Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Week 7...Where in the world is Elder Kvin [going]?-you know you want to sing it...

Како Смо? How are ya guys?

I've been doing pretty well this week apart from being sick. Friday a week and a half ago I started feeling like i had a bad cold going on and I’ve been sick for over a week now. I thought it might be a sinus infection and since my Dayquil/Nyquil ran out yesterday I finally went to the MTC clinic. The doctor said that it was just a virus, so he didn't prescribe me anything but he told me to go to the BYU health center and pick up some Sudafed and Benadryl (sp?). I got a bottle of each for $6 total, so I should be good to go now. He said that he thinks I’m in the downward slope of it, so hopefully I'll be feeling better soon. I also got a humidifier for the residents from the clinic. I've been getting bloody noses like crazy because of the dryness....so hopefully that's all cleared up now too.

So....sorry to burst your bubble Mom....but the travel office doesn't really know a whole lot. They don't know exactly where we're going. After all, we are the ones that had to tell them that we weren't going to Slovenia. From what I've found out, yes, we are getting Croatian visas....but we aren't expected to stay there. President Brown told us that we wouldn't know where we were going until we got there, which means we are going to Croatia to start with but then we are most likely going elsewhere from there. I've heard that you can apply for Serbian visas while you are in the country, so we'll most likely fly into Croatia, spend some time there, then go to Serbia (maybe Bosnia) and apply for a visa while we are in the country. Also, Croatian visas are harder to get and the Serbian ones are fairly simple (can't imagine why? You would think that it was the Euro-vacation hot spot). 
I think I’ve figured out why we got reassigned. Mom, I think you're to blame, but I'm not angry. Elder S and I were talking to Sister K , our old teacher, and I was talking about how I didn't really imagine you being super thrilled about the idea of me going into Serbia or Bosnia and how you were excited about Slovenia because it's basically the safest place on earth. I think she was kind of joking, but what she said afterwards made sense. She said, "Maybe you had to be going to Slovenia first, that way your mom could be more comfortable with Serbia afterwards" (or something like that). I think there's some truth to that. I'm not sure if you would have let me go if I was originally called to Serbia or Bosnia. I think it took some easy adjusting (me going to Slovenia and not worrying) before I could go to somewhere not as "perfectly stable" (Serbia/Bosnia) and have you be okay with it.....Am I making sense? Don't worry. I've come to accept the reassignment, so I’m not mad at you...but I still blame you ;)

So last night, we were talking to Brat M, our Serbian teacher, about Serbia and what we should take to Europe with us. He said, "I'm not allowed to tell you what to take and what to leave, but from my experience I would say that if it's something that you can easily get elsewhere, don't take it." Luckily I didn't take a lot of extra things, so I don't think I'll be sending clothing home or anything.....although part of me is dying because I think I'm gonna send my watches home. I'll keep the ipod, because I still want the music.

That brings me to my next tidbit. I'm waiting for pictures to be printed and then I'm going to be sending a package with pictures, my patriarchal blessing, my watches, and some other stuff I don’t need any more (like my Slovene ministerial certificate, which authorizes me to teach). So I put the pictures in on Saturday, so hopefully they will be done tomorrow or Thursday. Also, you can still send the flag, since I'll be there eventually.

Random facts: Apparently Serbia has some of the best food in the mission. Mollie, look away.... Apparently they eat a lot of horse there and supposedly it's quite good. I'm excited to try it. How many Americans can say that they ate Black Beauty? I'm not sure exactly how they serve it, but in Slovenia they make it into Kranski burgers (horse burgers). It'll be interesting to say the least. Also, Now that I’m going to Serbia, I get the good side of the exchange rate...even though the Euro is tanking. They use the Dinar (sp?) and it just makes everything a better price. I'm gonna get so much cool stuff when I come home! I thinking about buying another scripture quad at the bookstore (they're discounted) and taking it because there's a guy in Belgrade that rebinds books and he always does scriptures for the missionaries....and they look SWEET! We saw a picture last night and they look like old fashion books with the thick leather binding with the cool designs in them. I guess that they're kind of the "thing to get" while you're there. You can also get sweet ties over there. Most of them are pretty cheap ($5-$10), but in Croatia (where ties originated) you can buy Cravats (don’t know the spelling at all on this one) and they are like $45-$50 (yowza) but they are basically the coolest thing you can put around your neck. My teachers each have a couple and they are sweet! I don't think I could ever spend that much on a tie, but we'll see.

