Monday, March 21, 2016

First email from Italy!! 3/21/2016 Week #6

Wow what a week it's been!! So rewind to the last days of the MTC, we
had a great last week getting everything ready to go and saying bye to
all of our friends we made there. Monday morning we woke up at 4am and
got our stuff all together and said bye to our Milano Sorelle. Then we
were off to the airport!! I got to talk to my family which was the
best thing ever! We had a 4hr flight to JFK and then an hour layover
and then flew directly to Rome!! I didn't have anyone in the seat next
to me for the last 8.5hr flight so I was able to sleep majority of the
time. I can honestly say flying over the Alps as the sun was coming up
was hands down one of the coolest things I've ever seen.

We got to Rome at 9am their time and met President Waddoups and the
AP's and then went over to the Rome Temple construction site!! Ah I
can't even tell you how beautiful it is. I pray that it will be
finished while I'm still in Italy!! Then we went to the Villa (mission
home built in the 1920's by Mussolini) and we met Sorella Waddoups
(she's a doll. I love her so much!!) The AP's took us to the Metro and
we went to Downtown Rome and saw all kinds of cool stuff: the
Colosseum, Roman forum, the Capitol building, piazza del popolo, a
really cool chapel, etc.

The next day we set up our iPads and had trainings all afternoon and
then that night we opened our golden envelopes that tell us where our
first area is and who our trainer is!! Like I said, I'm in Taranto and
my trainer is Sorella Adamson from Melbourne Australia!! The very
first thing President said to me was "How's your Australian Sorella
Hess?? And DON'T DRINK THE WATER." Lol. Turns out there are parasites
in the water here so we have to buy all of our water that we drink.
Taranto is on the top of the arch of the heel of the boot, right on
the ocean.

The next morning we woke up at 4am and took the metro to Termini, the
big train station in Rome, and met up with a lot of other missionaries
to go to our new areas. They made a mistake with me and accidentally
put me on the train to Bari instead of the train to Cosenza where my
trainer was waiting for me, so we took a 7hr train ride and then they
put me on a train for 3hrs by myself from Bari to Taranto. My poor
comp was in Cosenza to pick me up so she also had to ride back to
Taranto by herself. Well I can now say that I have ridden a train
alone through Italy! Check that one off the bucket list haha. Anziano
and Sorella Lahederne, our senior couple in Taranto, were waiting for
me at the train station and I hung out with them for the rest of the
night until my trainer got there at 9pm. They took me with them to the
chapel for English course where I met the Anziani in our district.
English course is a blast!! Haha it was a crazy day but I was glad
everything worked out.

That next night we had a ward relief society party and I got to meet a
lot of the sisters in the ward! They are soooo sweet. I love Italians
so much already. They all just hug and kiss me on the cheeks and tell
me how bella (beautiful) my blonde hair is😊 I'm literally the only
blonde person in the ward hahaha. It was supposed to start at 6 but
they didn't even start until 6:35 lol. Italian time😂 The food here is
UNREAL. I will probably have to be rolled off the plane in 16 months
haha. Just kidding, we walk a ton to make up for how much they feed
us!

We had a lesson with one of our investigators on Saturday night with a
couple from the ward. Wowwww. Italians talk fast hahahaha. I can catch
a couple words in every phrase but most of it just goes right over my
head. Ma va bene!! I know it'll come😊 I just keep praying to be
patient with myself and to focus on loving the people. After that we
went down to Centro (pronounced chen-tro) which is the main downtown
part of Taranto where all the shopping and stuff is! We did some
finding and I got my first gelato😏

Our first Sunday was so fun! Church is great! The ward here is strong
and everyone is so sweet! After church we had pranzo (lunch) with some
members! They gave me a huge bowl of pasta and I was already
struggling to eat it all, and then they brought out the rest of the
meal--chicken, bread, dessert, etc! Sorella Adamson told me it was
actually a super small meal soooo.... #pray4sorellahess hahaha. My
poor stomach needs to stretch ASAP😂
I love being here! Italy is more amazing than I could've imagined!!
It's so beautiful! Everyone just laughs at me because I'm always
taking pictures of everything!! They just say "I was like that when I
was a greenie too! You get used to it." 😂
I'm so thankful for the opportunity we have to communicate with our
Father in Heaven whenever we want. He loves us so much. Although I
can't communicate with these people very well yet, I know how much our
Heavenly Father loves them and I want to share that love with them.

Sorry for basically writing a book, but so much has happened since
last time I wrote!! I love you all!! Grazie per tutti!!

Con amore,
Sorella Hess

Pics: gelato on Saturday night
Colosseum with my MTC Zone
Me in Centro today for P-day!!

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