Monday, October 26, 2015

Singing in the rain

Things I've learned from Tangled and from my mission:
1. A frying pan is literally all you need
    When I live on my own again, all I'm buying is a frying pan and a
cupcake pan because cupcakes are important and you can make ANYTHING
in a frying pan.
2. How to make friends because of your hair
    "Hey, I like your curls!" "Grazie! I like yours too. They're so
small, is your hair real?" "Why yes, it is. Let me tell you about my
biracial family and how the family can live together forever"
    Also one of the sisters in our ward who had a husband pass away
recently, and hasn't come to church for a while, is going to braid my
hair next pday! She's from Nigeria, and the warmest nicest loving
person ever. Her little boy speaks perfect Italian, and English with a
thick Nigerian accent, it's adorable. I'm also very excited because
I've never had tiny braids before.
3. Mother knows best.
     My trainer, Sorella Battezzato, is such a boss! I don't know what
I would do without her. I don't know how people manage without having
a companion whose first language is Italian. Especially when people
have a really thick Sicilian accent, I'm hoping it's not Italian that
they're speaking because I can't understand a bit of it, haha, but no,
she tells me it's still Italian. Sometimes they actually are speaking
Siciliano, but usually no. Also, to clear the confusion, people on the
mission do a weird thing and the first companion you have, they refer
to them as your mom, or for Elders dad. I don't actually call her
"mom" because that would be super weird, but some missionaries just do
it to be funny I guess.

This week was really hard. That's about all I have to say about that.
But luckily the hills and all the walking balances out for the amount
of stress eating, haha. Nutellaaaaa!

We're working very hard, and getting a little better each day. Slowly
but surely we're seeing the fruits of our labors.

I LOVE THE MEMBERS IN RAGUSA. They are like angels, and when we are
feeling really wore out they're like, hey, take some biscotti. Or,
"let me give you a ride to the questura and wait out in the freezing
cold with you until I have to go to work!" These people are literally
saints. Also, they know a crazy ton about the Bible and Book of
Mormon. I guess if you convert from Catholicism, it takes a little
more to be willing to leave behind your families traditions of
hundreds of years. These people know what they're talking about when
they say they know the church is true. Only the spirit can convert
people, but wow these people know their facts. We had a lesson the
other week with an investigator and the Chines family (they are like
our grandparents and live in our building, I love them SO much) and
Fratello Chines answered a lot of her questions and in that lesson
even I had a bunch of, "ohhhh, that's what that means" moments.

Not a very long email this week, but I just want to leave with my
testimony of Jesus Christ. He was truly the Son of God. He died, but
He lives. We all came to Earth and we knew mortality would not be
easy, but Christ came, and lived a perfect life so that we would be
able to find some relief in this life and have a hope for our life yet
to come. The atonement is real. Christ built his church when he was on
the earth so that we would know what to do to return to the presence
our Father in Heaven, and to be able to live with Him for all
eternity. Christ worked hard everyday to remain perfect, and he
suffered infinitely more than we can imagine, and He did this because
He loves us. He loves each and every person individually, and He can
never forget you.
I know these things are true.

-Sorella Holiday

Don't worry, I didn't buy it. Haha, but wow I look crazy in this picture

 This is our view from our kitchen balcony. We live at the edge of the city.

Spesa-Off to do grocery shopping. Behold, the granny cart. The other one
broke last week so we also carried bags today.

 Inspiration wall in our study room

 My bed

 My desk. Oops, it's kind of messy.

 This focused weird but there's a panificio by where we live and it's
called scaccia. It has meat and cheese and lasagna and it's covered in
a thin layer of bread and it's wayyyy good but my camera focused

 This is sooo good! It's like thick fruit leather but softer. They call
it marmellata which also means jam but it's not jam.

 My first district in the field. After DDM

From Friday at the questura. We did our comp study while we waited for
our second appointment, and yes I know, I haven't been able to buy
makeup yet. I'll have to wait another week. The places that take cards
are really far, so another pday. And I got this sick scarf from the
death closet! (No one died) When sisters get sent to Sardegna, or go home, they
leave a lot of stuff behind so then we score.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Living ghetto and rocking it

We spent Monday night in Catania and zone conference was Tuesday and we rushed to get out of there fast, and as we were leaving I realized I forgot my towel at the Sorellas apartment, but it was too late so we kept going. And then we finally got back to Ragusa and I realized I left ALL of my beauty supplies back in Catania! My makeup, hair product, hair ties, face lotion, tooth brush, deodorant, and pretty much everything that a girl packs in a travel bag. I was wondering why I was able to fit 10 book of Mormons in my suitcase because it was really full on the way up, and then I realized! So I've been making do this past week. Saturday morning we had to buy some
water (you do not drink the water in Sicily, and I have a water purifier but it's still questionable tasting) because we didn't really have a Pday last Monday, so I bought some hair products and a tooth
brush. Luckily I had an extra stick of deodorant, I don't really like makeup anyways but I'm buying more today and leave in conditioner for my hair. There was and extra pillow case lying around that I've been using for a towel, and Sorella Battezzato had an extra toothbrush head, it's literally just the head of the toothbrush, haha, bristles on a plastic base. Good thing I have a big mouth so I could fit my hand in it. The mission teaches you how to live ghetto, and just work with it. Haha, don't even get me started on our apartment, it's awesome :)

