Thursday, December 30, 2010

MTC Christmas

Caralee's first Christmas away from home... I don't think there could be a better place to celebrate Christmas than the MTC! I really, really wish I were there for Christmas. She got to hear so many great talks from people who I consider to be very inspiring! It must have been awesome.

Okay so I don't have a lot of time today, so todays email may be short. Here it goes. To start off... MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope it was great! I missed you all during it, but Christmas here was great! It was completely focused on Christ and that was an incredible feeling! We had Elder Nelson and his wife come and talk with us and it was great! They stayed all the way until Sunday too and spoke to us in Relief Society and Priesthood as well. It was awesome! I got to meet and HUG Sheri Dew and Sister Wendy Nelson! hee hee it was great! I just feel so special!! Anyway, Christmas here was fun. I went caroling at 630 in the morning with CHristeen and some other girls (I know, who would think I could have fun singing at 630 in the morning!! Crazy!) But I did and it was great! Then my roommates and I had our own little mini Christmas opening gifts and such before devotionals. We were in devotionals and talent shows and Christmas Carol plays all day but it was great! I had my own little mini family with me here at the MTC and Christmas took on a whole new meaning for me this year. What a blessing it's been to spend the holidays in the MTC.

We had some cool talks this week... (well we always have AMAZING talks!) One hit me when they were talking about our mission and how my life isn't about me anymore. It's about the people I am serving. Those people in Bulgaria are the ones that matter. I know that they are just waiting for something more and I can't wait to get out there and touch the hearts of those people. I'm learning to love them so much and I don't even know them. It's been such a blessing to really come to the realization that I can completely let go of myself and serve those people with all my heart. I LOVE IT!

So.. news of the week.. I have just been made the new coordinating sister! Woot! I'm in charge of all the sisters in my zone. It's really fun! They are so great and we are getting more sisters tomorrow! I feel totally inadequate to do this but I figure I'll probably feel that way for most of my mission. It's funnny because I'm suddenly the oldest one here and the one leading others when I feel like I just got here and still need the help of everyone else! I stilll want someone to lead me by the hand and suddenly I'm the one leading others! It's great though! I know I will love doing it! It's such a blessing!

We had SO MANY people leave yesterday! Almost all of my friends that I know here at the MTC left, including CHristeen. It's weird to have her gone! It's weird to have all of them gone. The Polish Missionaries that we were way close to and were in our room left as well. Our zone feels so different now and I miss them but I am so excited for them to go! They are going to be so great!!

Okay funny story.. so there is no fridges in our room and I like to get extra cereal and eat it in the mornings instead of going to the cafe. SO I made my own fridge! I taped my milk outside the window so it would stay cold! ha it looks hilarious and I may get in trouble but I thought it was genius and it totally works! I have a fridge now yay!!
Anyway, I'm out of time :( but I love you and I miss you and I hope you have a happy new year!! until next week!..

Sister CHild

ps.. I think I need to start cutting my nails...

Hahaha. I like the p.s. part :) Caralee told me she has to teach the first discussion in Bulgarian in front of her whole class this coming week. I know she will do great, but she is SUPER nervous. So pray for her! I can't believe she is now teaching and leading the MTC newbies!! That is sooo cool!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meet Невена Цонева

I searched 'Bulgarian Music' on YouTube and got results for a lot of music videos. Most of them are girls and they wear hardly any clothing.. quite disappointing. But I found this one and it's the Bulgarian version of American Idol and it's the most modest video I could find. My point in putting this video on is so you can hear for yourself what Bulgarian actually sounds like. It sounds quite difficult to be honest... but Cara can already pray in Bulgarian and have short conversations as well. She just rocks! (For those of you who are technologically challenged - to silence the music on the blog, scroll all the way to the bottom and hit pause. Then scroll all the way back up and play the video. Ta-da!)

Невена Цонева - Мой стих (Необясними неща)
(The first part is her name, I have no idea what the rest says...)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dear 'Sister'


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This is SOOOOO easy. It does not take long at all. So every time you get on the computer to check facebook or whatever it is that you do... take 60 seconds to write Caralee. It doesn't have to be long, she would love to hear anything from anyone. So BAM BABY! Now you have no excuses NOT to write her.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Horse...?!!?!

