Marvel/Disney stuff๐ŸŽ Then we headed to church, where we got to take the sacrament and sing Christmas songs together. At the end of the meeting, our cute branch brought each of us a huge bag (too heavy to carry, mind you) filled with all sorts of food, treats, cleaning supplies, etc. Everyone had given something, and it was seriously the cutest thing ever๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ 

Presidente had given us permission to watch a pg rated movie on Christmas, so we all watched How to Train Your Dragon ๐Ÿ‰ Oh, how I miss movies๐Ÿ˜‚ Then the senior couple had us over for lunch, and we all had soooooo much fun! The absolute best part of the entire day was, of course, skyping home! Nothing like chatting with the fam for a good long while, and introducing them to our district and whatnot! I seriously could've stayed on for days๐Ÿ˜‚ lol oh ๐Ÿ‹, only like 5 months till Mother's Day, right?๐Ÿ˜‰

Monday and Tuesday have been filled with packing, saying goodbye, etc. Yep, transfer week has come upon us again. We had no clue what would happen this transfer. Since we opened here, we didn't know which one of us would stay, and which one of us would go. Well folks, I don't have to worry about packing up for another 6 weeks!!๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿค— However... my fantastic, amazing, practically-perfect greenie does. Tomorrow, I have to send Sorella Richards on a train to Milano, where she'll be serving in the Lampugnano area. I'm so so so stoked for her, because I know she'll do so great and that she'll learn and grow! But... I'm pretty sad to be parting ways. It brings back the same feelings I felt sending various friends off on missions, and saying goodbye to my family and friends when I left, and bidding farewell to companions and cities. 

There's something Sorella McHardy always said that describes this so well. She'd say, "I'm an eternal being stuck in a mortal experience, and in eternity, friendships don't end." There you have it- all my feelings put into a single phrase. And so, as sad as goodbyes are, I guess that's one of the beautiful things... that, thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ, goodbyes don't need to be permanent! Whether the "goodbyes" come as a result of death or difficult circumstance, or whether they're something as small as changing companions, these goodbyes don't have to last forever! In fact, they're not supposed to! It's a natural part of life- passing in and out of the lives of others. But thanks to our Savior, we may also have joyful reunions with those we loved, as did Alma in Alma 17:1-2
1 And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti, behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla.
2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.

I've loved experiencing this in life. Seeing old mission friends at conferences; random visits with people from past cities, like my precious Camilla; even skyping home on Sunday! And I can't help but think how great this will be when I get to see all of YOU- my family and friends, once again!

That will certainly be the best day ever, now won't it?

{now now, no getting trunky... that's my job๐Ÿ˜‰}

See you next year๐Ÿ˜‰๐ŸŽ‰

Sorella Kaylee Smedley 

1&2- Genova  3-SNOW!!  4-Making Focaccia   5-9 Branch Christmas party
10 &11-Christmas Eve dinner   12-14 Christmas Morning   15- Cannoli!!

16&17 Skyping with my family  18-28 Last P-day together :( Sunrise hike






Thursday, December 22, 2016

Chapter 40: The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

Except it does.

Happy {almost} Christmas ๐ŸŽ„I'm assuming you're all as stoked as we are for this holiday weekend! I don't know if I've mentioned already how awesome Italia is at Christmastime... but just imagine how beautiful Italy is all the time, and then add twinkling lights, late-night markets, and decorations and music everywhere๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Essentially, I'm in love. And so naturally, my dear greenie and I have been playing a heck of a lot of Christmas music, so I figure this week instead of the typical "missionary group email", I'd share a bit of our current Christmas playlist with y'all๐Ÿ˜‚❤️

