Monday, December 23, 2013

Craciun Fericit, si la Multi Ani!

I feel like there's so much to write! I mean, there is, but I feel like I won't be able to type nearly everything I want to say!
Wow, missionary life is crazy. 
 I wanted to take my planner with me today so I could have a reminder of whatever I did the past couple of weeks, but it seems I forgot that, so I'll just write what I remember (which, for some reason, really isn't a lot.)

So! To business. *Ahem*

WE HAD A LESSON!!!!!!!!!!!!! Craiova's first ever sister lesson, woo!  They were two young girls studying to be nurses from our English classes. They came up to us after English one day and said, "Do you have Facebook?"

Well, technically the answer is yes, but really no while we are on our missions. And then we started teaching them! We're doing the same 30/30 thing where it's half English, half the gospel. We already gave them the restoration and hope to see them again, soon. They're so cool! Too bad they're going to England in a year or two to finish nursing school...

Speaking of English and drunk people, I learned something new last week. Did you know that the Titanic wasn't sunk by an iceburg? It actually was a tornado, apparently.  We were role-playing in our English class, and it kind of goes like this:

Me: 911, what's your emergency?
Drunk Guy: Some of the Americans... they say it was iceburg. But I know... it was the Titanic... because of the tornado.
Me: Uh, and where are you located?
*minute pause*
Drunk Guy: You have my answer.


So, my family already knows this, but for the rest of you, the Sunday before Christmas my district
traveled to Bucharest so we could Skype our families. There was another drunk man on the train that followed us to first class and tried giving us a $100 bill. Woah, American money. Haven't seen that in a while.

We Skyped, it was a lot of fun, but the first 45 minutes were extremely lame because I didn't have a camera or a microphone to talk to my family. I could see and hear them, but I had to communicate through typing like I was some sort of computer.  CLACK, CLACK, CLACK. 110010 100110 010010 110100

But later I finally got access to another computer. Yay!  That was extremely weird, because it feels like I haven't missed a day. Well, actually, maybe it felt like a missed a couple of days. A week tops.

So we leave Bucharest and we're back in Craiova in time for Christmas!  Christmas Eve, we didn't actually do much because we didn't get home until late, so we settled with drinking cocoa and getting all snuggled up in warm blankets for Christmas the next morning.  And guess what? It was a White Christmas!

...because fog is white, right? Yeah, still no snow. We actually asked a taxi driver where the snow was, and he's like, "I dunno, it should be here by now." Then we asked him where the sun was. He just laughed. 

Anyway, Christmas. We opened our gifts, and I really appreciate the little things ha, ha. It was a lot of fun just tearing the paper up and seeing... foam puppets? (I've already made six).

Then we went to the church to meet the elders for breakfast and a gift exchange. We all put our nametags in a hat and drew secret santas. I got Elder DeGraw this really good smelling cologne spray I found in Buch, and he also got my name so he got me this book in Romanian called "Journal of a Hamster." It's so funny.

Sora Ralls also surprised me with a gift, she got the elders to buy me some super hero action figures, Spidey, Batman, and Superman. The elders and I play with them all of the time now and Sora Ralls is a little weirded out. I mean, she did buy them for me... lol.  I also prepared a gift for her, too. There is one skirt that she loves of mine that I've let her wear a few times, I figured she'd appreciate it a lot more than I do, so I gave it to her.  YAY for Christmas! 

We had breakfast (I made pancakes and Elder DeGraw made cinnamon rolls) and then we went to the only members to sing carols for them. They ended up inviting us in and we spent practically the whole day singing carols with them. It was so much fun. They also fed us some Romanian treats like Cozonac (chocolate-swirl bread). 

Do you know what this means? We spent Christmas at a member's house! This doesn't happen in Romania! Ha, ha, it was so much fun!  Then we left, and it was time for dinner. Since stores were closed and we had nothing ready, Christmas dinner was at, wait for iiiiiit.......