Also....feel free to e-mail whatever, because I found a way to cheat the system. We print out emails so we don’t take time off the clock reading them. And then to reply (I’m doing it right now) we type the email in the lds.org study journal (no time limit) and then just copy and paste it into the email. By the time I'm done emailing, i usually still have at least 23 minutes left.

Wanna see some Serbian?
 Џосеф Цмит се молио Богу о којој церкви је инстинита. Бог је реко Џосефу Смиту да неједна црква је инстинита. 
Joseph Smith prayed to God about which church was true. God told Joseph Smith that none of the churches were true. 
Pretty crazy stuff, huh? It's still a little slow when I read it, but it's getting better each day. I'm gonna type out the alphabet for you: 
The reason why it's kind of hard is because some of the letters look like Latin alphabet, but they make different sounds. Like the Serbian "R" is a "P", so I always get that confused. Oh well. It's all in good fun.
I should be getting my full Cyrillic name tag soon. Here's what it'll look like:

Старешина Квин
 Исуса Христа 
 Последњих Дана

So Quinn is now spelled "Kvin" so I will be Elder Kvin in 2 weeks.
Sorry for rambling. I think that might be all I have to say for right now. But I still have almost all of my email time left, so if I think of anything else, I send another one.

I should be getting travel plans any day now.... although I would be really surprised if I go to Europe from here since they've only had a few weeks for a Croatian visa. Pants- 38/32.... why?

Well I'll probably send another email later.



From his mother (me!)…

Hello!!! In case you are able to get on again…

Believe it or not…I'm okay with Serbia and all that jazz. I'm not as paranoid as you think I am. If you are in Kosovo…the only thing I ask is that you stay on concrete (no running through fields) and out of abandoned buildings. Apparently mines are still a major issue over there.

Trips are doing well. Is. can repeat most words now. It's pretty funny. J knows all his colors. L was following me around and chasing me...she is waaaaay too cute! B just happily plays and does her own thing. Bites that they are moving...

I can't think of any other news. I was asking about the pants because I forgot we already got you a pair of grey ones. I'm glad you are starting to feel better. I'll be sure to restock your Dayquil/Nyquil supply. Dad would LOVE to babysit your watches while you are gone. Just kidding. Do you need a cheap one instead?

You are awesome and I love you!!!!

Love, Mom.

PS…dad wants to know if you got his e-mail. If you reply to it, you will have to send it to me because for some reason his e-mail won't accept your e-mails or mine. Talk to you SOON!!!!!!!

Part II-From P.J.

I think I’ll just keep my Nano watch for right now and then I will just see what I can pick up over there. It shouldn't be an issue. I’m not worried about it. The devotional tonight was pretty awesome. Elder Holland came and he was so cool. A couple of cool quotes:

“We expect you to grab your socks and pull them clear up to your armpits and get to work.”

He then talked about how missionaries were an unofficial symbol of the church and that so many people adore us and think we are perfect and that we don’t have the privilege or the right to make/let them think otherwise. He also talked about using the Book of Mormon as the foundation of our teaching. It was so cool. It went over by 15 minutes, but it didn't even feel like it was even at least the normal hour. He also spoke a lot about how we have to stay strong after we get home. I guess that's a big issue. RMs falls away. He said, "If you go out and spend 2 years, and then come back and don't stick with it, what do we expect from our investigators? We expect lifelong commitments, and then some come back and just throw everything away." He also said, "If we aren't gonna live it, then why on earth are we here?" Also, we aren't supposed to go back to what we were before our missions.

It was just way cool to listen to him drop the cane and get things done. It really shows the issues and how worried they (church leaders) are about them. Nothing else of major note happened today.....Just to let you know, the best days are when I hear from you guys. Look forward to hearing from you soon. BTW....I should be getting my travel plans on Friday and I’m hosting the new missionaries tomorrow (welcome them, take them to get their materials, and take them to their rooms). I'm so excited. It's gonna be fun to harass them...."I hope you told your mother you love her"....."Get out while you still can"....."They beat us in here".....Totally just kidding. I'll be nice. I think it might be tough to be reminded of how miserable I felt, but oh well.

