Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bologna...so much more than lunch meat

Hello everybody I'm in Bologna.

I’m quickly learning that this is an Italian keyboard so that will take a little adjusting. I guess just don’t really expect much punctuation because this à is where the comma should be.

Bologna is so cool! I can’t believe it. I got to Milan on Wednesday. Pres Wolffgram and his wife and the APs picked us up (all of them are super cool) we dropped our stuff off and went off too the Duomo di Milano with Book of Mormons and pamphlets in hand. I tried talking to a few people on the metro but none of them wanted to talk. Then I started talking to this other lady and she was actually listening. I couldn’t believe it. It was going great until I looked up and realized I was the only missionary on the train! It was my first day in Italy and I was all alone on the metro. Luckily it wasn’t too hard to find my way to the Duomo and it all worked out great.

The next day we had a meeting where we met our trainers and found out where we were going. Right after that they sent us out to go to our cities. And now I’m here in Bologna opening a copia (companionship). This means that both Anziano Rich and I are new to Bologna. We don’t have any investigators or anything. We are just starting from scratch. To be honest it is hard. Anziano Rich is from Riverton and he has been out about a year. He is a really nice guy and works really hard. I’m learning a lot from him. We haven’t really taught at all which is tough but we are working hard to find people. We are in four here in bologna. We live with the zone leaders Deursch and Dunshee. They're both really great. Hey I found the ' apostrophe!

Missionary work is kind of a business. Not in the sense that we're making money but the idea the way we're organized and report and work. It's really weird going from the MTC where they watch your every move and there really isn’t much of an option for disobedience to coming here where they just tell us where to go and we go. They treat us more like adults in that they just tell us to do things and we're expected to do it and they just assume we do. It's so weird being off in an apartment kind of on our own. Speaking of living in 4, I think it is nicer. I've heard that from a lot of people too. It's nice to see some other people besides just your companion. I hope the weather in Utah will shape up for you.

Mom- hello mother! How are you? Thanks for you email. I can always count on hearing from you and dad and I’m glad you give me a report and the rest of the family. It sounds like things are really good at home. I can't believe school is almost out. It will be weird to have a summer filled with work all day every day. I guess I have gelato to make up for that. Your plans for this summer sound like a lot of fun and I think it's good that you cancelled Netflix. There are so much better uses of time. I starting to be pretty convinced that any talent you develop will be useful on a mission. Whether it's reading lots or learning a language or music or really anything you will use it. I loved your post on the Linkouses. they really are so cool. I love you. Thanks for writing me.

I can't believe I’m really in Italy. Bologna is really cool and really big. The Wolfgramms are really great people and I have learned so much from them already.

We have a little branch of about 40 people, which is good.

Wow I’m sorry I just can't think of what else to write. There's just so much new stuff but so much of it is hard to put into words. Being in Italy is amazing. It's hard to describe what its like to talk to people in a place with century old churches and buildings from the Renaissance. Well that's enough for now.

Love you all,

Ben

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I'm so excited that I can't write‏

Oh boy I have so much to say because this is my last week in the U.S. for 2 years! We got our travel plans this week and I am so excited. The MTC is fine but when you're waiting to go to Italy... I'll try to work through my excitement and write a good email.

Last Thursday we were studying when someone from another district ran in and yelled "travel plans are here" we ran to the mailbox and got them. Everyone gathered around like hungry fish while D'Addabbo passed them out. We carried them around everywhere we went for the rest of the day and sang Italian songs.

I report to the travel office next Tuesday at 4 in the morning. I fly from SLC to Chicago to Frankfurt to Milan. I am so excited. It's weird to think about getting on a bus or a plane or anything. I've been in the same square mile for the last two months and I can't imagine the outside world.

In other news the MTC field opened last Thursday. Everyone was really excited to spend some time outside and play some soccer. Unfortunately after about 15 minutes I sprained my ankle. I have to admit I had a few un-Christ-like thoughts when the guy who lowered his shoulder into me stood over me as I lay on the ground and laughed "Ha, did I knock the wind out of ya?"

Luckily it's not too bad and I should be fine in a few days. The MTC is very prepared for things like this and I’ve never sprained my ankle in a better place. The gym people are really nice and have taken great care of me and thanks to them I should make a speedy recovery.

