After the first project in the United States, the Deseret News picked up the story and did an article on Josie that ran all over the world in October 2013. A young man in Italy saw it and contacted her. Gabriel invited her to bring the project to Italy! He said he would provide her with a car, a place to stay and act as her interpreter during the interviews if she would come over. He said the unemployment and the suicide rate had never been higher and the good people of Italy needed some kind of light and hope in their lives. He had been inspired after reading about her first project and knew she needed to bring her message to Italy. Knowing how difficult the first project was for her to complete, she had very little interest and didn’t think much about it, but then December 23, 2013 happened. Josie’s cousin and best friend, Season Joy, died very suddenly after she experienced an aorta dissection just seven days after the birth of her second child. Josie and Season were just nine months apart in age and were extremely close.
Season had been one of Josie’s strongest advocates during the first project. Prior to that, she and Josie had gone out on two different “practice runs” and drove all over Mesa interviewing strangers, to try to get a feel of how it would be during the project. She was also Josie’s “tech support” while Josie was traveling and took care of all the videos as she would send them home to Season. Josie just knew she couldn’t do another project without Season being by her side and lending her support so she never really thought seriously about going to Italy.
On the day of Season’s funeral Josie received a text from a good friend of hers who had said she would go to Italy to help on the project if Josie ever decided to go. Because it was the end of the year and plane fare was about to increase dramatically for their flight, they had to make a decision right then and book the plane tickets if they were really going to do this project in Italy.
Josie’s mother strongly encouraged her to go, reminding her that the timing to Kelly’s text was no coincidence. Season had been to Italy twice and loved it so Josie realized that Season would be there with her in spirit now more than ever!
On May 7, 2014 the two girls left for Italy, arriving in the middle of the night, having not slept for over 24 hours. This was the moment of truth. Would Gabe be a real person? Would he do what he said he was going to do for them? After catching the train and traveling to a small unknown town where they were told to go, there was Gabe! He was a warm, kind, loving and genuine individual! For the next few weeks this team of three traveled all over Italy interviewing strangers but this time, in honor of Season Joy, Josie ended ever interview with the question “What brings you JOY?” Similar to the first project, it was an amazing experience but so difficult for Josie. Occasionally she still had days when she could not get out of bed so on those days, Gabe and Kelly would go out and do the interviews for that day. With their help, Josie was still able to come home with her 444 interviews from the beautiful people of Italy!
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