how are we all? did we survive election day? i bet you are all happy that it is over and we can move on now! italians are really happy with the obama outcome. that is all i will say about that because it is against the rules to talk about politics (thank goodness)! ha!
another week has come and gone in the blink of an eye. seriously time is the weirdest thing on the mission. it feels like this morning was 3 weeks ago but sunday comes and goes before you know it. odd. i had better write it all down before it becomes history and all if have to show for it is 20 lbs of pizza weight and a few italian phrases. starting now ...
- was all saints day which is kind of the italian equivalent to memorial day.
- we participated in helping hands! it was way cool! we waited by the front of the cemetery with wheel chairs and offered rides to the elderly. guys, google italian cemeteries they are CUH-ray. they don't bury their dead in the ground; instead families buy chapels (yes CHAPELS) where they all are placed in marble boxes and there are quotes and statues and pictures. interesting tradition. cemeteries are the classiest part of town. it's nice. haha!
- it was really cold this day and we were bundled up to cozy perfection. maybe a little too much. because while sorella taylor was waiting for me in the bathroom, a few people gave her money ... because they thought she was homeless. ha! we decided to leave the money for someone to find and have a mini miracle. hopefully someone found it and had a mini miracle.
- we had weekly planning and then went to helping hands again all day. so good things happened but nothing that would really tickle your fancy so lets move on to ...
- we received a refferal from the anziani for a man who worked at a newsstand in grotalglie. that is all the information we had. haha! so we took that and headed 30 minutes out of town to thing previously unknown spot called grotalglie.
- grotalglie is my new favorite place ever. BEAUTIFUL! in every sense of the word. and we were even there during pranzo when everything was closed so it's beauty really means something.
one of me walking the streets of grotaglie.
- we found the man in the newsstand. franco is his name. he is great! at first he wasn't interested at all. but we usually don't take no for an answer so we went ahead and told him how much his heavenly father loves him. after the prayer ... he felt that for himself. this is the beauty of this work. we barely do anything. we just come to these incredible little cities, talk, and let heavenly father do the real work. missions ...
- we talked to val about temples. strongest spirit i have felt on my mission so far! when valentine feels the spirit he usually just puts his head in his hands and says "thank you" over and over again. this time he laid his head on the table and was silent for a solid minute. then he looked up and said "i haven't ever been this happy, besides my baptism day." so one year from now, valentine will be in the temple. happy day!!
- valentines classic line this week came from the following conversation we had:
me: today we are talking about temples.
valentine: temples. yes temples.me: yep. temples.
valentine: temples t-e-m-p-l-e-s.
me: good. yes. temples is spelled like that.
-we were invited over to dinner by a couple that couldn't be less interested in our message but really wanted to feed us (typical italians ... so so so so so loving of everyone!). we had homemade pizza and i tried to explain that i am not a relative of walt whitman because my last name is wightman. they disagreed. according to the spagnoli family, i am walt whitman's distant relative. cool.
- funky town got stuck in slla taylor's head. it has yet to become unstuck. i have heard all kinds of versions that funky town could be heard; whistled. hummed. sung. translated into italian. everything.
- i ate the best food i have ever eaten. true story. when i become a famous chef on the food network and they ask me to be on the best thing i ever ate i will talk about this meal from one of my best friends in the ward, sorella piccione. she and her husband live in the countryside and grow all of their food. we had this delish pasta, pomegranate fennel salad, fresh olives, pesto stuffed meatloaf, homemade bread, fresh apple tart, and lemon granita. get out of town! so good! she said that she wants us to come over for christmas dinner so pray that that will happen. best christmas ever! also it was the best house ever. i thought about grandma wood the whole time. i ever said "my mom and grandma would love this house."
- we (sorella taylor, me, and the anziani) are giving a presentation about the plan of salvation to the whole ward this sunday so we began prepping for it this day. we have to use this ancient version of powerpoint and in italian. it is a wild ride trying to figure that baby out. anyway we had this image that we wanted to use but all the writing was in spanish so we decided to use "paint" to redo the whole thing in italian. remember how i am a paint pro? i was prepared in my youth for this here presentation. haha! still a paint wiz. "i'm the wiz." (seinfeld <3)
- we chose a really great mormon message for our presentation. everyone watch "men's hearts will fail them." gem status, that one.
- sorella taylor and i finally made a connection on our 6 degrees of separation. we realized that we don't have just one mutual friend but TWO! one is nicknamed ever so lovingly as my "pilot boyfriend" (natalie ... i think you are the only one who will remember that fun time) and the other is DESI MOSS!!! someone tell desi that my companion and her boyfriend hal waldo love her. cool huh? it blew my mind all day. i was just telling stories as i always do and sorella taylor would say "wait...i KNOW him/her!"
-joseph smith was not a liar or a crazy person. obviously i know this because i did the promise found in moroni 10:3-5 BUT i read this day about a thing called chiasmus. it is an ancient middle eastern literary technique that the first of the story and the end of the story are identical and follow that pattern until the middle of the story where the main point is expressed. if you need an example read alma 36. how could joseph smith know that technique? he couldn't love things like that. also i love that chapter, helaman 5:12 (remember remember that when you build your foundation on christ you will not fall. that easy) and mosiah 27:30 (god remembers all of the creatures in his creation. yes that means YOU!).
- we wanted to go to materra.
- we missed the bus.
- we decided to go to martina franca.
- we drank the best hot chocolate ever that really was just hot pudding.
one of martina franca and the sky.
- we looked at a lot of really expensive clothes that i loved and cried about because i can't afford them.
- we came back.
- we toured a university in citta vecchia, complete with catacombs and the nicest teachers ever that loved us.
one of a college class. the board says "black president in a whitehouse" with a picture of obama and the american flag.
- we took the wrong bus.
- and now i am writing you.
all of my love.