Ragusa was my first area. It is found at the southern-most tip of the island of Sicily (somehow it is even further south than the northern tip of Africa), and it is beautiful, hilly, old, and hot.
Meet my trainer: Sorella Heiner. (You have to yell "Heiner" like "Hitler" with your hand out. I promise it's more fun). She was awesome. We were exactly opposite in every way, and I learned many wonderful things from her.
I love this picture so much. I only recently discovered that she looked like the crazy Sicilian flag lady in the background. Impressive.
My first zone conference with my parents - Heiner and Cardinet. We were the Italian flag! Jealous much?
Our ward mission leader was also a hair-stylist. It was a little awkward but he did a good job, so...
One sunday we were walking home from church and we discovered that the entire hillside next to our house was on fire. That's hot.
My first pack of confiscated cigarettes!
Then one day my feet started to swell up real bad and ooze orange puss. I spent a few days in and out of hospitals, all the doctors told me it was because of stress. Totally. Because it's normal for stressed people to weep sap from their feet. Duh! I'll spare you the real ugly photos.
The cool part was that Italian hospitals aren't big fans of wheelchairs, so I got to ride a Heiner! (And we got to wear pants all day). This was right after a nurse gave me a bare-buns spankin and sunk a 3-inch needle into my rear. Then she went out to one of the Italian Elders who had brought me to the hospital and handed him a very large suppository pill and instructed him to stick it up there that night. Heiner took it from him and threw it away :) Narrow escape, Elder!
At the end of the day, this is what was prescribed to me at the pharmacy. No worries, I sold it all to the Mafia and paid for the rest of my mission.
This is Rosario. He is an amazing man. He was once very wealthy, then lost it all to gambling, drugs, and women. He had more health problems than anyone I'd met (except he didn't have oosy feet. I one-upped him on that one). His doctor told him he had 3 months to live unless he stopped smoking, and that's when we met him! He quit smoking, was able to leave the hospital, he came to church regularly and started looking years younger.
Right before his baptism he called and told us he had slipped up and smoked, and he was back in the hospital. He died about a month later. I love this man, and I can't wait for him to be baptized by proxy so we can hang out in the next life :) Good kid.
Heiner's last night! We had a waterballoon fight with the Elders in Gela (a small town about an hour from Ragusa where the rest of our district served). I'm not sure how I became the pack mule, but it was fun :)
SORELLA DALL! This lady came and brought a whole new light to my mission experience. (Don't judge how I felt by my facial expression). We got along amazingly and she taught me the joys of missionary work.
One day we had to call President for some advice on an investigator, and out of nowhere he suggested we go to the grocery store and stock up on a cereal called Master Crumble. Being the obedient missionaries that we were, we bought 7 boxes and didn't really eat anything else all transfer. This cereal changed my mission. I am going through serious withdrawals without it at home.
Below Ragusa is this ancient city called Ragusa Ibla. We went down there to work every once in a while. It was spectacular.
This is my great friend Yolanda. Everyone thought we were twins. I can't imagine why.
On my last day in Ragusa we were praying for miracles, and one came! It came in the form of a sombrero on the side of the road. It is the only sombrero I ever saw in Italy. It definitely came home with us.
And that's Ragusa :)