Thursday, April 11, 2013
"We've been having such successful days."
Okay, this has just been a bad week for writing, but a fantastic week in literally every other possible thinkable way. Thank you for the compliments and questions, Mom. I promise I'll answer them next week. I only have about fifteen minutes to write right now.
"We've been having such successful days." Anziano Burr just said that from behind me, and it sums up what I wanted to say pretty well. Next week I'll go into more detail about FINDING, when we go out on the streets (we call it strada) or go to where people live (casa) and the difficulties/joys that come with that. I'm ALL BETTER from that nasty two-week virus, and I've gone out to several places in Padova, especially Centro, several times now. I don't know if I can really call myself experienced since I've had all of four or five days of real missionary work, but at least I'm not scared to pieces every time I get on my bike now.
Speaking of which, I'll take the very few minutes I have left to explain transportation here in Italy, since that's been a question for a while. A week ago I would have said, "It's terrifying." Now I gladly type, IT'S SO FUN! The way bikes work in this mission is not that each missionary buys their own. Many cities don't even use bikes, so everyone pays €100 to a central mission fund and bikes are purchased by the mission where they are needed. The bike I ride is green, SUPER Italian, and has been tied to this mission for, like, ever. I think it's 100 years old. I love it to death. It's probably seen a dozen or more missionaries, but I don't think any has loved it like I do. So fun to ride. But sometimes scary.
Why scary, you ask? Because Italian drivers are CRAZY. I'll never complain about Utah drivers again. It seems like there are no rules on the Italian roads. Luckily they drive on the right side of the street like America does, but they don't really pay attention to speed limits... or divider lines... or each other. Everyone drives these tiny little sleek European cars (I love Volkswagen Golfs, by the way) that I think are so cool, and despite how crazily everyone drives, it totally works! I guess everyone here has grown up with this system, because they're really good at it. At first I thought it was total mayhem that just happened to work out, but now I see there's something of a method to the madness. And there's really not a lot of anger in the drivers. If a person or bike darts into the road, everyone just kind of stops and waits and then keeps going. As soon as I realized they're respectful of bikers (probably because a billion people ride bikes), I felt a lot safer. And prayer, of course. Lots of prayer. "Please don't let me die, please don't let me die..."
The cars drive RIGHT NEXT to each other... and me. And the only things on the road are adorable little European sedans or HUGE BUSES. Y'know, the kind that has, like, a whole extra part attached to the back. Because public transportation here is very common. I've already used it a ton. It can be a lot of fun, and pretty amazing how they navigate through the incredibly narrow roads of Padova. Of course, it stops being fun when you're outside the bus. They zoom past you on your bike (because we have to ride in the roads most of the time) leaving maybe a foot of room between your handle and death. Not only buses, but all the cars and motorcycles and other fancy little scooters do it, too. There's no concept of leaving space between cars on the road. But it seems to work! I've only seen the remnants of one (horrific) accident. So far.
Okay, that's all the time for today. Remember, God made you special, and he loves you very much! Believe me, I have SO MUCH to share with you all: my first lessons, my finding work, my Italian, my friends, my spiritual insights during personal study, the meals I've eaten, VENICE, miracles I've seen... and I'll share it all with you when I have my full 90 minutes next Wednesday. Promesso!
I adore every one of you, especially my family. Thank you so much for the mail you sent! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures, Mom! I'm so happy to have them. Arrivederci, tutti!
Also conference. I'll tell you all about conference. Watched it in English with all the other missionaries and some wonderful African members. There are lots of English speaking Nigerians in Padova--well, in Italy, really. Many of our investigators and new converts are bravissimi (very wonderful or impressive) Nigerians. Because of the time difference, we didn't get to watch the final Sunday session, unfortunately. Va bene! What I heard was fantastic. Ci vediamo!