We did receive a brief email communication from Anziano Wright who is the mission secretary. He infomed us that Braden had arrived safely and that he had received his first companion and assignment. He will be serving with Anziano Pack in a city called Mantova (Also called Mantua) which is southeast from Milan about 80 miles (As the crow flies). It is about 115 miles by bus and train and will take about 2 hours.
Looks like a pretty cool city set right next to a river and some small lakes. Mantova is a city in the Lombardy region and is the capital of the province of the same name. In 2016, Mantua will be the Italian Capital of Culture, as chosen by the Italian Government. They made the selection just a few weeks ago on October 27th, 2015. Mantua is often bypassed by some tourists but Italians know it as La Bella Addormentata (The Sleeping Beauty).
Since Google is my best friend these days, I learned that Mantova is the place that Romeo was banished to for slaying Tybalt in Act III of Shakespear’s play, Romeo and Juliet. The setting for that was in Verona which is just a stone’s throw away to the north. Just a little insight for you theater buffs.
At this point, I’m sure that Braden doesn’t realize what a sweet spot he is in. The city is full of palaces and cathedrals. We of course, can’t wait to hear from him and get some pictures. We will encourage him to engross himself in the culture, and that will start by having some of the cuisine that is famous in that city; namely pumpkin ravioli and donkey stew. They say it’s awesome.
We had a nice visit with Braden as he was able to call us from the SLC airport. He sounded great and was really excited about getting to the mission field. He spoke some Italian to us so that was fun to hear.
We also learned a few new things about his companions and his district. Elder Brooks’ father (from Bountiful) served his mission in Rome and he now owns an Italian Restaurant in Salt Lake City called Settebello. It’s near West Temple and 300 South. Some of you may recognize that. They serve what is certified to be authentic wood fired pizza from Naples. Check it out sometime.
Also, two Elders from his district were not able to make the trip to Italy with the rest of the group because of medical procedures. They will both stay in the MTC a while longer (4 weeks) and will leave to Italy with the next group. 10 weeks total. Now that’s painful!!!