Haha, it was actually really fun. We just got a ton of junk and ate until we were stuffed.
Merry Christmas.

We ended the night with more cocoa and reading out of Luke.

Not much has happened since. More contacting, we've been doing a lot of hospital contacting lately where we go and sing for hospital patients and their families. That's been nice.

Romania's a little different whereas Christmas still lasts after Christmas, it doesn't just all end after December 25th.

We taught Sunday school yesterday, it was about families and we were reading through the Family: Proclamation when a random guy walks in halfway through the lesson. After someone read a selected paragraph, the guy decides to read the rest of the proclamation for us, he gets up, talks for a minute, and boom. He's gone. Thanks for finishing our lesson, random Romanian.

Oh, guess what? Two days ago we saw the SUN!!!! It was out! We hadn't seen it for days! It was so bright and warm, and there was no fog! Craiova is so foggy, most days you can't see 20 feet in front of you. So, when the sun actually came out for the first time in weeks, we just stood in the warmth for seriously 20 minutes. It was amazing. Haven't seen it since.

So yeah, that's a little of what's been happening. We get transfer boards this week, can you believe that? We're suspecting Sora Ralls will be leaving and I'm going to stay and TRAIN. Hah, we'll see.

Oooh, and we still get to see two movies for Christmas and New Year's. We're going to see Frozen soon... I'm excited.

Sora Nicole

Monday, December 16, 2013

Costco Does Not Exist in Romania, Neither Does Ranch Dressing Apparently

Hello all,

Sad news: some of our English students told us that it doesn't usually snow in Craiova until late January. No White Christmas this year. Just cold. Cold Christmas. But we found this really tasty hot chocolate, so it will be okay.

Still don't know about the Christmas Skyping, we're not coordinated as a district, haha. But I'll be able to call you... this week! And figure out the details then!

I actually already knew that Evalee was calling me and what she said.  I received her call. :-)

But that will be a lot of fun if her and Kaylee can be there for at least part of the Skyping!

Thing is, it may actually just end up being a phone call, depending on how well the Internet works wherever I end up going to Skype. These Internet Cafe's are... well, if we Skype, you'll see.

Not a whole lot happened this week. We've been contacting, having English classes...

We still don't have anyone to teach, but we're getting a lot of potentials. And we've also been doing a lot of less-active searching, because this Branch is in need of it. The Spooners went back to America for Christmas and won't be back until January, so now it's the Radulescus and us missionaries.

On Wednesday we tried hot cocoa contacting, where we put up a lot of signs that read "Want to know
more about Mormons? Come to (address) for free hot chocolate!" and we spent the whole day in the church with hot cocoa waiting for people to come. ...Let's just say we won't be doing that way of contacting again.

On Saturday I ended up getting a little sick. We had our English class as normal, and then I slept off most of the rest of the day. Sometimes when you're working really hard, it's nice to have that day.

Then, because we don't have anyone in our Branch, I gave a talk. I'm going to be honest... I mostly just used the notes from the last talk I gave in Oradea.... BUT! I was sick the day before, so I feel like it's okay. I'll have plenty more chances to give talks this transfer.

Mom, I know what you're going to say. . .  So, Sora Spooner is our pianist, but she's back in America. Meaning... I am now the pianist.  
Cue the "I told you so" :-)   

I've just been doing right hand, and I'm actually pretty good at just one hand.  Christmas songs are hard though. Thing is, since Sora Ralls and I are really the only women there, brother Radulescu wants to use a recording so I can sing, too.

I can't sing and piano at the same time. Dodged that bullet. Thank you, technology.

And then we're to today. We found a grocery store that sells American stuff. IT WAS JUST LIKE COSTCO! It felt just like Costco! They had Gatorade. It was like stepping into America for a little. I could spend the whole day there. We almost did. But instead we spent the rest of our p-day being locked out of our apartment.

Again!   . . . This time the landlord came over to unlock it.
. . . After three hours.

