Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Week 33 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

I'm writing this email from an internet point in Palermo because tonight we are doing a district blitz in Bagheria.  Earlier we played soccer at a small enclosed field with turf here in Palermo which was pretty fun.  It got pretty competitive haha.  Last Monday was pretty tranquillo.  We emailed and took a long nap before heading to a Family Home Evening at a member's home where we ate some delicious food.  Then on Tuesday we went to Palermo for District Meeting and did the usual meeting and meal at a place called Gancci.  It's basically a place that sells cheap fried food.  I had a fried sandwich filled with gravy, mozzarella, and ham.  I about puked and had to chuck it.  Then we came back to Trapani and had English course. Wednesday morning we had a few appointments and then we began our little holiday.  We ate a good lunch and then napped for a while.  Then we skyped our families.  It was nice seeing them after 7 months.  The next day we woke a little late and headed to a lunch appointment with a super nice family.  We swung by the DVD place to grab How to Train your Dragon 2 and Wreck-it Ralph too.  It was a nice meal of lasagna, chicken, fruit, and a dessert with ricotta and chocolate, super good.  Also, one of the ladies there told me her daughter needed to get engaged.  Then we watched the Dragon Trainer movie which was super funny or maybe I'm just not used to entertainment besides the District 1 and 2 (missionary training videos.)  The next day we watched Wreck-it Ralph which I've seen before but I still enjoyed myself very much.  Then we had a lesson with a family we recently started seeing.  We decided to teach the Restoration again with the DVD and it turned out really well.  The remote didn't have batteries, the dvd player didn't work (we used the xbox), the dog kept biting my sedere, and the phone went off right before the First Vision, but the Spirit was there and they felt it.  Pretty crazy.  The next day we had an appointment in the morning and then some finding in the evening.  We also ate some really good and quite expensive pizza (the prices weren't listed).  The next day we went to church and it rained all 3 hours hard. Then it rained the rest of the day.  After church we had a crazy good meal at a member's parents' house.  We had swordfish pasta, calamari, shrimp that we had to tear the heads and legs off of, fruit, and then fried pastries filled with ricotta and chocolate.  Then we had an appointment and did our weekly planning that we had put off.  Talk to ya next week.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 32 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Cari Amici e Famiglia,

It was kind of a rainy week on the western coast of Sicily.  My shoes, which boldly declare on the soles to be waterproof, have been found to be exactly the opposite.  They seem to absorb even the tiniest amount of water to be found upon the ground.  I don't step in puddles and within minutes my feet are soaked.  I have resorted to putting plastic bags on my feet before slipping on those shoes.  The strategy lessened the wetness but my feet are pretty chilled after a day of walking.

But besides that little annoyance, it was a good week.  On Monday, we went to eat some lunch at a member's home and I ate my first spaghetti and meatballs in Italy.  Apparently that really isn't that common a dish here. On Tuesday I got another haircut and again they spent way too much time grooming and perfecting my precious blonde (they think it's blonde) hair. They also spiked my hair as if I was a 7 year old boy with gel.  I can hardly explain how I want my hair done in English so in Italian this is the general result so far for me.  We were able to teach a lesson to our investigator Ernest (He might be a long lost member from Ghana but there are no records to prove it on the church record system.)  Then we had English course.  On Wednesday we went to a training in Palermo.  On Thursday we taught a few lessons in the morning and had English course in the evening mixed with some finding on the streets.  On Friday we planned and then went to one of our investigating family's homes for a lesson/meal.  On Saturday, we cleaned the church in the morning and then did some finding and a lesson in the evening.  On Sunday, we headed to church and did a lesson and some finding in the evening.

When I say finding I mean walking on the street trying to stop people to talk about the gospel, show them the He is the Gift video on the phone, or do English course publicity.  It is pretty uncomfortable and you get thick skin after a bit.

I am very excited to see y'all on skype.  A presto!

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 31 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

Things are finally cooling down.  It's still a little hot when the sun's out but besides that pretty cool and windy so I can't complain too much.  We walked a lot this week on the streets and talked with a few people about the gospel and christmas and we had a few lessons with less-actives and investigators.  On Monday we were invited to lunch at one of our investigating family's homes and it was really good.  Bow-tie pasta with a sausage sauce, broccoli mash stuff, seafood rice, and a lot of little dishes.  After lunch we played some games and I introduced the card and spoons game where you pass the cards until someone gets 4 of a kind.  That person then grabs a spoon and everyone has to grab the remaining spoons quickly because there is one spoon less than the number of people.  There was lots of shouting and crying so you know it was a success.  The old men at the party just wanted to know how money could be incorporated into the game haha.  Then we had a really good lesson with a movie presentation of the restoration which was powerful. Afterwards, we headed to a little birthday party for one of the members where we ate some more. On Tuesday, we had the regular schedule of a district meeting and English course.  On Wednesday, we were able to get a good amount of lessons done in the morning and then we had spanish course in the evening time.  Thursday, we taught some in the morning and then visited the same family from Monday before English course.  Friday we planned, and then the lesson fell through with the family we were going to see in the afternoon.  We usually teach English and then a lesson to this family, but the son had to go to remedial school so it looks like I wasn't doing a great job.  She still wants to meet with us so it isn't all too bad.  So, we headed to the streets for a long night of finding. On Saturday, we taught in the morning and then headed to a member's home for lunch before the Christmas party at church.  It was a good success and then we ate a ton of pizza.  On Sunday, it was the usual routine of church and then a meal appointment.  Then we talked to people on the streets.  We shared the video, Egli รจ il dono (He is the gift.)  This week we head to Palermo on Wednesday for specialized training.  My old companion and trainer, Anz. Stamps, will be there so it will be nice to see him.  Have a great week and happy holidays.

