Monday, December 14, 2009

Sono in Italia!

It's awesome. The weather in Catania was incredible. The mission home is sweet, and I'm now in my area, and have a new companion!!

First let me tell you about my first day. Nella bellisima città di Catania. We started by getting gelato and going for a walk alongside the sea. Then we went to the mission home. We were allowed to take a nap, but me and my collega weren't about to do that! We changed and juggled a soccer ball for about an hour and went exploring a little bit. Unfortunately there weren't any people to talk to in the area around the mission home.

Then that night is when we met our companions and got our areas. I of course wanted to stay in Sicily in the beautiful warm sole. And my old companion said he'd be fine with going more north because he likes the of course he got called down to the bottom of Sicily, and I was called here to the city of Cosenza. Of course, nothing like Anziano Kramer, Marzolla, and Rowland who were all called all the way to the Bari area.

Cosenza is actually pretty awesome. It's my understanding that it's a city of about 150K, and there are only us two, and then a senior couple. It's a little chilly, but not horrible. It gives me a good chance to sport the trenchcoat.

My companion. He's from Melbourne and has been here for...I think a year and half. He's pretty awesome. His Italian is amazing, so I'm very excited to learn from him. He's also very outgoing and loves street contacting.
He's the Zone Leader, and he may also be the district leader. haha.

Our apartment is very comfortable. There were originally four missionaries here, but now there are just two. I'll probably end up staying here for about three transfers or something. So it's pretty cool.

More about the city. Apparently there is a very small branch here of about 20. But check this out: We have three progressing investigators that are basically ready for baptism, and we also have 6 people that we need to teach the first lesson to!! haha.

My companion said I was born into a great city because the work goes well here. I'm stoked about it.

As far as my Italian thank goodness I'm not in Rome because I'd freeze. But there is one reason why it would be good. Because in Rome they speak really clear Italian. I spoke with a lady on the flight and let me say first, the Italian language really sounds so beautiful, but she also spoke very clearly. Since coming down here I've found that people are quite difficult to understand. But, I am able to pick up some things. I'll let you know how it's going next week. We spoke to a couple girls from Romania and I could hardly tell what they were saying (but their Italian wasn't very good), and we also spoke to an old man on the train who was hard to understand, but I guess all the old people tend to speak in dialect.

Italy really is beautiful. I wanted to jump into the Sea as we crossed it from Sicily to the mainland.

I'm gonna go ahead and say it. I've said it before. I'm livin the dream. Most of us in our district can't believe that we're really here. I've also figured out what to say to get a response from people "Buon Giorno", because Salve sure as heck didn't work, and Ciao doesn't work all that well.

Okay, as for the Chinese. I need to review my Chinese Gospel words because it looks like I'm going to be able to use it!! Yeah, there's not a ton of chinese, but yeah, they also all own chinese stores that stand out and we're going to go to all the ones in the city, and I guess there's actually quite a few. They have chinese materials in the mission home, and they even had the Chinese missionary phrasebook. haha. Which I went to quite a bit of trouble to get ahold of while I was in the MTC.

I think we're going to get Kebabs tomorrow. Which is my favorite that's awesome.

Other than that...I don't know too much else to tell you. This place doesn't seem too ridiculously foreign. There are a lot of things that are just the same as other islands and places by the sea, and a lot of things remind me of Taiwan.

The computer keyboard has a couple things weird about it. But it's not too bad. I think maybe I should just write these letters in Italian because that would be easier. : ) sto scherzando!

Ma, seriamente, lo sarò più facile.


Okay, well let me know if there's anything else you want to know.

Here's the address to use here (This is for my apartment in Cosenza, I'll let you know when I transfer, but even then the missionaries would still get it to me, so this will be fine for awhile)

66 Via D. Frugiuele
87100 Cosenza

Hey, one other cool thing. They have these things called dead missionary closets and there's tons of free stuff there. I found two suits that fit me! One olive colored one, and one black. But in the end I decided not to take them just because I already have two, you know? But I have mission coference in a couple weeks so maybe I'll trade a suit depending on how I feel then. I just didn't feel like carrying another. I scored a new coat. It's pretty sweet. I also got a couple new long-sleeve shirts and one short sleeve. (I needed them because my neck size changed in the MTC). There are also a lot of extra coats in our apartment so I can mix it up sometimes. You know, stile. Btw, my neck size changed because I got in really good shape in the MTC. I can seriously almost do a hand-stand push-up! And as it turns out, missionaries don't even put on weight here because we're always walking around!!

Hey, and check this out: All our assumptions about Italy couldn't be further from the truth! Not only do we have those people that will be baptized, but we always get meal appointments all the time. My companion just had a week where he had one every day! It helps that he lots of relatives here. His mom is from Cosenza, and so all his aunts and uncles are here. He always shares a spiritual thought with them, and they enjoy the visits, but they don't have much interest in the church.

We have English classes every Tuesday and Thursday, and attendance is great. We give people the option to stay for the spiritual thought, and most do. I'm really excited for those.

I think we also play calcio with locals every week. And we're going to try and set up a zone soccer match.

Basically everything is just about as close to perfect as it can be.

We also have a cell phone!

Hope all is well with you. I don't have too much jetlag because I did everything I could to adjust.

Sorry I don't have any pictures to send, but I lost my camera at first. Don't worry though, I found it, and I'll be sure to send some photos in the next e-mail. Of course, that's if I can find the card reader.

My companion is on his fifth transfer here, so he knows everyone who lives around us in all the stores, et cetera, so it's pretty awesome. I lead a charmed life. I really can't think of any way my mission could be better. I guess it kind of stinks making the bed and whatnot.

I enjoyed my stay in the MTC, but I'm so glad to be out in the field. SYL with a fluent speaker is so nice. I'm excited to do that. We did it for a little while today and it was sweet.

One thing I've noticed here is that they speak very..idk, casually. Like they'll leave off the ends of words and such.
You know how Italian has extra letters on all their words? Well it seems like here they like to just drop the last letter. haha. It's pretty good.

Anyway, until next week! Things are great for me. And they say that whatever the blessings the Lord doesn't give you on you mission are either saved for after your mission or they're going to your family! Allora, penso tutto ben.

Con Affetto,

Anziano Banks!