Thursday we were in Comiso (it's another city in our area, but it takes a while to get there if we're not going with a member so we only go once a week) because we had three appointments there, so we had lunch there and planned on getting pizza at this restaurant, but apparently they only make pizza for dinner, and so we got what else was on their menu. Best spaghetti I've ever had, Spaghetti dello Scaglio, so it had the most amazing sauce and clams, shrimp and squid in it!

It was a really good week, and we had a really awesome experience that I probably won't write, but I'll tell you about it some day. It was also a tough week. We see so many little miracles everyday, when we're out contacting it's amazing the people whose path we cross. But it's really hard work. A lot of people cancel appointments last second, a lot of people don't want anything to do with us, sometimes we have to resort to hours of street contacting at a time, and you wonder why you would choose to do something so hard and foreign for such a long time. Leaving behind everything that you're comfortable with and used to, by choice.

This morning during our study time, I was reading a talk we had planned on sharing with someone tonight from the last April general conference, "Is It Still Wonderful to You?".

So I was reflecting on this, and yes, of course it's only been two months now, but it is wonderful. The knowledge of my Savior, my testimony of a loving Heavenly Father, the reality of the plan of salvation, and all the beautiful things that that He has given us in this life to help us achieve our potential, to help prepare us for our eternity. It is so flipping wonderful, and life is full of joy! We all have trials, but life is not meant to just be endured, it's meant to be enjoyed.

Ciao ciao!
Sorella Holiday

 In Catania

Anziano Kawai wanted a picture with the sisters and then some other
elders jumped in

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 2

So much has happened this week I can't believe it's only been a week. Last Sunday feels like a year ago! I can now put faces to all of the people my trainer told me about last week, and the city is beginning to feel more familiar. We've had good days, and better days. There are seriously SO many hills here, my calves are getting huge.

There's just so much to say! I can't choose which stories. Okay, we had a lesson with one of our investigators this week (I'm changing names of people so I'll say he's Giovanni). He owns a beauty supply store where the sisters used to buy some of their supplies, and then he was interested in knowing more about the church so a couple weeks ago they started teaching him. He read the Book of Mormon in TWO weeks! Which is especially impressive with how much he works. He doesn't get much business so unfortunately his shop is closing down. So when we saw him last week he seemed pretty distracted but he was still willing to listen. We had a lesson prepared on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach him in his shop and he's really cool about it, he even lets us pray with him, which some people can be pretty weird about if it's in public, so props to him. But it was the coolest thing as we started teaching this lesson, the entire atmosphere of the shop just changed. It was like BOOM, spirito! I felt like I wasn't in a foreign country anymore, everything felt so..comfortable? Warm, good? I don't really know a word to describe it, but the spirit filled the shop. I can't remember what part of the lesson we got to, but then he got a customer!  We were happy because he usually doesn't, so we took a pause, the lady checked out, back to lesson? Nope. For the next HOUR, I kid you not, he got customer, after customer, after customer. One would leave and another would come in. We couldn't stay there all day so we left him a pamphlet to read and left. It was kind of a bummer, especially because he said some of the people probably just come to buy his stuff and sell it for more money somewhere else. We'll just see where things go, and we're praying he'll find some more work and relief because it's a really stressful time right now for him.

Today we are headed to Cantania for zone conference, woo! It kind of makes the rest of the weeks schedule crammed together, but it will be fun to see the other missionaries and President Waddoups and his wife again. :)

We are teaching another girl, she's about fifteen and the sisters met her from English course. They've started helping her with her English homework, and having a lesson with her afterwards. To any of the young women reading this, it is amazing what a difference it makes knowing that you are a daughter of God. Seeing the light in this girls eyes as she's beginning to realize that is awesome. He's truly our Father in Heaven. Can you even imagine what that says about your worth and your potential? You can pray, and sincerely ask Him what he thinks of you. He loves you beyond belief.

Finally, church was awesome yesterday! First Sunday with the members, we all had Pranzo together after church, a family that was vacationing from England came and one of the sons served a mission in Philadelphia, Shannon Doxey I think he knows you. It was fast and testimony Sunday, so all the members had the chance to go up and bear their testimony. I went up, and did it in Italian. Scariest thing ever. My companion translated for the family that came from England. There's a brother in the ward whose son is serving a mission in England right now, he was so touched that they were there. It was awesome to hear everyone bear their testimony and to see that the gospel and the church is the same in every language, all over the world, and yes it's in Italian but there is the same spirit of love I feel from these people that I felt from the good members back home.