Anyway, that was my week. We'll have someone to teach this week for sure! Two people! Four!

I'm still studying Jesus the Christ. No surprise there. It's only, what, 700 pages? But it really is amazing. You can know the gospel and what's important without reading it, but after reading it everything is all the more... I dunno. More. It's amazing. I think I'm more amazed that I can actually understand it. Some sentences I have to read three times before I get it.  Good book!

I was feeling pretty homesick this week, but after reading from everyone I do feel a lot better. To be honest, I'm a little concerned that I'm still feeling as homesick as I am. I think it partly has to do with the fact I'm not really working with people yet, or that it's the Christmas Season, I dunno. I decided to give myself until mid-January to see if it really is a problem or not.

Can you believe that I'll only have a year left on January 24th? What's also weird is that I am spending two Christmases out here when, this week, five elders are leaving only having spent one Christmas from home. I'm spending more Christmases on a mission than these elders! Did I already tell you that? I don't remember.

Anyway, one of these weeks I'm going to write home saying I have seven investigators and one ready to be baptized.

That will be awesome.
Sora Smith

P.S.  I almost forgot again.  Please thank Grandma and Grandpa for the Birthday and Christmas Money.  I haven't decided what I am going to spend it on yet, but I appreciate it very much!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sunt Mos Craciun

Hello all,
I noticed that you wrote it was 5 - 10 degrees over there, and I couldn't remember what that meant in Fahrenheit. I'm thinking in Celsius now! But that's cold! A lot colder than it is in Craiova. It hasn't snowed for a week. The air is still chilly, but you've got a lot of snow! A White Christmas!

For Christmas, we can have a 30 minute phone call to give instructions, and then we can Skype. We can do this any day during the holidays, and I'll have to see if any computer places are open, if we want to do this on Christmas. I'm not sure yet. When will you be home and available for a call? Because we're pretty flexible over here.

So! This week!
Was a lot more quiet than last week, that's for sure. I don't know if you can get much crazier than last week.  Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty normal. Contacting... contacting... more contacting...

I did get a message from Sora Gerhartz, though. Remember Franciska from Oradea? Apparently she called, she says her husband is mad and they have their church and she can't meet anymore. I was heartbroken! It felt for a while like everything I worked toward opening that city was useless. Of course, that's not true, but it's not always easy hearing that someone you really care for isn't meeting anymore. What a beautiful family, I just know this isn't the end for them!

Thursday we had a district meeting while the Zone leaders were doing exchanges. Then we all went out to eat, then we left on a train to Bucharest for a Christmas party/zone conference. Three hour train ride, then we stayed overnight at the sister's apartment in Aviatiei. One of the Sister training leaders is from Italy, so she made us all this pasta, and... well, I don't think I have to explain. It was so good!  Want to know the trick to making Italian pasta? Be Italian.

The next day we went to the chapel (Bucharest has an actual chapel! I haven't been in one of these since Utah! Everything here is in Villas!) to have zone conference, and the majority of missionaries are there. I got to see Elder Sookhoo, Brown, Brundage, and Sora Newell! It was so much fun!  We ate, had a tie/scarf exchange, and talked with each other until it was time to leave. I loved seeing everyone! We're very close in this mission, I've realized.

We learned who the next mission president is. Get this: it's President Ivory from Ivory Homes in Utah. Crazy, right? It's weird, he's like, really young. Him and his wife are bringing their youngest child to be with them here. I think he's coming in, in June (I just used "in" twice in a row, English is a flawed language).

We stayed another evening in Bucharest, then headed back to Craiova on Saturday morning. We were a little worried because we had a Church Christmas Party at 2 and our train was supposed to get in at 1:45. Somehow we made it exactly at 2.  It was us four missionaries, the Spooners, and the Radulescus (the Romanian members). It was fun! We had Sarmale (a Romanian dish, which is basically meat-rolled cabbage but it's SO GOOD!), made a paper chain of what we're thankful for, and decorated sugar cookies while watching a movie, the Christmas Orange. It was so simple, but so much fun!

