Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week 2-Questions and answers w/ some naughty words...

~He better send pictures soon...but isn't this beautiful??~

This is from me (his mom)

Jan 23, 2012 at 9:25

Dear Favorite Son,
I would write you a long letter, but I hate for you to spend all your computer time reading instead of typing. I think I am going to Dear Elder you a letter but then again, I don't know when you will get it. So I am going to list my questions here and I'll write the loooooong newsy letter for Dear Elder. Sound good? I thought you would see it my way… Just kidding.

1. Are you getting along with your companion?
2. Did you get a white tie yet?
3. Did you get our package?
4. Did your shoes come yet?
5. Do you want to spend $200 for a new 3rd Gen. I-Touch?
6. What is your schedule like?
7. What is your favorite thing to do there?
8. Are the sister missionaries looking good yet?

I love you!!!!! I will write more in the other letter. I sooooooo look forward to Tuesdays because we get to hear from YOU!!! Oh…would you mind cutting and pasting the questions with the answers? Thanks. You are awesome!
Love you!

I'm going to write you the real letter right now….

His Response:

Sorry i'm doing it as a reply, but it won't let me copy and paste on these computers. They're slightly retarded because they are as close to lockdown as they can be while still being operational.

My companions and I are getting along just fine. We haven't had any issues yet.....I don't anticipate any issues coming either. Funny tidbit though....you might have to edit this....Elder R has all sorts of Australian slang that he uses and Elder S and I have to figure out what he means. The other day during personal study he said from across the room, "Hey! Either of you have a rubber?" We just stopped and stared at him and asked "WHAT?" Well it turns out that he was talking about a pencil eraser. We were dying in our chairs because we figured that he didn't mean condom, but he had no idea what he just said to us. We had to explain it. He is also rather fond of the d and h word....they don't carry a negative connotation in Australia at all, so we'll be walking down the hall way and he'll drop something and just fly off with the d word and we have to tell him to shut up. He's also rather fond of the pri** word......Your favorite, mom.....

I don't have a white tie yet....for some reason the only white ties they have in the bookstore are the lame zipper ones for 8 year olds. Im not sure what I'm gonna do, but I still have time.

That package was like the holy grail! Thanks to everyone that was involved in sending it. I ate/shared all of the Lindt chocolate and I've only had like 3 off the Little Debbie things. I've got to make them last. They're the best though. We decided that the food here is pretty good....at the table....but you'll pay for it later. It's crazy. I don't know what they put in it. How do you make an innocent plate of spaghetti into something that will liquify and erode your insides just a few hours later? It's pure witchcraft. The most important thing i've learned is which soups to stay away from....chicken and dumplings is way nasty.

I don't have the shoes yet. We haven't checked the mail today yet. Maybe they'll be here today. That would be nice.

I think I'll hold off on the I touch. Who knows what'll be out in 2 years. Although if Brianne wants to pay $200 bucks, she can go for it. Im not sure if she has the money or wants to spend it, but she can go for it if she wants to.

The schedule is a little different each day. We do the same things every day, but the order switches around. On Monday, We wake up between 6 and 6:30, fight for a hot shower, go to breakfast at 7, have class at from 7:30 to 10:30, have personal time for an hour and then go to lunch from 11:30 to 12:15. Then we have gym from 12:25 to 1:15 and then we have TALL at 1:45 (computer language training. You click on words and a native speaker says it and then you record your voice saying it and realize how terrible you sound. It periodically quizes you on previously leaned words) for an hour. Then we have individual language study until 4:30 when we have dinner. It's so lame that we eat so early, but oh well. You just pile up on food so you aren't hungry at 10. We then go back to class at 5:15 until 8:15. We then have personal study until 9:00. Then is the half hour for planning the next day. We go back to our residence hall at 9:30 to unwind and then we have lights out at 10:30. That's my day....depending on the day it's just a different order that they go in.

My favorite thing is probably sleep!!!! I miss my daily 2 hour naps. I think I've mastered the art of the power nap. I read until i can't keep my eyes open, put my head down for 20 minutes, sit up again and go for the rest of the day. I also like the devotionals and firesides...and we watch some sort of church movie afterwards. We watched The Testaments this week, which was pretty good, except the guy that played Jesus looked like a geico caveman. The speakers are always interesting though. By the end of the firesides I always get pumped and think, "I can do this", but then i go to class the next day and go back to square one. That's the thing about the mission I guess.....the highs are high and the lows are lows. Brat J said that disappointment and frustration are events. Discouragement is a choice, so we just try to keep up good spirits.

