Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

hahah is that weird to say?

I just got back from Venice and it was greaattt!  
missionary "thumbs up"

CTR = choose the right... and CarTieR?
I was looking for things to spend my birthday money on, but I just couldn't get in the shopping moood.. so I decided that you should just take the money out of my account and save it for me when I get home.  
I still have my eye on that CTR ring the just represents CTR and doesn't actually saayyy CTR on it.. maybe engraved on the inside >:)

(and if you don't take it out I'll accidentally spend it on something I don't really want. & we passed Cartier in Venice today, hinnttt, hint)

Wow!  You know that country song Kaitlin and I liked growing up about Johnny's daddy taking him fishing.. "Doonn'tt take the girl.. " (Tim McGraw?? haha) THAT song just came on & I just about died.

to be used sparingly
This week was sooooo lonnggg!  We went to a Brazillian BBQ & I hated it, haha--sooo sooo sooooo much meat!  I was on the verge of just being like I literally can not eat one more piece of meat because I'm pretty sure that's breaking the Word of Wisdom.. (see previous email where her companion dreams about it. haha. "O Sole Mio")

party girls
We put together a ward party on Saturday & it went really well!  (side note: this guy we gave a pamphlet to came and said, "I need another one because I SOLD the one you gave me." 

 I was just like, "Seriously?  Well did you at least get the phone number of the guy you sold it to?"  I'm pretty sure he's on the homeless side. 

never happens
Ohhhhhhh and on different day, we were in church and this man and his 8-year-old daughter WALK into the church and he asks, "What's the difference between the Book of Mormon and the Bible?"  

THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN!!!  But we were like.  "Folllowwwww uss and we will tell youu" hahah. (Answer: HERE)

He is a music composer and so I showed him the chapel and made him play on the grand piano.  It was so cool. 

ALSO Sister Pearce ran into a car, but I'm not supposed to tell anyone.  It was crazy.  That information DID NOT COME FROM ME!  But if it did... transfers are next week and there is no way we are all staying together again hahaha 

we got mail
WE GOT MAIL! and I got the postcards from Tracey, Carla & Syd!!  Thanks for the lame shout-outs Mitch and Kiefer.. hahah but seriously.. MADE MY WEEK!  & I got the birthday card from Grandma Diane and Aunt Karen.  I don't have their email addresses, so just send my thanks their way! 

&&&& the ASOS package and facewash came--Happppyyy Birthday to me! 

I also still have a crush on Ben Patch.  Helllooooo Ohio!  
(BYU volleyball player - He got his mission call to Columbus, OH) 

Mom, take Marielle out to lunch.  ON ME! use my birthday cash.. I misss herrr and she deserves some O'Connor lovin.

Can we talk about how stunning Katelyn Kerr was (on her wedding day)?  

Katelyn and Terrance

I cannot confirm or deny tears on the bridesmaid picture... sad day for me. 

Love you long time,

Sorella Paige O'Connor!

Also I'm about to be 20.. That's weird.

(Email Sent - August 28, 2013)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chatting it Up

It was so fun chatting with "the girls".  Let's do this again sometime!  (Kaitlin, Paige and I were emailing at the same time - that's never happened before)

month five
Well on Tuesday we hit Month 5!  Crazy, right? 

I was thinking about it as I was reading in the Bible (caution: I'm about to sound super weird).  

I was reading about Jacob going out to find a wife and he finds Rachel, and they fall in love and Jacob makes a deal with Rachel's father that he will work 7 years so that he can marry her.   Then there's a verse that says, 

(Genesis 29:20)

 I thought that was so cute!  and although I have never been in love, I know how it feels to have time pass so quickly... because the past 5 months have gone by so quickly, seriously. 

baci por la nonna
Anyway, so we were in a lesson with Emanuele (you know that big guy from the Ivory Coast) and we were talking about families, so I start showing him my family pictures and he takes the picture of me, Grandma and Kaitlin at the Huntington Gardens and says, "Noooonnnnaaaaaaa!!" (grandma) then proceeds to kiss the picture of Grandma.  

It was super weird but I laughed, then he realized that it's probably kinda weird that he did that and asked me if it was okay that he kissed it.  I was just like, "Yeah, perche no."   But now every time we see him he asks how Nonna is and he calls her his amica (friend).  So tell that to Grandma and let me know about her reaction...I can't quite imagine how she would take it.  

Also he called Dad' "Pappa Connors"  suupperr loud.  Italians cant quite get the O and always add an "s" to the end of my name.  It's fine-- kind of endearing.

not a planner
I wrote down in my planner all the things I wanted to say but I forgot my planner. (I know.  I'm a realllyyy bad missionary, who forgets her planner.)