Christmas time in the MTC sounds like so much fun! I am quiet jealous. I think for some people it takes some time to transition from regular life to missionary life. From all of Cara's letters it sounds like she has been so prepared for this and is doing great in the MTC. She was sooo excited to go and I can't believe she's already been gone for THREE weeks!

Hello Hello Hello Fam!!

So this has been a pretty good week! Can you believe it's p-day already?? Time is going by faster and faster. Last P-day I had a tramatizing experience! Okay not really.. The elders told us we had to go "sign some medical papers" in the clinic so we went there and it turns out "signing papers" is really drawing your blood! Grunt. My last experience drawing blood resulting in a bunch of bruises and an attempting to take the blood out of my wrist so I passed out. So embarrassing. So this time I was scared to get it drawn! The lady gave me a stuffed animal to cuddle with while she did it and I felt much better ha ha The nurse who did it was skilled though and there were no problems! Whoo! I was happy!

Alright so new discoveries of the week: Found out the other day that my companion from Switzerland eats HORSE!!!! WHAT! I about died when she told me that! I mean I knew people did.. but my own companion!!! ah I couldn't believe it!! Also, I found out the other girl in our district... sister Kinkead sleeps with her eyes open.. you think she's listening to you the whole time you talk to her and then when she doesn't respond you get all offended.. come to find out she's been asleep the whole time! Slightly creepy.. Anyway, This week we got around 600 new missionaries and it is so FULL! We have 24 new missionaries in my branch and one of which is my friend Mike Tensmyer! I was so excited! He's one of my really close friends from BYUH. I've seen at least 20 people I know from high school or college here. It's crazy but it's so fun to see them all too!!

So anyway, I've also discovered what an INSANE country Bulgaria is! We hear so many crazy stories about Bulgaria from my teachers... I'm way excited to get there!! (Don't worry ma, I'll be safe!) Everything they do there is backwards and its just bizarre!! The Mafia runs the place too! ha Can't wait!! So this week we were playing a game against our teacher and if we lost we had to speak in Bulgarian all day long (which is so HARD) but if we won then he had to bring us in a Christmas tree and lights to decorate the room and have it all decorated before we got in there on Monday morning. So.. WE WON!! It was awesome! He was so confident we would lose and so he had to decorate the room! I love it! It feels so much like Christmas now! We also decorated our residence with all the presents for Christmas and stockings and such! LOVE IT! It's snowed a TON so Christmas really is on the way! I love the snow! On p-days I'm allowed to wear my flipflops so of course I'm wearing them all day in the snow ;) DEEH!

Hey mom, did you watch music and the spoken word on Sunday?? Your most FAVORITE person David Archuleta was a guest on there. I figured you be in the front row with tears in your eyes watching him sing :) hee hee Oh by the way dad.. if you haven't already made my plaque... I realized I never answered your question of what scripture to put on there. I want D and C 18:15.. slightly different then the other one but not by much. Anyway, if you already did it don't worry about it!

So... I can't remember what else I was going to write. I'm quite happy here! My roommates all ROCK and me and my companion have so much fun together! Sue sent me this Flarp stuff that makes farting noises and we did it to our teachers in the classroom when we were all cirlced around about to sing.. oh man it was classic! My whole district loves that stuff and plays with it all the time now. Ha ha it was great! After our teacher appointments on Thursdays (which is like the big test of the week and kinda ... or really stressful!!) we always go play games with all the Polish missionaries in our zone. We play ninja destruction which is a game my friends and I used to always play and it's way fun!! The Poles (polish missionaries) are leaving next week and I'm SO sad! They are so much fun! We are really going to miss them! It's always been the Poles and Bulgs hanging out all the time! ha ha

Well I guess that's it for now. Things here are going great. The language.. is coming I hope! It's really hard but I still try! I do enjoy learning it though! I hope you all have the best Christmas and know how much I love you!! Christmas this year means so much more to me now. It's incredible! MERRY CHRISTMAS!! LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU!!! MEOW!!!


Sister Child

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The First Letter

Cara has had time to write a few letters while at the MTC. However, the first week she didn't have a P day, so this is her first e-mail. I know a lot of you are getting her e-mails forwarded to you, well here it is again. :) I am so dang proud of that girl! Enjoy.