Until next week,



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Week 6...Saga of getting reassigned....

Здраво Породице! Zdravo Ponodice! Hello Family!

I'm writing after enduring the longest weekend of my life. I hate 3 day weekends, because I don’t even get a single break at all.....so lame. I'm doing all right so far. I don't think Serbski is going to be too hard. It's similar in theory to Slovene, but it's mostly different vocabulary with some of the same basic routes...which actually makes it kind of hard because the words get all mixed together. 

Here's the story of how it went down: Elder S and I were in class with Brat J when a voice on the intercom in our room asked me to come to A104. I thought it was about my patriarchal blessing, so Elder S and I walked to the room in the main building. I got a little freaked out when I saw that A104 was the MTC President's office. The secretary sat us down and said that she was glad that we both came and that we weren't in trouble. So then we didn't know what was happening. 10 minutes later he called us into his office, told us to sit down, and said, “Don’t worry, you're not in trouble (I guess we looked scared/confused).” So we sat down and he said something to the effect of, "It's been passed down to me from the Brethren that you two elders are getting reassigned. How do you feel about Serbian?" I thought he was joking...but he wasn't. He went on to say, "I'm not quite sure why, but there is a sudden need for more Serbian speaking elders. You are being assigned to learn Serbian, but we don't know where you're going yet. You are officially in the Adriatic 'blank' mission." (so yeah....I’ll talk about this more further on) He also said that we would start Serbian that night. So then we went to the bookstore, got Serbian materials, and ordered Serbian nametags. Then I made the phone call to dad.
We then found out that the teachers didn't even know about the switch. President Brown was the first to find out and then he told us, so no one still really knows what's going on. Brat J was gone by the time we got back, so we couldn't even tell him. Anyways, we went to Croatian/Serbian class Friday night and struggled our way through it. It was so frustrating for both of us. I think we were just angrier than anything else. Slovene was such a rough start, but it felt like we were finally getting the hang of it and we were starting to be able to teach and understand better, and now, out of the blue, we were getting switched and pushed back to square one. 
We saw Sister K the next morning and all she asked us was, "What the junk?! What's up with the switch? Now I'm out of a job!" We told her all that we knew and then our new and old teachers had a meeting later to figure out how they were going to deal with us. It's kind of funny: 
 Most mornings we now have Sister C as a teacher and then we have Brat M (he went to Serbia and he seems pretty cool) teach the 3 of us Serbs on Monday and Wednesday night. We get to split off from the Croat sisters and just learn pure Serbian. I’m not sure what's going down the other nights though. Oh...we also still get to see Brat J and Sestra K because they play our investigators (Bostijan and Anica) and we are still go to teach the same investigators. They're trying to learn some Serbian so we can still teach them. I thought that was pretty cool. That's what I was saddest about. I really like the two of them and I wasn't too cool with having to switch teachers and ditch them. 
Sorry if this is too jumbled. It's just a lot of thoughts all coming to my mind and I don't have a whole lot of time for organization.

So anyways, Friday and Saturday were rough. Elder S and I were both not happy at all about the switch. I tried to have a good attitude, but it was hard so I gave up. I seriously felt like I was on the edge of sanity for a day a half. I was just so frustrated. I figured that I could learn Serbian, because I was picking up Slovene, but I honestly didn't want to. Learn Serbian, or go to a Serbian country. I wanted to go to Slovenia and speak Slovene. I felt like I had lost all control of everything and everything was out of my hands, which it totally is, but it hadn't felt that way up to that moment. So we fasted on Saturday that we might come to terms with the change and develop an appreciation for our new assignment. I think it worked. I'm more so excited about the new opportunity, although I'm still a little disappointed. I think Serbian will come all right. I'm doing fine with the idea now. I'm just really gonna have to push it for my next 3 weeks here. 

So where I’m going: Yeah....no one has any idea yet. And if they do know, they're not telling Elder S or me. Yes, they speak Serbian in Serbia, but also a different dialect sort of thing/Serbian with a Latin alphabet in Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia. The last 3 are in the Adriatic South mission, which make them a possibility. Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Macedonia all just opened within the last little while, so they are all possibilities. They said that we should be finding out soon. I've heard that despite what the news says, they are all fairly safe, so don’t worry. (There’s a saying here that says that a cold in Bolivia is death in the US, so calm down Mom) I personally could see myself going to Serbia and then Bosnia, which would be kind of cool since Bosnia just opened a couple of weeks ago. Who knows though?

