March 5 2008
Good to hear that you’re feeling better. Lot’s to write as of now, so yeah. So I’ll start with Saturday. That was my birthday. It was way fun. I woke up, and the Caldaia wasn’t working. (A caldaia is like a water heater. Water passes over a gas flame, and is heated instantly, so you never run out. Very nice, until they stop working…) So there we all were without any hot water. We had cold water, and plenty of it. Not too good for showering, though. So, we boiled some water on the stove, and I had a good old sponge bath. Man alive it was sure not the same as a shower. So we get ready and yeah. We had an appointment with this invetigator named Michele (Mee-kell-ey). He’s a way cool, way smart guy. He’s fluent in english, but he learned British English, so he’s got a British/Italian accent. It’s so funny to listen to. Anyway, so we were going to come in and demo the English language for an English class that he teaches in a little village up in the mountains here called Sant Agata. He was about half an hour late. We were waiting for him at the church, so I started playing the piano. I played for about 45 minutes. That was nice. Maybe by the end of my mission I’ll play the piano well. Who knows? So Michele shows up, and off we go.
It was a really windy day. He was all timid while driving. (I didn’t think it was all that bad, but Italians don’t like bad weather at all…) So we arrive in Sant Agata. It’s an amazing little village. Postcard-perfect. Michele says that on a clear day you can see the Adriatic sea. It was hazy. Oh well. So we get to the class, and like we decided, Anz. Carley and I “didn’t understand Italian” so Michele had to “translate” for us. The students totally bought it. They were a rowdy bunch of kids. Schools here are not quite the same. There’s pretty much no discipline. And this school is the “least prestigious” school in this area, according to Michele. He’s pretty over-qualified to work there. Anyhoo, so right at the end Anz. Carley starts saying “Sono stato qua per otto mese, quindi, cappiamo Italiano bene…” (I’ve been here for 8 months, and we understand Italian well) …
If words could describe the looks on their faces! Man t was funny. They had been making fun of us, and joking and whatnot, all with the presumption that we didn’t understand them. Ah, to embarrass high schoolers en masse. Very fun. They gave us a round of applause, and then got a little irked at Michele for saying that we didn’t understand Italian because they thought they could say anything they wanted to. Meh. Joke’s on them. Let that be a lesson to you. Like it says in the scriptures, “Don’t put stumbling blocks in front of the blind, or make fun of the deaf.” You never know just who is faking. Plus, God is always watching you.
So yeah. Then we took a bunch of pictures, and then went home. Later than evening we played soccer with ” i ragazzi” (The Boys) like we do every Saturday. I even scored a goal. Go me. After that, we returned to our humble abode, and ordered pizza. Anz. C baked me a blueberry muffin cake, and put trick candles on it. Pretty fun. So yeah.
Last Monday I had a fun language goof. I said that Sundays were a day of “Re-Marriage” instead of a day of rest. Yeah, that was funny. One of our investigators actually came to church on Sunday, too! She told us that she just got a job, and it’s practically impossible to meet with her, but hey! she came to church! Woo! That’s progress! We’ll work with her the best we can. And her dad, too. And anyone we can.
Anz. C got a newsletter from his mom who is on a list of “missionary mom’s” from his home town. One Elder is in South America. he said that if an investigator isn’t baptized in TWO WEEKS they have to drop them. We’re happy to have a return appointment in two weeks just to teach the second lesson! Another friend said that one transfer (6 weeks) they had 5 baptisms. FIVE! Mamma mia! That’s one every nine days! It seems almost too good to be true. I’m not comparing myself or anything. It’s way cool that they get so many. The work is just different here. My teacher in the MTC said Italians are like olive trees. They take a long time to take root, but once they do, they’re staying there. So that’s cool.
Today was probably the best Pday I’ve had here. Anziano Mario (our old friend/investigator) invited us last night at English course to take a tour of the Gargano. It’s the coast and mountain range in Manfredonia (about thirty minutes outside of Foggia). It was way sweet. Lots of cool pictures came about. The ocean was amazing. I skipped a couple of rocks, and had fun. Then on the way back, Mario invited me to play the guitar with him, and to have lunch with him, too. How could i possibly refuse?!?! So we went to his house. I got to play for close to two (maybe two and a half) hours! Oh man, it was amazing. Such joy! What beauty! What Grace! What…REFINEMENT!!! Inexpressable joy. Then, afterwards, we got to eat a home-cooked meal made by his wife. So good. They eat a lot of raw meat here. You kind of get used to it, but I still haven’t, totally. It’s coming about, though. Oh yeah, last monday was another plate of tomatoes shoved in front of me. They weren’t AS bad this time, but still, if it weren’t for the chicken and bread, it would have been a LONG time before I could down them all. Yuk. I tried a mental trick by telling myself that they weren’t awful slimy disgusting gross-fruits from the infernal abyss, but it only worked for about two seconds. Maybe that tapping stuff would work. I don’t know if I exatcly remember it though…could you send that to me, mommy?
