Yes, it is true Grandpa, I am in Rome. :)
Sorella Riffaldi and I make a great companionship. We really balance eachother out well- once again, I am new to the area, to the work, to the people, but she has been very patient with repeating the same facts over and over and over again. I still havent met half the people we are working with, but I have taught more Italians this past week than I have in my past 2 transfers combined. PLUS I am struggling to remember all the different places the stranieri come from- Africa is not just Africa, but Sierra Leone, Eithiopia, Eritrea, etc, ...and South America is made up of too many countries! Its great fun. Especially trying to recognize the food thats placed before us.
(Well.........I hope my letter is interesting to read, seeing that I have lots of eyes reading over my shoulder. Maybe I should switch to Italian and talk about privacy and respect?)
Coming down from Florence, I travelled with a few Elders that were dying (their missions were ending that day) and it was interesting hearing their experiences and just seeing how they behaved. One Elder had this glaze over his eyes, like in a stupor that it had come to an end. Its been a blessing having companions that have been at the end- it puts time into perspective for me; its given me a sense of urgency.
Now, Im working alongside another verdina (greenie) and although we only have 3 transfers between us and may not be the most experienced, its good this way. Sorella Riffaldi doesnt have any mindsets yet, and I hope I can help it stay like that. Rather than be skeptical when I suggest inviting a certain someone to be baptized, she likes the idea and we work towards accomplishing it. Like I wrote President the other day, I expect this to be an amazing transfer full of miracles.
I was wrong in thinking that wed be able to teach more appts in Rome bc investigators wouldnt have much distance between them- sometimes we travel for 2 hours to get somewhere.
On Thursday and Friday I teach 2 different English classes, and one is in a city far far away, at a refugee camp. I do miss Firenze, and the best that I can do is to keep Laurent in my prayers and to put my trust in Heavenly Father and the missionaries to contine the work I left............Its hard to leave a city!
Its been a little weird being so close to family. On Sunday at church, several came up to me and asked me if I was "la figlia di Emma" and so now I am now known as Emmas daughter, not Slla Urban. I also saw Lynette again, one of Moms ex companions, and she showed me a pic of when she and Mom met up the day before, which was neat. Later today, we are going to downtown Rome, and Im going to take Slla Riffaldi to the pasticceria where we would always go with Lenora and Carla. Maybe, in passing, we could stop to see Zio :) Last night we were up near Terni, too! (Terni is where Moms branch is).............and when there are transfers, we all meet at Termini and different Elders intoduced themselves to me and added "I know your mom and Nonna!". Its fun, and continues to amaze me that I didnt stay up North. I am in the same district as Anz Herrick, who is Anz Andersons (MTC) cousin, so since I cant serve with my Anzi, I get to serve with extended family. I am happy :)
I really dont have much to say about the work- I am still trying to sort out in my mind the different people and their stories..........I know itll take me awhile, but I hope it doesnt take as long as it did in Firenze :)
Our apartment is amazing. Amazing. Every time I walk in I still ooh and aaah. Its white. Its clean. Its on the first floor near a train station (Fidene... close to Fara Sabina, where Carla and I got lost one night), and the neatest thing is that we sleep with blankets! Firenze was intolerable hot and stuffy, and our apt is so cool and fresh. I have a nice kitchen to bake in, and we even have a small yard! If it were earlier in the year, Id plant some herbs and maybe a tomato plant or two.... I havent even seen a cockroach!
My new thing this week is to eat carrots without peeling them. I dont know why I peeled them before! Just a wash and voila, good to go! I suggest trying it out sometime.
When I was packing up for the transfer, I was debating whether to take some macaroni and cheese that mom had sent me, and I decided to because maybe Slla R hadnt ever tried it, so I took it and while I was unpacking, she showed an extreme case of curiousity towards it, and she asked me to make it for lunch the next day. I did, and in my defense, I warned her that it was nothing like pasta, and that it was something that is joked about how missionaries in the U.S. live off of mac and cheese, etc. She describes the meal as a form of torture. It was really funny watching her, and we got some pics. She doesnt understand how mac and cheese stays in business, and shes amazed that the work to make mac and cheese is more than the work to make a good but simple plate of pasta.
She begged me to make banana bread bc shes heard good things about it, so I did and at least she was happy with that. I am coming up with a list of things she has to try (Mom, Slla Riffaldi has basically finished off the PB you sent. DONT send anymore- for her healths sake). Would anyone have a recipe for a cheese cake? An investigator wants it and slla riffaldi does too........
So much to write but I dont know what! I laugh remembering the types of letters written by some of my friends when they were missionaries, and I dont think my letters come close to how theirs were. I apologize- my thoughts are scattered and will be for a couple more weeks, but know that I am well and happy. I adore Slla Riffaldi and hope that we will get the chance to serve more than just one transfer together. Maybe even if its somewhere down the line, like on the Island or in Sicily :) Rome 2 meets in the same building as where the Mission Office is, so while we were there the other day, I got Slla Burt, who works in the office, to change my releasal date to July 1st. Slla Riffaldi and I will be there at the Villa to welcome the new mission president and his wife, and Ill get that date pushed to August :)
I love being here! I love being a missionary! Sometimes when the alarm goes off, I wonder how Ill be able to get through the day and teach effectively in all the appts that we have, but the second I get on my knees and start reflecting on all the things I am blessed with, I am reminded of how much help I am entitled to, and that wiith the power and authority given with my calling, I really can find the strength to go on. Thank you for your examples and support- often appts are cancelled on us or we get yelled at, but Slla Riffaldi and I dont let it get to us. We know why we are here and what we are doing. That is one thing I love about her- we try to see the adventure and the positive in everything. The other day, ALL of our appointments fell through, so we started going thru the area book and called us some former investigators. One woman answered and before giving her the chance to hang up on me after having introduced myself, I said "I just made some American desert and I cant eat it all myself. Can we come over and drop some off?" and she agreed to it!!!!!!!
The meeting with her went well, and then on our way home, we decided to pass to see if we could find a family near our house. Neither of us had ever been and we werent sure what the address was, and as we were searching among the names on the citofoni (the little buzzers outside of the apartments), there was a man who smiled at us and he turned out to be the Dad of who we were looking for! We ended up having dinner with them and sharing a message, and we are going to go back this week. Miracle after miracle. So wonderful to see what the Lord is willing to bless us with as long as we put forth the effort. In Florence, it was an amazing week if we taught 10 lessons. Slla Riffaldi has been able to teach 20 lessons one week (which is part of the standards of excellence) and we are going to hit it. We are going to do everything that we can to do it, even if it means not having much of a pday. We are so excited for all the work that is ahead of us. We are even helping some quit smoking- I have so much admiration for them. It is not easy, but it can be done, and I am learning and drawing strength from the self discipline and faith that they show by making the steps to make necessary changes in their lives.
And now, I will draw this to an end. There is an argument brewing here, so we are headed out :)
Vi voglio bene e buona settimana a tutti!