Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Finally Here!!!

So today I received my mission call for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been called to serve in the Switzerland Geneva Mission speaking the French language. I will be leaving for the Provo Missionary Training Center on March 24 and will arrive in Switzerland about 2 months after that.

I really cannot express what it feels like right now. It hasn't totally sunk in yet, so I'm still getting used to the thought. I really can't put into words what's going through my mind right now. I really only have three for you right now: humility, happiness, and peace. I feel so humbled that the Lord would trust me with this privilege and opportunity. I really never thought I would be here. And now that I am, I am brought to my second word - happiness. I am SO happy to be spending the next couple years dedicated to preaching the true gospel of Christ. I believe it with everything that is within me, and I can't wait to share that with the people of Switzerland (or France, or Luxembourg, or even a little piece of Belgium). And I feel such peace with this assignment. I can't explain how much it just feels right. It fits. And I don't know how or why, but I've just felt peace since I saw that that's where I'm going. What a wonderful opportunity I have ahead of me. And I can't wait to get started. Too bad it's 5 months away. When I can articulate my words a little bit better, I will try again. But for now, I leave you with this. I hope you will pray for the spirit to be with me as I prepare for this incredible journey ahead. I love you all so much and thank you eternally for supporting me through my life. You are wonderful.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Here we are getting away from Italian food for the first time. That's right, Chinese food in Italy. I don't really recommend ever doing that though..... It wasn't too bad, but to us it tasted wonderful because all we've eaten for the last 2 months is panino after panino after pizza and after pasta. Like I said before - the 3 P's. I've calmed down on the gelato a bit, but in the beginning, not so much. I won't even tell you how many I've eaten - yes I have an active and growing count. Live it up, right? At least that's what I tell myself.
Anyways, we went into this kinda sketch Chinese food place, but we felt hopeful because it was run by actual Chinese people. It's just not the same when you hear them speaking Italian though. Kinda takes away from the ambience. Oh well, what can you expect. But it was just funny when they ushered us into this side room where there were table clothes over those huge freezers, you know the ones that people stick dead bodies in? Ok, bad description of the freezers, but I didn't know how else to describe them. Plus, it adds to the sketchiness of the place. So ate random Chinese food there. I was a little ticked when I saw that there was no orange chicken. What kind of Chinese food place doesn't have orange chicken? Oh I know! The kind that's in Italy. Oh ok, got it. Needless to say, I'll be having lots of food that's not Italian when I get home. Mainly MEXICAN!!!! Oh what I wouldn't give for a burrito or some fajitas, or really just anything with some pinto beans or guacamole or salsa. Anything Mexican. Oh how I miss you!!! I'm also excited for some Yard House when I get home. Mom, don't forget that we're going there. Preferably night 2 or 3 that I am home. Ok, just a little reminder. Thanks, Love you :D

The Papers Are In!!!

So my friends decided to celebrate with me the day that I turned in my mission papers. So we went to this restaurant called "Nonna Gina" - this cute little place all family run. I got this really super yummy gnocchi that was cheese stuffed. I didn't even know gnocchi could be cheese stuffed. But it had this really good nutmeg sauce on it. The Italians use so many more spices - they branch out more. We don't really use nutmeg that much. But it's super good in some things.

Anyways, I will try and edit this post a little bit more to put a couple more pictures of the day. It's so fun to think that my call is on its way to me. To my parents first and then to me. I like to think that the Lord's always known where I would go, but maybe that's not how it works. But I wonder if things that I've been through in my life have prepared me for just the place that I've been assigned. I guess we'll see. I'm so excited, but I can't think about it too much or I'll go crazy. I'm just an impatient person in general, so this is already killing me as it is. I'll let you know when that packet comes in the mail. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Go Ahead And Hate Me For Hating The Devil's Holiday

That's right, I said it. And I'll say it until I die. I hate Halloween. Go ahead and say that I'm not fun, or that I'm a grinch, whatever. I don't care. I just don't like it. And I don't really ever remember enjoying it. I don't really like getting super dressed up, so that doesn't help. Well, everybody thought I was lame because I didn't want to dress up, but I didn't really care. I went to the branch Halloween party and had just as much fun as anybody else.

It was funny though because my friend Marci didn't really dress up either, but she put her scarf on her head and she totally looked like a gypsy. So we gave her a plastic cup and put a bunch of 1 euro cents in there and she went around begging. I have a bunch of awesome pictures of her, but I love this one of her counting her change. It makes me laugh every time.

