Thursday, August 14, 2014

First Full Week in Italy

Hi Mom!

I have safely arrived in Italy, and I did receive your letter.  I will start with answers to your questions:

The church here in Udine is fairly small, just about 30 people in Sacrament Meeting.  I think there are more coming later in the year though: August is called Ferragosto, and most people take the month off and go places.  There you have it.  So I am expecting 40 people in Sacrament Meeting once August is over.

My apartment-mates are Anziani Gibbons, Kendrick, and Anderson.  Anderson is cool because he has been in Udine for awhile, and knows the area really well.  Kendrick is the district leader; he is nice and pretty funny.  Gibbons plays Magic (did not bring cards with him, it's okay) and cooks very well.

I speak some.  When we talk to people, I add in a few sentences, but mostly listen.  When we are talking about the gospel, I can pick up most of what is said.  Otherwise, I understand general ideas of what is being said, and a small part of the actual language.

Italy at night
As far as meals, I have not bought anything until today.  Anderson bought groceries last week in preparation for me arriving, and he just bought some eggs, juice, cereal, vegetables, milk, bread, some other stuff.  I made pasta with mozzarella cheese cubes, bacon bits and diced tomatoes in it.  The mozzarella cheese melted, and it tasted pretty good.  Each person makes one meal a week for the group, and that was mine. (Anderson bought the ingredients for it.  I bought his groceries this week, so we are even.)  Otherwise, meal schedules are weird here.  We have breakfast, go do stuff, take two hours for lunch/language study, then do not have dinner until we get back, around 9:30.  So I had eggs, cereal, and milk for breakfast for a few days.  It was not bad.  (INTERJECTION: I didn't find the apostrophe until now.)

For dinner I have a croissant, some bread with Nutella or jam, and some juice.  We've been fed twice, which was nice.  I don't know about being super-hungry. I've eaten well. It just doesn't sound like much.  I spent 18 Euro on groceries, which seems pretty cheap.  We have basic cooking stuff, so when I go back next week and am more settled-in, I'll look at more complex recipes.  The meal I have planned for this week is mac and cheese and sausage.  I also bought more fruit, different cereal, some yogurt, basically breakfast foods.  I can't explain well, but I'm eating fairly healthy and I'm not hungry so don't worry.

Suburban areas of Udine

rainy day

I was going to transcribe some of my journal, but I forgot it.  So sorry about that.  Next week.  The first day, we got into Milan and found that 9 suitcases were missing among 7 people.  Mine was one of them.  We still went to the mission home, and all 9 miraculously showed up the next day.  President Dibb has never lost a bag, I don't think.  We did some orientation, but went straight to Milan central to proselyte a bit, on the first day.  It was all right, we found we could talk better than we expected.  Like they told you, we stayed in a hotel the first night, then shipped out on trains on Thursday.  I was sad to say goodbye to my district and zone from the MTC, but excited to head out.
most of my zone

I'm in Udine, (OO-din-nay) by the way.  It's in the northeast.  We then traveled for two hours by train, stopped in Venezia for a few minutes (dropped off an area cell phone that a companionship had accidentally brought with them to the transfer meeting), and hopped on another train.  Oops, the wrong train!  We then spent the next several hours finding our way back to the Udine train.  It actually got so late that we called up the missionaries in Pordenone and stayed at their apartment for the night.  Interesting first day in the field.
Train Station

The next days were more normal.  It's a biking mission, so we bike all around.  We go to the park and to the river to talk to people, and we talk to some people for awhile, while others just brush us off.  We have had a lot of meetings, usually 1 or 2 a day.  The rest of the time is traveling by bike or studying.  It's pretty cool.

From a train
The picture I sent was of me at Ann's house.  She's Australian and was baptized last week.  She's really cool, and we have taught her twice.  I have found I really like Aussies, from the few I've encountered on my mission.

Welcome treat from Aziano Scott
Other was good.  I bore my testimony and gave a prayer, since it was a small branch.  I'm having fun and learning quickly.  I still have a ways to go with the Italian, but I enjoy learning and practicing.

Oh, and the picture is of a candy bar attached to a note: "To Anziano _________" from Anziano Scott, the last missionary who was here.  It was a nice note, with some tips for the mission and the first few weeks.

Love, Anziano Whitesell

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