On Sunday there was three others besides the usual four members.
1. The drunk guy who always comes. He is not interested in having lessons, but he told me after sacrament meeting that he comes every week because he loves the spirit he feels in our chapel, lol.
2. A taxi driver who, when the elders contacted him, said he wanted in on our little group and for the elders to find him a wife. When he came, Elder Mayans sat by him and told us later that he was asking about us.... and Elder Mayans said to stay away from us, haha.
3. Then a tall, young, well dressed man walks in and all of us are thinking, "who is that? he looks like a missionary." He is a member from Utah who owns a business here, he'll be here for the next 16 days.  Well, he made our little group just a little bigger.

Today we went to Club 300 for P-day and we played pool there. I'm not very good at pool.  And now here we are, in a cheap Internet cafe writing to my family and trying to find somewhere to download the Christmas devotional on my iPod.

Well, this week was busy in other, non-missionary things so really, not a whole lot got done this week. BUT! We have plans to go caroling and have hot cocoa parties and English classes are starting up, so this week will be extra productive! Yay!

I started reading Jesus the Christ, and I'm right into all the parts about the advent of Christ and the Nativity. It's so interesting! You learn a lot that really isn't important to understand the gospel, but it makes it all the more beautiful. It's a good Christmas read. You know, if you're a missionary and aren't reading other, Christmas-y things.

I'm so excited for Christmas! We're going to have a blast in Craiova!  Craciun fericit! Mos Craciun! La multi ani! Ornitorinc!

Sora Smith

 P.S.  This is a picture from a (really sad and unkempt) zoo we went to on one of our P-days.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Locked Doors and Fireballs

Here's my mailing address again for anyone who needs it:

Sora Nicole Emily Smith
Romania/Moldova Mission
Sos. Pipera Nr. 41, Et. 7
Sector 2
014254 Bucharest

Well, this week was a little more exciting than I was ready for.
So Sora Gerhartz and I left on Tuesday evening to Bucharest for exchanges. Another train ride, I'm actually getting used to sleeping on those. We were prepared and traveled first class again, I don't want second class like I did when I first left to Oradea. That was horrible. When we woke up, it was Wednesday and there was SNOW OUTSIDE!!! There was no snow in Oradea but it was pretty blizzard-y in Bucharest, snow everywhere. It was actually pretty exciting. We get to the Gara (station gate) and have the rest of the day practically, so we went and ate with a senior couple, the Boyds. Then it's back to the Gara and hanging out with all of the other missionaries until our trains leave.

My new companion, Sora Ralls
I got to see a lot of friends, Elders Cooper, Brown and Lybbert were there. I hadn't seen Elder Cooper for a long time and he seems to be doing really well. Talking with all the missionaries, I actually can put a face to about 50% of the names now! Then it's goodbye to Sora Gerhartz, and time to leave to Craiova with Sora Ralls.  Craiova is just west of Bucharest, so it was only a three hour train ride (as opposed to the 13-16 hour to Oradea). It was nice. Sora Ralls and I got to talk a lot, that is until this man sitting across the aisle started to talk to us. He was really scary, he was excited to tell us he just got out of jail that day... and somehow he knew my first name... and there was this cop watching him the whole time... let's just say I'm really thankful for great elders who ran onto the train immediately when it pulled in to make sure we were safe.

I love this district. I am so happy I'm getting to spend my birthday and Christmas with them. Sora Ralls is really cute and energetic, we get along really great and talk all the time... maybe a little too much, haha. We are sharing virtually everything; clothes, hair products, food, whatever. I love it. She's so much fun and I feel I can be myself around her.  Our elders are Elder Degraw and Elder Mayans. They're both really great and take really good care of us. Craiova was a two elder companionship city, and now it's a "dating district" meaning two elders and two sisters, so we moved right into the old elder's apartment. Haha.... they spent the entire transfer day cleaning the apartment for two girls to come in.......  They're great elders. Elder Degraw is a really good singer. Mayans is from California, I think he does sports or something... I'm not exactly sure. Let me ask him.  Yeah, he does sports.