The Polar Express Soundtrack๐Ÿš‚❄️
Well folks, literally all of Thursday was spent on a train, because we had the mission conference in Modena! President Johnson from the seventy came and spoke, and it was super awesome! Highlights include:
  • There's a difference between things that are hard and things that are impossible.
  • Don't just memorize with your head- memorize with your heart
  • You want true freedom? You be obedient. Give yourself to God and he will open the doors for you to go and do and be
  • The only impossible thing in the world was already accomplished by our Savior Jesus Christ, so now everything is possible!
  • Seeing some of my favorite missionaries!!
Also, bimba and I calculated and last week, between traveling for scambio and for the conference, we had approximately 17 hours of train travel...๐Ÿ˜‘ but eh, who am I to complain about taking a train through foggy Italia๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ

Something about December by Christina Perri 
Friday we had institute in the morning. Cute Silvanna taught another awesome lesson as usual, and she brought us and the Anziani a Christmas treat! She's just so caring! We tried doing some finding and didn't really have any luck finding people to teach. However, we've been having a lot of nice convos with people anyways. Seriously, something about being close to Christmas really changes people's attitudes! We also had our "Meet the Mormons" movie night! Well... just like the last few weeks, there weren't a ton of people. But there were more than normal, and none of the families or individuals there had seen it before! It ended up being a pretty awesome night!

All I Want For Christmas is You by Fifth Harmony
๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿพ me @ all the people in Savona who I want to teach lol๐Ÿ˜‚ Saturday was a day full of attempting to find new investigators, although we didn't necessarily get those results. We did have another lesson with Francesca though! We've been continuing to read the Book of Mormon with her, and my love for the Book of Mormon grows more and more each time! It's one thing to read it on your own, but it's a whole new experience reading it with someone for their first time! She asks so many questions, and although some of them are the most random things ever (like why the records were written on metal, or why certain people had certain names...?) but in all honesty, it's easy to take the Book of Mormon for granted when you've grown up with it or when you've read it multiple times. I look back on my life, and the Book of Mormon is totally integrated in me! I love it and have studied it multiple times, but this fresh perspective just reminds me of why it's important for us to be continually studying it: because there are always new truths and principles for us to learn and apply. It's awesome!❤️

Hallelujah by PTX
I feel like Sunday was literally just a mix of heartbreaks but also beautiful moments. Church was good but also hard, because I realized it might be my last time seeing some of these amazing people. We get transfer calls on Christmas Eve, and so there's a chance that this time next week, I'll be heading somewhere new. This city has been extremely hard but I also love it so much, especially as I was watching our branch members interacting with one another. After church, we went to the rest home and sang Christmas songs to the residents๐Ÿ˜‡

You may be thinking it was sweet and serene, and that perhaps tears were shed.

But you would be wrong.

I don't think there's ever been a more tone deaf choir in all the world๐Ÿ˜‚ literally somehow our branch was sooooo off on "Joy to the World" that sweet Silvana had to stop playing the music in attempts to save the performance๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Oh well. I love this bunch of crazies nonetheless.

We had an appointment with Sorella Nieddu in our branch, and my love just continued to grow. This woman is such an example to me! She's been through challenges I can't even imagine enduring, and she's come out as a strong mother for her family and a leader for the members! We left her house feeling overwhelmed by the spirit and by the love we have for these beautiful Italian people!

That evening, we had an appointment with Constanza, and it was by far the hardest lesson I've ever had. We had prepared really well for this, and put in a ton of thought and prayer. However, we noticed literally the minute we walked in that something was off. The entire lesson, we were blindly attempting to try to bring the spirit into the lesson, but it was essentially impossible. Constanza started to legitimately attack us and our beliefs, despite all our attempts. Once we realized the lesson wasn't going anywhere, we decided that truly all we could do was bear testimony of this gospel that we knew to be true. 

And I'd like to say it went perfectly, and you'll find our story in the next edition of the Ensign, but I'd be lying. So we left with a prayer and a promise to see her around Christmas, but honestly we came home emotionally exhausted. I mean, it honestly would've been easier if she was just insulting us or something; that's normal, that's the life of a missionary. But the hardest thing was having my core beliefs attacked and disrespected. It was heartbreaking, especially because I honestly love Constanza with all my heart. I truly believe God prepared her to received the restored gospel. However, one thing I was grateful came out of this experience was the realization of how firmly rooted my testimony is. Because as she said these things and attempted to make light of key truths such as the Book of Mormon and the restoration through Joseph Smith, we were able to bear witness of these truths, and that this truly is Christ's church! How grateful I was, in that moment, that I didn't need to use the words "I think" or "I believe", but instead used the words "I know!" 

