Email from Jason Feb 13, 2008
Ciao mom! How is this week going? Did you get your studying done? Two poems written? Good. Ok, to start off, my health is quite good. No worries there. The only thing that could be slightly troublesome is that I’ve lost weight. Like twenty pounds or so since before the mission. So, my suit is a little big, but I figure that’s a good problem to have. I eat pretty healthily. Oranges are really cheap here, and really good. You can get 3 kili for a Euro at some places. That’s like 6 pounds for $1.50. Not bad at all. Plus there’s a lot of salad, and multivitamin pills. I’m healthy. My feet haven’t stopped aching since I got here, but that’s apparently just a missionary thing. Walking around all day is tough on the feet. My shoes are holding up pretty well so far, though.
The people in Italy are generally pretty cool. When stopping people on the street you never know what the response will be. Most of the time you can see a person walking slowly, ambling down the street with obviously no real destination. You get as far as “Hi, how are you?” before they put up one hand, and say “non mi interessa” (not interested) or even funnier “no, ho fretta” (I’m in a hurry). One lady was walking soooooooo slow. putting one foot about two inches in front of the other, topping out at about 1 mile an hour. Tops. But she was in a hurry. ok then. “Good day”
House is fun, too. Everyone here lives in apartment buildings. There are no houses. Most houses are gated, so you can’t get in without knowing someone is home, and buzzing them on the intercom, or “citofono.” So that’s where we do house. Push a button, and wait for the “Chi è?” (Who is it?) “Hi, we’re missionaries, and…” Click. Ok then. Buzz. “Chi è?”
“Hi, have you ever heard of a living prophet?”
“No, Non mi interessa.”
“ok, who do you know that would be interested in eternal families?”
“non lo so. nessuna.” (I don’t know. Nobody.)
Sometimes, they’ll lie to you. “Uhh, yeah, I’ve heard of a living prophet”
“Oh really?” Click.
Or the really funny ones…
“Hi, we’re missionaries, can we come up?”
“No, there’s no one here.”
“uhhh…uh huh…there’s YOU. YOU’RE there.”
“oh, I’m not here either” Click.
There’s also “I’m under the shower” “I’ve got three ovens going” “I’m already saved” “Go to heck” and a whole bunch of other responses from time to time.
However, when you actually do get to talk with someone, they are really nice, if not hard-headed. They’ll listen to what you have to say, and then maybe take your little pass-a-long card, and be off. Every once in a while, we actually end up talking to people on the street for half an hour or so. We teach them about the restoration, or families, or god, or prophets, or anything. It’s quite fun.
Culturally different stuff…Well, all the kids smoke. When they ask to know English swear words we tell them “belt” and “scissors” and the WORST one “pope is a dope.” There’s also a never-ending supply of pictures of scantily clad women. You get to know the road really well, because sometimes that’s the only place you can look without feeling guilty. There are buses all over town that no one pays for. School gets out at 1pm, or a bit earlier, so there’s kids out everywhere in the afternoon. at about 1:30 or 2 the whole country pretty much shuts down. Lunch is the big meal here. It’s a family thing. If you go out at 2 or so, there’s NO ONE out. no cars, no people, no stores open, no nuthin. Then, after lunch, everyone take naps. That’s when we study language. President Toronto said that naps are ok, too, so occasionally (just to get a feel for the culture, of course) I’ll indulge in a twenty to thirty minute power nap. Then, at 4, we’re out the door again. The city takes about an hour to wake up after that, and then from 6 to 9 when we go in, everybody walks around. That’s just the thing to do. You can shop, or eat (the gelato is amazing, and so are the panzerotti -a deep fried thing of bread stuffed with mozzarella and tomato sauce), or just hang out. That’s usually when we try to stop people. It’s fun.
Well, we still meet with the Manzo’s, and teach them, and read the Book of Mormon with them. We met with this guy named Michele (mee kell eh, a very common name) and his cousin Francesca. We gave them both a copy of the BoM. Francesca actually read it! That’s so amazing for an Italian! She was a little concerned about how Nephi killed Laban. I was ecstatic that she got that far! I think she might actually read that book all the way. So amazing. Other than that, we have a couple other investigators who won’t read or pray, or anything, so it’s hard to make progress with them. We also do a lot of finding work. We help give food to the homeless and needy, teach a free English course at the church, and help out a teacher at a university English course. There we read these boring business letters. “Dear Sirs…” They’re fun to make fun of. Well, almost out of time…
The highlight of the week was doing street. Anz C. tried to stop a guy walking his HUGE dog. he’d just been sent some deer jerky from home, and he’d had it in his pocket. It was gone, but the scent must have remained. So he stops the guy, shakes his hand, and the dog jumps up on him, and locks it’s front legs around the leg of my companion (who has a slight fear of dogs) The dog slobbers all over his suit, and it looks like the dog is getting read to take his date with Anz Carley’s leg to the next level when Anz C. finally is able to tear the dog’s legs off of him, give the guy a pass-a-long card, and walk away. Man that was funny. I still laugh about it.
I love you all. Kudos to Karina C. again for writing to me. Everybody else…I’ve got lots of Kudos’s to give out. Don’t deny me the privilege of giving them to you, k?
Well, Have fun, be good. The church is true. Yeah.