This photo was taken in front or our apartment building

This is the inside or our apartment

Our elevator is really scary!
It's so cold in Craiova!  Apparently it's one of the coldest cities....yay! There's been snow but it's been melting these past couple of days. It'll be back, I'm sure. Craiova isn't gorgeous like Oradea is gorgeous, but it's really pretty in it's own way. A lot of Elders told me they hated Craiova, and the same amount have told me they love it. Well, Sora Ralls and I love it. Although people here are a lot meaner than in Oradea.

There are only four members and two of them are from America. It's not even big enough to be called a Branch. We're called a "group." We don't even have priesthood/relief society meeting. Our service each Sunday is two hours.  The "group" president is President Spooner. He is from America and he's actually living over here as a part of his work, he works with Ford. He's only here for one more year, though, so when him and his wife are gone, there are two members. Those two are Romanian, though!

This is the view from our balcony

There weren't really stray dogs in Oradea. I maybe saw one my entire two transfers there. There were a few stray cats, no dogs.  THERE ARE STRAY DOGS EVERYWHERE IN CRAIOVA. Everywhere. Parking lot? Dog. Man on a bench? Dog. Going home late at night? Followed by a dog. Holding a yummy pretzel? Really followed by a dog.

So this week was.... something really crazy happened every day.

So we spent Thursday morning unpacking and settling in the apartment, then planned to meet with the elders to do some stuff for the holiday. We leave, I try soarma or sharma or shwarma for the first time... oooh my soarma. It's a tortilla with some sauce and onions and chicken and french fries and... I don't even know. I can't even eat the small one.

Next, we have district meeting.  Then we decide that we're going to go home, bake treats, and meet at the church with pizza to watch a movie and celebrate Thanksgiving. Here's the problem: we can't get into our apartment. There are two dead bolts on our door, and one is never used because it's broken. But it slipped and automatically locked us out, and only the landlord has the key, but he was out of town. We spend all our Thanksgiving wandering around Craiova looking for a locksmith, nothing. Finally, at about 7 p.m. another elder who used to live in that apartment gets a hold of us and tells us how to get in. Elder Degraw works the two locks, and ta da! We're back in. We grab the brownie mix from my birthday package, and went to the church. Our thanksgiving was Betty Crocker brownies and that one Pirates band of misfits movie... but we were too tired to do anything else!

Then on Friday, Sora Ralls wakes me up and throws an armful of balloons on my bed, wearing a party hat, singing happy birthday. It was awesome. She even made me birthday french toast. We did our normal missionary routine, more unpacking, and then met with the elders to eat out and head to a church activity. We ate at this Chinese place, made by Romanians haha.

Every Friday is a church activity in Craiova, so we go to have hot chocolate and cut snowflakes. One woman who always comes to the activities and never to church shows up with two friends, we talk, we cut snowflakes, and then President Hill calls and sings to me, it was a lot of fun. Then we go home to bake a cake.

Brace yourselves, this is where it gets intense. This was three days ago and already practically every missionary in Romania has heard this story.  Our oven isn't automatic, meaning we have to start the gas and then light it with something. Well, Sora Ralls and I have never used one of these before, so we call our elders to make sure we do it right. But for some reason, our oven is not lighting. We turn off the gas, wait a few minutes, try again. We're on the phone with the elders, trying to get the oven to light for maybe ten minutes when FWOOOSH!  A giant two foot fireball explosion out of the oven!!!  We're both screaming, Sora Ralls flies one way, I fly the other, the lighter and phone are thrown across the room. Neither of us can talk, we're just breathing really hard and making grunts as the elders are still on the phone saying "Are you okay!? What happened?? ARE YOU OKAY?!" The first thing either of us can say is Sora Ralls, "DO I STILL HAVE MY EYEBROWS?!" (This is where Nicole's mom says a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father for protecting these girls!)