Elder S and I taught ourselves how to whine in Slovene this week. We decided we would use the words during lessons to see his response. We learned "To je nemegoče" (this is impossible) and "Glava Me Boli" (My head hurts). We sprung them on him when we couldn't figure out what he was saying and he just started cracking up. It was fun. we also switched name tags when he left the room, but it took him half an hour to notice and he had a lame reaction. We got another teacher this week too. Sanja, our frustrating investigator is actually our other teacher, Sis. K. She's cool, but she's harder because she won't let us look at our notes when she asks us questions, which I guess is good because it forces us to learn stuff.

We decided that some of the sis missionaries aren't too bad, but we're still hesitant because we don't know if it's because of disparity.

I sent stuff in the mail yesterday. I sent letters to Brianne and Mollie in the same envelope (got to save stamps) and I also sent a thing of like 20 pictures with descriptions on the back. If you want, you can scan them and throw them on the blog. I'm almost out of time. Sorry if i didn't answer all of the questions. I look forward to hearing from you guys and whoever else see's this and decides to write. Until next week....


P.J. (Starešina Quinn)

p.s. i found the characters on the key board.....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 1-part 3-handwritten letter

~Ljubliana-Slovenia~ How beautiful!!

This is a letter he sent in the mail. Some of it is a repeat but with more detail. I like this letter because his personality comes out in it more.


Moj druzino (My family)

(Moy drew-sheen-oh)-roll the “r”

First of all, I’m not really supposed to write outside of P-days, which is on Tuesday. So expect an e-mail then (unless this gets to you after then). The people here only got one of my MMR vaccination dates on the vaccine form (the one from when I was 5) and they need the other date (which should be when I was a baby). They just need it faxed if you can find it..

Anyways, business aside, I’m doing pretty well. We have an interesting companion set up. My companions are Elder S , who was in my ward last year (in Shipp. I didn’t know him, from Missouri and is normal). My other companion is Elder R. He’s from Tasmania and has a pretty sweet accent. This is his first time in the U.S. and all he really has to say about it is that our toilets are weird because they use a lot of water. Elder S and I are the only two missionaries here Slovenscina. It’s crazy. Our instructor, Brat J has been back for a year and he said that it’s awesome over there and the food’s great. At least I think that’s what he said. He’s not allowed to speak English (Anglesko) to us, but he still talks a lot, so it ends up turning into a game of charades. Sometimes he’ll tell us to do something or ask us something and we just stare and laugh at him. He seems like a cool guy though yesterday on the first day I just sat in class while we learned introductions and testimonies and just thought to myself, “I’m really gonna learn this?” Now after a couple hours of studying I think, “I’m really gonna learn this!”

We have 6 people in my district. 3 sisters going to Croatia and Elder S, and the Elder R (I don’t want to write it out again) is going to Serbia. He’s considered a Solo Elder. He goes to class with the Croat sisters, since Serbian is Croatian with the Cyrillic (sp?) alphabet, but outside of class the 3 of us are companions. Sorry, but this letter is not organized at all.

I know it’s only been 2 days, but the food doesn’t seem too bad. How bad can it be if you don’t have to cook it or do the dishes? They have donuts at breakfast and lunch and Minute Maid and soda drink machines for every meal. I’m addicted to orange juice.

I was so scared on the tram ride. The 3 guys I was with were so obnoxious. They all went to BYU-I, go figure…When I finally got here and met my companions it got a lot better.

Guess what! Tomorrow morning Elder S and I have to teach an “Investigator” named S in Slovencina for 30 minutes. We already know we’re gonna crash and burn, but it’s expected.

I’m getting a good workout so far. Our room is on the 4th floor and our classroom is on the 3rd floor of a different building. ALL STAIRS!

I think that’s about it. Feel free to shoot me another e-mail before Tuesday with any new questions you may have. I’m doing well and enjoying myself. No need to worry.

Ljubezen, (Love),
P.S. or you can think of me as Staresina Quinn because it sounds much more official.

(Crayon Sketch of Missionary tag)

Doesn’t it seem weird that I have a tag? I actually have 2 of them!