Hey, way to go Dad on your last Commencement speech.  That's prettyy cool! 

mmmm... better not
I've been thinking alot about Katelyn Kerr this week and I'm so happy for her and also so sad I can't be there. bitter sweet.  I thought about drinking sketchy water so I could be there but, then decided... mmmm better not.   (because she would get really sick and get sent back home....)

Katelyn and Terrance (getting married on Saturday!!)

Have you seen Natalie yet?

Also I got my package! and I lovveee the bike shorts and the shirt--I've been trying not to wear it and savveee it for next Thursday (her birthday) but it's realllyyy hard.. and you got my favorite chapstick<3 

(Ikat pattern with BIKES! 
for a missionary... get it?... cause she rides bikes...
no, seriously, it's cute....  I had no choice)

We are probs going to Venice next pday so that will be wayy fun.

Also it's weird Scott is so old. & if he got my letter whhyy hasn't he emailed me? I WROTE my email address on the back. 
Scott reading Paige's letter

& I am surprised the package got to you because I put like a fourth of the postage I was supposed to (is that dishonest?) ooppss
Missionary Mail Call

Also, as we are talking about love... have you seen the talk "The Power of God's Love" sooo good. 

(I told her that her emails cheered me up)  Why have you been glum?  You have noo excuse because you live in America.  I was thinking for my homecoming talk hymn I want evveryyonne to sing, "God Bless America."  It's in the hymn book.

(Email Sent - August 21, 2013)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

O Sole Mio

THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE!  It was literally everything I needed and more.  Mom, you are sooooooo good. The Brian Kershisnik print is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. (I bought her a framed print of one of her favorite artists for her birthday and sent a small copy of it to her.)  

"She Will Find What is Lost"
by Brian Kershisnik

Who knew you could have spiritual experiences looking at a photo?  I cried & I am so happy.  I hung it above my studys.  I'm obsessed--it's perfect. ahhh. 

Also, those coconut almonds are realllyy good, hahah.

And I thought it was funny because Sister Hunter got her package the same day and she got like 30 shirts from DownEast and was saying how her mom spent 3 days putting her package together, and I was just likkee yeaahh my mom probably spent three days putting my music together. (she's right - she knows me so well.) YOU DID SO GOOD!!!  (Like Crazy, Bright Star, & We Bought a Zoo.. stop it.)  

Also we got letters at the zone training! so I got Dad's letter and postcard from Hawaii and Scott's really cute letter.  (Everyone in the zone got a kick out of that & Natalie's blog letter)  It was a really good week from home. so perfect. 

Another side note.. those salt and vinegar packets are really good. (Thank you, Carla)

This week was good.  It's been super hot, but then we will have these rain storms out of nowhere. It's weird but also really nice.  

So this week after reading Nat's email about the OYM's (open your mouth), we decided we were gonna do that.  
Natalie (center) with her companions
serving in California Riverside Mission
(Paige's mission area at home)

So we are starting at 20 a day then on Saturday we are going to do 100.  Stoked on ittt! It's actually really fun because Sorella Astel is suuppeerrrr competitive (like Bergquist boy status times 10), so she gets really pumped hahaha. 

This week I did some things I'm not very proud of...but we are not gonna talk about it hahah  (I wouldn't be too alarmed.  Knowing Paige, this is probably something serious like eating a whole bag of chips or having gelato twice in one day.)

I'm getting eaten alive by bugs. I don't know if I'm going to recover. 

This is a bug I killed in our apartment.  Those are maggots coming from INSIDE it.

Also I love the Book of Mormon.  IT IS SO COOL. (Yeah, I'm that weird sister missionary now.) 

Apparently I have this talent for cutting fruit and so the anziani in our district brought a watermelon to district meeting and made me cut it up for them, so that's something new.  I'll have to show you sometime, hahah. 

Because it's August, everyone has left and all of the stores are closed.  This internet cafe was the only one open and it closes tomorrow!  I hate that. 

Also my companion keeps having dreams that I make her break the Word of Wisdom.  I'm concerned.  But really, whhaat does that mean?!  (fast forward to email "Happy Birthday to Me" August 28th)
Self-Timer picture fail - (Paige and her companion are in the dark)
but you can see the view from their balcony

Mom, so are so tiny (standing next to her brother in a pic...). and your hair is really pretty:) I miss having American hair. 

& Thanks for the birthday money Dad!  It's hard shopping in Italy because I love everything.  Mom, my favorite stores in centro are Max&Mara and Birbas Donna.  I'm pretty sure they are super expensive cause you gave me that taste for nice things & now I'm ruined.  But see if they have internet shops--I know Max&Mara does.. you'll like it. 

Let me know when you get the package I sent home. (IF you get it.  I'm not sure I put the right postage on it) Okay, I know I didn't, but let's pray for a miracle! 

It's weird that school is starting!  Seriously, it's been the fastest summer. 