We're both laughing and crying and breathing and... I don't know how, but nothing is on fire. The elders are still trying to figure out what happened. And yes, Sora Ralls still had her eyebrows. The only thing that came out of what should have been a disaster was a scorch mark the size of a baseball on the curtains, and Sora Rall's left arm hair singed off. That's it. That's all that happened. Neither of us got hurt (just really scared).  But how many people can say they almost died on their birthday? Not many.  Oh, and the cake turned out delicious.

On Saturday we finished getting settled in, did some more missionary work, and were invited to have a make-up Thanksgiving at the Spooner's. That was a lot of fun! The Spooners are really great, and the second we walk into their apartment it was like WALKING INTO AMERICA. The furniture was American! It smelled Amerian! It felt like home, haha. And we had RANCH DRESSING. That doesn't exist in Romania. Pizza and ranch dressing and caramel dipped pretzel sticks. That was a much better Thanksgiving.

Sunday there were ten people that came to sacrament meeting, us missionaries, the Spooners, the Romanian couple (I still can't pronounce their name let alone spell it), a drunk guy, and the lady from the activity night who actually only came to get something she left. The drunk guy and the lady leave, and it was the smallest church service I have ever been to.  It was only two hours and half in English, that was nice. It's 100% English if the Romanian couple doesn't show up. Naturally, we all had to bear our testimonies to fill up the time.

This Sunday was December 1st, or in other words, the Romanian Independance Day, so there was a lot of celebrating. Happy Unul Decembrie!  We went bloc-knocking and realized how mean people are here. We got rejected a lot more than in Oradea. We got rejected entering an entire bloc because there was a man at the door who wouldn't let us in, hahaha. He said we didn't know enough Muslims to be allowed in.

And now we're to today. It was an awfully eventful week. Let's hope this next week will be a little more.... normal.

Happy Holidays!  I'm so excited for Christmas! The elders put up Christmas lights in our apartment and we even bought a little Christmas tree from Kaufland, it's so exciting! We decorated it with pass-along cards, ha, ha it's so tacky, I love it.

I'm so excited for this transfer, it's going to be amazing.  I hope all is going well and at least a little more peaceful at home!

Sora Smith

Monday, November 25, 2013

Someone Must Trust Me A Lot . . .

It was supposed to snow today, but it's just rain and it's not all that biting cold yet. It's thinking about it, though! Our proprietor was able to come and turn on the heat, so instead of freezy popsicles, we're toasty banana breads.
So, Fridays are apparently the typical transfer board day when they post it online and everyone finds out where they're going (if anywhere). So we were all excited on Friday, and then we are told we have to wait until Saturday.  SO, we wait another day, and the board is supposed to come out at 11:00 but right at 11 Google Drive crashes. There were 90 people in Romania on Saturday at 11:00 going crazy. Transfer boards are as exciting as cast lists. We went nuts. What's funny is normally English classes are on Saturday at 12:00, but there was a meeting in our building so our English class was moved to four. Once the transfer board came out by 12, we were the first ones to see it.
Some of our English students! (That's Maria and Gabriella sitting in the middle row on the right side)
So here's the news (and the explanation of my title): I am going to open yet another city! This time it's another 4 missionary city, my new companion is Sora Ralls, and two elders who I don't know yet.
We're going to a city named Craiova, where apparently there are only four members. FOUR. MEMBERS. This is what president Hill said to me about that: All we're asking you to do is find us a new branch president, a couple of counselors, a RS president and a bunch of members. Should be a piece of cake! 

I have my work cut out for me. President Hill must trust me a lot, I'm only in my third transfer and I'm already opening my second city. Well, at least I know how to do it this time. Maybe, lol.

