Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 23!

SO. My week.
On monday, Elder Montoya and I caught the 18:15 Auto bus for Bucharest and made our way to the city of joy. (K, I guess that's not really funny to you- but the word bucuresti literally means the city of joy. Haha?) The office Elders then picked us up and took us back to their place with a lot of other kids from Montoya's MTC group. We got to the visa office the next day at 10ish and started the slow process of application. ( I had already done this, so I just had to sit back and wait) Then we found out that the office I needed to receive my visa from opened much later in the day. So after everyone finished their stuff, Montoya and I went on splits with the office Elders so they could accomplish all they needed to that day. It was pretty sweet! Just pretending to work in the Office for a day, riding around Bucharest in Big Blue (Just like our van but a VW and manual transmission) And that day also happened to be when the new russian Elders were coming in (It's a little off from transfers because their still in the MTC for 9 weeks. So I actually got to go to the airport and welcome them into the country! Pretty sweet ;)
Funny story; 
So you kinda know how it is here- sometimes it feels like if someone's not begging you for money, they're probably trying to devise a plan to relieve you of it some other way.. But the other day, we were going to a service project after visiting a family in the branch. As I was getting on the bus a man yells "don't get on that side!' (there are three doors that open on every bus) so I followed him to the middle of the bus and we talked for a minute. I found out later there were a couple smecher gypsy kids back there he wanted the foreigner to avoid. But he turned to me and said "you're chinese, right?" Maybe I had been squinting into the sun? but I just laughed and told him I was a missionary from the US. We talked a little longer but we had to get of the bus soon after that. as we were descending he reaches out and tries to hand us a 10 lei note. Elder Baielli quickly thrusts it back into his hand, and I do the same when he hands it to me. This all happened in a couple seconds while we were stepping off, but he was a dirty, probably very poor old man, so determined to give us money! he was yelling "please, please please!" super funny. I mean. He was probably trying to pay tithing and we just denied him his salvation, but that's not something you see everyday in Romania.. ;)
I'll explain the picture really quick;
So- we have a nice little collection of Book of mormon's in different languages in my apartment. I had been messing around with a german one a couple days ago and I left it on the table.
We were in a rush somewhere, and a lady contacted us, asking what problems we solved or something like that. Of course we jumped all over that. Elder Baielli threw open his book of mormon and with the goofiest expression, turned to me and said "this is in german!" one of those stories where you needed to be there, but I laughed for 10 minutes after we walked away. and then this picture is from when we told the sisters about it, they needed a picture of it ;) 

Oh, and really quick! they do eat meat here! all these tiny shacks in downtown constanta have roosters crowing in them all day long. They eat mostly chicken, but all of their soups are from sheep or beef stomach. I really like it!

 Have I mentioned the cockroaches to you yet?? I guess I've gotten used to them.. our apartment's pretty nice, there are only a couple and you only really see them during middle of the night potty breaks. other apartment- if you walk around the house with the lights off, you're going to step on them. annnnd we have bed bugs. and fleas. but every one here has them so it's super hard to keep the house free of them. I've sprayed several times. No biggie though, I can take it for a couple more years :) 

Love you all so much! Thanks for emailing me! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 22

Hey Mom and Dad!! I'm doing pretty awesome ;)
Man, I'm so excited you guys are all getting into this running. I wish I was part of this getting healthy movement! Everyone seems to be loving it and getting pretty fast. I've been able to play a lot of soccer in the morning for exercise and we play ultimate Frisbee every friday night. Plus I'm walking every day all day and my legs are constantly sore. So I'm really hoping that once I get home I'll be able to jump right in!
The summerset stampede is such an awesome trail! I can't imagine pushing a stroller over all the roots and everything.
Dad! You can run 13 miles! dang that's far.. I'm so proud of my papa!
Just so you know: I read Matthew's email first about Gabriel losing an eye and I believed him and that is not cool!!! 50 lashings I say..
I love you guys! your letters are so legit! I so look forward to mondays and being able to hear about your weeks and your advice and testimonies ;)
My weeks been pretty good, just the same treaba as usual- contacting and English classes. Actually- we almost had a lesson this week! I mean, they bunged us and it didn't happen- but that's the closest we've gotten so far! 
Our branch President Alin gave us a list of names he wanted us to look up. These were tons of people he had files of but had never heard of them, had no idea if they were still alive or around, so He wanted us to try and find these people.
A lot of them lived in the little villages surrounding Constanta, and there was one in particular gypsy he warned us about and recommended all four elders go together. On thursday we all went together, and by then- we were terrified! haha, everyone we talked to- "oh my goodness, do not go there" or "don't carry anything on you, go dressed in rags, don't leave each other's side." We had at least 20 people give us warnings and we were sure we were going to die. But of course by then I was SO curious and ready for the adventure, and it was our duty- so we went. We found the bus that would take us all the way out there and started asking around for directions.
k, so on the bus- we meet Ion and Gabi, the two nicest Romanians I've met. They got on the bus at the same time as us- and they were worried for our safety so they stayed with us for the whole 3 hours we were looking for this person! They had lived in the village all their lives so they basically went door to door with us, asking all their friends and family if they had ever learned the name we were looking for. We found out later that the guy had moved to spain a year earlier, but I am so glad we went there. At one point the rest of the group was up a ways and I was just in the back, talking with Ion. We had an awesome - 30 min. conversation- In Romanian! I love those moments, when I can look back and see that I have learned a bit of the language.. haha, those don't come every day
But it was super cool. We had been so scared and expected a lot of evil, and for that day I was only surrounded by the nicest people- it was way cool.
Today, Elder Montoya and I are going to Bucharest. (The trip didn't work out last week because it turned out that the day we were supposed to get our visa's was some Saint day and it was closed) So our p-day is cut a little short, but we get to go take a 1 day vacation to Buch. Hooray! haha
Love ya!

