Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 28 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

This week flew by.  On Monday we had a FHE at a member's home.  On Tuesday we had a district meeting and English course.  On Wednesday we met with an investigator in the morning  and than had Spanish course and some street contacting later that night.  On Thursday, I made chocolate chip cookies for English course (I thought it was Thanksgiving), had lunch at a member's home where I ate meatballs for the first time in Italy (they actually aren't that typical of Italian food I suppose), and we saw an investigating family and had English course.  The next day we planned and saw another investigating family and then did some street contacting for a few hours after a lesson fell through.  On Saturday morning we met with a new convert and then spent many hours per strada talking with people.  On Sunday, no investigators showed but later we ate a nice meal at a member's home and had a good lesson with a family.
Some funny stories now.  We saw a giant African man cleaning and singing to song by Rihanna in a high falsetto (Just gonna stand there... yeah that song... hilarious).  He didn't know anything but the chorus but he knew that chorus well.  I have been getting stopped on the street by young teenagers who like to practice their English.  Many times it's just some large groups of girls who mumble out "hello" while passing us and then start laughing really hard.  I really don't know how they know I'm not one of them.  And the worst is what happened Thursday.  I tried so hard to make a special Thanksgiving for the English course students with a Thanksgiving themed lesson and an American treat (chocolate chip cookies... doesn't really relate to Thanksgiving but what do they know).  Then, in the first ten minutes as I was explaining the history of Thanksgiving, one student looked up the date for Thanksgiving on his phone and told me that it was actually in a week. This is why having an obscure timing like the 4th Thursday in November is such a dumb idea.  I told them that I had already made the cookies and that we were celebrating it that day.  We then called the Elder in Bagheria who told me at DDM on Tuesday that Thanksgiving was that day and made him apologize to the class on speakerphone.  At any rate, the class enjoyed themselves and the cookies so it was a success.

This week will be busy.  We head to Palermo Tuesday for zone conference Wednesday and then Saturday and Sunday we have stake conference in Enna and Catania.  It will be a great way to spend my birthday in a cramped bus.  At least it is better than last year when I was in army training in Texas.  I had guard duty of an empty hallway for several hours.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 27 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

t was a really good week here in Trapani. On Monday, we met with an investigating family and later had a good family home evening and meal with a family. On Tuesday we had an entertaining district meeting with licorice pipes and lots of storytelling as usual over some good fried food after the meeting was over.  We lost track of time and missed our usual bus and had to wait for the next one an hour later.  We got back just in time for English course.  The next day, we were going to take the morning off as a P-day make-up since we worked Monday afternoon but I got into a cleaning mood and cleaned for 5 hours straight.  It feels real good to not live like an animal.  Later we had Spanish course.  The next day we taught some new converts and were invited to a member's home for lunch.  We ate a carbonara (pasta, bacon, and runny eggs).  It sounds weird but it is really good.  Later we did our English course.  On Friday morning we planned, and then went to teach a family a little English and a little about the Gospel.  It was really awkward as the mother led us in, sat us down at the table where her son and her father were, and then just sat down and told us to teach her son some English.  I asked the son what he needed help on.  He didn't know so I started going over the simple greetings.  He struggled hard to understand the phrases "How are you" and "I'm well."  Then at the end we were offered some warm pear juice and we talked a little about the Book of Mormon and such.  Later we went to another investigating family's home and had another carbonara.  The grandparents there were very talkative and kept trying to talk to me in Sicilian.  Saturday, we cleaned the church in the morning and then went to another meal appointment with a member family.  We ate a typical Trapanese pasta and some gnocchi.  Later we taught a new-convert, less-active, and an investigator.  Sunday, we went to church in the morning and an investigator showed up, yeah!  He had a good time and we hope he continues to come. Then, as we were walking out of church, the stadium very nearby erupted in cheering.  Trapani had scored.  We were able to catch most of the game at the member's house we ate lunch at later. Trapani ended up tying Catania 2-2.  Later we went to a less-active's house with a member and had a great lesson with the man and his wife and two daughters.  We managed to snag a return appointment for next week.  It really helps when members help out the work.  That's all for now.