*Picture courtesy of http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g274873-Ljubljana.html,2012.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The only feminine thing he'll have contact with for 2 years

So, about a month ago I asked P.J. what he thought he would miss most about the states when he went to Slovenia. His answer kind of surprised me. He said he would miss Little Debbie snacks. Yes, you read that right, Little Debbie. WHAT?!? Not even Hostess...I think he once told me he would absolutely love to have a ton of Little Debbie snacks that he could eat as much as he wanted (gluttony in its finest form). Today the girls and I made his dream come true. We went to Wal-Mart and spent $10.00 on Little Debbie snacks (Zebra cakes, caramel bars, honey buns, etc.). By the way...$10.00 that cost $14.00 to ship. It wasn't until after we shipped a whole box of diabetic coma-inducing goodness that I realized that if I were a pro at this whole blogging thing, I definitely would've taken a picture of the loot because honestly, it looked pretty funny. See, most elders receive homemade cookies from home but homemade cookies aren't usually his thing. So, off went the box stuffed to the brim. P.J. is not a rationing sort of guy. If he treats it like he does his Christmas Stocking or Easter baskets, then he's going to be one sick boy in the MTC.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week One...Part 2!!!! Yahoo!!!!

Zdravo moy Družino, Hello my family.....
so this is probably taboo...but i found out that after my time runs out i can get on again and it doesnt time me...... I forgot to mention that i already sent a letter on thursday, so if you haven't gotten it yet, wait to read the email until you get the letter. I just went to get pictures printed and i'll get them on friday, so expect them around monday or so. We went to the temple after i sent the first email and we did sealings. they were way cool. well, We have devotional in an hour. Im not sure who's speaking, but it'll be a general authority. I got a package from Jake. It had candy, dr. pepper, root beer and stickers and other missionary stuff. It was pretty cool. I think missionaries like mail because it cements how popular they are to everyone else. Well if you want, it may be easier to use dear elder and then i'll email you back. You type it online and it's free same day delivery to the mtc. So if you want to advertise that on Facebook feel free. I better go cause im not really supposed to be on here, so talk to ya later.

So...as a side note...Phil and I are proud of the fact that we have raised our kids to be strict rule followers (kidding)...but in all seriousness, two e-mails and one letter in one day!!! I take that back, three e-mails. The third asked if we have ordered his other pair of shoes yet. This is what happens when your son wears a size 14...you resort to on-line shopping to find shoes. At some point I may do a post about what it takes to get the kid off on a mission. I had NO idea of the amount of shopping involved, and for someone who who'd almost rather shove bamboo slivers up her fingernails than shop, well, let's just say it was an experience! ~Dore

Week One...FINALLY!!!!

Okay...I can breathe now. Good thing the MTC doesn't allow you to be a helicopter parent or else for the first time in my life I would find myself going there.... He is doing awesome! So enough of me...here he is; first official letter from the Elder.