I've met Sora Ralls, she's been in my zone, and she's really great. Bob would like her, she apparently carries a little ketchup bottle with her everywhere she goes.  I like her. I'm excited to get to serve with her.  (She is the sister missionary on the right).

Transfers are tomorrow, so I've been packing like crazy. Ask me how I fit all of my clothes into my suitcase the first time?

I don't know.

Obviously, Romania doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but we have permission to take extra time for lunch and we get to watch a movie! So Thursday will be fun, apart from moving into another apartment and seeing a new city.

So every day Sora Gerhartz and I pass by a store by our apartment with a lot of little toys in it. There was this one Spider-man pillow that, whenever we passed by, I'd pretend shoot webs out of my wrists (sound effects and all). So, last week, we're having district meeting in the church when Elder Lake gets up to pull a Book of Mormon out of a cabinet, and he pulls out a Kaufland bag and goes, "What's this?" and next thing I know, that spider-man pillow is in front of me and they all start singing "La multi ani" (the romanian "happy birthday"). That was a nice surprise! I'll be in Craiova by the time it's actually my birthday, so I really appreciated that.

This week was a little difficult. We didn't manage to get any lessons. We were bummed by Viorica, and then by Silvia just a couple of days later, and then Francisca had to cancel so Kevin could do some homework. So, no lessons, no progressing investigators, and I'm sad I have to say goodbye to the great members and Francisca.

The weekend has been a little crazy, though. Not only with transfer boards and having to pack, I was also called on Friday to prepare a talk for Sunday. I gave my first talk! In ROMANIAN! At least it was on a simple subject: Ce inseamna sa fie fericiti? (What does it mean to be happy?)
The majority of the Oradea Branch
I worked really hard on that talk. Not only do you have to prepare it, but you have to translate it and then make sure it's correct. I spent a long time, but it turned out very well. All of the members told me what a great talk it was, one of the bishopric counselors even said it was the best missionary talk they've probably ever had in that branch. And one of the members wanted a copy of it... haha, I dunno, I suppose it was good:) I'll type it up and send it to you when I have time later. I'm going to bake Elder Lake a cake for helping me, too, because he went through it with me to make sure it was correctly translated.
Me and a member named Anda
Last Sunday in Oradea with the relief society president, Sora Costea.
I think she's crying in this picture :( I'm going to miss her.
Me, Anda and her Mom
I'll try to get pictures of the Christmas lights in Oradea, but I don't know if I'll get much of a chance. I'll get Sora Gerhartz to send me some, though, once I'm gone.

So a couple of days ago, Sora Gerhartz and I were working hard doing a lot of contacting when we decided to go get some food. We remembered there was a new place that just opened that had "American" burgers, so we decided to check it out. Once we get there, it's not open, but just before we leave, we realize that it was going to open in just a few minutes - for the first time. AKA - Grand Opening. Total random happenstance. And then a Romanian woman starts telling us about this restaurant- that it is built by a man named Alex who came in second on the show Master Chef. Who is from Oradea. So basically, this restaurant is his childhood dream place to have a restaurant in his home city. And we had no idea. And then we figure out that the first 200 customers get their food made by Alex. We were just hungry and wanted something to eat, it turns out we are the first customers in a brand new restaurant, run by a celebrity chef, and he made our burgers.
The funniest part is that his first two customers in his home town "American Burger" restaurant are, you know, Americans. They were pretty good burgers. You don't get that in Romania.
Us with Alex in American Grill. He put his arms around us last minute
(I wish he didn't, though, so you could see his tattoos).
Later that same day we're meeting with a referral named Ramona. She's a young blonde lady who we thought we were going to give a Book of Mormon to, but apparently she believes that she doesn't need it because everyone is already perfect and God lives in us and that even stealing is okay, if you look at it the right way. I don't think we're meeting with her anymore...

So that's pretty much how this week went. I'm getting pretty good at the language, my understanding gets better and better.

I get this feeling that I may be perpetually opening cities for the rest of my mission....

Sora Smith