Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Official First Day

Written by Kari, Elder Whitesell's mom!  After this initial post, I will post correspondence from Elder Whitesell to his family (sometimes edited, sometimes not).

AIRPORT FAREWELL.  Elder Whitesell went with his family to the Logan International Airport in Boston, bright and early on June 25, 2014.  Living on the East Coast as we do, he could take an early flight here (Eastern Time), and still arrive in time for check-in in Provo, Utah, which is from noon to 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

Weeks of preparation beforehand included ordering clothing online, and 2 weeks ago going to the Italian Consolate in Boston to apply for a visa.  Usually it takes 2-3 weeks for a visa to process, so his visa and passport will both be sent to him in the Mission Training Center (MTC) in Provo while he's there.

His 6-week training at the MTC will include Italian language instruction, as well as scripture study and spiritual instruction.  He is assigned a companion while in the MTC, and all of the "Elders" in his group will be learning Italian, preparing to go to the Milan, Italy mission in early August.

David spent his "last few days" at home visiting with his grandparents, his friends and saying goodbye to them.  He also ironed and packed!  He bequeathed his laptop to his mother, to be able to use a faster computer while he's gone.

On Wednesday, June 25th, we got up at the crack of dawn and drove him to the airport for his 7a.m. flight.  (Traffic is not bad at 5 a.m.!)  We ordered the traditional box of Dunkin Donuts, since those places are everywhere in Massachusetts.  The airport is no exception; there are 3 Dunkin Donuts scattered in the airport terminals.

Then photo time, then go stand in line to go through
security.  His dad kept taking pictures.  The security lady watched us closely, but she never told us to stop! Then he got all the way through security, turned around to find us, and smiled and waved.  See you on Skype at Christmastime, Elder Whitesell!

FLOWER STORY.  David's dad Frank gave me (Kari) 2 plants for Mother's Day.  They are called "Bleeding Hearts," because the blooms look like these perfect little hearts.  They have an additional piece of the flower that "drips" from the bottom, perhaps making the heart look like it's bleeding.

The plants are now next to the mailbox outside.  6 weeks ago, they had dozens of blooms. Then they were gone. Now we just have 2 pretty, green plants.

We drove home from the airport, kind of sad of course.  When we got home, Frank noticed one of the Bleeding Heart plants.  "Look, it has a single bloom," he said to me.  "That's for David!"  So 6 weeks after all the other blooms died, we got one more flower, on exactly the day that David left.

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