I’m in Caserta. It’s Awesome!

Hey Famiglia!

Here’s my first official e-mail from Italy.  I’ll try my best to upload as many pictures as I can at the end, but I’m in an internet cafè somewhere in Napoli.  Which brings me to my first bit of info.  I got sent to the Napoli zone!  I proselyte in a city called Caserta.  It’s awesome!  I don’t even know where to start.  I kind of get the best of both worlds.  I’m not stuck in the heart of Napoli where it is smelly, crowded, and dirty, but I still benefit from eating the absolute best pizza in the world!  We eat pizza almost every night.  It’s actually really cheap (about £3-3.50), so we can do it pretty often.  There’s a tower of about 80 or so pizza boxes in our kitchen.  We’re gonna build an arch and put a Book of Mormon as the keystone once we have two towers.  I’ll make sure to snap a picture of it once we’re done.  It’s a dream come true for me to just eat pizza and ice cream every day.  We have cookies and milk for breakfast, then pasta for lunch.  Wahoo!!

Another benefit from living in Caserta is that we get an army base here.  Which means like half of our branch is American.  We still speak [Italian] in sacrament meeting, but we have to provide translation services into a walkie-talkie depending on what language is being spoken.  But we get to go on base (It’s actually called a support site) and there’s Taco Bell, KFC, and places where you can buy American cereal and deodorant (which doesn’t exist in Italy).  So we get pretty spoiled.  Our ward mission leader gave us a bunch of Gatorade yesterday.  The base has tons of other stuff like a movie theater, and bowling alley and stuff.  One of the branch members is going to take us golfing on the site too!  There’s an AMAZING golf course on top of a volcano out here.  My companions have gone a few times.  We’re waiting for the P-day that we’re gonna do that.

It’s SO HOT HERE.  We’re drenched in sweat every day.  But it’s still all good.  We always have access to cold water and we get gelato every now and then.  Oh my goodness is it (the gelato) good.  My exclamation point along with other keys are broken on this keyboard, sorry.

My companion’s name is Anziano Burton.  He’s from Holladay [Utah] and went to Olympus High School.  He’s a really nice guy.  This is only his third transfer, and he’s already training.  But since he’s pretty new as well, we’re both not very good at Italian.  But it’s forcing us to become better!  He went to a semester at BYU before he came out here.  There’s two other guys in our apartment (which is actually a really nice apartment, I’ll add pics of it), Anziani Faggioli and Morgan.  Anziano Faggioli has been out a year, and Morgan is in his second transfer.  They’re all good guys, I’ll write more about them later.

Today we strolled around Napoli and visited a bunch of cathedrals, castles, and other sights.  It was funny looking at all the cruise ships in the harbors, because I’d been on them before.  And now I get to live in a place where people come on vacation!  We definitely have to come back some day.

So yeah, the airport was a bit sketchy on the way in.  We were hot, tired, didn’t know where President was, didn’t know where our luggage was, and couldn’t understand the language.  So we ended up spending a couple extra hours there.  But it was all good in the end.  We ended up going back later that night and grabbed all of our luggage at once (They’d put it on like 3 different flights over the next few hours after ours).  Our connection in London was super tight because of the delays in Dallas, and we ended up having to sprint through the London airport and made it only with 2 minutes to spare the flight attendant told us.  We were some lucky ducks!!

The mission home in Rome has to be the prettiest mission home the church has.  It’s got some old Roman architecture and paintings in it, and is in the wealthier half of Rome.  It stands on it’s own, and has it’s own gate and courtyard out in front of it.  It was awesome.  I was blown away that the church would own something like that in Rome.  We also got to go see the Rome temple for a sec.  It’s super cool, but I didn’t get to snap a picture of it :(.

Here in Italy they have Carnival as well.  Who knew!  I thought it was mainly in areas in South America like Brazil.  We went out to watch it, and I tried to get pictures but they turned out blurry.  I took some videos, but I can’t send those.  In any case, I’ll send what I’ve got.  The Italians are pretty crazy.  They always launch fireworks at any time of the night/morning for who knows what reason.  Plus, they sleep from about 1-4 in the afternoon, which is super annoying.  They have a siesta time.  Any time in the afternoon Caserta just becomes a ghost town, and there’s hardly anyone in sight.  It really is bizzarre.  So during that time we come back to the apartment and do language study, eat, and whatever else we need to do.  We only go out from about 10-12, then 5-10.  They extend curfew here by about a half an hour because the Italians are a late night party people.

Anyways, the last thing I say before I start uploading pictures is that Italians have a weird fear of “colpo d’aria”, which is essentially if you’re super hot, then blow cool A/C on you, your blood will do something and your heart will explode essentially.  So whenever Italians get in cars with A/C or into a building, they’ll start covering their necks or “losing their voices”.  It’s hilarious.  They think we’re committing suicide or something when we go into a cool air current to cool off.

Just so you know, there’s not really a problem at all with mosquitoes where I am.  I’ve only been bitten like once or twice in a week, not bad at all.

I had to rush really fast through all the e-mails when I read them, so sorry if I missed something.  Alright, I’m going to work on pictures now.

Anziano Jones

Craig saying good-bye to Anziano Romano in Rome.  They were roommates at the MTC.  Anziano Romano is now serving in Pescara which is on the eastern side of Italy.  Craig is in Caserta which is on the western side.  Maps of Italy can be accessed on the left sidebar of the blog.  Caserta is just a little bit north of Naples.

Anziano Budd on the train with Craig.  They went to Timpview High School together.

Craig with his new companion, Anziano Benjamin Burton, who is from Holladay, Utah.  This picture must have been taken shortly after they first met each other at the train station.

The study area inside their apartment in Caserta.

This appears to be the bedroom/living room.

The street view from the apartment window.

Craig’s first pizza in Italy.  He said that he’s had better ones since then.

Pizza Box Tower  (Teenage boys are funny!)

And a close-up of those pizza boxes!

Anziano Burton cooking in their kitchen.  Love that Italian apron!

This map hanging on the wall in their apartment indicates where all of their contacts live.

The only picture of Carnival that wasn’t blurry.

The rest of these pictures are photos that Craig took today as they toured some of the cathedrals and other parts of Napoli [Naples].  Every Wednesday is P-Day [Preparation Day] which is their day off from doing missionary work.  In addition to doing their laundry and e-mailing their families, they can do some sightseeing or participate in other recreational activities.


3 thoughts on “I’m in Caserta. It’s Awesome!

  1. Craig, I can’t believe it is you going thru all of this. I do believe the pizza, altho we laughed. I found out with this letter that P-day is not Payday, and when you mentioned it before, that is what I thought. I wondered who was paying you. We have so much love and memories of our little boy. Your letters are so interesting and I love the pictures. That smile! You got anything you wanted by just smiling. Love, Grandma and Grandpa Lowe

  2. Elder Jones- I am Elder Kelley’s mom. We just found your blog and enjoyed your pictures of you and our son, Nate. We are so proud of all the missionaries serving in Italy. Good luck in your service! Sister Kelley

    • Monica, thanks so much for your comment! I will forward it to Craig with our next e-mail. By the way, I really enjoy reading Nate’s blog each week. In fact, while he was still at the MTC, I sent him a DearElder letter one day and told him I think he is a very talented and funny writer and that I plan to read his blog while he’s in Italy. Every week, right after I post Craig’s e-mail and photos, I check Nate’s blog to see if you’ve posted his letter yet. And sometimes I make copies of the photos and include them in the e-mails I send to Craig. I hope that they can get together sometime after they finish their missions. Thanks again!

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