Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Year Anniversary.

I cannot believe it. First, that God somehow thought it was a great idea for me to serve a mission. It's not something I had ever planned on doing but I will forever be grateful for His insistence in my need to go. And I can't believe that I've already been home for one year. I remember being in the MTC in the line to get dinner and naturally I'd just ask where the missionaries in front and behind me in line were going on their missions. It didn't take long for me to realize that I should try to change the subject before the get a chance to ask me where I was going. Because they'd usually seem disappointed with where they were serving afterward--which is no good. I'd always try to save it by saying something like, "Oh come on, Wisconsin will be great. There are clearly some great things for you to do there." Which is true. But deep down, I knew from the get go that mine was special. Not only is it (in my super biased opinion) the most beautiful place in the world, but someone there needs me to play a role in bringing them the gospel. That was so cool to think about. Opening my call letter to find the words "Italy Rome Mission" is a moment I will never ever forget. Nothing had ever felt so right.

This post is going to be SOOO long but I figure it's more for me than for anyone else. Here are just some pics of a few highlights: the food, the beautiful places, the funny stories, and the amazing people:
The Food

Italian pizza. Not over-rated.

Oh mamma I can't remember what this is called but the Magnanti fam made it for us and you just eat it off the table. Fun and yummers.

Less appetizing. This is worm cheese. It's technically illegal but missionaries that get shipped to the island just have to try it if they can find it. Yes, worm cheese meaning there are lots of little white live jumping worms all over (and inside) it.

Bread. Pastries. Enough said.

Pandoro. THE item you want members to give you for Christmas. :)


The Colosseum. I got to serve in Rome two times. Didn't get sick of this place.

Yes please. This is Portovenere. It was like 45 minutes from my home in La Spezia. Picturesque.
The Spanish Steps.

The Roman Forum

Yep yep, Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Trevi Fountain.

Little Town called Vernazza. Just a wee train ride from my apartment in La Spezia. I was in that area for 6 months and thusly went here on P-days many-a-time. But I'm convinced I couldn't get sick of this place if I tried.


My last area. All my shoes had died by then. I bought this pair for 10 euro--not wanting to spend much. They uh...destroyed my feet. By the end of the night I'd try to do something creative to not have to stand on them...at least while waiting for the bus.

Anziano Graham just coming prepared with food on the metro.

S.lla Dalia and I cleaned out La Spezia's death closet. BAGS of really unattractive, Websters definition of 'frumpy' sister missionary clothes. We had to bring all of it to the church to give to the president. Adventure.

On our way home from the mission our airplane had problems in Paris. After waiting on the plane for a good 4 hours, they announced that we'd have to stay the night in Paris and that they'd fly us out the following day. We called our mission president and he advised we go see the Eiffel Tower while we're there. Are..you...serious!? We are coming home from our missions from Rome Italy, we are having engine problems in Paris, are told we can get a cab (though it was a Mercedes for some reason) to take us to Eiffel Tower, and they took us the Champs Elysees route?! This is a pic of Anziano Heldings mind exploding at the limitless amount of incredible that situation was.

Christmas zone conference skits. We did a parody of the Grinch. Anziano Nielsen wrapped his face in tinsel...to look like the Grinch--uh, hilarious. And somehow Anziano Nancollas is his dog Max...though he has a stricking resemblance to a certain Star Wars character.

Sorella Skabelunds bed was a bust...literally. It was bent in half. We may or may not have stacked a wallop of old video cassettes under her bed so she could sleep flat.

THE PEOPLE--the most beautiful and important part.

My last transfer circle before dying.

S.lla Margheriti-one of the most incredible women that I've actually met in real life. I adore her.

Shane and Mona. They joined us for many-a-lesson and are incredible member missionaries.

S.lla Dalia. One transfer together. But it was an incredible one. We love eachother.

S.lla Bellu taught us how to make bread and homemade pasta. Uh...yes please!

Alessandra and Judy.

The Rome Zone at zone singing.

S.lla Miles. My last comp. I love her.

Joseph! I love love and LOVE this man. And he kinda adored us right back. After every appointment he'd make us stay and eat bananas squished between two crackers. Delish. Funny. Love it caus I sure love him. He's so brilliant but so humble. I always walked away learning something new from him. Incredible man.

Teaching follow-up lessons to Giusella on Sunday. Lovely family of sisters and a great last district.


The sister missionaries of the Rome Mission...well...most of them

I Love Fratello Carli. He is the most darling man. So kind and yet always good for a laugh.

The youth of La spezia. This is pretty much the whole YM/YW group. I admire them an awful lot. They're very strong.

Ariel and Miguel.

Fernanda. Baptized in Rome 3.

I got to see Diana before I went home. She got baptized when I was just a greenie--with my trainer still. She is always happy and I love that about her.

Well I will stop here. These aren't even pics from my whole mission but my computer battery is about to go belly up so I suppose it's time to close. Saro' grata per sempre per la possibilita' di svolgere una missione. Mi ha cambiato tanto. Ha benedetto la mia vita piu' che potrei mai spiegare. Ho conosciuto delle persone meravigliose. La mia testimonianza del vangelo e' stato rafforzato e il mio rapporto con Dio e Gesu' Cristo e' molto piu' forte e personale. So che Dio mi ama e mi vuole benedire. So che la felicita' dipende su quanto uno e' obbediente ai comandamenti. So che le difficolta' nella vita ci dovrebbero portare piu' vicino a Dio--ma e' la nostra scelta. Mi ha mostrato quanto sono forte--hmm...o magari dovrei dire che mi ha mostrato quanto posso fare con la fede e l'aiuto di Dio. Amo quel anno e mezzo della mia vita. Certamente era difficile, ma piu' di tutto era la definizione di bellezza. Ha reso la mia vita bella in un modo che non sarebbe potuto essere se non fosse per quel tempo di servire a tempo pieno.


  1. Beautiful Mal. It looks wonderful. So many incredible places and experiences. It's amazing that's it's been a whole year already. It doesn't seem like it.
    I want to take a bath in those pastries. Oh they look so delicious!!! And what is pandoro?

  2. I just love you...that's all!

  3. I need to go to Portovenere. Also, I'm with Kim...what is pandoro?

  4. Mama mia! quanto mi manca la bella italia!!! Grazie per la tua testimonianza! Tu sei bravissima! TVB!!!!

  5. I adore this post and the fact that you are spouting beautiful Italian in the last paragraph...WHAT?!? And I love that you got to go to the Eiffel Tower on your way home. Amazing luck.

  6. Kim and Ace~ Pandoro is Delicious! I don't really know how to describe it. It's a crazy shaped...cake?? It comes in a box and then you shake it up in a plastic bag with a packet of powdered sugar. It's super good. Every missionary felt EXTRA loved when members would give them to us for Christmas. For some reason they're just sold around Christmas time. We'd sometimes dip it in hot chocolate but...just the fact that it exists at all is not a disgruntable thing. I'll try to find one this Christmas for you to try.

  7. this is such a beautiful post that really got me thinking and remembering AND excited to go back. I love you to the moon and back. sei grande sorella.