Saturday, January 10, 2015

Christmas, caroling... sarmale and nasty food (what's with all the food all the sudden?)

I didn't know they made a movie of into the woods, I'm really excited to see that one! I've been telling my companion the plot line of it in Romanian as a part of language practice. It was nice until we got to all the... well, you know. The second half. :)

The Christmas branch party turned out great! So many people attended - members, family, friends and co-workers, and everyone was invited to come to church. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and there was a ton of sarmale (even vegetarian sarmale which was nasty, by the way). I sang the songs with Brother Moldovan that I translated. I was a little sick, though so they could have been better. Bro. Moldovan wants to record the songs now... haha so I guess you get to hear them. 

Branch Christmas Party
Brother Moldovan playing Christmas songs

This one guy pulled me aside and told me he enjoyed my songs. I talked to him for a bit and he asked me if I'm from Arad. When I say I'm American, he goes "What! But you look Romanian and you speak it perfectly! I thought you just knew English really well!" VICTORY!!!! Well, I'm sure he was exaggerating a little bit, but that was a fulfilling compliment. But then he talked to me about America for a half an hour and now he wants to give me his prize collectable signature something or other from America, and I'm just like oh jeez... Well, I invited him to church :)

Tuesday was a little bit of a resting from getting a little sick day, so I took the time at home to organize through the area book and less active member work. Later we had English class, but only one guy came. Two days before Christmas and I wasn't really expecting many to show up. But Clara came later and we had a nice little Christmas thought with her.

Wednesday was busy visiting and caroling to a ton of people. First we door bell ditched some stockings to the Elders. Then the five of us traveled out to Sora Krista in the hospital and brought in some Christmas cheer. She needed it, she looks so sick of being in that hospital. They don't really know when she'll be able to get out.
Well, since all the members in Arad live so far spread out, the rest of the day was spent visiting the Bacanu family, Ioan (the English student who took us to the concert), the Piper family, Sora Forita, and Sora Birau. It was a great way to spend Christmas eve, however everyone gave us Christmas treats and by the end of the day we felt pretty nasty!!!

Romanian Christmas treats = Cozonac and Salam de Biscuiti mostly, other cookie like things and Romanians love to rum flavor practically everything.

Salam de Biscuiti

Christmas was a little weird waking up. We got permission to sleep in until 8, so I wake up and I'm like thinking... well, there's nothing to do for two hours. So you know, I took a shower and I read the scriptures. The exciting rush of Christmas morning just never came, ya know? But as uneventful as the morning was, Christmas turned out being pretty great. We went to the Smith's at 10 and I made everyone french toast with my signature cinna-syrup. The Elders made eggs (but not without my supervision, haha.) and it was nice. Then we exchanged gifts. Sora Smith is a Coca-Cola collector so that's where the Coca Cola board came in.

The gift I gave to McArthur was a little figurine of the girl from Brave. He's like in love with her. I gave Elder Chatterton some Legos. And Elder Robinson got a Star Wars "breakfast set" haha they were all excited. They gave each of us a stocking with... heheh, tons of kinder eggs and other candies and a couple of hackey sacks. We've been playing hackey sack a lot. I've never played it before but I now have the hang of it and it's actually pretty fun.

We watched Ratatouille. It was actually really weird, I haven't seen a movie for a long time. Haha and I told everyone that movie was my inspiration for going to culinary school. Well, it wasn't really but it did make me miss it a little bit. 

Watching Ratatouille on Christmas

Then we played games a little and all started Skyping, I got to say hi to everyone's family. I Skyped last and it was great, haha as you already know. It's kind of weird, though, being so close to home. But it was a great way to end Christmas.

Skyping with my family

Friday we went less active hunting and made some more progress on our never-seeming-to-end list. Then we saw Maria and her oldest son was there, and he intently listened on the whole lesson. He's totally interested in hearing more, however his wife is a little against the whole thing. With time, though things will work out. Apparently a lot of Maria's family, including her husband, want to follow in her footsteps. The Elders have access now and are going to visit him in prison. That's been super exciting. And I'm a little jealous they get to go prison teaching.

Saturday we went back to Lipova for some follow-ups and to see Sora Vancu. She was at the Christmas party and seemed to enjoy herself a ton. Our visit went pretty well too, but she fed us mici (soooo nasty...) and we all felt pretty sick by the end. Her husband is a hunter, too, so it was freshly hunted deer and boar meat. Yum. :) but it was a nice visit anyway.

Then we went to Sora Floritas. Normally she feeds us okay and pretty good food. Normally. But it just so happened that that day, after already forcing mici down myself, she serves us this spinach puree and chicken livers. OH MY I felt sick the rest of that day and the entire next... Dan wasn't even there so we could teach him. He went to bed early so he could come to church the next day.

Which, he didn't end up coming because of the weather. In fact, there weren't that many people and no one from the party came. Well, it was the coldest day so far and halfway through it started snowing!  And the snow was perfect for snowball fights. We had a mini one outside of the church. Seriously, though, one hour after the snowing starts and the city is covered in thick snow. It was awesome!

I had to teach gospel principles again, but it actually was a cool lesson because I just had everyone talk about the plan of salvation and I "scribed" it on the board. Yeah, that's how good lessons are made. You make everyone else do all the work.

Haha anyway. Relief society fell back to its usual boring self... we're still trying to figure out what to do without hurting anyone's feelings. It's kind of a really touchy matter.

We bloc-knocked the block we live in with wrapped up Books of Mormon and banana bread. We were going to be all, "Hey, we're your neighbors and we brought you a Christmas gift!"

Well, only one little old lady actually accepted our gift. No one else even opened their door, and the ones who did refused it. I mean, seriously. Who refuses Christmas cheer? And we're their neighbors. Boo. You know, bloc knocking in Arad really is not like in other cities. Well, we've got other success elsewhere. Goes to show there are different modes of going about the Lord's work in all places.

Today we wanted to spend with the Elders, so we got Saorma and then doped around at the mall. It was actually kind of boring. BUT.  Actually, but nothing. It was kind of a lame pday. Even the snow has gone all froze-y and powdery. Oh well. Back to work.

We're going to be meeting with Ghiti's wife tonight. Ghiti is one of the Elder's long-time investigators that really wants to be baptized, but he has a few hurdles to get over first. However one day we ran into him at a McDonalds when we needed the bathroom and met his wife, and he told me he's been asking her to go to church with him for weeks and she's always said no. So he told me to ask her, and I did and she said "...okay." Well, she came, and now Ghiti really wants us to teach her. She's not too excited about it, but Ghiti tells me that I'm super convincing and I'm the only one who can get her on board so I need to convert her before I leave. Haha, well, I'll do what I can.

Anyway, that's it for this week. It's been great but really long. I'm looking forward to New Years, but I'm a little bummed that we're not allowed to stay up for it! Oh well. I'll write to you next week.

Sora Smith

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