I have finally received Caralee's first forwarded letter from Bulgaria! And I couldn't be any happier right now. I wish I could be in Bulgaria and see for myself what it is like.. but I'm just glad that she is enjoying it so much! I'm still trying to figure out what she meant by 'forgot her camera cord'.. forgot it at the MTC? or home? Either way - how do you forget something like that?! I hope it somehow finds its way back to her. Last of all, thank goodness for Ambien!
HEY FAMILY! GUESS WHAT??! I'M IN BULGARIA!!!! COOL EH?? ha ha it's so sweet!!! Okay so this has been a very interesting week for me as you could probably guess.
Let me just start out by saying how much I LOVE not having giant red blinking numbers counting down the time I have left on the computer! ha ha it's so GREAT!!
Okay so I made it here just fine. The flights were not bad... I took an ambien and literally slept the ENTIRE time on the plane, actually I slept the entire time on all three plane rides so that actually made the trip go by quite fast.. besides our two 8 hour layovers, it was great. Because of said ambien I have not had any jet lag which is beautiful!! We met president and sister Roth at the aiport with the APs and we stayed at the mission home that night. Sister Roth is an incredible cook and made us excellent dinner and breakfast! ah it was so great to eat REAL food again! Yes.. heaven. Anyway, the mission home is really nice and I enjoyed it. The next day we met our trainers and were assigned to our areas.. along with some other meeting stuff. It was bad. SO I have been assigned to Varna and my companion is Sister Loss, which is great! I expected to go here and actually really wanted to go here so I love it! Varna is a big city and it's kinda dirty... okay really dirty but still beautiful at the same time. I love it. Varna is a city on the north east side of the country right on the Black Sea! Cool eh? We are going to go see the sea today :) AND ever since I got here the weather has been BEAUTIFUL!! It's sunny everyday and pretty warm, especially for winter. It's warmer here than it was in Provo. Deeh! Makes me happy.
Okay so wanna hear something kinda funny!? Turns out Joel Racker is my Zone Leader here in Varna!! ha ha oh man it's so weird! He picked us up from the bus stop (after another 7 hour bus ride on top of all the flights! Grunt.) and it was the weirdest thing to see him here. I see him all the time though because he is our zone leader and we are doing stuff with them most of the time. So anyway, that's kinda crazy and kinda fun! It's still really weird for me to see him though, but it's cool.
So, BULGARIA ROCKS!! It's really just exactly like I expected it to be! Very European, Euro cars, Euro streets, Euro styles.. yes I love it! I don't understand a word of what people are saying to me, but I try anyway. I feel like a 5 year old when I speak and people kinda look at me like I am one too! ha ha BUT I will get the language eventually! I've already noticed a huge difference just being so immersed in the language. There is one thing however that is going to be hard to get used to. They nod their heads up and down to say no and they go back and forth to say yes. It's opposite and oh man it totally throws me off ALL THE TIME!! Ah it kills me and I just cannot get my head to grasp the fact that shaking my head back and forth is yes! I just can't do it! Though that is my goal today.. to shake my head the "right" way from now on. Ha ha I heard that's what it was like but I don't think I actually really believed it!
Sister Loss is awesome by the way! I love her. She is from Salem, Utah and we get along great. We are very much alike. We both love to run so we go running every morning and she loves to eat healthy which is really good for me.. seeing as I love chocolate!! So we eat very healthy as well. She also is a very hard worker and that's very very good for because as you know.. I like to have a little too much fun. So she keeps me on track which is really good. We work really hard all day long every day. At the end of the day I'm always so tired and my feet hurt and my back hurts and I have a headache... yet I'm still so happy and feel so great because I know I am utterly exhausted doing the best I can here. That's what I want everyday of my mission.
We went tracking last night and it was really cool. ( I can start the conversation but then Sister Loss has to take over because I don't know what they are saying to me!) Anyway, we met this old lady (a baba is what they call it!) and she had just lost her husband and kids and sisters. They all had died recently. I didn't catch how.. but it was so sad. She was just so lonely and just needed to talk to someone. We stayed with her for a while and gave her some things about the church. She was so happy to just have someone to talk to. It was so sweet. She gave us some cookies and clothes hangers (random) but it was all she had. My heart just went out to her. As we were walking home that night, I was looking down at the sidewalk because the roads and sidewalks here are so cracked and broken that you have to watch where you are stepping or you will fall. As I was doing that I couldn't help but think of how these sidewalks are just like the people here. They have been so oppressed and bruised and beaten through their lives that they've learned to be hard and calloused in order to survived. Just as the walkways are broken and hard, so are their hearts. My heart just reaches out to them as I think of all they have gone through and really they just need someone to show them some love, to fix up their broken hearts and to soften something that has been so calloused from years and years of hatred, bitterness, and brutality. It really made me just want to give my everything to help them and show them they were loved. Just as that little old baba just wanted some love, I think everyone can use a loving hand.
The members here are incredible! They are very few in number but very strong. I met them all yesterday and I love them. We have about 30 in our branch here in Varna and then we also go to a neighboring town called Pervadia for church. They are mostly all inactive and struggle. We had 4 people there besides us at this sacrament meeting and church only lasts a 1 total there. We go every Sunday though to help build it up there. That poor town struggles, they are so poor. Many of the Maxalas (ghettos) here remind me a lot of Africa because of the way they live. It's very similar. There are many poor people here and it's hard to see. There's a lot of work to be done and I'm excited to do it!
Well just so you know. My p-days are now on Mondays so I'll be emailing every monday. I forgot my camera cord but think I should be able to attach some pics next week so I will try! I will also try to attach a voice recording too if I can dad :) Love you all and hope things are going well! MEOW!! (PS there's also a LOT of cats here! They are everywhere! ha ha LOVE IT!)