Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bike Repairs, Small Talk, and Traveling Pants

Well, I'm glad to hear that sports are going well for my sisters, and that you still have a job, Dad.  All good things!

BIKES. We have had some bike problems these last few weeks; nothing deadly, but it's inconvenient when you have to walk the bikes home from the hour and a half away.  It certainly didn't feel that far when I biked it!  Fortunately, these holes have appeared in the evening, or on the way back from things.  We end up walking the bikes home in the evening, patching the inner tube, and letting it sit until the next morning. (They don't have a good word in Italian for 'patch.' Toppa means patch, but it doesn't quite sound right to Italians.)  We can deal with those small problems without much change in the daily routine.

The bikes are pretty old and worn out, though, from a mix of age and lack of maintenance.  In our little garage, there are two working bikes and two scrap bikes, several tires, and lots of inner tubes.  Many pieces from those bikes have been switched, in the hopes of making the newer bikes work better.  Did you know how to change the "derailer?" Me, neither.  My companion did, fortunately.

THE IPADS ARRIVE. We received the iPads a few days ago.  We can't use them for much yet, but we have them.  We can look at them, turn them around, turn them on and off.  And since I didn't use a tablet before, I had no idea how bothersome the on-screen keyboard is.  Definitely not typing using that! (Sidenote: I hear the Apple keyboards are really expensive, so I think it's reasonable to just buy a normal keyboard and a connector cable to hook it up to the iPad.  Accessories are from personal funds.)

But other than that, once things are up and running, I think it will help with missionary work.  During lessons, we can use pictures from the Gospel Art book on the iPad, or show Mormon Messages, or Conference Talks.  Stuff like that.

TRAVELING PANTS STORY. And, funny story, we were in Bologna a bit ago for a P-day, and the companionship from Vicenza was doing an exchange (switch companions for a 24-hour period) the previous day.  One of the elders left his pants in Bologna, and somehow those ended up with me.  I think the idea was that it was cheaper to mail from Ferrara to Vicenza or something.  Anyway, I stood in line for 20 minutes at the post office and figured out the form you have to fill out to mail things, and sent it off.  They said it should arrive in 3 days, so I hope they arrive shortly.  Seeing as he's going home in a week or so...

Transfer calls are this Saturday, so I'll find out what's happening for the next transfer at that time.  I think I'm on my way out, but I've thought that the last couple of transfers, too.  You never can tell with these things.

Questions you asked, Mom:
1) IMPROVEMENTS I'VE SEEN IN MYSELF.  Maybe I'm better at small talk.  One would hope :D  I have a better work ethic.  I am more planned-out, have a better desire to improve myself, and think more in the long-term.  Maybe improvements will be more apparent when I get back.  I still feel like "me!"

2) GREAT SPEAKERS I'VE HEARD AND WHAT MAKES THEM GREAT.  Hmmm.  We have a lot of recordings of speakers from various conferences, classes, and forums.  Brother Skousen is a good speaker, because he's animated, he tells stories, he changes tone of voice, and he presents interesting information.  We have another speaker, a lecturer about Joseph Smith, who presents really cool a dry voice.  So I'm listening for what he says, but sometimes it's difficult because it's not very engaging.

3) P-DAY OUTINGS.  For the last P-day we went to the Santuario Della Madonna di San Luca.  Actually, that was two P-days ago.  Last time we just wandered Bologna, window-shopped, and saw Jeff.  I think he sent you a picture.
 Today we're going to the Escher exhibit again.  I tried to get reservations for the Ducati factory, but they have a big group for all of today, and we're not supposed to leave our proselyting zone the last P-day of the transfer (next Wednesday).  So I guess I won't see the Ducati factory.

Have a wonderful week!

Love, Anziano Whitesell

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