This is me, two years ago, waiting for the bus near the hotel where we had church in Catania, squeezing into the little bit of shade I could find. I'm starting to think spring is my favorite because it reminds of me Sicily and one of my favorite parts of my mission.
It wasn't my favorite because it was easy or fun all the time. We had cockroaches in our apartment, it was hot and I forgot how it felt to not be sweaty, and my companion and I had a huge whiteboard filled with contacts we had found yet still struggled to make appointments, but it was a huge period of growth for me.
Sitting at my rickety desk every morning for personal study, I understood the Book of Mormon in ways that I hadn't before. I lived with three fun, hilarious girls and we often wondered if President knew when he assigned us there how much fun we would have together every night. Talking to strangers isn't my thing, but I remember feeling so elated after reaching out and having a meaningful conversation with someone on a bus or at a park. I felt the Lord's love for me and I literally didn't have an ounce of bitterness in my heart toward anyone and I loved myself, too.
I was surrounded by missionaries who would become my lifelong friends, and I had a clear vision of what my goals were. I started to become a lot more confident in the fact that being on a mission was the right thing for me and I felt the goodness of Jesus every single day.
On Sundays even still, when I put on a skirt but no name tag, I reflect on my mission, the people there, (the food I ate!!!), and the experiences I had, and how drastically different my life would be now without having done it. I'm forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for granting me the opportunity to receive all those happy blessings.
Oh, I also met my husband out there in Catania but that's a post for another day. :)