Kaitlin, oh how I love you! She seriously surprises me everyday. I love hanging out with her, I always know I'll have a good time and I'll always be laughing. She was the girl from the WWII poster - "We Can Do It." And holy cow does she have the perfect arm for it. She's so stinkin' buff. She's hard core. I love it. I think she's probably the most consistent athlete. She exercises everyday. I wish I were that good. But I love her.

Guess who that is. Yeah... it was one of the Elders. A little bold for Italy, don't you think? He's funny though.

This was just one of the activities that we had at the party - shaving a balloon. That little boy in the picture doing it, is seriously so adorable. And it only makes him cuter when he starts going off in Italian. I wanted to wrap him up and put him in my pocket. I adored him.

This is just the front of the church location. It's a small location, but I love it. And it's perfect for their needs. They have a pretty small congregation - well minus us. And their primary (without our director's kids) consists of about 3 little ones. Maybe 4. Not sure. But I love the ward here. Everybody is really nice. But it was fun to have this little festa with the branch and just have a church activity. Haven't been to one of those in a while. So I enjoyed this Halloween. No big complaints from me this year. I still don't like it though. Just FYI.

Siena - How I Love Thee So Dearly.

Yeah I live here. No big deal. We got to go on top of this beautiful tower and overlook the whole city center. It's the tower of the oldest active bank in the world. Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena - a ridiculously beautiful building. I guess when you're a bank you can afford to have a beautiful building. But the view from the top of the tower was truly breathtaking. You don't get to see the city like that ever, really. I love stepping outside things like that sometimes and pinch yourself. It's moments like that where I say to myself. Oh yeah - I live here. Another reminder that I know how lucky I am - just going to throw that in here. It's funny because when we see beautiful views like that, we always say to the people in our group things like "Why are you taking a picture of that? That's not even that pretty?" or "Psh, why did we even come here, this is so ugly!" And we all just laugh because we all know how untrue that is. LOVE it.

And here's Marie and I at our beloved bus stop right by our house. Almost every day we await the number 10 bus that is usually always late - except of course on the days when we're running just a minute or two late and it decides to come on time. I love how many people they cram onto a bus. I also love that they don't think to just have 1 more bus come. Like instead of having a bus come every 30 minutes, add one bus, and have one come every 20 minutes. This bus would be less crowded that way. Marie and I decided that there's no way we're leaving Italy without a picture of our bus with all the people on it in the morning. It's awesome. I'm sure that people who live in New York or Chicago know what it's like to be crammed into some form of public transportation, but we don't really have that in good old Lake Elsinore. So it's new for me. There are many more things I could say about the bus system, but I will leave that for another time. Enjoy.

She Doesn't Know

Yes that's right. Your eyes do not deceive you. Here is Marie and I making a music video to possibly the worst song ever made. Marie plays the role of the "Sweet Spirit" and I play the role of the "Overly Dramatic Singer." The best part about this is that we didn't leave our room the entire time. We just used everything we could find inside the room. So here's a picture of Marie all geared up. Grab some popcorn, get comfy, and enjoy!

A Post For My Best Friend

To my love, Michelle Mariel Parker I
I love you more than you will ever know. It's been hard being away from you these past 2 months. I love how this is the longest we've ever been away from each other. And now I will not bring up the subject we always avoid ;) But I wanted to take this opportunity to show you the pictures I took for you. I was walking in this town called Monte Olivetto and I saw these pansies. Kinda ridiculous how a flower can almost make you cry. But I immediately brought out my camera and took some pictures for you. I wished I could have called you at that moment and told you about how they have pansies in Italy too, but I could not. So here are the pictures I took for you:

Before you know it, I will be home and we can have really lame sleep overs and we can make really yummy Italian food, stuff ourselves until we want to die, and then eat some ice cream. And then after our bellies are full and we've changed into our pajamas because our jeans won't fit anymore, we can paint our nails, put on some make up, and dance around the room to some Coldplay and Wicked and Lion King. How does that sound? Perfect! That's what I thought :D I LOVE YOU LITTLE MISSY!!! I'll see you on skype soon and we can further our plans. LOVE YOU!

Elizabeth Renee (Rose)

P.S. The middle one is my fave. Which one is yours?