Sunday, April 2, 2017

Savona to Florence to Genova

Things have been moving swiftly along for us. We find ourselves busier than we were the previous month. We had the opportunity to go to Florence to meet another Senior Missionary Couple, the Ferrara’s, as we delivered a church keyboard to them. It was so great to finally meet another couple who had more time and experience in the mission field. They shared good advice and suggestions on how to become an amazing missionary couple. We rode the train from Savona to Florence, through the beautiful Tuscany countryside. I took way too many pictures, but I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t take my eyes away from the train window as we traveled. We passed nearby Carrara, known for its marble quarries. The white markings on the mountains look like there is snow, but it is where they have quarried the marble. We rode near Pisa and I saw a brief glimpse of the “Leaning Tower.” We had a whirlwind one-day visit through the city of Florence, as we joined a walking tour, hitting on the highlights of this incredible city.  
Yes, we carried this keyboard on the train with us!  We got some funny looks, but we always get that so we're getting used to it! 

In front of Ponte Vecchio with our friends, the Ferrara's.  They took us all over the city. We walked almost 7 miles that day! 

 For those of you who LOVE gelato, this is the place!  Oh my goodness!  Such in incredible choice of flavor combinations!  It was divine!
In front of the Duomo at the Piazza della Signoria

 We saw this car parked on a beautiful little terrace off one of the side streets.  Its called a Twizy!  I thought it was hysterical!  Basically a motorscooter with doors and a roof.  But they could park anywhere they wanted to!  Here in Italy, that is a big plus!
 We came across a fabulous little shop filled with "homemade books, stationary, and cards."  It looked like Geppetto's workshop.  Tara, you would LOVE it!
Teeny tiny stairway leading to the 2nd floor.

Italy makes all of it’s foreigners apply for a “Permesso”, which is essentially a card saying that you have permission to stay in the country for a certain period of time. All of the missionaries need to apply for one. This entails filing out paperwork, paying fees (of course), taking your fingerprints, and on occasion, you are randomly chosen to take a “culture class.” I was excited about this, as I pictured learning all about cool things in Italy, such as food, holidays, native dress and dances, tourist sites, etc. Boy, were we ever disappointed! Five hours of watching a video where two people sat at a desk and discussed the Italian constitution! Not once did they deviate to show any pictures or cute videos. Just five hours of this:

This is not staged. I looked over and there he was! The lady instructor actually falls alseep on the video! That's when you know it's really boring! The perfect remedy for insomnia!

The most interesting part of the culture class was the diversity of people taking the class! The majority were from Albania, with the remainder including Africa, France, Egypt, South America, Saudi Arabia, India, and us! The only Americans! We’ve been surprised at the number of foreigners from other countries living here in Italy. 

  It can take months to finally receive your permesso, but both Miles and I got ours within a week of finishing our culture class!  YAY!

One of Italy’s many holidays they celebrate is “Festa della Donna” or “Women’s Day.” Not to be confused with Mother’s Day, which is another holiday. But the tradition here is to give yellow flowers to all the women. This is the time of year that the mimosa trees are in bloom. 

They have a very subtle sweet clean fragrance that I just love. I remember it from when I lived here as a young girl. On every street corner there was a man selling small bouquets of mimosas. 

The tradition is to give the women a bouquet of yellow flowers.  I think I really love this holiday!

 The other tradition is for women to all go out and celebrate together or some other event. Our Relief Society joined together at a pizza place. I never knew how many things you can include on pizza! The strangest to me was the tuna pizza. (They put tuna on everything) But I had to admit it was pretty tasty! 
To top it off, they brought us Nutella pizza! Hey, why not!?!

We stayed busy having various members and missionaries to our house for lunch and dinner. It’s been fun to try out certain American recipes to see what goes over best. By far, the favorites have been the Ham and Cheese sliders, my Orzo Pasta Salad, and my homemade brownies (which I have perfected after several tries). 

Our sweet sister missionaries, on the outside, with our wild and crazy friend Maria!

Lunch with the African refugees, Victory and Joseph (who loved the Sloppy Joes) and the elder missionaries.

One of our duties as a senior missionary couple is to help and support the young missionaries. Twice a year we are asked to go and inspect each of their apartments to make sure things are kept clean and tidy. This was to be a “white glove” inspection. We were assigned 12 apartments to inspect around our zone of Genova. It was so much fun to go to each apartment and get to know the missionaries better. Some apartments were better than others, naturally. I brought plates of brownies to each of the missionaries as a peace offering, and then proceeded to tell them how to really clean!

  And the best news of the blog is that after waiting for four months to move to Genova, our apartment finally was ready for us to move in! 
  I couldn’t really believe it until we had the keys in hand and we turned to lock 
on the door! Stay tuned for more pictures and adventures from Genova!

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