so okay so we had some sub teachers and that was so sick because ours is really focused and we managed to distract our subs hardcore and have them tell us about the areas and the people and slang and gestures and the food and everything, which, there's a day for that right before we leave which is why our teacher hasn't been wanting to talk about it but we learned so much and I was really excited to go to Italy (obviously) and then I got here and taught a RS lesson in English and I was like, dang it! I wish I was going somewhere stateside because then I could be so much more eloquent! it's so hard to express what i'm trying to say when i don't speak the language, and know that i won't really be able to for half a year and probably never will be able to as well as i could in english. And then I realized that I said and realized I'd rather speak 18 months of poor Italian in some of the most gorgeous land in the world than speak beautiful, fluent English...
i think these emails will be longer but they take a lot of time to respond to everyone but i just want you guys to know that actually i've got a very full life right now and it just doesn't seem that way because people only get to hear from me for like, 10 minutes once a week but trust me I'm definitely having a lot of experiences, esp with the way the schedule is set up where no minute is wasted and every activity we do gets feedback on it basically.
so first of all we had this way funny thing where one of the Anziani (elders) had heard that italians don't spell stuff and fratello sloan was like what? no. but then he changed his mind and he was like, okay so because in Italian you ALWAYS say EVERY letter, when you ask people how to spell stuff they just shout it at you slower because like, you spell it how it sounds lol I love that. so he went around the room saying everyone's last name and it was all easy like, kim, polombo, younce (yown-cheh!), rushton, bonzo, but then he got to me! XD feel free to just try and sound out every letter of our last name. he tried 4-5 times until finally he just shook his head and was like "nope." I guess my name will just be really exotic and foreign when i get there.
the italian is going well though, i can now reformat sentences with direct and indirect objects and one form of past tense. i can pray and bear my testimony, if slowly lol. it comes out naturally, in fact i sound weird in my own ears now when i say "thank you" instead of "grazie" (there's a subtle "eh" at the end of the word, if you say it "grazi" you're saying it wrong, sister poletz finally got on my case after i'd been saying it wrong for like, a week)
In our branch there's about 7 people going to Milan or 8 and then like 13-14 going to roma, so we're in the minority by a little bit. i really like all the missionaries going with me and then get a little sad when i think of all the people who will be in rome instead of milan but it's all good, you make friends and then you lose them and that's just life. you take advantage of the people surrounding you for the time being and be grateful when you find some that will stick around for a while.
We've heard that Switzerland is the place to be. There's two areas that go into Switzerland and I can only go to one of them because the other one is actually IN Switzerland and i have to have a different visa to live there so but there's one area that is half in italy and half in switzerland so i might go there who knows. people were asking each other "which area do you want to go to first" and i was like bro, a) what's even the point? you can't pick so who cares and b) it's italy, are you kidding? it's all nice.
we're having a lot of fun squeezing slang out of our teachers. so far we've learned words like Ganzo! which is like, cool! but only in the south so that one's no good for us. but the anziani have been trying to directly translate english slang into italian and that's been hilarious. anziano polombo likes to say "destroyed it!" which literally translates to "lo distrutto!" and it means nothing but he says it all the time now, or I said someone was being salty so that's salato or something when it's translated. we also learned gestures which are hilarious. i can't describe them well but word is that they actually use them and they're hilarious. my favorite part about learning about italy is finding out how many stereotypes are true. like we heard mafia stories, like, MULTIPLE mafia stories and that was really cool because it's a legitimate thing outside of black-and-white movies. (but don't worry dad and mom, it's super underground in the north and we probably won't run into them at all.
So okay my whole life now is spiritual bootcamp. our teacher yesterday asked us what we've learned and like always there was an awkward silence cuz everyone doesn't want to answer questions but some people said some stuff and i got to thinking and i said something like "ive learned so freaking much it's like my head and heart is gonna explode" and everyone laughed because we all felt it, it's soo true and i said "i feel like i've learned enough to be perfect. like i feel like i've been given so much instruction on how to teach, how to be more christlike, how to communicate, that i can't possibly do it all." it's like working on swim stroke and then your coach gives you like, 5 things to work on and as soon as you start doing one really well you forget the other four. so i feel like i have such a full heart and mind of the spirit but and i've grown a lot but i can't do everything at once! i'm not down about it at all though, it's way cool to be in a place where everyone's just so spiritual. it sounds corny and i thought i'd roll my eyes at this whole situation but it's like living with a bunch of monks and nuns or whatever that like to shoot hoops with candy wrappers or talk about their boyfriends. it's good.
so two (of multiple) experiences this week were first of all a cool thing my teacher said. our investigator turned out to be a teacher! surprise! but actually i was surprised haha i wasn't sure if she was a real investigator or not and at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. anyways, she came and talked to our istrict about our lessons iwht her and she said "the power of God isn't just in this book, it's in you. You have the power of God. You are Pauls and Johns and Almas, you are missionaries. There is power in that phrase." and usually i also roll my eyes at the "you have the power of God" thing because i was like, we all have the spirit if we are doing the right things you know? like i'm not special, i'm just trying to help people. but i really liked how she compared us to these really amazing men because it's easy to feel like a mission is lame or common when so many people go on them but if you look at yourself as an individual, literally we're all giving up our homes, our families, our belongings, our partners, our school, our jobs, simply to go teach people to repent. if that sounds familiar it's because tons of people in the scriptures do that. now you can see how missionary work is so cool because we're literally all comparable, in some small shallow way, to these amazing christlike figures in the scriptures.
the other thing is maybe our experience with TRC which is like teaching members. tbh idk what it really is but anyways we taught members. we had to teach a member and we were all planned to read some scriptures about light but I kept reading them and they all felt bad! I felt no spirit. So i started reading PMG and I just felt so strongly about life on earth and making good choices and I'm not very good at being sensitive to the spirit but I was like, I gotta act on this. So I prayed for my companion's heart to be softened and with less than an hour we changed our lesson entirely and it was totally worth it. The second person we taught really needed that and I got to bear my testimony in a way that related to her and I saved the little paper of advice from her because she said she really needed that. I was guided by the spirit! How cool is that! i never really had enough faith that the spirit could have enough influence on me to direct my actions but i listened and it affected someone so that sort of was a big testimony-builder because as soon as we got out i didn't want to say anything because literally all i could say is "omg i was right! good thing i listened to the spirit!" and i didn't want to make it about me but sister poletz just turned to me and we both said "that's exactly what she needed to hear" and we got really happy and peaceful and we hugged each other and we were so happy and i think sister poletz is really grateful to have me as a companion cuz i speak french but it was just a moment we had where we were so filled with joy we just hugged and she was like "i love you!" and i said "i love you too!"
i was at gym yesterday upstairs and i was stretching my calves over the railing and this elder yelled up to me, "sister! did you used to work at smith's??" haha because i wear my "taste of italy" shirt at the gym :) so i had to tell him how my dad bought it for me from a grocery store lol :D
dad i love zucca it's so cute!! :')
Love you so much!! keep me updated with everything!! thank you for your love!! please if you have anything important/interesting to tell me right away then use dearelder.com, its a free way to send me same-day letters so i don't have to wait a week to hear about stuff like....HOW JOSH DID AT STATE
okay love you! ciao! until next week! i'll email every week in the morning! 1/3 of the way done with the MTC next week it will be 1/2!!
|Valentines Day Outfits|
|The boys from my district, Polombo (Tennessee) Kim (st geezy) younce (north carolina)|
|Visa Field Trip with Anziano Morlock in background|
|I literally brought that shirt exclusively to send good vibes for those four days of state I'll miss over 18 months|