MEOW!!!!! Just had to get one more of those in there while I can! I haven't been meowing too much lately! (okay I take that back i really have hee hee hee) Alright so here is the letter for the week!! it's really intimidating to try and remember everything I wanted to tell you in the email while there are these big RED numbers counting down the time I have left on the computer but I will do my best!!

So this week has been great! It has felt more like a month than a week, but I think time will start speeding up soon. I can tell you basically everything I do here in the MTC: eat, then class, then eat, then class... oh and then eat!! oh and more class! ha ha it's great!! I can't believe how much information they give you in one day, but the awesome thing is when you realize that you are acutally understanding it all!! I love class here. The Bulgarian is coming along... ish. It's such a crazy language with so many grammer rules and crazy exceptions and a simple little word suddenly turns into like 20 letters! i seriously have to make up some kind of crazy story for every single word I memorize! That's a lot of stories! I love it though.

My companion is so fun! I absolutely adore her! The other two sisters in my district are way fun too and the four of us are always together. It makes it really fun! I've seen quite a few of my friends here either from BYUH or high school.. or any other random place. It's been really fun! I guess you heard that Gentry is leaving tomorrow for the Peru MTC!! I'm way exited for her!! Christeen (mm.. I mean Sister Collins ;) ) and I went to go visit her and get some pics with her before she left. I see Christeen a lot because she lives right by me so that makes it really fun!!
So the MTC at Christmas time is seriously so fun! it's so amazing to have my whole Christmas season and everything I do completely centered on Christ. Christmas suddenly takes on such a different meaning to me. We've had some neat devotionals on Christmas and I just love it! I also LOVE singing the Christmas hymns in Bulgarian everyday! ha ha it sounds so funny!

Okay to answer some of your questions: yes I got the packages and I LOVED THEM!! Thanks so much for the cute little christmas package with all the little gifts in it! That was so fun!! I can't wait to open them all and see what I GOT! ha ha I am sleeping pretty well here. By the time bedtime comes I am usually so tired that I just fall right asleep so no worries there! Glad to hear the news on my class assignment! Although I had kind of forgotten about that class while I was here! ha ha It's cool how you completely forget everything else in the world while you are here and the only thing that matters is the gospel. Oh my hip is doing a little better... it's a miracle! It's starting getting better instead of worse so that is a HUGE blessing!!

Okay so I'm running out of time and can't remember everything that I wanted to say, but I will do better in my next email I promise!! I love getting the Dear Elders while I'm here in the MTC so if you want to write me those instead of emails that would probably work better because then I would have time to write more and I could read the letters during the week!!

Oh how did the event for Thomas go on Saturday? I was thinking about it all day and praying that it would be a success! I hope everything went well and I won't mind if you want to send me some pics from the event ;) hint hint!! deeh!! Oh and while you are sending the pictures you could send me a scrabble game as well! I have a brilliant plan for it!! I'll tell you later! teeh hee hee so GREAT!! Oh by the way you can't call me on Christmas... the last day to send packages is the 22nd and I LOVE YOU!! I'm out of time but I will write you some personal letters today too!!!


Sister Child

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Father's Tribute

A tribute from Dad

Caralee is gone. Once again, she has plucked herself out of our lives and into another adventure and without even trying, has left behind a trail of admirers, just as effortlessly as she slipped back into our lives from the last one. I wish I could put into words how much I miss her. It has only been a few days since we dropped her off at the MTC, but it feels like months. Cara made time fly by in my realm almost as fast as she led her own life. I used to try to keep up with her because I felt it was my duty to provide a safety net just in case something happened as she was experiencing life. I now realize she was mine. She provided me a distraction from the stresses of life and protected me from becoming too consumed in trying to solve the problems of my world. She had an amazing gift for motivating people to help her out with some project or another, probably because she has such a penchant for service herself. Her constant quest for a cause to help other people led her to the desire to go on her mission. In the months following the receipt of her call, it seemed she was able to spend quality time with everyone, and even though we can never be satisfied that we got to spend enough time with her, she had an amazing ability to make every second with us count. And how I miss that. Quality time will now be relegated to a few moments on email or in the words of an occasional letter. But I know she will be able to make those few seconds count precious, too.

