I'm sorry in advance, looking at this computer screen in this dim room has given me a really bad headache. Or maybe it's the dramatic change in altitude from Verona to Ancona. I'll just catch you up on how things are going.
It was really, really hard to leave Verona. I've never been so sad in my life. Even two or three days into the work here in Ancona, my mind would sometimes drift back to the faces of the friends I left behind and I'd start to tear up. But by praying for comfort and working to keep my mind on my assignment here, things have been going better.
We have a lot of investigators. The member here are few, but precious. Our ward mission leader is pretty much a modern hippie. No long hair or bell bottom pants, but he's all about peace and centeredness and oriental philosophy. Yin and yang, zen, that kind of stuff. At first I thought it was silly, but the more time I've spent with him, I already love him and I can see a big correlation between the gospel of Jesus Christ and the spirituality he's studied from other cultures. There are bits of truth everywhere. Thanks to modern prophets, we have it all in one place.
My companion is Anziano T. We get along well and I think we'll be a good duo here in Ancona. It's a port town, which for some reason is really cool to me. I love watching the giant ships come into port, cranes help move all their cargo to the trains, and they head off into the rest of Italy. It's amazing what we've done; people, I mean. We're sure organized when we need to be.
The sea is super inspiring, too. There's this huge monument built to the fallen of Ancona right on the coast. I get the best feeling gazing out over the Adriatic Sea. You can look all the way to the horizon on a clear day. There's always a gentle sea breeze, so hopefully the summer won't be too bad. We bus all over the city, you never see a single bike (the whole city is hills, hills, and hills, covered in streets and buildings and trees), and I bought a cool umbrella here so hopefully weather won't ever be a problem.
The best part of this week was a little surprise on Sunday. Like I said, Anziano Modugno served in Ancona a year ago as branch president. Now he's just Modugno, living down in Bari with his family. Except that this week, he wasn't in Bari--he came to Ancona. I was walking up the hill towards the little chapel where our branch meets when from up ahead I heard a very familiar "Sup, bro!" I looked up to see my favorite Italian in the world, grinning down at me with a cool scarf, a beautiful sweater, and no tag. I set all my stuff on the slanted pavement and sprinted into a hug. It was so good to see him again. We ate together at the church after the meetings and caught up. He's transitioned well into normal life, and wow was it good to see him and hear his voice again. We snapped a couple pictures before he left.
I'm sure to write more about this city as I come to love it more. I keep thinking, "It's no Verona." Well, that's true, but I had my time in Verona, and now I need to focus on building the kingdom in Ancona. I have a hard working companion and a great district, so things look promising.
Love you all,