Friday, September 5, 2014

Cooking, Fonts, Sweets


COOLER WEATHER. The weather has been rainy, off and on.  I heard that the rainiest place in Europe is actually really close to Udine.  I have used the trenchcoat several times, I don't know if I mentioned that.  My companion (Anziano Anderson: he's been here for over a year) has been in warm areas during winter, so he hasn't broken out his winter jackets yet, if he has any.  I saw him wearing a sweater the other day, though, so it's getting colder, some days.
Venice archway

COOKING ADVENTURES.  I cooked stroganoff this week, but when I got to the supermarket, they didn't have sour cream.  Or cream of mushroom soup.  So I ended up cooking rice, and then cooking the ground beef, onions, and bell peppers together for a topping.  It was pretty good for a hacked-together-meal.  This week I'll be cooking pork chops with topping.  Oh, I found out that there is a substitute for sour cream and for cream of mushroom soup, but I didn't know them at the time so it didn't help me.  I had bought a package of what I thought was cream initially, to try to make sour cream, but it turned out to be just whole milk.  So I drank it!  No harm done :)

Venice Street w/dome building
CHURCH ATTENDANCE. Anziano Anderson said that when he first got here, the members of the church weren't very impressed with past missionaries' progress, and were pretty cold to the missionaries.  But he and others (like Anziano Dowling) have done good work.  Now we have investigators at church every week, a decent number of visits & meals with church members, and referrals from members (when a member gives us a name of a friend/relative who wants to know more about the gospel of Jesus Christ). So the church members in the area are excited about missionary work now, which makes it a nice place to start.

We have about 50 people in church normally, now that Farragosto is finished. (Farragosto is a vacation for most of August...rumor has it that all of the locals go to the beach, and come back again in September.)  50 just about fills up our chapel.  We could probably fit 70-80 would be tight.  The normal setup seats about 60.

Baptismal font and chair
BAPTISMS. (Side note from Mom: in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we baptize by immersion. Children get baptized at 8 years old. There is not always a baptismal font available to use for baptisms.)  These pictures are of the font at our church.  We had an 8-year-old baptism last Sunday, and they pulled this out and filled it with water.  Maybe Dad recognizes it from his mission in Spain.  The other Anziani (missionaries) in Udine actually have a baptism this Sunday-- a convert baptism, so that's really cool.  The chair is so they could climb out of the font.

SWEETS. This was the decoration on the cake at the baptism.  They brought a LOT of food.  I think there were two of those long folding tables at the church, with all sorts of food on top.  I brought 48 chocolate chip cookies (they don't have chocolate chips, so I used broken-up dark chocolate candy bar, and they all disappeared.  We make cookies/brownies fairly often here, which is nice (sometimes we just eat the cookie dough).  I hear that most areas don't cook very many desserts.  Thus, I like my apartment :)
cake decoration at baptism

Also, every soda here is Aranciata.  Orange soda.  Orange Fanta.  I will never drink it again when I get back state-side.  Too much.

Venice alleyway
LANGUAGE. (Side: David studied Spanish all throughout high school. Now he's learning Italian.) There was an Anziano (missionary) in our zone who had studied Italian during high school, but he still stayed in the MTC to train, for 6 weeks.  There are several people in the branch--small congregation--who speak Spanish.  I can't do it anymore, there is too much Italian in the way.  We have copies of the Book of Mormon in the apartment, in other languages: Tagalog, Chinese, Albanian, Twi, etc., including Spanish.  I can understand the Spanish Book of Mormon almost word-for-word.  I can understand Spanish when people speak it.  But I can't personally conjugate hardly anything.

So when I get back I'm going to study Spanish hard, and get that back up to speed.  People say once I'm more used to Italian, I'll be able to differentiate better in my head which is which.  But for the time being, the only Spanish I know is when I accidentally use it when I don't know an Italian word.

Love you!  Ciao,
Anziano Whitesell

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