Taking My Wand for a Nametag

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Chapter 36: Thanksgiving Under the Sea

This week has been a week of stress and craziness but also one in which my heart is full. So much love and gratitude right now, which is convenient given that THIS WEEK IS THANKSGIVING! And our fantastic mission president decided to give us Pday on Thursday this week so we could celebrate! Hence why my email is interrupting your Thanksgiving festivities instead of the normal Wednesday time slot. Ironically, next week's Pday will also be on Thursday as a result of zone conference, so there ya go😎 But yes, p day was spent at the aquarium... and also it's raining cats and dogs and flooding EVERYWHERE so it truly seems like this year's Thanksgiving is being held under the sea...🌊🐠🐬

Side note: those of you dears currently in the beautiful USA, pease please please enjoy thanksgiving for me... and also the new Harry Potter movie cuz it looks so freaking sick!

... I'm sorry about that... back to the important stuff aka mission life... rant time is over lols...


Thursday, everyone and their dog cancelled on us. There's this funny thing with Italians and just Europeans in general that when weather is slightly bad, no one goes out to do anything😂🙄 and it's been rainy and stormy all week sooooo... literally they even cancel school. Just because of rain lol☔️ in addition to canceling school and work, they also cancel salvation aka us, but it's whatever😉 we made a lot of calls to some potentials though and had English class, so all was well.

Friday was a lovely continuation of Thursday as far as the trend of cancellations. However, we did meet up with our Anziani to make some plans for our branch. We've been trying to come up with some ways to help unify the branch so it won't have to close. As we've talked with some of the members, a lot of them mentioned wanting to do some more activities like the Halloween party we'd planned a few weeks back. So we got together and planned some solid activities and other things that will hopefully help out our amazing branch. So not a high number day, but a lot of good stuff was done so yay!🤗

Saturday was kind of a crazy day. We had an appointment in the afternoon with our investigator Aurora, and it went pretty well. She has a lot of challenges that need to be overcome, but I just adore her! After she left for work, we continued talking with her mother Maria who is a fairly new convert. She's Sicilian and a tad crazy, but luckily I happen to really love the semi-crazy people so all is well.

Afterwards, we had another appointment with our investigator Francesca. Ha, lessons with her are always a bit interesting... however, we've been reading the Book of Mormon with her (since she's been struggling to read and understand it on her own) and that's really enjoyable. For this appointment, my dear greenie took the lead and she did AMAZING! I was such a proud mamma haha! Afterwards, we talked with some people in centro because there was a super awesome market going down (pics and vid to follow). Wow I love Italy!

Sunday was church, and it was crazy as usual. Awkward moment when the night before, you get called on to give a 15 min talk... and so you stay up late praying and preparing... and then show up in church and your branch president says "actually never mind, you'll do it next week" ðŸ™ƒ it's fine it's fine. If any of you need a well prepared talk in Italian, I got you👊🏼 Some slight drama occurred, but I think it ended up working out for the better haha. I had called our branch president earlier in the week telling him how we'd thought of some activities, and he'd said we could talk about it Sunday. Well, we did... and he yelled... and was not a happy camper... still kinda confused at why, but it induced a fair amount of stress. Ever since Anziano Gibb left, I'm now the "oldest" missionary in our area, which means our branch president's frustration, questions, etc were all fired at me. Lucky for us, majority of the branch witnessed this confrontation and was instantly like "wait why can't the missionaries plan activities with us?!" Presidente seemed to realize his error in bringing up the issue in front of the rest of the branch, and said "oh, actually they can... we... uh.. just need to solidify the dates and plans..." and rushed us into his office.

Although I still don't understand all of it, I did recognize some of his concern. A lot of stuff for the branch rests on him and his family, and the possibility of the branch closing puts an added weight on his shoulders. I do really respect him and the sacrifices he's been making for these people. I reassured him multiple times that we would take care of everything so it wouldn't be an extra burden on him or his family, and we were eventually able to come to a solid plan and agreement. After which I was toooooo ready to go back to the apartment for lunch and a quick nap lol because stress and confrontation sucks😂 but I'm content that it happened, because we're now headed in a direction that I think will really help strengthen our branch, and their needs matter sooooo much more than mine, ya know?

Monday we were lucky enough to return to our FAVORITE place in all of Italy. No not Venice... not Verona... THE QUESTURA!🤗 Lol, jokes. I loathe this place. So sketchy. And packed with random people coughing all over and it's just the sketchiest immigration office in the world probably. But it's fine. 

That evening, we had an appointment with Simonetta. Her nonmember daughter Gloria and boyfriend Alessandro were there. It was a tad bit awkward because they were all fighting initially lol... to give you an idea of how awkward this evening was, let me start by sharing a few odd convos we had...
*Walking in the door*
Me: Hi Simonetta, how are you?
Simonetta: sososososo bad (she said "malatissimo" to give y'all an idea...)
*10 minutes into our convo about the activity next week*
Simonetta: I'll try to be there. But I might die first idk.
*Halfway through the visit*
Simonetta: Alessandro and Gloria are idiots. It's hard being the only positive, sane person in the house.
And that started the arguing. But we watched the Restoration film and the spirit finally entered that home. We had an awesome lesson with them!