Elder Collison

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 21

This week has been great. I really don't know where the time's gone or what I've accomplished. Most of my time is still just spent trying to find people; I'm determined to teach at least one lesson this transfer! English classes are back to the bottom again. we're back down to ├Âur regulars"- just 10 old people that've come for years, and one old guy we blocked knocked into that's very atheist. 
As far as adventures go.. hmm.. haha.
So we're trying to come up with a better way for advertising for English, right? So we come up with a plan to advertise on the buses cause the whole city passes through there in the course of a day. (I think I gave you the story of trying to track down that number..?) So. We went through all the hassle of trying to find that number, (which never worked) Finally got the address, and then friday we went to hunt it down. We finally found the bus by asking around; according to maps and the bus route it didn't exist. after a half hour bus ride way out of the city, we get off where we were told to in the middle of nowhere. The only directions on the paper given to us were "between the beer and oil factories." 
So we're two missionaries, trying to find our way into this beer factory. after a while of waiting and a couple of phone calls made for us, we're told they have no idea what we're talking about. So we tried the oil factory, where they DID know what we were talking about, and directed us just a kilometer down the road to a huge bus garage. We finally get there, explaining our cause to first the security guards, then the main office- assistants- several other offices -then the advertising department, where they directed us to their website.. We'll let the next set of Elders here work with the advertising ;)
That's really all I can think of for my week.. This next week should be pretty awesome though!

This morning we all went down to the Gondola's down at mamaia. just a little capsule that rides on a cable waaaay up in the air for about 15 minutes. It was pretty sweet although all it was was basically a slide show of every unobtainable thing as a missionary (and some things as a disciple of Christ.. mamaia really isn't the place to be this time of the year)
And this week Elder Montoya and I are heading up to Buc to pick up my visa (hopefully. did I tell you they messed up with my visa so I'm now an illegal immigrant? haha, I probably shouldn't put that on the internet..) and start his visa work. So I'm excited for that, it always feels like a vacation, going up to Buc. A nice time to change things up a bit.
Thank you for the updates! Thank you for the Letters!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 20

'Ello Mum and Dad! 

My week's been pretty good; a lot of highs and a lot of lows.

I'm craving that 65 degree weather! that's my prime time right there.. It's been about 34 degrees Celsius here. I don't actually know the conversion ratio between the two, but that's what I see on all the advertisement thermometers and stuff. Way too hot for me. Seriously, I've never had such a hot summer and believe it or not, it is sooo much more humid than michigan. I am sweating just buckets each day.
We haven't had the chance to teach anyone together yet. (With new companion.)  I think I've had about 5 lessons since I got in the country. But we're trying to find people to teach every day! Actually last Monday Elder Montoya and I were outside waiting for our companions and a guy contacted us.  He spotted us out as foreigners and we started talking and he asked what made our church different. It's moments like that where I have to try really hard not to appear over excited and I'm like, "Let's talk about a loving Heavenly Father!" 
So all of that is to tell you; it's possible that we'll have a lesson this week after English if he comes.. Hurray..? haha ;)
Just so you know-We had interviews on Saturday and those went great, I love seeing the Hills. And I mentioned to Sora Hill that my shoulder's getting worse. (I guess I haven't really mentioned that..? it's just been separating frequently, and i was washing dishes the other day and it was bugging me way too much and I'm like "k, I should probably mention this..") Anyways. So an elder just got back to the mission field this transfer that was sent home to fix the same problem I have. For now we're just going to keep my arm in a sling and I'm just going to try not to use it. It's killing me though! I'm going to come back without a lick of muscle on me. 
Haha, so nothing to worry about- I just figured you'd like to know what's going on with that. 

So my weeks been pretty good, most of our time has been spent English contacting-  Elder Baielli is willing to work with my adventurous spirit so we've had some fun ;) We've gotten lost so many times trying to cut through different areas. But I seriously love it. We tried to get to the gara but we ended up one street over, so we tried to cut through the valley where all the train lines go. As soon as we crossed the line and climbed the stairs we were in an entirely different world. We were in deep woods in some secluded gypsy village, every road was a dead end and we were being followed by a bunch of dogs, and being watched by a bunch of silent people (Which is really weird because any other time I'm in a gypsy side of town all the kids are chasing us down; either trying to hit us, relieve us of some money, or show off their english skills). We eventually just turned back to the main road, but I kinda want to go back there soon and knock all those doors..
The last time we were at the internet cafe, a lady saw us and pulled us aside. She knew we taught English and was wondering if we would be able to come in a couple times and meet with some kids from some organization (to be honest I don't know what..) who all wanted to improve their English. So we got permission to go a couple times and we went on wednesday. it was actually pretty fun! Once we got in the room I wasn't allowed to speak Romanian. I brought my juggling balls along and actually taught them all how to juggle all in English. by the end of it there were actually a couple kids who could do it pretty well- they picked it up a whole lot faster than I did. But the whole thing was kind of a big deal. There were photographers and everything. So once I started showing off my skills they got a bunch of pictures of me juggling with the kids laughing in the background. So I was thinking.. maybe I should drop the whole doctor idea and just be a clown! ;)