Well I don't know what else to say other than I love you and I miss you!!! 

Sorella Paige O'Connor

(Email Sent - August 14, 2013)

Another Week

Another week passed in Pordenone & we had a lot of good things happen! First, it was Sister Hunter's birthday!! Sorella Astel and I made a surprise tiramisu (senza cafè-without coffee) and it was our first Italian dolce we made without the help of real Italians.. and if I do say so myself, it was prettttyyy good. 

Birthdays on the mission are funny hahaha.

ride of my life
First I'll tell you about Monday. It was awful, but because we are missionaries its fine, hahahah.  So it's really hot here--like really really really hot.  All four of us missionaries agreed to go out to lunch with one of our members after weeks of inviting us.  She is this short Romanian women who works in a fabrica.  

After district meeting, we all got on our bikes and rode to her house.  She was leading us to her favorite restaurant.. but little did we know it's like three or four towns over.  We were biking through roundabouts and on freeways.  

Then as we were riding our bikes on the side of the freeway, I heard a clink and a clank and then my bike fell apart. on the freeway. three towns away. in the hottest weather I've ever been in. 

It was funny because Ana (the member) was yelling at cars to stop, but they didn't.  So she flipped my bike upside down and tried to fix it.  Then we decided we need to leave the bike and walk the rest of the way to the restaurant.  

something fishy
It wasn't the much farther of a walk, but little did we know she was taking us to Mela Rossa which is like an Asian Hometown Buffet.  I ate sushi and fried I-don't-know-what.  I accidentally had some tiramisu with coffee in it in front of her (oops). I didn't know.  And I had some fishy pasta (pasta with fish).  I can't even accurately describe what I ate...  

take one for the team
But the other copia had the new senior couple pick them up in their car and take one bike.  Sorella Astel and I took one for the team and biked home with Ana using the other sorelle bikes.. After we dropped Ana off, we went straight to the PAM and bought two giant coca-colas to kill off all the strange food we put into our bodies.  

dinner with the president
By then we had to cancel all our appointments and it was time to go to our dinner appointment at our stake president's house (a BIG DEAL) -- just Sorella Astel and I with the little Italian we know. We were so terrified.  

So I switched back to the man bike (saddest moment of my life) and biked to Cordenones' house the next city over (about the same distance from home to HUB - her dad's workplace in Riverside) hahah to eat more food.  But it went really well and we were able to communicate and the food was really good and then we went home and went to bed.  Normally we don't spend all day eating, but Monday was for "strengthening the ward" hahah.

So remember our friend I told you about who is from the Ivory Coast with no thumbs and half his skull cut out? It has been rough getting him to progress, but Sorella Astel and I KNEW that if we just got him into the church he would like it.  (Our church building is very special, and there is no other one close to it in Italy. The American ward meets there, and it's just like an church building in the States, but better.  Once you get inside you don't want to leave! plus it has A/C) 

So Sorella Astel and I were making our game plan to get Emanuale in church.  A "District" style missionary would would be like, 

"Let's have a lesson about the importance of coming to church and we can bear our testimonyies and maybe shed a tear or two."  

But we decided that we were gonna buy snacks at the grocery store and leave them in the fridge at church.  Then we were gonna trick him into coming by telling him we got him a surprise but we "accidentally" left it in the fridge and we have to walk over there and go get it.  

So we pass by his house and long story short... it worked!!  We gave him a little tour and it was awesome.  He's coming to church on Sunday, I'm sure. 

About my sinus infection: it's getting better!  I'm on antibiotics, but they make me kinda loopy, hahah.  I'm just on the gross tail-end of the sickness where I need to cough up that green junk all day long.  

the scarf treatment
But it's so annoying because Italians have this thing where they're convinced you can get over ANY sickness with a scarf.  I thought that was just a myth, but its a real thing.  They actually think that.   

Evidently the reason I'm sick is because it's so hot outside and then I go into the church and turn on the A/C.  Going from the hot to the cold is very bad for you and you have to wear a scarf.  If you knew how hot it was... it's just not going to happen. 

So I just get yelled at by the Italians. I don't care.
Also I'm pretty sure the drugs they gave me get me a little high.. That's Europe for ya. 

The Sanders said my package arrived yesterday, but I haven't picked it up yet! so excited. 

I LOVED ALL MY EMAILS THIS WEEK! all the pictures were so cute. I sent you a package mom. Let's hope it gets there. I'm not sure what my address is.. I would just send everything to the mission home or the Sanders' address. 
Six months for Kaitlin, yay!  I like to count myself down from Kaitlin's mark because then it's like I get an extra transfer at the end, hahaha.

conversations from home
Mom: I don't think it's bad to plan things for when we get back, hahah.  Also thought Civil Wars took a break?  That's a good surprise they have a new album!  I heard a Bon Iver song walking past one of the shops and died a little inside.. I miss them terribly.  Also you flew through the Chicago airport?  That's the last American airport I was in!  They have realllyy good popcorn there. SCOTT LOOKS HUGE. in a nice way. 

