Anziano Marin is awesome. We really bonded this week, talking and laughing and sharing experiences and making inside jokes. He's from Los Angeles, which is super cool, and he's the type that just chugs along and keep smiling. He always wears a squinty little smile that reminds me of Audrey. He wants to be a computer programmer for the Air Force one day, and he's a good missionary with a huge drive to change things and make a difference. I love him, and I hope we get two transfers together.
And Ferrara? Yeah, it's small. Yeah, it's hot. Yeah, the people aren't exactly groping in the dark for the truth. But it's BEAUTIFUL. I mean, classic ancient Italian gorgeous. I'm going to take a ton of pictures today and I'll send them in next week's email. This internet spot is pretty great, good prices and quick service.
I'm happy! And I'm getting more happy every day! I feel like, if I choose to, I will come very close to God in Ferrara. And I will choose to. One of our dear members, a practically blind woman who's lived here all her life, told us a hundred stories about Ferrara's history when we visited her house. It completely changed my mind about this lovely little town. It's funny how much someone else's positivity can affect you. Be positive! You never know who it'll help.
That's what I'm trying to focus on as a missionary here. Four different people told me the same advice throughout last week: just be happy. Smile at people, show them you're glad to be there. A happy missionary is a good missionary, or at least is doing something good.
We spend a lot of our days in Centro. I think I've explained before that every Italian city is kind of centered on its own Centro where people go with their family and friends to just walk around and look at shops and eat (amazing) gelato and grab a pizza or a kebab. So that's awesome. Now imagine all of that happening amidst medieval structures, inbetween a giant castle and a Roman/Gothic cathedral with an image above the balcony of Saint George slaying the dragon! Not to mention the miles of century-old cobblestone streets, and the towering archways of dark red brick, of the ancient wall that snakes around the oldest parts of the city... oh, it's amazing. It's everything I dreamed Italy would be. I'm glad I noticed that now in week two, and that I won't waste any more time being sad about living in an ancient-art-lover's paradise.
We found a little bookstore the other day with an old, pretty piano inside. The lady who works there knows us and said I could come back to tickle the ivories whenever I'd like. It's right next to Centro down a series of narrow cobblestone roads surrounded by colorful palazzi that have been there since before America was even an idea. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is.
Thanks to everyone who sent me emails this week. There were a lot of things I needed to read that widened my smile. I love you all, and I know you love me. There's no better feeling than that.
I finished one quarter of my mission. Here's to three more of growth, change, ups and downs, proselyting, and ITALY. Viva l'Italia.