I got the package before Valentines Day. Sorry.... I forgot to mention it last week. I'm gonna find Little Debbie when I get home and marry her so she can make me her snack cakes forever. Thanks a bunch. There's still a bunch left too because I want it to last. 

I can't think of a whole lot of other stuff. It's been all right here. I'm just starting to suffocate under the hold of the MTC. It really seems like they have some rules for the sake of having rules.... like we HAVE to have the bed spreads on our beds even though it doesn't get cold enough for them. And we aren't allowed to hang up flags (which is no longer an issue, but at the time I was frustrated) But oh well. It will only make me appreciate being on my own that much more. The food is getting old, but still, I don’t have to cook or clean, so it's all right. 

There hasn’t been anything super funny lately. Just stress and learning. I should be getting my Cyrillic (sp?) name tags later today, so I’ll be sending pictures and stuff soon. By the time I leave I’ll have 6 tags (two Slovene, two Cyrillic/English, and two full Cyrillic). How many other people get that many? For the sake of other people, hopefully not that much.

How are things back home? Is everyone doing okay? I'm running out of things to say. If you have unanswered questions, just let me know and I’ll try to answer them. 

Also, Time to think of a new title for the blog, huh? You can do whatever you want with it. I'm not too concerned about it. I trust you. I look forward to hearing from you. Off to the temple now.

Just to add a couple of things.... i saved a picture of the flag off of Google images as a picture and then I uploaded it to picknick or whatever it's called and then I put the text box on top of it. If that explains anything. I feel like there was other stuff to say, but I can’t remember anything. I am quite curious to know what you're sending me though.

I heard from Brett today in a few sentences cuz i told him I was getting reassigned. He sounds like he's doing all right. And Jake said that he's still partying in Portland. Make sure you get on Facebook and tell everyone to write me or else......please......it would probably make me the most popular person here.

Oh...I just went to the travel office. They still don't know where I’m going. Oh well. Another thing.... It's super funny when people see my tag and ask me where I’m going.....the look on their face is priceless when I tell them I have no idea. Mostly the old people at the temple. I get my new tags in half an hour!!!!!!!! I better get going. Lots of stuff to do all the time, even on pday.

I love y'all bunches!
Старешина Квин
Starešina Quinn (what it says above)

P.S.: Cyrillic is a pain, but I can read it...but slowly. I feel like I’m 4 when it takes 35 minutes to read half of a Book of Mormon chapter and i still don't understand what it says. 
Also, do you think you can send me the Greer's address? I'd like to write them, but I’m not sure where to send it to. 
Serbia: СРБИЈА You gotta admit...it looks pretty sweet when you write it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Elder Quinn needs your prayers...

I know that sounded rather ominous, and really, it's not that bad. So I'll start at the beginning (yesterday afternoon)....

Phil (P.J.'s dad) was in the garage yesterday and I was at work when Phil got a call from P.J.. Calls from the mission field are RARE (about five calls in two years)!!!! P.J. got special permission to call home and let us know that his mission assignment has been changed. He has spent the last six weeks learning Slovene and was finally getting comfortable speaking, writing, and teaching in it when he and his companion were called to the MTC president's office and told that they were being reassigned. Where?...you ask...well....wait for it....They are being sent to Serbia (and possibly Bosnia and Herzogovina). Hmmmm....what's the big deal?..you want to know... It's a whole NEW language for crying out loud. And they have approximately three weeks to learn it.

For a little bit of perspective, picture the Russian alphabet...yeah...that's what they are going to have to learn in three weeks. In the MTC, the elders/sisters going to Russia have twelve weeks to learn it. P.J. and his companion have three.

Now, we know for certain that Heavenly Father is a God of miracles, and I know he hears and answers all prayers, regardless of your religion. Would you take a few minutes and offer up some heavy-duty prayers for him? Not only that he will be able to learn the language, but that he will be comforted and blessed with confidence. I know that P.J. has been blessed with faithful friends of various religions, and I know all our prayers will go a long way in sustaining him.

