Sunday, July 11, 2010

15+ things we will always associate with Italy

It was hard to stop at 15. We love Italy!
(These are in no particular order)
1. Red poppies

2. Fields of sunflowers

3. Oleander bushes along the roadways

4. Umbrella trees

5. Delicious, many flavored gelato

6. Mediterranean Sea

7. Toll booths and confusing signs

8. Olive trees

9. Grape vines

10. The color purple – like purple bougainvillea

11. People talking with their hands

12. Outdoor markets

13. Marble

14. Apartments

15. Crazy drivers and narrow streets

And of course, missionary work

Friday, July 9, 2010

Crazy Busy Lives

Missionary work is often pronounced SERVICE.
Several of us missionaries from our district went out to help “the cat lady” clean her house. That was quite an experience. (Our lady had 20+ cats that she would not allow to go outside her house, and we were cleaning inside her house – ‘nough said!)

We have less photos recently because the ace photographer in our family has been ill.

On 1 July 2010, our new mission president arrived. President and Sister Kelly are super people and we are delighted they are now leading the mission.

Here we were greeting them for the first time.

Several missionaries from our Zone were at the Villa to sing the “Hymn of Rome” for them to welcome them to the mission.

President and Sister Acerson are also in the picture. We love them so much and all they have done for all of us missionaries and for the work of the Lord. What a pleasure to serve most of our mission under their direction.
A poignant moment when President Acerson begins to let go and turn these wonderful missionaries over to the care of a new President.

The same day our President arrived in Rome, we picked up Terrell and Denise Skinner at the airport. They are good friends from Canada who were just finishing their mission in London, England at the temple.
We were just renewing our friendship with them at our apartment, when three former missionaries from the Rome, Italy mission showed up at the apartment. They had come to visit and ended up staying the night before catching their train back to Milano. Francesco DeRuvo (from Italy), Alex Sweat (from Utah), and Arianna Marangoni (from Italy). What a delight to see them again.

Terrell and Denise enjoyed the sights and sounds of Rome with us for a week. Denise’s greatest wish however was to swim in the Mediterranean Sea.

Denise loved the shopping at the little markets, and also wanted to eat dinner in a sidewalk restaurant in the evening.

A good friend from English class, Andrea, invited Will and I to a concert in the countryside outside of Rome. After a drive through a charming tree-lined private estate,

we arrived at the Villa Mondragone.

The day had been a busy one with our first Rome Zone Conference with our new President. Consequently, we had been at the office working late and had not had an opportunity to return home to get the camera.
When we arrived at Villa Mondragone, Andrea and Arianna, his wife, and 18 month-old daughter, Sophia, showed us around the Villa. We were aching to be able to photograph this wonderful place with landscaped courtyards and a fantastic evening view with Rome in the distance.
Arianna’s mother was one of the singers at the concert, which was actually the opera: Carmina Burana.” As we sat on the 3rd row from the front, we felt part of the choir, grand pianos, percussion instruments, and soloists.

What a grand experience. We felt particularly spoiled to be invited to such a lovely evening with good friends.
After all this busy-ness, I just wanted to include a beautiful sunset which we enjoyed coming home from somewhere wonderful!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Transfer Week in June 2010

This past week has been transfer week, so we were anxious to have the sisters over for a last dinner with Sister Stephenson. Angelo, standing next to Will, is a new convert and was receiving a last after-baptism lesson at our apartment after dinner.

The “dying dinner” was held at the Mission Villa. This transfer 12 missionaries were returning home after serving an honorable mission. A delicious lasagna dinner was served, complete with salad and tiramisu.

Several parents and siblings came to pick up their missionary, so Sister Acerson made dinner for about 35 people.

Each transfer, Will makes a "dying DVD" with 20 or so favorite pictures from each missionary that is returning home. It ends up being about a 20 minute slide show of missionary life in Italy. Each missionary receives one of these treasures to take home with them.
A highlight of the evening was the singing of the mission hymn.

Then we took lots of pictures with those missionaries whom we love so much. What great service they have given to their Savior and to the people of Italy.

The missionaries really look up to Elder Sommerfeldt. We thought this silly picture with Elder Stanfield was hilarious.

This dying dinner with the missionaries was also the last transfer for President and Sister Acerson to be involved in. What a tremendous duo they have been to lead this mission.

A wind-down for us after transfer week was a visit to the beach.
Beaches come in two types in Italy:
Mostly sandy

or mostly rocky.

The beach we found on Saturday near Ladispoli had some of both.
The sea was sending in good sized waves.

We continue to love our experiences in Italy: the missionaries, the people of Italy, the sights and sounds, the delicious food, and this spectacular country. Italy Rome Mission is the best!
PS - Did I forget to mention ....... yummy gelato!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shop 'til You DROP

This past week, Paula, Maray, Kendra, and Bari, 4 of Will’s daughters, a son-in-law, Jim, and an 18 year-old granddaughter, Maryna, visited us in Italy. We were warned ahead of time that this was going to be a shopping holiday.

A shop ‘til you drop week began at the open air markets in Rome.

continued on throughout Rome, Firenze, Pisa, Cinque Terre, and Tivoli

with a fantastic show and tell every evening

Lest you think that Jim was one step behind the girls, take another look!

When we weren’t shopping, we were eating tomato sandwiches at the apartment

or pizza in downtown Rome

or trying out new yummy food at the restaurant at the end of our street

or licking a gelato daily.
Even though we all tried to push the leaning tower of Pisa over or hold it in place, Jim seemed to be the most proficient at the task.

As we waited for the boat to travel to Cinque Terre,

we enjoyed a car show that was going on in LaSpezia.

The boat ride to the 5 villages of Cinque Terre is always a treat:

When we arrived in Montorosso, the girls were anxious to dip their toes into the Mediterranean Sea

The water is soooo beautiful in Cinque Terre. We declare this the picture of the week:

Corpus Domini, a “flower petal tapestry” holiday called Infiorata is celebrated 9 weeks after Easter. The Flower Art Festival was in full swing in Cinque Terre.

Up one street, the kids were in charge of the flower carpet.

Down the next street professionals were at work making more beautiful designs with flower petals.

Picturesque Cinque Terre is always a delight
Here are Maray, Bari, Kendra, Paula

We saw the process of putting the boats into the water from high up on narrow streets of the village.

The walk along the Via deli Amore from the village of Manarola to Riomaggiore is easy and delightful.

Especially the gorgeous sunset.

Our kids spent two days in Switzerland, allowing us to get back to work at the office.
But on Friday, we visited Tivoli for a slow-down, relaxing type of day.

Then we finished off by heading downtown once again to see the Coliseum at night.

At Termini, we met a delightful 86 year-old Italian woman who attracted our attention with her rings. The “ring lady” allowed us to take our picture with her

and her rings.

No trip to Rome would be complete without being caught in a bus strike. The girls were a little concerned when at 11:00 p.m. the bus to our apartment was not running because of a strike. They had an early morning airplane to catch for home. With a little Heavenly help, we made it work, and they were able to return to their families as planned.
What a great week!