I did something I'd never thought I'd do. It was a moment of weakness, really. Well, Simonetta insisted on cooking us food, despite the fact that she's got the flu. I was already a bit worried about that. But she said she'd just whip up some pasta really quick and invited us into the kitchen to help. Ok, the sketchiness continued cuz there was literally raw meat just sitting out on the table... oh dear. The. She grabbed a mysterious jar, only saying that it was for the pasta. She brought it over for me to open the lid. I looked inside, and saw a most horrific sight: hundreds, maybe thousands (jk) of  various shellfish😳😳😳😳😳 all I could think was "how the fetch am I going to force this down" but I'd finally convinced myself I could do it when I looked over to my greenie and saw she looked as grossed out as I was. Simonetta left the room for a moment, and Sorella Richards and I quickly realized there was no way we could stomach down the concoction of sketchy raw meat, horrendous sea creatures, AND potential influenza all in one shot. And that's when I did what I swore never to do during the mission: I decided to fake sick.

Well, actually I kind of blame my greenie. Cuz I jokingly said "maybe I should conveniently get sick haha" and instead of laughing she was like "Can you really? I def wouldn't judge you..." Oh dear, we're gonna rely on my acting skills to get us out of this mess? And in Italian no less? Before I could think this through, she entered the kitchen once more, and I prepared to set the scene. Mustering all that I could, I played the role of the sick sister missionary. Simonetta WAS super sad for me and declared that it must be because we missionaries wake up too early, walk around too much, and eat kebab way too often... lol all fair points I suppose. Karma came to bite me in the butt however, because she insisted on making a special herbal tea to heal me lol. Any guesses on the secret ingredient? Yep, my favorite: eggplant ðŸ†ðŸ˜· che schifo. Then she drove us home, and my dear companion and I were fearful for our lives the entire time, oh the Italian adventures one has...

Tuesday started out with district meeting, and was followed by rain, cancellations, and kebab (despite Simonetta's warnings lol).

Wednesday was pretty great! All Tuesday night it rained and poured so we came out and there was actually a lot of rushing water in the river we cross multiple times a day. Like, imagine that! A river with actual water instead of plants and stray cats. Yay miracles🐈 We did a few passbys that morning and then took a train though the mountains to where the Robiolo family lives. Rainy skies + mysterious mist + mountains full of colorful trees make me the happiest camper🤗 I may or may not have played dramatic LOTR music as we sped brought the misty mountains. And I didn't feel trunky one bit😅

I love seeing the Robiolo family (new convert fam, and their daughter is now an investigator). I just love spending time with them. Since their daughter Aicha hasn't had any religious background whatsoever, we've been teaching the basics and it's literally so enjoyable! Plus their family has been through so many trials, and it's beautiful seeing them use the atonement to work through that healing process. However, my dear greenie almost died! Well, kind of. Rosanna left the window open and a mysterious creature entered the home... and started running into walls and eventually landed on my greenie and it was terrifying and we totally slipped into English and it was terrifying! Apparently Carcare has issues with bedbugs... and they are the nastiest, creepiest things ever! I didn't realize bedbugs could fly!! Guys I've had far too many terrifying experiences with crazy insects here and honestly I didn't NOT expect that to be a problem in Italy but its whatevs I'm fine🕷🐛🐝

And that leads us to today, il giorno di ringraziamento. Thanksgiving🦃 Whelp for p day today, Bimba and I decided to go to the water zoo aka the Genova Aquarium ðŸ ðŸ¦€ðŸŸðŸðŸ¬ðŸŸðŸ‹ totally legit, totally worth it. The manatees were the best part by far lol! And now we are currently having Thanksgiving dinner with our English class.

For cheesiness's sake, here's a few things I'm ever so grateful for on this lovely day.
  • Puppies. And the fact that I see them everywhere.🐶
  • Books ðŸ“š 
  • Movies ðŸŽ¥ 
  • And books that are made into movies!
  • Gray, rainy days☔️
  • Disneyland🎡
  • Bella Italia. Getting to walk down the streets and smell fresh bread; taking trains through the mountains; listening to the same group of old Italian men arguing on the street corner; going for runs along the beach; meals and lessons full of craziness but also a special kind of warmth you can find NO WHERE else! {Sorry folks, I'm truly in the best mission in the world}🇮🇹
  • My amazing greenie who sings dramatically with me, deals with my crap, gets us into waaaay too many laughing fits, works her butt off, makes funny videos with me, makes me popcorn sometimes, and just gets me! Seriously too blessed🎉
  • You. Yes, you. Grazie mille darling friends and family, because my love and gratitude for you amazing people in my life is absolutely indescribable ðŸ’•
  • The gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes I know I have to put that because I'm a missionary. But in all honesty, it's the truth. Because through Jesus Christ, I'm able to find the joy in all other aspects of life. Through Him, I'm capable of doing or being anything! This light and knowledge is the greatest gift one can possibly have, and so yes, my heart is rather full on this lovely Thanksgiving day❤️

Sorella Smedley🦃

1- Truuunky j/k  2-boats  3-Dino on a submarine???
3-18 Genova Aquarium  19-Rising river
20-24 Friendsgiving!!  25- Centro market holidays








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