Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oh Italy, Never Change!

Cagliari Gastronomy (I know, the word isn't very appetizing)
Tried my first kebab - Amazing!!!
Tried a taste of horse meat. It's actually super good.  Like a normal steak, but finer and more tender.
Hot dog & french fry pizza. Italians call it "American Pizza"
Their red sauce is tomato sauce with basil, mint, and just enough cheese (parmesano/regiano?) to
make it slightly orange in color.
They make a pizza with french fries and hot dogs, and call it "American Pizza."  I don't think it means what they think it means.
Typical Sard dish: Curlogionis - ravioli with potato-mint filling and a red sauce.  Delicious!
I'm finding that Sardinians like putting mint in a lot of things, like all of their sauces.
Heard my first accordion music played in the streets of Italy.  Aaaah, a beautiful moment (almost as if it were plucked from the movies) with sun
shining, friends, and good food - it was a feast for the senses.

Peanut Butter Crisis in Italy
They do not have peanut butter in Italy.  Sad!  Yet, they sell crustless bread.  Curious.  Why else would you have crustless bread but for pb&j sandwiches?  Italy does not have boxed cold cereal.  Could this be because of their boxed room temperature non-refrigeratable long shelf-life milk?  Because everyone knows that cold cereal requires cold milk: hence, the "cold" preceding "cereal".  Italy does not have oatmeal (as in rolled oats).  I always understood that gruel/mush/porridge/oatmeal/hot cereal was a universal dish for all masses and classes kind of thing.  I must say that it is difficult trying to figure out what to eat for breakfast, because Italians by and large have espresso and a cookie or brioche for breakfast.  Sometimes a brioche with gelato for breakfast.
Breakfast: Brioche with Gelato
I'm not complaining, mind you.  I mean, isn't having cookies, pastry and ice cream for breakfast every kid's dream?  I'm just wondering how they can eat this every day and not gain 500 pounds.  My breakfast options are running thin.  I usually eat yogurt, but that can get bland and boring.  And since we can only go to the store for groceries once a week, the fruit doesn't last for very many days.  I am going to have to get creative.

Thunderstorms and Fair-Weathered Friends
Everyone keeps insisting that summer is on its way, but lately we have been having some pretty stormy weather.  Wind, rain, overcast.  Last night, a thunderstorm woke me up a few times.  Even though our blinds were closed, the room kept lighting up because of the lightning.  Apparently, this is not an uncommon occurrence - Sardegna has lots of thunderstorms.
Check out this 3 minute video of a Cagliari Thunderstorm:
The problem with rainy weather is that it seems to make everyone a bit gloomy.  They love the sun so much and live their lives on the beach that when the weather turns wet and dark, it dampens their moods.  They are much quieter on the buses (and there are more of them because no one wants to walk in the rain).  But despite all of that, my companions and I have seen some awesome miracles.

We have two investigators who are progressing well!  Both are reading the Book of Mormon, praying and have attended Church.  We are so excited.  With one investigator in particular, we have been seeing countless miracles.  Others would call them coincidences, but we call them signs, miracles - evidence of God's love for her and her family.  As her story progresses and I get her permission to share it with the masses, we will include it in the blog.

Service is the Key
In companionship study we have been discussing the story of Ammon (from the Book of Mormon) and how service-minded he was as a missionary.  He was looking for opportunities to serve first, and then used those opportunities to teach.  This is something that really struck us because here in Italy, people don't want to be preached to, they don't want sermons, but if ways can be found to help them, to make friends with them and show them you care, they open up and become your best friend.  For instance - yesterday I handed out a flier to a girl who was sitting next to me on the bus; a flier advertising the free English class we teach.  I hardly got the sentence out about the free course, when she bursts out (in Italian), "O perfect, I've been looking for one! I study languages!"  Turns out she has been trying to teach herself English by watching TV.  Her English isn't too bad (the pronunciation was a little off), but she also knows Spanish, Japanese, German, and a little of a few others.  Anyway, we got to talking and I found that the elders knocked on her door just the other day, but she said no and closed the door on them.  Now she's coming to our english course where we give a spiritual thought every week!  Service opens doors that simply could not be opened in any other way.

Funny Experience of the Week
My companions and I were doing casa (tracting/knocking doors) last Saturday.  After escaping being cornered by a flirtatious older man, we ran into a professional soccer player who accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said he'd read it (awesome!).  We arrived at another building to revisit a woman who had asked for us to stop by some time.  We found the right apartment, knocked, and a 16 year-old young man cracked open the door.  When he saw us, he smiled, flung the door wide open and boldly stepped out into the open - only he was in his underwear (not boxers).  I think he forgot he was only in his underwear, because he suddenly got this look of horror on his face.  When Sorella Cojan saw that Sorella O'Connor and I could hardly contain our laughter, she politely told him we were expecting his mom, and that we would come back another time.  We laughed all the way home.  You don't have experiences like that anywhere else than on a mission.  Oh Italy - never change!

Sorella Ashley Nef

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