(The net cafe that we are at has figures of naked women on the outside doors holding the things that farmers use for hay...what are they called?! We almost wanted to take off our tags when we stepped in....ah!)
Pitchforks! I remembered.
Besides suffering nasal and brain damage (there is so much cigarette smoke in here! Grandma, no fears. Its only a slot machine place), things are going swell here. The Anziani were at the net cafe that we usually go to, so we took a bus 40 min towards Termini and we bounced off to write emails- in a little bit we are meeting up with the Anzi of R1 and the slle of R3 and Carolina, one of our investigators, at Villa Borghese, which is a huge park and we are going to rent these peddle-bike\carriage things :) THEN we are heading to a mall to help the Crawfords, a senior couple, to get set up with internet, and then we have a dinner appointment to wrap up this lovely Wednesday.
While we were returning home from our shopping trip this morning, I found myself strolling my granny cart behing another granny with her granny cart- it made for a good picture.
We had an appt with Katerina on Thursday, which means that we learned even more about the woes of menopause. At DDM, (district something meeting) we meet with the Elders and the office couples and we talk about our work and ask questions. A few times SR (sorella Riffaldi) and I have come close to turning to Sister Burt and asking her if its really as bad as Katerina makes it out to be. I can just imagine her expression though... so we have managed to refrain so far.
We taught her the Restoration (shes heard all the lessons but awhile back) and then asked her what she thought about the Book of Mormon. She scowled at us and said "Its been 4 years, how do you expect me to remember?!" SR said "We just barely finished talking about it!" Katerina looked at her and said , "Well, how am I supposed to remember what you talk about?" Ah. This time it wasnt me who started laughing, but SR. And then I joined it. And she asked what we were laughing about, and SR turned to me and all I could say was "bc we are happy that we dont have menopause" and she just nodded. Katerina is hilarious. Last week I called her to set up an appt and she was going thru the regular complaints of how hot it is (SR and I are excited to see what shell talk about once winter arrives) and I was trying to be sympathetic and she said that I couldnt understand bc Im not 50.
After she left, we decided to take a minute to explore where we were. The bridge we were at is called Ponte Milvio (?) and its where lovers go to lock a locket and throw the key into the river beneath. What did we do? We bought a locket and made a video as we wrote our names on the lock , snapped it onto the rail with its 100.000.000 other lockets, and threw the key into the river. We plan on returning in 2030 to commemorate the moment. We thought it was silly (but fun) and then we found out that some of the Anziani have done the same thing with their companions, so we dont feel so bad. A few people passed while we were doing it and they gave us questioning glances, to which SR would say "even just friends can do this!" and theyd laugh and continue walking. I think we cleared up any questionable thoughts they may have had. To wrap up the romantic afternoon, we had a Chinese lunch. We found ourselves at Termini with an hour for lunch, so SR and I meandered around and walked into a supercheap but really elegant restaurant. It was a good finale- the only thing missing was a candle.
We had interviews on Monday and Zone Conference was yesterday. I translated from 10-5. The longest Zone Conference of my life. Towards the end I would do the strangest things, like translate italian to italian (some Italian elders would make a comment and I would repeat it in different words into the walkie talkie)........ay ay. During interviews, Pres asked me to talk about our work so I was and we were talking about some of our investigators- how they live a distance away and it takes time with the mezzi (public transportation) to get around- and he suggested we use the assistants car. Um, ok :) The assistants dont use the car that often, so its up for our disposal. SR is SUPER excited to drive, and Im .... a little nervous. Shes well known for her love of speeding, and shes never driven a big car (its a mini van). Id ask to be the designated driver, but I dont know how to drive shift, so SR is going to teach me on Friday before our appt, and we will take turns driving once I learn; per forza she has to teach me because, when she leaves, its most likely that my comp wont know how to drive shift. Its going to be good- the best part is that it shows President trusts us.
President also wants us to start doing exchanges with the other sorelle. Its something thats never been done before, but ...he thinks itd be good and it would add a little...variety :) The exchanges are 24 hours- SR dreads them but I think theyll be fun. At least you know theres a time limit if it turns out to be not the best experience :)
One of the wonderful discoveries of the week was a mini shopping cart! We were walking home and we passed a dumpster and there it was- not even reaching my knees. SR and I immediately fell in love with it and we unanimously agreed what had to be done with it, but SR was too self-conscious, so I pushed the cart home (literally doubled over) and its now parked in our hallway. Im thinking of bringing it home next year to Moms place- I can see a plant sitting in it near the shed :)
We got to see Tommy, Dera, and Alex last week! It was fun spending a few hours with them and looking thru pictures and catching up on what theyre up to in life. Alex is big but not as big as Lenora made her out to be. You just wait Lenora. Your babies are going to be skinny and long. Id take Alex any day :) haha
Last week, we called Merli from the area book, an ex investigator, and we met up with her at the mall. We sat on a bench and started talking about the restoration in English (shes from the Philippines) but after a minute, SR turned to her husband, whos from Egypt, and taught him in Italian. The lesson went well and so I continued to the Plan of Salvation and I was using SRs little primary images, and I had them laid out on the pavement infront of our bench. (This is right outside a huge mall and there are people everywhere) and I saw a man stop to look at what we were doing. I invited him over and he is also from Egypt; his names Amin. We set up an appt for the day after, and we asked the Anziani to go with us bc we felt like he had the potential of being a little viscido (creepy) but I mean that in the best sense of the word...like, he insisted we get a cup of coffee and although Im sure he only wanted to be friendly, just how insistent he was bugged me, and THEN when we started to walk home, he stopped in his car and offered a ride. We turned him down not once, not twice, not even three times, but 5 or 6 times! There was a line of cars behind him!
When we met up with him with the Anziani, he said "yesterday you (pointing at me) looked scared. why? why were you scared?" Oops.. I thought I mastered masking my emotions......... I told him I hadnt been scared, but that I didnt appreciate how insistent he was,.....I thanked him for the offer, but told him that when we say no, its no. He said he understood, and then he asked if we could get a drink. We said no, and there he went again and insisted half a dozen times. I need to inform myself on his culture- maybe its normal to be like that? I cant necessarily say the lesson went well because with each principle that we taught about the Plan of Salvation (we decided to start with that bc his wife died last year), he said "I already know this. Just bc Im Muslim doesnt mean I dont know anything. I know this". I saw Anziano Hales eyebrows shoot up when he said this, and afterwards, as we were walking home (it was more like cross country trekking for 40 minutes. They thought they knew a shortcut home- I felt like we were paving a new trial in a prickly desert.....they did manage to get us home, and it was fun.) he said "Did you know he was Muslim?"
"Yeah,....so?". He informed me that we arent supposed to teach Muslims because its too risky for them- if they were to be baptized, they could be killed by their family.
Well, now I know. Who knows if the Elders will keep seeing him.
In closing, I just want to share a thought on setting goals. In Zone Conference yesterday, the assistants asked us to close our eyes and imagine that we were on a run-down raft. We had an oar, but we were surrounded by water on all sides and could see no land in sight. How hard would we row, and which direction would we go? They then told us to now imagine some land in sight- now, how hard would we row, and in which direction? With something in mind, with a goal set, it gives us something to work towards. Even if it seems too distant or too hard, it can be done, one stroke (paddle?) at a time.
Pres Kelly gave us each a new copy of the Book of Mormon and told us that we have till the end of November to read it. We were all very excited- IM excited. He told us we had to read it in the language we understand best, so now I dont have to feel guilty when I read something in English.