Yeah I know dairy makes my sinus infection worse! If there is one thing my mom taught me, it is that dairy makes everything worse but also everything better. 

August SUCKS. 

Also you have NO IDEA how much I loved that picture of our sweet anziani.. I MISS THEM (in an appropriate missionary-type way).  I haven't seen Ostegar since Milan Day Two and Gneiting since the end of Transfer One. (I sent her a picture one of the missionary moms posted of two of the elders she was with in the MTC on an exchange together.)

Paige's MTC buddies Elder Ostergar and Elder Gneiting

Bekah is so beautiful (with her baby belly).  

I MISS KATELYN KERR. She is next to get married and I want to go to the temple with her, but it's fine.  I guess I'll wait.. 

Also tell Maria Miranda that: No, I haven't learned Italian yet, hahah.
Also that was really nice of Andrea to say (I received a message from one of the members of her ward saying that she is doing a good job as a missionary) - so haha you can talk to him because he speaks english because he served a mission in Georgia (the state not the country). 

Also he gained 85 kilos on his mission so that makes me feel better about my 15 pounds. Also you can keep the chubby pictures of mom coming... (I sent her a pic from my mission)  they make me feel very very happy. hahaha but seriously! 

I love you all and I'll see you soon!

(Email Sent - August 7, 2013)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hospital Visit

Hi Family!
I have a sinus infection! Yayyyyyy (= It literally is awful, but I got some things from the farmacia that are suppose to help so I'll be okay.  (Don't buy your tickets out here just yet, Mom) 

We had to go to the hospital and it is so SKETCHY!  You just walk in and it's super hot and there are sick people everywhere.  No one cares what you're doing there and you don't have to check in.  We went in the elevator and this man comes rushing in with his daughter on his back, and her arm is in an "S" shape --like so scary-- and he was yelling at us in Italian.   

Then while we were visiting a lady in our ward who had surgery (you didn't think I  had to go to the hospital did you? hehe),  the lady next to her ran out of oxygen and literally was on the verge of death.  It was just the craziest thing I've ever EVER seen.  My mind is still blown. 

shark week
That video of Krew saying, "shark week"? so cute... 

I thought it was funny because we were at a lesson with this huge African man from the Ivory Coast who is missing his thumbs and like half his head (SUPER nice guy, just looks kinda scary) was talking to us about the Ivory Coast and somehow we got talking about sharks blah blah blah then I was thinking, "Hmm, I bet shark week is coming up.."  I WAS RIGHT! 

wedded bliss (missed)
Let's talking about ZOE and how she is literally such a beautiful bride.. thiisss is whhhyyyy I love her so much.
Mr. and Mrs. Bleak

Lightning storms are sooo real here in Italy.  I took a super cool video.

Also one of our members said he found me on Facebook then pulled out his ipad and showed me (it was weird), but hey Mom you're doing such a good job.  Nice touch on the cover photo of Pordenone.  

The membri really liked it, hahah.  That picture is literally right down the street from my apartment.  I live on the same street as the San Giorgio chiesa.  It has a super tall tower with a green world thing on top (you can see it from google maps I would think). 

Oh exciting news.. so we got a call from the office this week and they told us to start looking for another apartment in Pordenone!!  "It's kinda urgent" they said... That most definitely means they're going to send elders here next transfer.. weirrdd 

I'm excited for my pacckkaagggeee.. whats in it? >=)

Also when dad was talking about Brother Palmer and scout camp, I remembered that there is a lady here in my ward who is related to them:  Austin Collins.  She is SO CUTE.  Did I already tell you that?  I love her so so much, and I think she likes me back, ahhaha.  But don't get the pictures from her phone because they are embarrassing.  

The plus side of being sick:  I lost 10 pounds! Yay! and bought a new dress at the market to celebrate!  IT WAS ON SALE - don't worry. 

OH YEAH! I got mom a present today and I knooowwww she's gonna like it.  I'm gonna try to send it today.  Let's hope it gets to you, haha.  I also bought one for me and my future house, so just pick the one you like the most and save the other one for me. ok? ok. 

Well I don't have too much time.  I'm feeling better.  I love you all.  I miss you all.  Everyone in Pordenone is doing well secondo (according to) me.  The work is moving forward.  

It's really, really hot here.  Every one of our investigators is leaving the city for the month of August and going to Calgari perché è troppo caldo qui per agosto (because it is too hot here in August).  Stoked about it, not really... baci baci 

With love from PD.  I'm on drugs that aren't allowed in America, 
Sorella Paige O'Connor

(Email Sent - July 31, 2013)