We decided to take a big trip to Italy this summer. Neither of us had jobs over the summer, we don't have kids, and Shae is going to dental school next year, so we figured this would probably be our best time to go back and visit our mission.
After flying on a sweet plane (literally Shae's favorite part of the whole trip haha) from LAX, over Iceland and through the northern lights (!!!!) to Rome, we took a train down to Napoli, and then a little trenino down to Castellammare di Stabia, Shae's very first area in his mission where he served for six months, and then again at the very end of his mission for six weeks.
Holy cow, that place was so pretty! I never served in the Napoli zone myself, and now I see why all the missionaries who served there thought they were the real shiz. It's gorgeous, the food is the best, and the people are SO LOUD. It was awesome! All my Napoli dreams came true.
Right when we got off the train at Castellammare, Shae went straight to the nearest store and bough a ball of mozzarella di bufala and we just ate it plain outside the station. ITALIA THANK YOU FOR YOUR FOOD.
We stayed with some awesome awesome members, Vincenzo and Lucy. When Shae first started his mission, he and his companion had given Lucy a little bigliettino for English Course at the church, and then by the time he got back at the end of his mission, she and Vincenzo were baptized! And now he's the branch president. Whaa
We had a big pizza party with most of the ward. It lasted from 8pm to midnight (sleepy face emoji) and there was no shortage of yelling in dialect and hand motions. I give that night a 10/10.
The next morning got back on the little trenino again went down the coast a little bit to Sorrento. Lovely little spot.
Getting ready for our "mini cruise" down the Amalfi coast. We paid like 30 euro each and it turned out to be WAY AWESOME. Even Vincenzo was like, "Oh, yeah you guys got a great deal." It's always nice when an italian tells you you didn't mess up and look like a dumb old tourist.
The cruise took us out to the island of Capri and we got to swim out in the bay where those sweet rocks are. IT WAS V SALTY WATER. So salty that we pretty much just floated. And it was a blast.
After swimming we climbed back in the boat and went further down the coast, first to Positano and then Amalfi.
Shae had driven down the Amalfi coast one time on a P-day, but he said he liked seeing it from the boat too. I'm kind of partial to boats myself. And what a pretty coast. At one point we were like, "I feel like the earth is really showing off right now." Good job, earth.
After Amalfi, we slept on reclining chairs on top of the boat for the whole two hour ride back to Sorrento and it was BLISS.
The next day a really sweet family, the Tariffas, took us to their favorite beach. It had a sweet view of Vesuvius, the water is super warm, and the sand was literally covered in jewels. The mediterranean is my favorite sea.
Elia helping me collect some jewels.
Ok, that is my literal worst fear right there. I handled it about as well as Elia did.
Shae was fine.
The beach was only accessible by canoe, so that was fun. At the end of the day when we were canoeing back to where the car was parked, the sun had gone down, the houses all over the coast were turning on their lights, and then out of nowhere a firework show started over the sea. I stopped paddling the canoe and looked back at Shae and was like, "What is our life right now!?"
That octopus later became this:
They treated us to dinner too! And that right there is the number one reason why we came back to Italy. Pasta con le cozze!!! It's linguine with sea food in it: octopus and mussels mostly. And that red thing is a fresh crab. It was kind of crazy that we ate the stuff we caught on the beach that very day. Holy cow it was so good though.
We love you, Tariffa family!
We went to church on Sunday morning, and they had Shae give a talk. He did great. It was pretty awesome being able to speak with and understand everyone that loves Shae so much. Several people took me aside to tell me how "Bryant" was just the best missionary and they wanted to trade out their current ones for him to come back again LOL. Hearing those nice things and seeing how overly crazy excited they all were to see him come back was the actual very best part of the trip. It was better than swimming at Capri AND the pasta with cozze combined.
Coming up next, Chapter Two: Rome.