Love you all!

Sorella Holiday

Pranzo-They convert the chapel into a cultural hall, we had lots and lots of
pasta and bishops wife made tiramisu.

Fruit of Life-Our ward activity yesterday was like this course of Lehi's dream and it
was set up pretty tight. The fruit at the tree was chocolate sausage
which isn't really sausage but it's delicious. I'm not wearing my
nametag (awkward) because they had an elder and sister be the "bad
guys" leading others astray


After you eat the Nutella you can use the container as a cup
My first cannolo

Here we are with the Kitsell family from England 

District meeting, afterwards we had lunch at Taglia e Gusta and I had horse meat
My sandwich at Taglia e Gusta

Monday, October 5, 2015

First week in Italy

I'm here! Italy is beautiful and it has been quite the adventure so far. We left Provo last Monday morning, we got up at 2:30 a.m. and we were on the bus around 5 a.m. The four of us that were going to Rome had a layover in Chicago and got to talk to our families for a short bit at the airport so that was nice. At the airport in Chicago I talked with some people that were going to Rome as well, but they were Italian and let me tell you, it is the coolest thing speaking another language, even though it's slow and broken, and having someone else who speaks it natively understand you.

We arrived in Rome at 7:30 am on Tuesday, and Tuesday was a very long day but now it feels so long ago I don't really remember what happened. I'm sure we saw some cool things in Rome and talked to people. We spent the night at the villa, which is a home that used to be owned by Mussolini (it's sweet!). Then Wednesday we had all our training, and Wednesday night we opened our golden envelopes, which is just a cute thing that the mission does to let you know where your first area will be, but it was a lot of fun. I know you're all dying to know where I was sent for my first area .... *drum roll* RAGUSA !!! It's this city on the island of Sicily :). It's way cute and the people here are so so sweet. The members have my heart. They're so giving and they really look out for us. The chapel is this cute yellow building, and I took a picture but it doesn't really do it justice.

I left Rome at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday morning and did not get to Ragusa until 1 p.m. on Friday. The train ride was craaaazy. I slept a little bit because I came to Italy pretty sick, so it was a blessing I had time to rest. Our train got to Cantania around 6, but we missed the bus to Ragusa and we're not supposed to travel past 9:30 so they asked us to spend the night with the sisters in Cantania. We went to the English class with them that night. We teach English classes twice a week here, and at the end of the class we share a spiritual thought.

Oh yeah! My trainer is Sorella Battezzato! A trainer is who they call your first companion once you get to the place you're serving, and we'll be together for at least the first three months. She was born in Sicily and she has family in Cantania but she was raised in the states, Boston. :) she loves art, played rugby at BYU before the mission and is perfectly fluent in Italian and English so I basically hit the jackpot as far as trainers go. Everyone here is really cool though, Sister Taylor (my MTC companion) got sent to Bari and her trainer was on Broadway before her mission! She was in the lion king. How cool is that?

Ragusa is made up of a bunch of hills. Our apartment is at a top of the city. Some parts of the city are really old.

Yesterday we had dinner at the bishops house, and his family is really great. They have two of the cutest little kids ever. A little girl who is around 4 and a boy who is about 16 months. The little girl reminds of my niece Faith so much! She was crazy, and had on an Elsa shirt, and a bunch of Frozen toys.
Seriously, the members are amazing. After conference last night one family gave us sausage (Sicilian meat is the best btw), another gave us a bunch of yogurt because their daughter doesn't like it, and another sister gave us ciambellone, which is kind of like cake and really good.

Sunday I did an English fast, starting Saturday night. In our church we usually fast from food the first Sunday of each month, but since this month was general conference no one really did that, but I gave up English and it was super helpful.
Shoutout to Fratello Wortham for teaching me how to say "melo cavo". One of our investigators came to conference last night and she was pretty impressed with my Italian once I used that, haha.

I love you all! More miracles are about to happen in Ragusa, I can feel it.

-Sister Holiday :)

P.s. Italian Nutella is waaaay better than Nutella in the states! I didn't believe, but I've had it now, and the rumors are true.

Sister Taylor and Sister Holiday on the bus on the way to the airport

Waiting for the train to SLC


Everyone thinks the Vatican is the Pope's church but it's not. This is the Pope's church and where they have all of their important meetings.
St. Giovanni, the Pope's chair
Some cool ruins

Our train took a ship from the mainland to Sicily
Sorella Holiday and Sorella Battezzato

Sorella Battezzato decorated my closet to welcome me and I added some things from home

First Italian Pizza


Chapel in Ragusa