Jason’s e-mail Jan 8, 2008

Ciao, mommy! And everyone else who get’s this that DIDN’T write to me…

How goes the life of you? I hope this letter finds you well. So, my luggage arrived at the mission home, but it’s still in Catania. I’ll be getting it tomorrow evening, if all goes well. The other Elders that we live with are going down to Catania (or it might just be Bari, I’m not sure) and picking up my luggage. Either way, I’ll be getting it. And being happy. It’s actually kind of nice to have so few possessions. Books for studying, and a couple pairs of clothes. I had to buy some socks here, and also some pants. I don’t know if I can be reimbursed for them or not, but it’s fine either way. Sometimes I think I’m too easygoing. But then something bad happens, and I’m just fine while everyone else is freaking out. So, it’s a blessing, too. Pick your battles, I guess.

Ok, Foggia is pronounced fo-jee-uh. But it’s kind of smushed together to be two syllables. A quick lesson in Italian pronunciation: whenever a G is followed by an E, or an I, it is a soft G, like in gel, or jello, or whatever. The same rule applies with the letter C. If a C is followed by an E or an I, it is pronounced like the English “CH” sound. Otherwise, the C is hard, like a K. The letter C never sounds like an S. So that’s why E and I are evil vowels. Rather, EvIl is a gnumonic (?) to help you remember that after those two vowels, C and G change. So yeah. Foggia. Ciao. Gelato. Stuff like that.

The milk isn’t really bad at all. On cereal it tastes exactly the same. the only thing is that here, there are only corn flakes, and coco puffs. And the honey-puffed wheat things if you can find them. Cereal is severely limited. But it’s not the end of the world. The rest of the food makes up for it. I’m not sick of pasta yet, though I’ve had it every single day. It’s so cheap here. seriously! It’s like 75 cents for a kilo. that’s like an American dollar for two pounds of pasta. the sauce is the same. I like the tomatoes here. The lasagna is amazing. The dinner appointments with members are a little tough. The food is so good, but there’s TONS of it. I was stuffed with lasagna (I’d eaten about a whole plate-full) and I thought we were done. They cleared the food, and everything, and all was well. Then they brought out the meat. and bread. and a quish. And dessert. I learned quickly to ration what you take in. go quickly so you have time to eat more before your stomach rebels against the amount of food being put in to it. mama mia. It’s so, SO good though. mmm.

Oh, and Foggia has about 150 thousand people in it. Not too huge. There are only about 50 active members, but I think there used to be more. And we live in an apartment that’s a block away from the church, so that’s rather convenient. And I do indeed walk a lot to counter-act the calories. The only place we don’t walk to is Sorella M’s house. It’s a 25 minute bus ride, so walking is kind of out of the picture. The bus drivers here are CRAZY! They’re so pushy when they drive. they’ll inch in front of cars, cut them off, drive through places with only a couple inches to spare on each side. The thing is, everyone drives like that. they’re like Utah drivers, to the extreme. but there aren’t any accidents. It’s pretty cool, actually.

The Italian language is coming along. I’ve taken to writing down each word that I don’t know. The members at church think it’s funny. We actually teach an English as a second language class at the church two nights a week. It’s pretty cool. The first on I went to was last night. I tried to give directions to this girl. She wasn’t great at English, and I wasn’t great at Italian. So there was a barrier there for a while, but eventually, we got some communication going on. That was cool.

Ok, so there are four elders at the apartment, and we all take turns cooking. Yesterday was MY first time to cook. So I did. It was just penne with meat sauce. Anziano C was all worried and fussing over me. I told him not to worry, and he left me alone to my cooking. When we ate, they were all pleasantly surprised to find that I’m actually already a good cook. That was fun.

I even fell victim to a prank by them. Anziano M is from Italy. When I got here, they all told me that he doesn’t speak any English. I bought it. Funny enough, right? No way. They insulted the crap out of him in English (he was in on it, of course) time after time. It was so rude. Then he’d say “cosa?” which is “what?” and they’d say some little thing to him in Italian. He seemed so sad. Eventually they came clean about it. Anziano M speakes perfect English, and they all love him. They all had a really hard time not laughing. A funny joke. haha. It was cool, though, because it wasn’t anything that made me look dumb. Quite the contrary, they noticed that I never made fun of Anziano M, and they think I’m a swell guy.

Good luck with Dillan and Joslynn. Good job on your grades. The real world can be scary. You’ll do fine, though. We should celebrate your good grades. I’m sure you already did, so that means I get to celebrate them. I’ll buy some gelato or something.

Today we have an appointment with Anziano Mario. He’s an investigator who comes to English class. He’s like 50 years old, and when he saw that the missionaries have “Anziano” on their name badges, he said that they were young, and he was old, so we should call him Anziano Mario. So that’s his name. He plays the guitar, and I think he’s going to let me play his guitar. I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for that. I haven’t seen or touched or played a guitar for more than two months. My calluses on my fingers are gone. Boy that’s a tough thing about being here. Most of the time, I’m busy, so I don’t think about it, but when we’re just walking, or at night when we’re done planning or something, a song will pop into my head, and I get this awfully strong urge to play the guitar or bass, or anything. There are pianos at the church, so I amuse myself there a little bit, but it’s not the same. So, I’m excited to see Anziano Mario. The other day in the store I heard a Red Hot Chili Peppers song on the radio. I turned to Anziano C, and said “Do you hear that? That’s proof that God loves his children.” –He didn’t get it. He’s an outdoorsy type. No movies, no plays, no music (except country) no books. We can relate to Halo, though. I guess that’s cool. He’s a great guy. Oh, that reminds me. You should go to Wal-Mart.com and set up a photo account. Then I can upload the pictures I’ve got here, and you can print them off there. Just create the account with the username AnzianoFullmer or something, and send me the password in your next email to me. Then I can send you tons of pictures. I’ve got about three hundred right now.

Well, the time comes. Say hello to everyone for me. Remind them that they can send emails to me. And if they’re not in the family I can write letters to them back. Your MASH quote was Frank Burns, right? The “I can’t see my own blood” one? Here’s yours…”would you handle my appeal?”

Much love to all. Have a happy day, and week. Toodles.

Anziano Jason Fullmer

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