Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Conference, Parks, Haggling

CONFERENCE WEEKEND.  As for your questions: General Conference was good.  We watched a session live Saturday evening, then 3 sessions the next day.  We were at the church for about 9 hours, to beat last week's 7 hours!  I do like the new Apostles, even if I wasn't expecting any of them.  I do remember a couple of talks, but I'd have to look at my notes to remember them better.  Someone recommended that I read President Uchtdorf's talk from the Relief Society session, and it was really good.

TEACHING.  Well, this week has, as always, been an eventful one.  We met with a man names Pier Paulo for the second time yesterday.  I found him 2 months ago with Elder Jensen on exchange.  Then he left for a month on vacation.  Now he's back, and has allowed us to present our message.

The first meeting, strangely enough, was also on exchange -- with two elders he had never seen before.  But they taught him about the Restoration and showed him "Mountains to Climb," (church video) which made him cry and feel the Holy Spirit.  And promptly get defensive, saying, "Look at all these things I'm doing with the Catholic Church."  But still, he's asked us to come back twice since then.  Still encouraging him to pray about Joseph Smith, being like the lamp salesman rather than the bee swatter.

BEAUTIFUL GARDENS. Most of our finding-people-work comes from street contacting or park finding, but after endless rounds of the same two parks (which my last companions had done too...), we decided to make the "finding" time blocks less repetitive.  We found other green ares on the map and visited them, in the hopes that one of them might be a suitable park for us to visit regularly.  We found one really nice garden area close to us, and one further away, where we could go in between lessons, or if we were just in that area.  And we started doing some house-to-house finding, starting close to us.  That way if someone lets us in, it's not a huge journey to go back for each lesson.

SOME STAY THE SAME. Transfer Day was a bit weird, since for many it involves a change of everything: area, companion, level of responsibility, but for us this time, nothing was different.  (I am still training Elder Liu. Both of us stayed here with the same companion, each other.)  So there were goodbyes for the other companionships, sleepover arrangements for the other Anziani who had to get to Milano early to pick up greenies, and yet we planned a normal day.

But we still got pulled into it, babysitting one of the Zone Leaders while he waited for his companion.
We stayed at the train station to make sure people got through, got to their trains, etc., then went to the market.  Anziano Vasquez (Zone Leader) wanted a leather jacket, but they were either too pricey or not good quality.  Makes sense, but sometimes you can get both good things.

HAGGLING. Dad, I'm sure you would like the market/Duomo for haggling with vendors and getting more-or-less deals.  There are a bunch of salesmen (who close up shop really quickly when the police roll by) who sell 3-foot-by-2-foot prints of various scenes of Italy, landscapes, or points of interest.  We showed interest on accident once, and he started following us.

"30? These good pictures."
"No, too much."
"20?" We start walking away, but Liu is new and guiltily says, "Sorry, we can't."
"I give you for 10. Good price, good price."
"No, we're not interested." But Liu is clearly wavering.  The guy got up, rolled up a print that Liu had pointed to and followed us about 30 feet.
"fine, fine, I give you for 5."  Liu looks at him, thinks for a moment, then decides "No, not today."
So clearly, haggling is easier with some people than with others.

TWO DECADES.  I haven't thought too much about my birthday (coming up on Nov 1st), though it's pretty weird to think that I'm already about to turn 20.  Teresa thought it was weird, that she'd be 18 and I'd be 20 next month.  Just shows how time moves along, I suppose.  You asked about a birthday box, and I really don't know what I would want in it.  Not things, because I have enough things in my suitcase already, and I've been out 15 months...I don't think I'm missing anything.  So that leaves food, and maybe a small photo album of friends and family, tho that would be just as good if you emailed me a bunch of pictures (I can put them in a folder on the iPad).

Don't worry about me, I'm doing great! :D
Love, Anziano Whitesell

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