Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just a few years in Italy.

Well, as most have assumed, the school year is over and I'm filling you in with fun things that are going on post-munchkins.

As I was going through and organizing my lesson plans and files, I found these videos from the two-year religious mission I served in northern Italy from August 2006-August 2008. A couple might interest you for the mere sake of being interesting, but others might not be funny and/or make sense, so just pass over those.

1. I found an old suit jacket in the closet of one of the apartment in which I lived. It was some type of greenish-yellowish-tanish-all-sorts-of-"ish" and it was tweed and itchy. The person who left it in the apartment is probably dead or dying by now because it was bleeding 1962. I put it on and all of the sudden felt like a 1960s missionary, so I decided to act the part. I also was making jokes about zealous missionaries from ALL religions - mine included - who automatically assume that you're a terrible person just because you're a member of another faith. This was all done on the spot while a camera was running, so it's a bit choppy at times. Enjoy the 1962 Trent Lowe.

2. In a tiny city called Merate, there is a woman who defies all logic, meaning, she's crazy. She has a long, hot-pink rat tail surrounding by really short hair that doesn't lend itself generally to females. Every time we would go there, she would shout for her son Massimo. And when I say "shout," I mean she would scream at the top of her lungs for her son, Massimo, and her other twin sons to stop playing video games and come say hi to us. I never actually saw Massimo until my last visit when he came out dressed all in black with eyeliner and a Playstation controller in his hand. He had long black hair that went over his eyes and he just mumbled that he didn't want to see us. But...before we actually met the kid, we had only heard his voice yelling back that he "didn't care about" us. We kind of imagined him being a hunchback that was allergic to sunlight and would hobble around yelling at people when he wasn't playing his Playstation or XBox.

3. The other companionship in our apartment met these two guys at the hospital in Bergamo. The guitarist is an Italian hippie who was just along for the ride. Apparently, he had an infection and was at the hospital to get it checked out. If you know anything about Italian healthcare, it's that a simple infection can take you a VEERRRRYYYY long time to fix. Socialists. The fiddler is an American kid who lives in Oregon and was, at the time, applying to world-renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York City. He goes to Europe each summer to just roam and be a street performer for money. Go Mr. Oregon.

Just a few years in Italy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Brief Tour of Miss-iss-ippi

This past week, I had the chance to visit, for the first time, the Deep South, and let me be the first to tell you that it sure is awfully deep down there. It's nearly a different country. I went as a leader for the 14-18 year old boys in my ward and probably had more fun than they did. We left Wednesday and headed to Enid Lake, which is about an hour south of Memphis. We wakeboarded and tubed on the boat for seven hours, then headed down to Biloxi, Mississippi, which, up until this trip, I had only heard of briefly in a Limp Bizkit song in 7th grade (don't even bother asking about that section of my life).

When we got to the beach in Biloxi, I found this historical marker that I thought was pretty interesting.

Apparently the beach was the setting for what they called "Wade-ins" during the Civil Rights Movement, very similar to the "Sit-ins" that were organized in diners and restaurants throughout the South. In the book, Black Like Me, the author, John Howard Griffin, mentions arriving in Biloxi and begins talking to a man about how beautiful the beach is, only to be told that "Negroes weren't permitted to use the beaches" despite the taxes paid by everyone for the upkeep of the waterfront. John Griffin arrived in Biloxi on November 19, 1959, a little over six months after the first wade-in. I realized that I was at the exact same beach where Griffin had been 52 years earlier. I found this photo from the actual wade-in from April 24, 1960.

It was a cool experience to be on the very beach where so many people had risked emotional and bodily harm a half-century earlier in the name of equal rights. It definitely gave some weight to the occasion.

On a lighter note, apparently turtles are protected wildlife in Mississippi.

Once we had stayed in Biloxi a couple of days, we headed over to Mobile, Alabama to tour the USS Alabama, which fought in the Pacific during World War II.

It was gigantic and, actually, really awesome. They have a program where scout troops can stay overnight on the ship to experience it as much as possible, so we grabbed our bags and headed aboard. We had a rude awakening when we got to where we were supposed to sleep. Apparently, they really wanted us to have the real deal because the beds were the exact same as they were in 1943.

The kid on the left (from the other ward) didn't wear sunscreen the first day when we were at the lake for seven hours, so he woke up the next day and his face was swollen so much that he could barely see......and then he didn't wear sunscreen again that day (defying the advice of his leaders), so, sure enough, his face swelled up even more the next day. Needless to say, he was miserable for a good portion of the next three days.

We hit up the lake again on our way back on Saturday. But, as usual, all good things must come to an end. As we were crossing the Mississippi-Tennessee border, a torrential rainstorm hit and we realized immediately that we were no longer on the beach.

Welcome (back) to Memphis.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Busses, Masons and Trey 3

Summer Day 2:

I'm going camping tomorrow. I needed my sleeping bag. UPS was $110. Greyhound charged $29 for my parents to throw it on a bus headed for Memphis. Boom. Great deal.

Everyone knows Masons are huge in Memphis. But, who knew that Scottish Masons were huge in Memphis? Boom. Great info.

I wear cotton. You wear cotton. We all wear cotton. Thanks to Front Street. For those cotton enthusiasts among you, the Cotton Museum. Boom, great clothes.

I once drove a Buick. But, I never drove a Buick that belong to Trey 3. Boom. Great ride.