Justin Bieber's Drummer Boy ๐ŸŽง
Yes, we did stoop so low as to download JB's Christmas album as well... but, to put it in the words of my dear Sorella Richards, "Just because we like the rap part of 'Drummer Boy' does NOT mean we are 'Beliebers'!"

So... there you have it folks...

But yeah, we decided to take a train to Loano to try to pass by a less-active. The town is sure beautiful, but it was pretty deserted Monday... She wasn't there, but we tried to talk to people on our way there and on our way back.

Three exciting things happened during this journey.


2. We found a strange man who was very much not interested in our message but was very interested in informing us that, and I quote, "there's no such thing as an American! Y'all are just nasty immigrants from Europe!" To which I responded,"Haha ok, well we love Europe" while internally I'm like MURICA๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ 

3. We did, in fact, memorize the rap part of drummer boy during this voyage.

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson☃️
Coldest Winter by PTX ❄️
Tuesday was absolutely freezing! Rain everywhere and super cold, but the worst part was the wind! It was literally miserable! Whiiiiiich naturally means no one wants to meet with us๐Ÿ™ƒ but all was well. We had district meeting (followed by a trip to McDonald's for the first time in forever because it was needed) and then spent the rest of the day updating our area book and getting stuff ready for this week's Christmas party!

  Also, we were walking beside a lil bakery and saw some most wonderful
  desserts. I did what one always does and went to the window to
  investigate... but... I was investigating too hard... and slammed my
  forehead into the glass... so that's how that day went...

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublรจ
Today for P day, we did a lot of shopping! We had to do some Christmas shopping for our meals and parties this week, and getting gifts for each other and the Anziani. We spent a few hours in Genova Centro hitting up the best shops. It's fun to hear the Christmas Music and see all the decorations! It's def one of my fav parts of the season! 

Buuuuuuuuuut we all know what the BEST part is much much more than that...

Mary Did You Know by PTX and Silent Night by Enya
So far, this Christmas season has been one of my favorites! {And it's not even Christmas yet!} I didn't imagine it would be this way; I figured December 2016 would be filled with missing home, family, friends, gifts, Star Wars, food, etc. And it has been, for sure. But it's also been more fulfilling as my thoughts have naturally veered more around our savior Jesus Christ❤️ I've never been as close to Him as I have been during my time on the mission! Mainly because there are all these people who I love so much, and I know that He's the only other person who can understand the love, the heartbreaks, the joys- all of it! He's literally the ONLY one! Because He literally has experienced it all.

And this doesn't just apply to missions or missionaries. All of us have, at some point, questioned why life is difficult. This principle is something we've all experienced. There's a part from the conference Elder Holland did for us a few months back that I feel illustrates this better than I could ever try. He said "My doctrinal theory is that it's hard because it was hard for Christ; that salvation is not a cheap experience. Nobody ever said it was gonna be easy. Nobody ever. I think it's hard, because salvation was wrought by anguish, and tears, and blood, and toil. Christ died of a broken heart, and He died bearing the sins of the world, feeling the contrition of everyone's sins and sorrows since Adam and Eve. Well, you're invited to feel a little of that."

During our pretty heartbreaking lesson with Constanza this week, my dear greenie shared at one point that we were here as the witnesses of Jesus Christ here in Savona. And it's true- that's how life is as a missionary. Elder Holland goes on to say "What does it mean to be a witness?! Well, I think we bear witness of His tears. I think we bear witness of His pain. We bear witness of His anguish and His sufferings, and we have to feel a little of that. Don't spend your entire mission wondering why it isn't easier! It's never going to be easy. It is rewarding. It is magnificent. But it's not easy, and that's what I think it means to be a disciple: we go where He goes, and we do what He does, and we feel what He feels."

