Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Two Months Already!

Well, this week has been a little crazy! But I'll get more into detail in a minute.

The 12-week program is something they have for new missionaries. My companion and I have to take an hour out of every day for 12 weeks to pass off these checklist things, like watching The District Videos or doing role plays and talking about gospel-y stuff. The works.

Of course I remember Uncle Rudy. That's really sad to hear that he passed away.  I remember when I was really little I was wanting my very own camera, and we went to a family reunion where Uncle Radell gave me one. I asked him how he knew and he said "A little birdy told me". I did get to see him a little before I left, I can't remember when it was but it was at Grandma's house and I remember him saying a lot of really sweet things.

What's interesting is our investigator, Maria, just had a death in her family, too, and it was her great aunt. I guess this is a great opportunity to relate to her and let her know that we really can be with our families forever.

I can't believe it's been two months already, and one month since arriving in Romania! It seems like the days move really slow, but then you hit the end of the week and you wonder where the time went. It's a little crazy!

We had exchanges this week where the sister training leaders came and I spent the day as companions with a different sister, Sora Steipli. It was kind of weird not having the same person around me 24/7. I did block-knocking for the first time. There is a lot of block housing in Romania left over from the communism, so one form of contacting is climbing to the top floor of a block and working our way down going door to door. It's nice because it's all indoors and the weather has been getting a lot colder.

I also did Villa knocking for the first time. Sora Gerhartz and I decided one day to contact in a part of town we haven't been before, so we traveled to southern Oradea where there are a ton of villas and I actually like doing that because people are more likely to listen a little longer.

I've actually had a lot of firsts this week. I've had my first getting the door slammed in our faces, my first getting spit at (by a gypsy), and (wait for iiiiiit,) my first experience with an authentic Romanian dish!  I'll explain that in a minute.

So Romanians, like any other culture, have a lot of weird superstitions. For example, whistling by a church is really bad luck. Or you can't set your purses on the floor.  But the worst superstition of all is Current.

I don't know if I mentioned before about Romanians hating drafts. Every Romanian will have an AC, but none of them will ever use it. If you're in a car, one window can be open, but if you open another window and it creates a wind current, Romanians will say "Current!" and cover their ears and tell you to shut one of the windows.

They think that the Current will go through your ears and make you sick. It's common to see people walking
around with pieces of cotton shoved in their ears to block out Current. It stinks when you're riding in a Maxi Taxi and Romanians will shut the windows and all you want is to be able to breathe.

So guess what? Earlier this week, I was experiencing some allergy symptoms for the first time in my life which somehow affected my body making me a little ill. Do you know what all the Romanians tell me? I HAVE CURRENT!

LOL. I caught Current. I need to remember to buy some cotton to stick in my ears.

So, Sora Gerhartz and I were going to stay in on Saturday because I was a sick (with current, lol), and we had Zone Conference coming up so I wanted to be well for that. However, while I was sleeping Sora Gerhartz was doing the dishes, and she bumped a glass cup off the counter and tried catching it, but it shattered in her hand and sliced her pinky open.

Now, Romanian hospitals are sketchy business, so if we need medical attention we talk to the missionary doctor of Europe who lives in Frankfurt, Germany. But, if it's an emergency, we need to contact Sora Hill first to find the safest place to go. So, she gave us some hospital addresses and we go from place to place trying to find somewhere that's open on a Saturday afternoon. It was two hours until we were able to get her into an urgent care clinic! And this whole time I'm still ill, so the both of us had a rough Saturday.

So, now I'm healthy again and she's all stitched up and her poor finger is healing, and I don't know how but even with that off day and zone conference AND exchanges, we still managed to get a lot done this week.

Zone conference was really great. We traveled to Arad on Sunday evening and there were a lot of missionaries there, I only had ever met a few of them. Elder Brundage was there so it was nice seeing him again. No one else from my MTC group was there, though. President and Sora Hill were there and talked a lot about some really uplifting things. Sora Hill talked about the history of Christianity after Christ's death and mentioned some interesting facts about Paganism's translation into Christianity. For example, St. George's Cathedral has a statue of him slaying a dragon, and the reason is because they stole the story of Perseus and Andromeda and adapted that into Christian doctrine. Also, the reason many Christians depict Christ with a circle around His head and the cross is because it's adapted from the Egyptian Sun God. And the reason why Christ's mother, Mary is so worshiped in other religions is because they adapted her personage from another Greek Goddess. It's interesting hearing the complete history of how the doctrine of Christ's church was changed into the religions we have today, and how much sense everything makes.

Then I had my first Romanian dish! It was Chorba, a kind of soup that was super good. We also had chicken and potatoes and stuff that meal... gosh, it's been a long time since I ate so much ha,ha! Sora Gerhartz and I usually have to worry about our own meals, so they're usually small and quick.

I've finally had students for my advanced English class! A girl in her 20's named Ani has been coming, she's really good at English and just wants to practice more, which is what the class is for. The first lesson I taught was boring, because I followed the teaching guide. The second lesson I decided to just read a passage from the Book of Mormon and talk about it. Ani was a little worried about it, she was probably thinking I was trying to trap her into reading it ha,ha. But we only read out of Alma 32, just about faith, which is something she is very familiar with, so it turned out she was just fine with it. After English classes we have a non-obligatory spiritual thought, and Ani has been coming to English classes since before I came to Oradea, and not once has she stayed for the thought, but yesterday she did! So little by little, even though it seems like we're not doing much, we're making improvements to this city.

Anyway, those are all the big things that have happened. A lot of little things go on here and there, we've been having a lot of lessons with the members and they're all really great people. I've made really good friends with two members of the branch, Vlad and Bela, who have been coming to help out with English. I love the branch a lot and I can't wait until we help it grow even more.

And the language is coming on great. I don't see myself improving right away, but then I look back and think how much more I can speak than a few days ago, which is pretty sweet. My district keeps telling me I'm doing better than they did in their third transfers. So that's pretty cool.

So, despite the crazy weekend, I've been working really hard and I've been doing great! I'm out of time, so I'll write to you again sooner than usual because of my weird p-day schedule this week! Because, you know, it's Wednesday today and I'll write again on Monday.

Cu drag,
Sora Smith

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