Anziano Blazzard

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Elder Blazzard's Address

If you wish to send Elder Blazzard a letter or postcard or even a package :-) please use the following address"

Anziano Pack Blazzard
c/o Missione Italiana di Roma
Piazza Carnaro, 20
00141 Roma, Italia

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 26 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,
church building
Chapel meeting room

We had a great week in Trapani.  I am very fortunate to be in another area with very nice members.  This past week on Tuesday we took a bus to Palermo for district meeting.  As we were waiting for a city bus to take us to the church, an older man slipped right in front of me on some spilled gelato on the sidewalk.  Thankfully he was okay, but very embarrassed and angry.  He started going off on something in Sicilian until I told him I didn't speak it.  He apologized and started to tell me in Italian that he had just spent over 10 hours in the hospital for something and now he might have to go back again.  Then, on the bus, he began to fight with the ticket checker people about how he didn't have time to buy a ticket because he was in the hospital all day and night.  All of this in Italian/mostly Sicilian and many hand gestures from a small man in a little sweater wearing  a typical sicilian hat.  Entertaining stuff.

pass-along card
from Trapani Apt
District meeting went well.  It is composed of elders from Bagheria, Mistretta, Trapani, and Palermo 2.  They are all pretty cool guys.  The district leader is from Sweden and one of my friends from the MTC and seaman in the Navy, Elder Rasband, is serving in Bagheria.  Later that night, we taught English course.  One of the students was there early and began to show off his piano skills.  Apparently he is one of those people who can just sit down at the piano and play anything they want.  He kept playing random things and looking at me with this proud look on his face. Then, another student came in and sat near him.  The piano star said to him, "Sai suonare il pianoforte....(and then he said without waiting for a response) Io, sììì :)."  (Do you know how to play the piano?- I do.)  Then after English course after everybody had left, I sat down to practice a few hymns. This guy comes bursting through the door saying he didn't know that I could play.  For the next half hour he showed me how it was done on the piano. He eventually stopped when we turned off the lights and began to lock the door on him.  

The next few days were filled with some lessons, haircuts, and English and Spanish course.  On Saturday, there was a baptism of one of the member's kids.  It was the first baptism I had seen in one of those portable set-up fonts but it was still a nice spiritual experience.  Yesterday, we ate at a member's home.  We had homemade lasagna, oil and vinegar salad, beef, a variety of fruits, chestnuts, and then homemade cannolis. I was stuffed.

Alla prossima,

Anziano Blazzard

Also ... it is very hot here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 25 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

Mi piace Trapani molto.  La città è bella e il mio collega parla italiano bene. Anche i membri sono bravissimo.  

This week was kind of sad having to leave Ragusa and the friends I made there.  I spent the last few days visiting with them before taking off on Thursday on a bus to Catania.  In Catania, I found out that I would be traveling on the bus alone
to Palermo so I rode da solo for three hours.  It was really boring and the person behind me had sounds for every function on his phone so sleeping was difficult.  In Palermo, I met up with a zone leader and Anziano Bermudes and we went to the Elder's apartment there.  Their apartment was really cool but they lived on the 6th? floor without an elevator.  The next day we took a bus to Trapani.  When we got to the apartment, I had a freakout because of the filthiness of it so I spent a few hours trying to make it sanitary enough to live in. The worst thing was the tower of pop and water bottles in one corner.  Whyyyyy????

The companion is pretty cool.  He is originally from El Salvador but has lived in Milan for the past 8 years.  He speaks really good Italian so I am getting a lot of practice.

The area has a lot of new converts who don't come to church.  We are trying to help out with that situation but they kind of refuse to meet with us.  The members are really great though.  Yesterday in church I could barely hear myself play the piano because they sang so loudly.  They also organized a great activity for Halloween and invited a bunch of friends.  They really are committed to working hard to make some progress.

I will try to take some pictures of Trapani for next week.

Alla prossima!

Anziano Blazzard