And so that, my friends, is why I say that Christmas as a missionary is turning out to be the best thing ever.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Sam Smith
I'll wrap things up now (๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽhehehe get it?) but I hope you all know how much I love you and how grateful I am for you. You're in my prayers constantly and I sincerely hope you all have an amazing Christmas! More than that, take a moment this Christmas weekend to strengthen your relationship with He whom we celebrate during this season, our Lord, Savior, and Brother Jesus Christ❤️

Buon natale cari miei! Vi Voglio Bene❤️
Santa Smeds ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ๐ŸŽ☃️๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

1-4 Trains, trains, and more trains(  5-17 Mission Conference

18& 19  Look, there’s snow…and there’s us!



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chapter 39: Nine Months Without Netflix๐Ÿ’”

Well folks, this week has been absolutely crazy, especially since it marks 9 months of mission life! You know what that means? Yep you guessed it- 9 months without American food, Netflix, and my dogs ๐Ÿ’” oh, and also it means ITS MY HALFWAY MARK๐ŸŽ‰ Oh the things I've learned & the ways I've changed. But I think my most favorite thing is all the new "loves" I've gained during these 9 months! And lucky for us, this week has been full of 'em! So let's take a look, shall we?๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Thursday: Love of the People
Shocker that this love would be listed as the first, haha! But really, Thursday was one of the happiest days of my mission! Whale, it didn't quite start out like that. I woke wanting nothing more than to sleep for another couple hours (thanks to the previous night's adventure of sitting outside for 5 hours waiting for culture class to end lol)๐Ÿ˜‚ So we did all our studies and got some stuff ready for our lessons that weekend & the made English class surveys we wanted for that night. After lunch, we decided to go out & pass by an ex-investigator named Caterina.

Now let me preface this by saying I had absolutely zero desire to go pass by this woman, for a number of reasons. I still felt pretty crappy, & was honestly just feeling discouraged by our area. Plus, each time we'd tried to visit this woman before, no one had answered. But missionary life means you put your crap aside & just go for it, so we grabbed our stuff & headed out. We finally got there, prayed, & rang the citofono. Nothing. I was ready to head back, but Sorella Richards rang it again. A mans voice answered asking who we were. We did the typical "yo we're missionaries can we chat with you about Jesus" spiel and before you know it, we were buzzed in๐Ÿ˜ณ after flights & flights of stairs, we made it to the seventh floor, found her door, & knocked.

The door opened, & I was greeted by a familiar face. Max Aramu! The shocked look on my face must have been positively hilarious because he started laughing like crazy. Then from behind him came my absolute favorite person in all of Italia: Camilla Aramu. (For those of you just joining us now, the Aramu family is a family in Collegno who I got wayyyy close with! Their little daughter Camilla is 4 1/2 & is so smart & sassy & claims my last name is too difficult so she calls me "Sorella Elsa". Aaaand now I think we're all caught up!) I didn't know what to do or say, & I think my dear companion was rather confused lol! Camilla ran & hugged me & I was just seriously the happiest missionary on the whole planet!

Apparently, this woman Caterina is Max's mother (so Camilla's grandmother) & it was her birthday so they took a train to Savona to surprise visit her! Then, they heard us on the citofono, & since they knew I was serving in Savona, decided to surprise me! Apparently Camilla was having a hard time being quiet & hiding because she kept yelling that "her Sorella with the curly hair was coming!" I got to talk with Max & Perla for a while & play with Camilla! We also talked with Caterina, who said we could stop by sometime and teach her! 

Friday: Love of Learning
We started the day off with studies as always. Wow I'm so grateful for the time we get on the mission to learn so much about the gospel & how to teach it to others! We then had institute- Silvanna is an outstanding teacher & I learn so much from her! 