I'm just gonna send one response because the clock on the side says i only have 25 minutes left. First, Slovene is sooooo hard!!!!! It's so killer. Elder S and i really get down on ourselves sometimes for not knowing things, but then we have to remember that we are only 5 days into a slavic language and we have to get over the fact that we're lost. Brat J , my instructor, is such a cool guy. Since he's not allowed to speak in English to us, class is still kind of like charades with a crazy foreign language going on in the background, but it's still pretty cool. After 3 days of constant Slovene he took each of us out in the hall for an interview in english to answer questions and see how we were adapting. It was so funny to hear him speak English. When he speaks English it's super cool, because you finally connect on a personal level. He's from Highland and he said that he knew Nate. If i can be like him after i get back, I'll be in perfect shape. He's back for almost a year, and it's really nice to finally be able to talk to someone who not only knows where the country is, but also what it's like there. He said the food is awesome and the people are like eggs. They have a hard shell, but if you get through it, they are super loving and loyal people. So we're getting along great in the trio. The first few days were huge work outs because between the 3 of us we would always forget something in the room and have to go up and down 4 flights of stairs numerous time to get everything. We're spread out with just 3 of us in a 4 person room.
So we meet with s[name deleted for privacy] our investigator 5 times a week.....what a trainwreck. Imagine having to teach someone in a language that you've been learning for 4 days.....man.....The first day Elder S and I made a script of what to say ( we watched a video that explained her needs....she had a son die at the age of 2 and she's really missing him and doesn't know if she believes in God). So we went in and read the script. You're supposed to involve the investigator, because they need to feel involved and cared about, but we knew that we wouldn't be able to answer questions, so we tried to shut her out. I figured that she would know what the Book of Mormon was, so at the end I offered it to her. Well, she didn't know what it was. She tried to pay us for it, and we didn't know the words in order to tell her about it. It was bad....So we decided that the next day we would talk about prayer and the Book of Mormon (Mormonovo Knjigo).......That went all right. We decided that we would throw grammar out the window and just try to get our way through it word by word. It went better. It consisted of us telling her "Ne Razumen" everytime she asked a question, but she would explain it. Well at the end of that (on Saturday), she told us that she would meet again on Monday at 7:45. We went to class the next morning and were just casually reading stuff, figuring that we had the whole day to prepare a lesson and figure it out....Well she said 7:45 jutoro, not 7:45 vecer (i dont have the right characters on this keyboard, should be the c with the upsidown carrot thingy). We freaked when she poked her head in the door. We just sprung into it and struggled to teach her about the restoration......it was alright, but we were so scared.
The food here's not bad. How bad can it be if you dont have to make it or do the dishes? We've learned things to stay away from though. The chicken fingers are pretty bad..... It's funny because Elder R keeps judging American food based on MTC food. Like he said, "American hamburgers taste funny." We keep on correcting him and telling him that they taste weird to us too.
I heard a cool quote the other day. Right now everyone is kind of struggling with their language just because it's so overwhelming. A guy teaching a workshop said to have faith that it will work out. The Lord knows what He's doing, and He's the one that called me to Slovenia to speak Slovene to His people in that country. As long as i put in as much effort that I can, He will bless me to be able to do the things which i need to do. It was kind of calming at the time, but it's still a tough thing to deal with. Figuring out how to study has been hard. I keep on thinking that if im not in class, I have free time, but it's opposite. Class is pretty much free time. If you have time to just sit there or sleep, you have time to read something. I guess it's been hard dealing with the fact that the next 2 years aren't my own time. I have a job to do and it's going to take all of my effort. I also kind of thought that once i was set apart as a missionary, doing church stuff all day would be fun.....Not so. It's been a little hard to adapt, but I'm learning. I went and watched Music and Spoken word on Sunday, and (Mom, if you're eating anything, swallow so you don't choke) I kind of enjoyed it. It scared me. Motab is supposed to be bad.....I guess I'm deprived here and they say even the worst food and water looks good to a starving man (which is also why you have to be careful with the sister missionaries ;)) I'm down to 4 minutes. If i dont finish everything, I'll write a letter later tonight and send it in the mail tomorrow. Sorry if i've forgoten to answer any questions. Just send them again and I'll try next week. I love you all, and even though it was hard to come here and a hard first couple of days, I'm glad I'm here and I'm adapting. Imel upanje....I have hope. I have hope that everything that's hard will get easier with hard work and effort. I'm positive that i'd rather not be anywhere else right now.
I love you guys a bunch. Feel free to send me letters, that way i can respond whenever.
P.J. (or Staresina Quinn, if we're being official)

So...some commentary to clarify a few things for those who are new to this whole mission thing. The word "Brat" is "brother" in Slovene. It's how we politely refer to each other in our church (either brother or sister in the place of Mr. or Mrs.). Also, the investigator he was referring to is an actress who is pretending to be the person they teach and practice their skills on.

MoTab is Mormon slang for Mormon Tabernacle Choir. P.J. is infamous for not being a huge fan of the MoTab in the past, but apparently being without music is making him a little bit of a thirsty man in the desert. Ha! That part actually made me laugh.

Also, those of you who know P.J. well know that he is pretty infamous for NEVER studying. I don't know how many times Phil and I have harassed him in the past for not studying, but it's because I can't fathom having a good enough memory to not need to. I used to always tell him growing up that he would be the first really smart guy to flunk out of college because he didn't have a clue how to study. It is music to my ears to hear him actually use the term, "study," and to know that he is learning how to do it. Ahhhhh! Just one of the many blessings of serving a mission that he is experiencing. Saweeet!

Until next week...Bye! ~Dore

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What the heck is a "Mission?"...

~Beautiful Lake Bled, Slovenia~ Is he lucky, or what?!!

So...P.J. has been gone for three days (Why does it seem so much longer???) and I know some people have had some questions about what he is doing and why he is doing it. So, I decided to include a post with questions and answers about what he will doing for the next TWO years. Please understand that I am not an official representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Missionary Training Center, just a mom who is answering some basic questions. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section. None of us will be offended...

Q: What is a Mission?
A: I'm quoting from the Missionary Training Center (MTC) for this one... "Missionaries begin
their service at a Missionary Training Center, where they prepare to become messengers of
the Lord, bringing glad tidings to families around the world. As representatives of the
Church, missionaries believe that people throughout the world can obtain life's greatest
happiniess from following the teachings of Jesus Christ." (http://www.byu.mtc.edu/, 2012) He's
basically out there to teach people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That's a lot for a 19
year old, right?

