Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Hey guys! 

I've had a really good week, but no, my piano playing didn't really go any smoother. I had intended on putting in some good practicing time, but with everything else going on- it didn't really happen and the first time I saw the notes I had to play was in front of 50 people. But I'm definitely better at site reading than I was at home. That's one things I'm getting a lot of practice at! We actually had quite a few lessons this week and were able to visit some members. Sora Gorzo fell and broke her hip a while ago. She's doing great now and is back home, but is still having a hard time getting around, so we took the sacrament to her yesterday and had a really nice visit. Our thanksgiving day is all planned out for us. We going to the church for a feast as a zone, then we're going to have a talent show, and the guy designing the Rome temple is coming for a fireside. We spent a lot of time contacting for that this last week and had a lot of good conversations, talking about temples. 
I had a blast today with my comp and a the other elders. There are a couple man made lakes dug out here in bucuresti that cover hundreds of acres, right in the middle of the city. We found one that was dug out, with the dams and retainers and everything, but never completed. Since then an entire forest has developed there and it's become a huge, accidental wildlife preserve with deer and fox and the occasional gypsy shack. My comp and I went in with a 45 minute head start and got situated. We formed a strategy and cover, and then we waited for the other guys to show up, and then we started hunting them. We stalked them for an hour, but I was caught when I had to climb a tree to get my bearings and bonner stumbled upon me. You know me. After bacau I've been feeling so disoriented and kinda edgy not having my forest/hiking time once or twice a week, but it was really great getting back out there and we had so much fun.
I've been doing really poorly at taking pictures recently. I just uploaded a couple I took in alexandria, but I'll try to do better and get you guys some more!
To answer your question about elder Whitehead- we're getting along great. He's a genius, and is really good at asking random questions to keep a conversation going- something I'm really bad at in general. We're both creative guys with weird ideas, but we think very differently. We spend a lot of time talking about stories we thought up or a hypothesis we're working on. I think I've spent more time with him in conversation in these last couple weeks than with anyone else in my entire mission.
Dad! That is freaky! I can't believe the roads are already february-bad! That's so cool a stranger helped you out like that though. I think that story about gabe saying butthole is the funniest I've ever heard.
I love you guys so much! I'm having fun out here, but as the time gets shorter I'm realizing- man am I excited to see you guys!
Elder Collison

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

My week's been really good! It's been a weird adjustment, as you can imagine, but it's good to have a fresh start and a new city to learn. We have about 5 active members here, and one was sick, so after we all bore our testimonies at church yesterday, there was still time to spare. Alexandria is weird. EVERYone knows us and most people are really nice. There aren't any more people interested than usual, but we have a ton of friends that trust us. I've already hung out with a lot of young guys and we're hanging out with some more today. In any other mission I think I would feel like I'm wasting my time, but just the fact that I might be a positive influence on friends that live in a place with much lower morals than we're used to is enough for me. Plus they're fun and gospel subjects do come up a lot. There's this kid that we're going to see today. He's really cool and I like him a lot. He's going to teach us a bit of Tiganeste, a middle eastern language without a written form that's adapted from the time that they all left who knows where. Nobody really knows anything about it. But it's the spoken gypsy language. I've picked up a couple phrases, but just a majority of the words influenced by Turkish. I don't understand any of the grammar or anything yet. 

I was left with a bunch of stuff to figure out regarding the apartment contract. When I got to Alexandria I learned that there was miscommunication between our landlady and the new financial secretary in the office, and the contract we took to get notarized was never signed. For some reason it was a huge deal to get signed before the first of the month, so before I could even unpack my bags, we were on our way up to Bucuresti once again. We returned with the signatures to Alexandria at 11 Friday morning and tried meeting up with our proprietara, but that's when she decided it would be good for us to know that the institute was closed today, and the rush she had forced us into was all for nothing. We're meeting her at 10 this morning to go and get that stuff finished, and we're hoping she's able to turn our heat on as well, once we're in the position to ask for favors. It's freezing here! 

There's an awesome stadium here I exercise at. We went there as a district the other night and I pounded out a billion laps. I went down to the weight room and it was the coolest thing ever. It was the sketchiest, grungiest place I've ever been to. It was so cool! They had several legitimate dumbbells, but the majority of the room was filled with old tractor parts, rusty transmissions, and improvised machines. They were blasting Soulja boy and other songs from that era, and it was filled with scary men, smelling as Romanian as you can get. I started lifting, when the guy in charge started giving me some trouble (in the north sometimes I can pass as Moldovan, but in the south where everyone's dark, they all know I'm American from the start). I messed around with him for a minute, took him by surprise that I spoke Romanian, and made him laugh and the whole situation changed- we became friends pretty fast, and we're going to start meeting together to exercise and to help him learn English. 

Love you guys so much! 
Have a good day!