That afternoon, we had an appointment with Francesca, but she ended up cancelling on us. Honestly I've been struggling with her a bit recently, because she's so rude to us๐Ÿ˜‚ When she called to cancel on us, I was very unimpressed with how she was acting & my normal sassy self wanted to make it known. So I did. Buuuuuut in a much nicer way than normal because you know what else the mission teaches you? Patience. Every dang day. Especially in freaking Europe. But it's great๐Ÿ˜‚❤️

That evening we had a branch activity... sort of... the Anziani we're going to do soccer with the men and we were gonna do yoga with the women... buuuuut 3 women and 0 men came... soooo the Anziani joined us for yoga๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ oh whale, we tried.

Saturday: Love of Italian Food
Saturday was studies followed by seminary, which was great as usual. But the highlight was spending the afternoon/evening with Maria Carnemola (recent convert) & her daughter Aurora (investigator). We first made dough, & then had our lesson while we waited for it to rise. Aaaaand then Maria taught us how to make pizza ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ lol only took me half my mission to learn๐Ÿ˜‰ honestly though, so much love for the food here- the simplicity, the freshness (idk if that's an actual word or if I just sound like a white rapper rn... sorry) Bottom line, Italian food is absolutely amazing, and I doubt I'm gonna be returning to Pizza Hut or Olive Garden anytime soon๐Ÿ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ…๐Ÿง€๐Ÿ‡

Sunday: Love of Serving the Lord
Lol, y'all knew this one was coming๐Ÿ˜‰ Although, Sunday morning was far from a missionary dream. In fact, it bordered more on the edge of a nightmare. Our branch president had us missionaries give talks, & then we also were in charge of the youth for the last two hours of church๐Ÿ™ƒ Sorella Richards and I had planned a special Christmas themed lesson for them- just a ton of awesome stuff centered on Jesus Christ. Well... we had the youth's attention for about 4.5 seconds & then they were on their phones, making comments, & goofing off. Honestly, quite the bummer. But hey, when we have opportunities to serve, it's not usually under our desired circumstances. But when we continue loving & serving & doing as God directs to the best of our abilities, all is well.

We had lunch, & then decided to serve the Anziani. They needed to change apartments, but the distance is quite far so we helped them move all their stuff! Although at the time we offered, we didn't realize their new apartment was a train ride away, and located at the top of a hill๐Ÿ˜… You could say we're still a bit sore from this endeavor because lugging suitcases around for 2 hours is killer, especially at an incline...๐Ÿ—ป

That evening, we had an awesome lesson with Constanza! She's started reading The Book of Mormon & honestly there is such a spirit in her home! Lessons with her are more difficult than I've ever had before because she has so many deep, complicated questions! But it's also so fulfilling getting to teach her, & noticing how the spirit helps us to know what to say & how to say it in Italian!❤️ It's especially rewarding to see it occurring not just for myself, but for my greenie as well!

Monday: Love of the People pt. 2
We headed out on a train Monday afternoon to go do scambio in Milano! I was with the amazing Sorella Castro, who's originally from Columbia but spent 7 years living in Italy. Cool stuff- she actually lived in our mission in the Piemonte region (home to Torino and my precious Collegno) so we knew a lot of the same people and had been to a lot of the same places! We talked a toooon on the way too and from appointments- all in Italian of course- & I seriously just adore her! I'd love to be companions with her at some point! My favorite family we visited is from Venezuela. I loved joking around with the daughter who is my age, and then listening to the mother talk about the various trials they've faced. I'm seriously constantly inspired by these people I meet whose lives are so unlike mine. It's truly becoming my most favorite thing๐Ÿ’•

We headed back to the apartment, but Sorella Williams and Sorella Richards weren't back yet, and they had the keys. So Sorella Castro & I went & found a bench surrounded by trees and lights & sat & talked for a while. I didn't realize it was possible for me to have full on heart-to-hearts with someone in Italian, & yet two hours later we were still going strong๐Ÿ˜‚❤️ buuuuuut it was so freaking cold and it was late, so we headed back wondering where on earth the other sorelle were!

