Sunday, February 9, 2014


Happy February! This week has been a fun one. It really flew by and I don't remember much of what happened, but we had some good moments ;) It's still snowing here, and the way they clear the roads isn't exactly the greatest system, but it helps us find service projects EvErywhere.. So what happens is that this city isn't exactly built for cars. At least, it started out that way. When everyone was forced to move into the cities 40 years ago they didn't really have that problem because no one really had cars. So they built blocks that held thousands of people, and crammed millions into very tight living quarters without any kinda parking system. It worked back then, but now almost every family has a car with no where to put it. Most of the main roads here have an entire lane or two full of parked cars, and it's legal! You can really just stop in the middle of the road, throw on your hazards and everyone will just start driving around you on the tramvai tracks without missing a beat.

Anyways, that's just one of those things that almost seems natural now, but then the snow came and I saw the flaw. When the snow plows moved all the snow, they had to dump it at the bumper of all the cars. In some of the nicer parts of the city, they have dump trucks come in and move it away somewhere, but most the time you just have to dig yourself out of (and throw it on your neighbor's car) through a good 3-5ft of snow.

So a couple days this week, Elder B, Elder K and I walked around the city all bundled up looking for people trying to find their cars underneath the snow. People were so desperate that they actually accepted an act of service every once in a while. That's something I haven't really seen for about a year now..

I'm still healthy here! crazy enough.. I keep waiting for the day I get sick like everyone else around me but it hasn't happened yet. I think living in a household full of kids, cycling through sicknesses without a rest has tricked my immune system into becoming rock solid now that I only have to share the air with two other guys. Either that or the constant 2nd hand tobacco smoke burns it out of me. One or the other ;)

I did hurt my bad thumb though. I was juggling and an elder playfully tried smashing a ball to the ground but smashed my thumb to the ground instead. No biggie, I think it'll be fine in a couple days but it's really swollen right now and I can't really use it yet.. Just lettin' you know so you can prepare to be a digit donor just in case.

Today we're planning on going to Casa Poporului. For real this time! We'll see if it actually happens. I've really been wanting to go even if it's just to say I've been inside. There was just so much sucked out of the Romanians so that this disgustingly huge palace could be built and I imagine it's got the same pained feel as a cemetery for that reason. Ya know?

SO. Now I'm writing just having come back from Casa Poporului. Pretty impressive building.. Geez. It was just too nice. We actually got lucky and got the english tour so we got to meet a lot of foreigners (no americans..) So I got to hear all the specs in a retainable language ;) Millions of square meters of marble and WaY too many chandeliers. Like, almost every room had crystal chandeliers lining the entire outer edge of the ceiling with a 2-5 ton crystal and gold centerpiece. I'll upload some pictures to your drive in a bit, either tonight or tomorrow.
It was really sad, just knowing that people really died of starvation for so many years for this and now it's basically just a museum with the government using about 1% of it.. It was a really cool experience and my mind is still blown. The entire time Elder K and I were just discussing what we would use each room for after we become multi billionaires and purchase the building. I decided it would be kinda cool to have a Rollerblading room next to my imax theater, and I figured it'd be nice to have the occasional picnic in my second ball room.

Security is really tight in there. Metal detectors and everything. So after I already paid for it and was into the second room of security I realized I had my switchblade on me (no worries, it's legal here..). I couldn't just walk out of the building because they would've spazzed (no idea if that's even a real word, I can't find the spelling) and I probably wouldn't have gotten back in. And I didn't want to walk through the detector with a knife very obviously concealed on my body. So I pulled a guard aside and tried to explain that I had a knife on me in a manner as nonthreatening as I could muster. He nodded, took it away and gave me a slip and we didn't have a problem. But it kind freaked me out there for a bit! I was sure it would come off as a threat in Romanian and I would have six guards with tasers on me the next second.

My fur hat is holding up great! I can't tell you how comfortable and warm it is. I don't like cats, ok? But it's like I have a big fat soft cat hugging my head in the most enjoyable sense. Mine is a wild fox that they kinda hunted specially for me. I sent my order in a while ago and the lady had her killer get me one with me in mind ;)

I love you guys a lot!
I hope you have a great week. Have fun with school!

Elder Collison


My Mama and Poppa!

It's been an exciting couple of days over here in Romania. We finally got the snow I've been praying for! And I'm already asking for a recall... It started Friday night and it's been dumping about a foot a day since, and it's drifting really bad. There are so many cars that you could just walk right into because the snow's piled up so high, covering everything. I'm seeing snow plows going by all the time, but the roads are so bad they have to leave about six inches on the road so they don't wreck their plows. So I spent pretty much all day yesterday shoveling and pushing cars out of the snow. I had to get on the roads a couple times too and I got really stuck several times driving on the unplowed back roads. I was with Elder B, Elder K, and the Sisters- leaving Sora G's house. We had gotten in there because we had some speed behind us, but even then we had to lift the car to park it (I'll send you the video) and getting out was a nightmare. We kept trying all the tricks in the book and nothing was working. We were stuck for an hour and I swear, I was pushing with all my might for almost that whole time, just trying to give it an extra horsepower or two ;) I woke up feeling like a broken man this morning. We finally got back to the office, where I then left in my car with my companions. We made it all the way home until we tried to park and the car just couldn't make it. We tried to back out and it went nowhere. So after a half hour of pushing we finally got it back out, we parked at the office again and just walked home. I was SO frozen. My clothes had frozen and melted so many times that I was just soaked to the core. But I curled up under my comforter and slept SO good.

Today I'm going to head out with Elders B and K with some shovels and we're going to find some people trying to dig their ways out of the snow.

More breaking news: I got my fur hat! The assistants came back from Moldova after buying it for me while on exchange. I was kinda skeptical because I wanted it to be perfect and they didn't really know what I wanted, but man- this thing is great! I'm already in love with it. Her name is Jasmine. It's fox fur with a black leather base, and aside from sexy- this thing is WARM! I'll send you some pictures as soon as I get my hands on the rest of the pics from my district.

Aside from this not a whole lot has gone on this week.. Just the same ol same ol!

Anyways, I love you guys so much! I'll try to get you those pictures later on, but I'm going to reply to my sibs right now ;)

Love ya!

Elder Collison