I got an email from Elder Holle, too. That's funny, I was thinking about him this week as well. Must have been a connection thingy, like Twilight Zone but more spiritual. I love that man, my semester rooming with him at BYU was one of the best times of my entire life so far, and I can't wait to see him again and watch how far he goes in life. He's an amazing example for me.
Jed's adventure sounds like the craziest thing of all time! I can't believe how lucky he is. If you make the right choices, this could be one of the turning points for good in your young life, little dude. I love you to death and know you'll be fine, but remember to pray every day and stick with good friends. Be a good example. You'll be in Helaman halls and eat the Cannon Center--that's my territory! Think of me and have a blast.
I'm so happy your birthday was fun, Mom! A whole year of the best number ever--42. I wonder what in the world I'll be doing or where I'll be when I'm 42. You've done pretty darn well for yourself so far, by my reckoning! Look at everything you've accomplished, and everything your children are accomplishing. I'll forever be proud to say I am the son of Dionne Middleton. You're the best, and I love you dearly.
Well, this email will be kind of short, but also pretty intense. I found out on your birthday, Mom, that I'm being transferred... tomorrow... to Ferrara. Ferrara is a much smaller city than Padova, about 40 minutes south of here by train. Not a very long move as far as distance or time, but I'll be in a new zone of the mission, living in a completely different place with a different accent and different scenery. Padova is in the Mestre Zone up here close to Venice. Ferrara is in the Bologna Zone, which I'm actually really excited about. Bologna has the best food in Italy, and since Italian food is the best in the world, logically Bologna food is the best in the world. So that's pretty exciting.
There's one tiny branch of the church in Ferrara. Anziano Gessel served there for three transfers and told me all about it well before I found out I'll be going to live there for three months at the least. It'll be... a good experience. If I choose to make it such.
My new companion is Anziano Marin. He's from California. I don't know much about him yet, nor have I even met him, but by my next email I'm sure I'll have a lot to say about new companions and cities and whatnot.
I'm pretty nervous, and really, really sad. I don't want to leave Padova. After just four months here, this city is my home. I love the people, I love the missionaries, I love the apartment, the ward, the buildings, the bikes, the bridges, the churches, the food, the stores, the streets, the trees... everything about this place I will miss. But this is the way of the mission, I guess, and the way of life. Things move on, they change, and we just have to go with it and make the best of it. I'll grow a lot in Ferrara, I already know it. I hope you'll stay along for the ride and grow a bit with me.
Much love to everyone. I'll tell you more when I know more. Keep praying for me! I'll need it now more than ever.
2. "drinking fountains"
3. last time together
Did I also mention that it's a new rule that missionaries can't wear backpacks? Yeah, tons of things are changing. I bought a nifty little sidebag. So European. ha!