Turns out, they had gotten home an hour ago.

Meanwhile we had "turned into gelato", in Sorella Castro's words๐Ÿ˜‚ vabbรจ, it was a much needed moment. But be warned kids: when you choose not to go to bed on time as a missionary, ye are cursed with a curse. It was most definitely the worst night's sleep ever! And apparently Sorella Castro and I were sleep talking to each other in Italian so that was super odd๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Tuesday: Love of the Culture
Tuesday morning we finished scambio with one of the weirdest experiences ever. You see, we had a funeral to go to... but, like, no one knew who he was... so it was literally us missionaries there, a few cousins, and the bishop... I kid you not, the funeral only lasted 15 minutes. It was so sad & kinda awkward & a tad funny...

Then we had scambio review before leaving. I loved being with Sorella Castro- she told me my Italian was good which meant a TON coming from her, & I learned so so so much from her! Then Sorella Richards & I took a train back home through the fog. Oh yeah, did I mention it's foggy as heck?! See, the weather itself isn't that much colder than a Utah winter, but the humidity is killing me ๐ŸŒซ❄️oh whale, at least it looks cool!

They also closed down all the streets in centro to do a huge market! I kid you not, the biggest and most beautiful market I'd ever seen! A great ending to a great day!

Ok, maybe the funeral wasn't the best example, but I really do adore the Italian culture. So many things I once found weird I now find endearing. I love taking trains across the country and walking though crowded stations and metros. I love how Italians will tell you their whole life story after knowing you for about 3 minutes. I love the foggy winters and the scorching summers. I love how everyone goes on walks with their dogs and their kids. I love their love of food... and the Madonna๐Ÿ˜‚ I honestly just love Italy๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Wednesday: Love of Adventure
Today started out as a relatively normal p day. We awoke, did the normal things one does on a blissful Pday morn, and then headed out to obtain groceries. A short while later, bags in hand, we bid farewell to our fellow shoppers and prepared to walk home. We neared the doorway of the apartment complex. It was around this time that my dearest greenie groaned, "oh nooooooo". She turned to face me, slowly... "So... I left the keys... in the kitchen..."

*cue horror music and women screaming*

Not this. Anything but this. You see, we easily got someone to buzz us into the building. But the door to our individual apartment locks automatically- there was no hope to be found. With great haste, I called Fratello Pelle, the only person with spare keys besides the office in Milano. He responded saying he was at work until around 1, and then it'd take him at least an hour to get to us. Now, keep in mind dear readers, that all this was going down at like 10:30. & Sorella Richards had culture class round 2 at 2pm... & we had a train to catch around 6... & about a million other things to do! Near tears, we sat & prayed & basically had no clue what to do.

And then, we were awesome.

        *cue Mission Impossible theme music*

You see, we realized that inside the apartment lobby, there was a window. We opened the window, & saw that there were various pipes & ledges all leading up to our kitchen balcony... And so, that's the story of how we climbed like Spider-Man and broke into our own apartment. Sure, a door had to be kicked in, and yeah, it's a bit sketch to realize just how easy it'd be for someone to break in... but I like to focus on how we basically turned into ninjas to avoid a rather terrible predicament๐Ÿ‘ฏ

Oh yes, the mission definitely teaches you to improvise and enjoy the ride and essentially to, as my dear Sorella McHardy once put it, "Have faith in God and then fly by the seat of your pants"๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Conclusion time, because this has been yet another way-too-long email #sorry Basically, these past 9 moths have been the best of my whole life. I've learned more than ever before, and my love for people in general has grown as I've served among these beautiful Italian people. I know that choosing to serve a mission has most definitely been the best decision ever, and that this is truly Christ's church. And I'm absolutely stoked to see what these next 9 months will bring!!๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น❤️๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น❤️๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น❤️๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Sorella Kaylee Smedley 

1-3 Camilla Aramu!!!  4&5  Yoga night :)
6-8 Pizza with Maria  9-11 Scambio in Milano  12&13 Italian Christmas