The tune of the hymn, "Oh My Father" as strummed on her harp has played itself over and over again in my head since she left. That was the hymn she played in Sacrament meeting the Sunday before she left, and we had her play it the night before so that we could record it and keep it to play back whenever we missed hearing her play the harp. So far, I haven't needed that digital recorder, because I can't and won't let it out of my head.

Cara was a gift from God that we didn't deserve. No matter what garbage life spills all over me, He has more than offset it with the tender mercy of allowing her into our family. I sometimes don't know who to thank more; God, for giving her to me, or Cara, for being herself. From the day she was born, Cara seemes as close to perfection as we can expect to be in this world, yet if anyone could look past shortcomings, it was her. I know that God loves her with a perfect love, but in my imperfect state, I doubt any mortal could love her more than I do.

I pray for her safe return, and yearn for the moment she steps off the plane and profoundly says......"MEOW"! When she does, we will know that her legacy never missed a beat.

From Cara's Dad

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fare Thee Well

Caralee was convinced that nobody would come to her farewell due to the horrible weather.. boy was she wrong. There was a HUGE crowd!!! It was awesome. Caralee gave a talk on gratitude and rocked it! At the house there were various soups and cookies. There was so much food and it was all sooo good. I have never seen so many people in one house at the same time. I cannot tell you how many people were there, there were just too many to count. Caralee is a world traveler, so I know that wasn't even everyone. Caralee is loved by so many people and it was incredible to see that on Sunday. Those Bulgarians are some lucky people to be getting her for 18 months.

She is going to make a great missionary! T-Minus 5 days..

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Facts. Facts. Facts.

Bulgaria seems so mysterious to me. I know nothing about the country. Literally, nothing. I want to learn all about it before I let Caralee go live there for 18 months. So, I hit up Google. I have been looking up pictures of the country and it is BEAUTIFUL! Check this out.

Okay, enough of the pictures. Let's get down to the facts. For those of you who are curious, this is what the Bulgarian Alphabet looks like.

Аа Бб Вв Гг Дд Ee Жж Зз Ии Йй Кк Лл Мм Нн Оо Пп
Рр Сс Тт Уу Фф Хх Цц Чч Шш Щщ Ъъ Ьь Юю Яя
It is so crazy! But Caralee is already learning it. She makes me so proud!

Facts. Facts. Facts.
Did you know?
7,567,751 = population.
Languages = Bulgarian (84.6%) Turkish (9.6%) Roma (4.1%) Other (1.8%)
Religion = Bulgarian Orthodox (82.6%) Muslim (12.2%) Christian (1.2%) Other (4%)
Currency = Lev (BGN)
My sister and I watched Harry Potter 4 the other day. Remember Victor Krum? The star of Quidditch who sweeps Hermione (and Ron) off their feet? The really cool and popular one. Yeah.. He's BULGARIAN! Sha-Bam.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Call

Let the blog begin.

Way back in May, Caralee submitted her mission papers. She is quite the world traveler so it took longer than usual to track down all the required documents... while in the midst of changing lives in Africa, all was sorted out and the call finally arrived.

Months later, on July 11th, friends and family gathered around the phone to hear her announce her call over the speaker. You, my friends, may have missed that experience. However, I recently discovered that my printer doubles as a scanner. Welcome to the 21st century, right? So you now get the priviledge of getting to read the actual letter of her call!

Yeah. You read that right. BULGARIA!!! Crazy, I know. They have a different alphabet - which was a huge shocker to me. Not to mention to Caralee, who has to LEARN their alphabet. But you know her, she's already started learning it and is pretty good. Atleast from what I can tell... I wouldn't be surprised if she becomes fluent in Bulgarian before she leaves the MTC. You go girl.

(I have been asked to keep a blog about Cara's mission. This blog is about her and her mission. NOT me. I have another blog and created this blog under the same account and realized afterwards that there is a box to the right with my picture and name. I have tried and tried to remove or change it without it affecting my other blog... but can't find a way. I will keep it at the bottom, so please, please, PLEASE disregard it. Thanks.)