I still haven’t received my birthday packages yet. They should be getting here soon, though. Anz. Carley got a Valentines package from his special lady-friend back home. (Ashley A, from Preston Idaho) In the package was a nice lovely letter (NOT a love-letter) to me. Also, she made us matching T-shirts that say “I ♥? My Companion” with a picture of two missionaries. Totally awesome. The letter told me to tell Anz. C that she said WE can go on a date when I get home. Heh heh heh. I told him! He didn’t think it was too funny. I was actually frightened for my life for a second, there. Oh yeah, and our sink is clogged a bit, so we tried this draino stuff. I hope it worked. And the kitchen sink pipe is cracked, so water leaks on the floor whenever one cleans the dishes. Other than that, the apartment is quite nice. We actually had Anziano and Sorella N (a senior couple who work at the mission office) come and they bought us all new pillows, and utensiles, and other nice commadaties. (I have no IDEA how to spell in English anymore. Italian is phonetic, so I never worry about that…) Still no hot water, though.
Here’s a pet peeve about Italy. Customer service does NOT exist. They act like they did YOU a favor by showing up to work. And they never tell you when they’re going to be there, either. We walked around for more than half an hour trying to find an open grocery store. We finally found one in old town. Then on our way back home, the first one we went to was open. Ironic, no? That’s Italy for you.
My feet have kind of stopped hurting. It depends on the day. If we don’t have any appointments, then all we do is House and Street all day. That means walking. Not the funnest, but I like it most of the time. It’s really a blessing to be out here. I love being a missionary. I really miss music at times, but I know that I (and especially others) will be blessed for my little sacrifices. I love being able to study the scriptures. There’s so so soooooo much to be learned in them. This language might just kill me. Not really. I’ve actually started studying it for an hour each day (like we’re all supposed to, anyway) and instead of getting easier, it’s getting harder. I think it’s because I’m realizing that what I would have said is actually not the right way to say something…so at least I’m learning. I’ll get it eventually. I’ve been told that I’m doing better than other people were in their first, second, third, or even fourth transfer, so that’s encouraging. I certainly don’t feel very fluent, but, in a teaching situation, my words aren’t as important as the feeling I can convey with them. Or even without words. I’m still learning to reckognize the spirit as “The Spirit” when I feel it. It’s nice to be able to feel. I realize that I’ve been very blessed as an optimist. I’m quite happy almost all of the time. Waking up at 6:30 is still the bane of my existence, but I keep doing my best. I always think that there’s nothing to do that early. Then all of a sudden there’s no time left to get ready. Does that tapping stuff work for sleeping? I go to bed on time, but I usually don’t fall asleep for at least an hour. Once my body rests my mind takes off. Ah well. I’ll live, one way or another.
Well, today has been a great Pday. and it’s coming to an end. Must be off to do more missionary things. It’s raining a lot, so my feet are wet, but I like the rain. It brings back memories of being Cosmo Brown and whatnot. Oh yeah, and just for those who know, my companion loves it when I quite Eddie Izzard. Every time someone yells “Mormone!” at us, we turn to each other and say “I Told Them!” Much like Eddie Izzard’s “Bloke in a dress! Bloke in a dress! HAHHAHHAHHAH! I Told Him!” So that’s cool.
Well, keep at all the good things you’re all doing. Change all the bad things, and make them good things. Don’t get sick. Oh, that reminds me, one quick little thing. The weather here is SOO nice lately. Like, short-sleeves-and-no-jacket nice. The Italians CANNOT believe that I’m not cold. People actually stop US and say “non hai Freddo?!?!” Nope. It’s way nice. Anyway. I love all of you. I always pray for you. Good luck with your school stuff mom. You’ll be stellar. So…yeah. Toodles ’till next time.
Anziano Jason Fullmer