Q: Does your church require him to go?
A: I've had this question a lot... No, the church does NOT require him to go. It is voluntary.
We did not pressure him to serve, either. P.J.'s dad and I both strongly feel that anyone
who chooses to serve a mission should be there because they chose to be there. Therefore,
we did not pressure him to serve a mission, but rather he chose to serve a mission. We
found out a few weeks back during a talk at church that P.J. made that choice after careful
prayer. Yep...we are proud of him. Then again, we would be proud of him even he
chose not to go because he's a pretty good guy.

Q: How long will he be gone?
A: A mission for guys is for 2 years...yep, two whole years! Girls serve for 18 months (I don't
know why...).

Q: Will he come home for summers?
A: Nope...he will be gone for two whole years! (wow...that's a long time, Dore! yes, yes it

Q: Can he date girls?
A: Ummm...NOPE! Yes, it's a sacrifice. He's there to serve the Lord and the people of Slovenia..
not date the women. He had a bishop at BYU who said, "Men, if you don't take a look at
a woman, you're not a man. If you take a second look, you're not a missionary. So take ONE
LONG look!" He was kidding, of course (kind of...). I thought he was funny.

Q: Did he choose where to serve his mission?
A: No...he was assigned to Slovenia. I'm not sure about the process involved in assigning
missionaries to different countries (did you know missionaries for our church serve in
120 countries around the world? courtesy of http://www.byu.mtc.edu/, 2012), but we do know
he was meant to go there. It takes a tremendous amount of faith to go to a country you
know nothing about (and probably couldn't even find on a map) and live there for
two years, don't you think?

*A friend (Mike Stark) sent a link (in the comments section-it won't let me copy and paste in here, for some reason) that explains the process for how missionaries are assigned. Thanks, Mike! :)

Q: Where is he now?
A: He is currently at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) for eight weeks. He is spending
most of his days there learning the language (Slovenian), learning communication skills,
and learning teaching skills. He also gets time every day for gym and personal study time as well as intense relious training. It's a busy day.

Q: Why doesn't he have his cell phone?
A: Because his little sister now owns it. :) He has the ability to write and receive mail (I
think he posted his current address on his FB) and he is able to e-mail us once a week.
other than that, we will be able to speak with him I think a total of five times in 2 years.

Q: WHAT?!? Five times in two years????
A: I told you there was some sacrifice involved! Yes, for parents who are close to their son,
this has been a tough one for the past three days. P.J. is not a "Mama's boy" by any
means, but we were usually in contact at least once a day while he was at BYU (what
can I say? We are cool parents... ha!). This three days without speaking with him has
been probably the TOUGHEST thing so far. I heard it gets easier...it better... I've heard
that the phone is limited because it cuts down on distractions. We're good with it, even
though it's hard.

Q: Will he have to ride the ever famous bikes?
A: Nope. The stereotype of missionaries on bikes is not a religious thing...it's a practicality
thing. P.J. will be serving in a place where he will be using public transportation and
trains for the most part. That and his two legs. We've heard he could log about 12-15
miles a day on foot. Let's just say he now owns some REALLY expensive shoes... :)

Q: Can you go visit him?
A: Eh...too distracting for missionaries. They are busy from sun-up to sun-down. We are
contemplating going there at the end of his mission to bring him home. We'll see.

Q: Why would someone do this voluntarily with NO PAY?
A: Because he REALLY believes in what he is doing.

Q: Will he be different when he gets back?
A: It is said that return missionaries are a little socially awkward and geeky when they get back
but that doesn't last very long. Because he will be immersed in another language for 2 years,
his English will be difficult for a few weeks but then we can all laugh at him and make fun of
him. He will have a deeper love for Slovenians, pastries, and the Lord, but other than that,
he will still be P.J.

Q: Why are they all called, "Elder?"
A: I don't know why, exactly. He will know. I'll ask him and put it in later. He will officially
be going by the title of, "Elder Quinn."- that's the enlish version, of course. I don't know
what it will be in Slovenian. They don't have a "Q" in their alphabet so I don't know how
his last name will be pronounced. The reason P.J. will know why "Elder" is used for
missionaries is because he knows trivia things like that. If any of you know...feel free
to post it in the comments.

Anyways, I hope this answers some questions for you. If you are really curious, feel free to check out http://www.byu.mtc.edu/ for more info. There's pictures and everything! Also, you may check out http://www.lds.org/. As soon as I get an e-mail from him, I'll post it. I've previewed this post and for some reason it's formatting weird...Sorry. I'm not saavy enough to know how to fix it. Sorry!

Meanwhile, be kind to the missionaries you see biking around town...they aren't getting paid!!! :)