Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Email - March 25, 2013

I don't even know where to start. So we took off from New York, and the rest is a painful blur. I sat in the dark for a long time in an awkward fetal position trying to fit my face on the bean bag sized pillow they gave me to catch any sleep, and I definitely didn’t. After a thing of airplane pasta and a roll and some Sprite, we finally landed in Frankfurt, and it was pouring rain. The second you stepped out of the plane you could smell you were somewhere different. A LOT of smoking, that's one of the first things I noticed. We came out of baggage claim where Pres. and Sister Schwartz were waiting for us and instantly hugged us (I have no idea if that's a normal European thing, but I'm scared to try. Plus I can't with the opposite gender) and the second they started speaking German to us, I thought I learned Spanish or something in the MTC. NOT the same language. After a few minutes, I recognized "komm mit", the only thing I needed and just followed them everywhere.

 They sent our stuff to a hotel, and then led us on a 30 minute journey out of the small metropolis that they call the Frankfurt Airport, got on a train, and headed out to the Middle of Frankfurt. We all knew what was coming and were scared to death. They paired us all up with an older missionary and sent us out to street preach. I went with an elder named Elder Jardine, one of the zone leaders in Frankfurt, and we took off to do something they never taught us to do in the MTC. To make a long story short, I got good at stopping people, and Elder Jardine would take over from there and give out little flyers and explain what was going on. Anytime they looked at me I would smile and nod like I knew exactly what he was saying when I was clueless. It was a much needed reality check. I think Pres. does it on purpose to make us goldens study our brains out! That lasted a while, but then they took us back to the Stake Center where we had a 2 minute interview with President because we have the biggest group that ever has or for the foreseeable future ever will come to Frankfurt, and then we had our first German Dinner in the cultural hall: pizza! We ate half awake, took some pictures that I believe you have all now seen, and drove out to the hotel where they let us all go to bed at 6:30 to sleep off as much jet lag as possible. It took me and my companion 30 minutes just to figure out how the lights turn on. (you put your card in the light switch, just so any of you European travelers will now know). I was tempted to sleep in my suit cause I was so tired, but we finally got in bed and crashed.

 The next morning we went downstairs and had a meeting where we were assigned our companions and area. AND NOW THE NEWS YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR. They brought up a picture of my face on the screen, and then my trainer's face. Elder Steven Divver from Salt Lake City, Utah. He is the district leader, and therefore I am what they call the "district Frau", I have to go everywhere and do everything with him... a little crazy! Anyway, then they brought up our city. Got Google Earth out? It took five hours of hauling ours and sisters' luggage out there. We are not only serving in, but OPENING a city called Euskirchen. It's about a 50 minute Zug (train) ride from Bonn, our second city we are serving in. Bonn is being opened to sisters, and Elder Divver was there before, so we're supposed to spend 4 days a week in Bonn helping the sisters out and showing them (and me) where everything is.

 It is absolutely gorgeous out here. No one can explain it until they see it. Just know that I am in one of the prettiest places I have ever been. Imagine New York City, combined with.....somewhere in the country that's super green and pretty? It's a combination of both and I love it, although the bus and train schedules are madness. I never knew I could run so fast in a suit trying to catch a train, but Elder Divver has taught me otherwise.

 Also, our apartment in Euskirchen is brand new, so we literally have nothing there, except a few apples because we work so hard and so long in Bonn every day, where I am at the moment, and we are starving to death. So some of the money will go there eventually too, so we don’t eat dry cereal and apples. My carry-on treats have been sustaining life out here, I love you mom!

 So that's my assignment for the next 12 weeks. I love it. My companion is awesome, we teach with this sister companionship literally every time so far, and it's beautiful. It took and is still taking a lot of work getting used to everything about the people out here, their accents and everything, but it's coming actually amazingly fast, and I can hold a conversation on the bus and give out cards fairly easily! We have so many appointments this next week it is crazy.

 The ward is giant and loves us, and we eat all the time. The only downfall is for all of my "with real Germans" meals, I have had pizza, canned soup, McDonald's (because that's the closest word the Germans have to my last name and thought it was hilarious), and Mexican?! I don't know either. So I'll let you know what German food tastes like when I get the chance.

 We haven't met with any investigators yet while we're so busy, but that will change this week. I learned that the cellphone is very frightening when speaking with someone who you can't completely understand and they can't completely understand you either, but we set up appointments!

 I feel like I have said way too much, and if I sound a little overwhelmed and stressed out, it's a good guess I am right now. I'm still adjusting and gawking at everything I walk by, like the house that was built in 1378 we walked next to, but I AM adjusting and I love it. Don't worry about me! I'm safe, happy, excited, and not wasting all my money, it will come back eventually! And next week you will hear all about our appointments and activities in more depth, I promise. I love you all, and hope school and all was good because I just realized the time difference we have, and I'll hear from you soon!

 -Bis Dann!

 - THE Elder McDonalds

 P.S. Mase! Quick story. We were in McDonalds and the cashier was wearing a red and white bracelet, and in German I asked if that was a martinitsi. She was shocked and said "how did you know?!" and I told her how I had a brother who did the same thing that I'm doing but out in Bulgaria. She was thrilled to know someone knew about her home. Just thought I'd let you know the Bulgarians are alive and well out here in Europe!

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