Moldova #2: Now that the Jet Lag has Worn Off…
Time to write another email, hopefully I can get everything in, had a lot to read today.
So, I never talked about coming to Romania (though I didn’t stay there, I suppose)…probably should do that. The flights over were fine…or at least they seemed to be, at first (lost luggage foreshadowing). Our flight to Dallas was just a normal flight. Flying from there to Amsterdam didn’t feel out of the ordinary to me, but I’ve flown to Europe before. The plane was large, and everything was in Dutch in addition to English.
I’m horrible at sleeping sitting up…so I didn’t. Instead (probably to the irritation to the people sitting in front of me), I had an EPIC all-night scripture study session. Seriously, I think I got from Jacob 3/4-ish to around…think I finished the Words of Mormon. Yeah, not very far (only go a chapter per personal study session now, if that), but the annotations were just that intense (and continue to be). Also, we all know how epic Jacob 5 can be. Was so fun.
After we got to Amsterdam, we flew to Bucharest. Elder B did some missionary work and had a great conversation with a Romanian across the aisle (got his contact info)…and over me. Yeah, well, I smiled. The rest of the district actually did a great job with missionary work on the way over; they also had a great discussion with a Dutch flight attendant on our way to Amsterdam. I think copies of the Book of Mormon were placed both times.
Anyway, we finally arrived in Bucharest…and then realized that literally half (8/16) of our luggage was missing. I guess it happens all the time. Apparently our flight from Amsterdam was too quick and they had to get the luggage later. We did get it the next day, but we had to wait ’til then (and I had neither of mine during that time, kinda scary).
Once we finished filing a missing baggage report, we met President and Sister Hill (the Mission President and his wife) outside of the baggage claim. For the rest of the day we were in and around Bucharest, getting visa work and such done. Don’t remember that day too clearly; every time we’d get into the car to drive around…I’d doze off. Thanks jet lag.
That night we went to President and Sister Hill’s house to eat. After which we separated for the night. I went with some other Elders to one of the Elders’ apartments…and we were joined by a few more Elders. It was packed with people.
The next morning we went to the Mission Office, which is high in a building in Bucharest, with a great view. Taking the Metro around Bucharest (as we had to, to get to and from the apartment) was great, really do love the Metro; reminded me of London, but without the warning to “Mind the Gap, Please”. Romanians live on the edge.
Taking the elevator up to the Mission Office was great. It was a truly European elevator…meaning it was tiny (reminding me of the one we had at the place we stayed in Paris). The ones here in Moldova are rebels. Only some of them are tiny, I think most of the ones I’ve seen here are actually pretty “normal-sized”.
We had interviews with the Hills in the Office (they’re great), and learned about the usage of our Missionary Support Funds from the financial secretary. We then did some more stuff around Bucharest, and returned to the Hill’s later that day.
There we met our Trainers, attended a farewell meeting upstairs for the departing missionaries, and separated. Actually, one of the departing missionaries went back on the same train as we did (he’s Moldovan and lives in Chisinau). He goes to the branch here, and he spoke with us last Sunday.
We stopped back at the Mission Office to grab our stuff (we’d left our bags there earlier), and then went to the train station. We took an overnight train to Moldova. Wasn’t too bad once we put two of the suitcases in an overhead compartment, but we did get stopped a couple of times in the night to cross the border (once to check our passports, once to inspect our luggage). The luggage inspector took interest at my companion’s scripture case, but he explained what it was to him.
We arrived at the train station, and the senior missionary couple drove us to our apartment.
Our apartment is nice, but really far away from everything (and in a Russian-speaking area of the city)! We spent the rest of the day settling in. We actually have a store right next to our apartment, which is nice…the people there often mistake us for employees (they walk away when they realize we can’t speak Russian…but I don’t believe that means they don’t still think that we work there).
The church building is nice here. Besides just using it for Sunday services, we use it for a weekly “Sports Night” on Fridays, and to host our English classes.
English contacting is our main way to contact here. Our schedule’s been pretty crazy, and we haven’t been able to do relatively much proselyting, but when we do, it’s practically always English contacting (handing out information cards). It helps that the Church building is close to a nice park and to a major college. I love contacting (though I’m still rather timid), always makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m out here to do and puts me in a good mood. Anywho, teaching English is fun…but as it’s all in English, it’s not doing much for my Romanian, heh.
Here’s a fun story, the other day when we were going out to do service where we always do, the skies looked fairly overcast, but it wasn’t raining. (I also didn’t remember where my umbrella was in my suitcase until we were near the bus-stop.) So we decided to go out in shorts and T-shirts. Well…it was raining by the time we got off the bus, and that day we got soaked. We got to where we do service, but all the work they give us to do is outside, so we rescheduled for today (we got our shoes muddy today picking up piles of leaves with dustpans and sacks). We then went to the other Elder’s apartment to study and eat (we’ve been over twice so far…glad they’re close enough to be able to have the time to cook, and that they have the skill to do so, I certainly have neither). So wet that day. So, Mom, let’s just say that I haven’t left my apartment without my umbrella since (and I’ve worn both of my sweaters once, they’re nice).
I gave my first in-field talk yesterday. It was only five minutes like it was supposed to be, but I was told that I prepared more to say than most new missionaries do. Well, we stayed up late writing our talks the night before…so I guess that paid off, heh. (We just haven’t had much time, you know?) It was on Faith in Jesus Christ. Not many members here, most of the people who come to our activities are the English students/(Russian-speaking) investigators.
Also, random note, anybody else have that moment whilst walking down a neighborhood street in Chisinau and think “I really just want to have some kids of my own and take them to go to Disneyland and watch some Disneyland parades with them”? Hmm, might just be me. (By the way, I’ll have to compare notes with you when that happens, Mom.)
The mission’s still being great (as is the Gospel, of course),