They replaced the mattresses in our building this week, which was a blessing and a curse. The new beds are really comfortable but unfortunately that makes it even harder to get out of bed.

I've really learned how much my family means to me while I’ve been here. I have a few pictures of you guys in my scriptures and the other day someone in my district asked if they could see them and eventually everyone was passing them around. Anziano Embree yelled "Wow, your dad looks like a Calvin Klein model!" Yup, that's my dad.

I’m really sorry this email feels really scattered. I'm just so excited to leave and writing about it makes me so excited that I can hardly think clearly. Hopefully over the next two years I can learn to deal with my excitement better otherwise I’ll look really stupid in Italy with a dazed smile. And all I will be able to write home is-- "This is really fun!"

Last night Elder Anderson came. He is the third apostle we've seen! Apparently that's really unusual. I guess we're just special.


Well I really can't believe that this is my last week in the U.S. for two years. Actually 22 months. It's so weird to think that 2 months have already passed. This 2 years is talked about so much and gets so much attention and I'm already done with 2 months. I can't believe that the next time I email you I will be in Italy.

I wish I could concentrate better and tell you more stories but I really am too excited to think.

I'll email from Italy next week.


I love you and I miss you.

Ben

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

this week was a day and a month at the same time

Wow I can't believe it's Wednesday already. Last week we spent lots of the day sitting in our stairwell cheering every time a new Italian arrived. It's so funny to be able to look back on ourselves through them. I can hardly believe how much all of us have changed in the last 7 weeks. The new guys are interesting. They're all very confident which is weird because for me the first few weeks in the MTC were so humbling. It really drives me crazy when they give me advice though. One of them was telling me how to get hot water from the shower (the water temperature is controlled by the spirit not the knob- just kidding- but the temp is hard to control) and I almost yelled at him " I’ve been here for 6 weeks don't you think I know how to use these showers? Wow I’ve been here for 6 weeks. I've started to like them more and more every day though and I’m seeing that they really are good guys and that I'm not that much smarter than them (only a little). I am hoping though that within the next two weeks I'll get them to shine my shoes every day. (that was a joke I don't have that superior of an attitude).

We're trying to speak Italian as much as possible and leave English behind. It's amazing how I really start to think in Italian when I eliminate English from my life. We found a funny side affect of this earlier this week though when Anziano D'addabbo saw some people who were running late and he yelled "in ritardo" at them. This means "you're late" but to non Italian speakers it probably means something else. One of the tough things about trying to go fully Italian speaking is losing my English. I can still speak English but not like I used to. All of us find ourselves saying things that don't make sense. Even worse than speaking though is writing. I would like to apologize now for anything in this email and anything in any other emails or letters that I’ve said that don't make sense. I feel like I really struggle with putting sentences together in a good way. For example I got halfway through that last sentence and really had to think hard to finish it. I'm not even going to talk about my spelling because I know that I’ve gotten a little more creative with that.

I can't believe I’ll be in Italy in two weeks. we should get our travel plans tomorrow. I'm so excited. I can't wait to hear real Italians speak- and try to understand them- and my mouth waters every time I think about the food. I can't wait.

Something cool I forgot to include last week was that when elder Scott came he gave all of us the gift of tongues. It came in this nice little box...no but he gave his apostolic blessing to us and gave us the gift of tongues. Apparently that pretty much never happens so I feel pretty bene. Whoa did you see that? That was Italian. Just kidding it really was cool and I thought I would share it. Sometimes it’s hard not to be blasphemous in the MTC because we talk about religious stuff all day so its hard not to joke about things a little bit.

I loved the email about reading this week. I think that's one of the things I miss the most. Another thing I’ve been thinking about is that we are bound by our vocabulary. I'm learning with Italian I can't say much but there are some things you can express in Italian that you can't in English. It's really hard if not impossible to express these things in English because we don't have the words for it. We understand things in words therefore we can really only understand what we can put into words. That is why reading is so important because the greater our vocabulary is the more we can understand. In the end this is why the spirit is so important. The spirit can communicate feelings about things beyond our words directly to us without having to use words. I wish I could explain this better but in two years we can sit down and have a good long conversation about it.

Until next week. I love you and I miss you. ti olio bene

Ben