8.29.2012

greetings from PUGLIA.

 ciao tutti!!

goodness gracious it seems like years since i have updated you all. because SO much has happened. as i told you tuesday night, i have been BORN in taranto. and it couldn't be a bigger blessing. it is BEAUTIFUL here! it is in the heel of the boot near the coast, so naturally it is hotter than sin and i am trying to learn how to breathe underwater, because that is basically what the air feels like. also there is basically no such thing as air conditioning here. also it is REALLY dirty here (and i mean this is EVERY sense of the word haha). and normally all of this would bother me, but it really doesn't phase me because the people and the places are so wonderful!

seriously i wish you could all be here with me just to see the difference between americans and italians. sister taylor (my mamma! more on her in a bit) and i decided to "make taranto disneyland" meaning always have a happy and friendly mindset so that we can be friends with the natives. and so far it is exactly like this. we chat with the bench sitters everyday and now while we walk around we hear a bunch of people call out "ciao sorelle" or "belle ciao" and this is absolute music to our ears. everyone, including the people that want nothing to do with us or what we tell them, treat you like you are family. it is so great! absolutely wonderful, god loving people here. oh and they love america more than americans do. they love the smurfs (so way to go dad with little luigi), hello kitty, american movies and music (for example we are currently listening to christina aguilera's genie in a bottle in the internet cafe right now haha!) also they know more about utah than americans also. 

okay sister taylor is a gem. she is from magna, utah. she graduated from cyprus high in 2007 and was on the drill team! she speaks beautiful italian and does so with every single person we see every day. that is something i love so much about her. she doesn't let anyone pass her without at least saying hello. she is a natural. she has a little sister and it sounds like their relationship is a lot like mine and my big sissy/bestie. her boyfriend is waiting for her and has a GREAT name...hal baldo. ha! i try not to laugh every time i hear it. her family and boy sound wonderful so no wonder she is so great. she is so patient with me and treats me like an equal even though it is not hard to see that i have a lot of work to do in every aspect of this work.

the taranto ward is famous for their members. and i can see why. they are perfection. their youth are especially wonderful. super strong, spiritual, fun, outgoing youth that get together like 5 nights a week and invite friends. in fact the miracles that we saw this week had a lot to do with youth. two different evenings we ran in to a big group of hooligans that wanted to talk to us and were more interested than most of the others we chatted with this week. the kids here are really mature in spiritual matters. like it is not weird at all to talk about god and your relationship with him openly and frequently. in fact it is expected of them and it is a beautiful thing. and the kids all know at least one of the youth of the church, because the members aren't afraid to open their mouths and share the most important piece of goodness that could ever be shared. 

other things that were good this week:
-i had my first italian meal. it consisted of a huge plate of delicious pasta, a plate of mysterious meats but they were good whatever it was, salad, bread, fruit, and an ice cream thing. um we were full for like 3 days afterwards.
-the bishop asked me to bear my testimony in church. super scary but people have been complimenting me all week.
-a few people are convinced that i am italian...only by my looks...i am not totally sure i went to the right classes in the mtc...
-i discovered my favorite place ever called lungomare. google earth that baby. she is a beut.
-city living is treating me so well. and my face is loving the sun!
-breakfast in italy or at least in puglia, is milk and cookies...yes! healthy cookies. and milk that isn't refrigerated...sketch. but still good.
-i am falling in love with my little taranto disneyland here.

i love you all so much! SO MUCH! i hope everyone can look for opportunities to make home more like disneyland by smiling and being nice and giving others the opportunity to truly have the happiness we all deserve. and that happiness is only found by living the gospel of jesus christ. my fav little scripture this week is found somewhere that i can't remember where but it says fear not little children for you are mine and i have overcome the world and you are of them that my father hath given me and none of them shall be lost. it is so true. don't ever forget the value of your royal title.

i love you all so much. let's all go to italy together so you can see the magic here too...if my pictures don't cut it.
president and sister kelly and i.

me and our new atheist cheese store friend that insists on us calling him nonno (grandpa) 
and gives us a treat every time we visit. 

 the taranto district in the church.

one group of hooligans that wanted to come to the free english classes we have during the week. also we heard them fighting over the BOM we gave them as we were leaving. 
 me and my mamma taylor.

me behind the BEAUTIFUL taranto ward house.

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