Anziano Blazzard

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 30 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,

 Sicily is really killing my goal to become thinner. On Monday, we ate some chocolate and cake at an investigator's house and then went to a member appointment and were filled to uncomfortable levels with homemade calzones and pizza. The next day (still full), we headed to district meeting in Palermo and then we all went to a restaurant called Old Wild West for some good American food. The waiter kept trying to speak in English to impress us but we couldn't understand him at all because of the bad pronunciation so he would have to shamefacedly switch back into Italian... it was pretty funny. Then we proceeded to put down some decent burgers and fries with fry sauce.

 The guys from Palermo also hooked me up with a case of Mountain Dew for my bday which is long gone ormai. I'm seriously eating so much that when I wake up to do exercise in the morning I have to stop because I get sick from the pancia piena bouncing up and down. On Thursday, we had an activity with the men of the branch and we ate some salsiccia sandwiches. Also, there was an 80 year old man there that put down as much food as I did (not a particularly small amount). When they asked him if he wanted seconds, he said "Ho tanta fame," and then proceeded to stuff a sausage sandwich into his mouth spilling a ton on the floor. I was dying. Friday, we were invited for pizza.

 On Saturday, we ate a ton of free pasta. And on Sunday, it was the worst. We went to a member's parents' house for pranzo to break the fast. We started with some delicious lasagna of which I had triple portions. Then, the meat was brought out (some thinly sliced chicken fried steak.) I had triple portions again. We finished the meal with some fruit (oranges from the backyard), chocolate, and a hot barley drink (mormon coffee maybe?). At this point, you're probably thinking I am some big pig eating all the food... No, I don't even ask for more food. They just give it to me and sit back with proud looks on their faces. Missionary work this week was pretty good. One investigator may be a long lost member from Ghana who was baptized around 15 years ago. We were able to see one family this last week but the other two cancelled on us. Hopefully we will be able to see them this coming week. The following week we should receive Christmas packages at Specialized Training in Palermo. 

Have a great week! Anziano Blazzard

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 29 - Trapani, Sicily, Italy

Amici e Famiglia,
Busy Week.  On Monday, we had P-Day and a FHE with some nonmembers present.  We also were fed some delicious pizzas (salmon, parmesan eggplant, and salame.)  Tuesday, we attempted to have lesson in the morning which fell through and then we took a bus to Palermo for our interviews. Interviews went well and then we walked around Palermo for some food.  We made a stop at the missionary famous tie cave where a man recognized us and told us to follow him through a series of rooms deeper and deeper into the building until we walked into a large garage/room full of boxes of ties.  I found two that I liked and paid 8 euro in total.  Pretty cheap. Then we found the shop with the Bomba arancini... really big arancini (fried rice balls with a meat ragu sauce inside.)  Then we met back up at the church with the other missionaries who invited us to go to another Arancini shop.  I still had some hunger, so I agreed and ended up buying a delicious sweet pork one.   Then, we went to the Palermo 1 apartment to sleep (6th floor without an elevator.)  That house was a really terrible choice in apartment.  I tried to sleep on a cheap air mattress and rough and obviously too cheap sheets.  Twas a long light.  Zone Conference the next day was really good.  Lots of good messages.  Then we took a bus back to Trapani and had just enough time to make the long walk home.  We saw one guy on the street and I decided to talk to him since we had been doing lots of role-playing during the conference earlier.  He wasn't really interested but he actually stopped (it's a rare occurrence) and we had a good conversation.  The next day (Thanksgiving!) we tried again to meet with that same investigator from Tuesday and it failed.  Then we were fed some homemade pizza at a member's home before our English course. After it ended, the member's began their karaoke party.  There were lots of nonmember friends and some donuts.  I got up and sang a few songs too.  Basically a bunch of old music that I don't know.  Friday, we planned and then had two good lessons in the evening with some investigating families.  The next day, we were picked up by our Branch President and drove to Enna (or Pergusa) for Stake Conference (all of Sicily) with two other passengers besides my companion.  My companion got the "hump" there and I got it back (my poor sedere.)  It was a great meeting (at some college) and I saw lots of friends from Ragusa and other missionaries from the Catania zone.  We arrived late that night and I ordered some pizza for the birthday.  The next day we arose early at 5 to be picked up at 6 to be taken to the launching point of the branch bus (they call the buses Pullman's strangely enough.)  It was a long trip to Catania for the General Session of Stake Conference at the Sheraton Hotel.  Another great meeting and chance to see all my friends from the other side of the island.  The Stake President is really good here.  This week should be pretty good and transfer calls will be Saturday.  Have a great week errbody.

Anziano Blazzard