Now about missing the SECOND phone call he's made since he's left. Yeah...not happy about that... He did e-mail me this morning. I guess since Phil and I aren't divorced, he wasn't allowed to get two passes (Phil said, "Huh...being penalized for having a great marriage...Ha-kidding!). That's okay. I'll get to talk to him in three weeks.

Okay...I know this is really low on the totem pole of things-that-matter-in-life...but the blog is going to get a make-over during the next week or so. Since P.J. designed the last one, this is going to be interesting.

Of course, after I heard last night, I got on the internet and looked up Serbia/Bosnia. They've really only had tenuous peace for the last, say...three years. P.J. was reassured that it is safe there and I'll have to take his word. One really good thing about this change is that he will be more likely to be able to use the language after his mission. Slovene is considered to be a dying language while Serbian is not.

It really does take a lot of faith to serve a mission, does it not? I feel bad now for all the hard times I gave P.J. when I would ask him (about Slovenia), "Are you going on vacation or serving a mission?" :) Either way, no matter where he serves, he is serving the Lord.... Let's just hope that P.J. can learn a language in...say...three weeks!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week 5 (already??)...

~In serious (huh??) contemplation (Provo Temple)~

So the weeks are really starting to blend together. I'm gonna try and remember things that happened this week, but if you already heard about them, pretend you didn't. Prepare to be news-ified.
So there have been some developments as far as my mission is concerned. BOSNIA WAS OFFICIALLY ADDED TO THE MISSION THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!! Which means that my mission name has changed once again. So I started out being called to the Slovenia/Croatia mission, then the Adriatic mission, and now I'm going to the official ADRIATIC NORTH MISSION (I hit something funny and it sent...sorry) The mission includes Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia. The Adriatic South mission is Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, and maybe some other place (not really my top concern). Supposedly Greece is the only European country without missionaries now. Pretty cool.
Funny story: so we were teaching Boštijan and Anico (our investigators) about baptism and being born of God. I didnt know the words for "born of God" so i just took it straight out of Alma 36 where alma mentions it....well, I missed the word "se" which makes reflexive, so I found out that I said multiple times that "Alma gave birth to God, We must give birth to God, and through baptism we can give birth to God." Also, since word order in Slovene doesn't matter too much, you really have to rely on certain word endings which tell which part of the sentence it is. For example, "Joseph Smith je Božji Prerok" means Joseph Smith was God's prophet. But if you say, "Josepha Smitha je Božji Prerok", you just said "God's prophets eat Joseph Smith." There are just so many chances for train wreck sized mistakes. But its fun to laugh about.
That's so cool about the tv and all of the blue ray players. Why did you have to wait until just before I left to get all advanced? It's okay though. After 5 weeks I can't imagine just sitting around and watching tv or a movie. It just seems weird. Although I still have daily dreams about naps in my queen sized bed with my electric blanket. It's weird how easily entertained I've become. One of my teachers has a slinky that they keep on the shelf and the other day I found my self just bouncing it back and forth between my hands for like 15 minutes. It was so enthralling. We walked in on Brat Johnson playing with it one time in the corner (facing the corner) and when he saw us he just said "Jaz sem norec" (I'm a mad man) and turned red. It was so funny.
About the getting burnt out part. It's just starting to feel stiffiling. It's really the same thing day in and day out. I can't wait until I get to Slovenia (or wherever I end up going at this point- dumb visa) and get a bit of a say in what I do every day. It'll still be somewhat the same, missionary work and sleep schedule, but then we get to talk to people and walk around instead of having to hang out inside of the compound. It's alright though. I've heard that the second half goes by faster than the first and it doesn't feel like I've been here too long.
Random bit...go check out Slovenia on Google earth and be jealous. There's a satalite map on lds.org and we look at it when we're bored with the language computer program. Elder S and I call it the Promised Land of Milk and Honey. I'm excited to eventually get over there.
I don't really have much else right now, but I'll email again after the temple and tell you all the stuff I'm currently forgetting.

Sorry....I'm having a really hard time thinking of anything else interesting. Like I said, it's getting a bit monotonous (spelling????) Um....one thing, Sis G in that package they sent asked if you could forward my emails to her so she could forward them to Brett. Thanks.....Also, what's the Greer's address? I've been meaning to write them a letter.
I have 7 minutes left. What left to talk about? We went to the temple again today. It's pretty mindblowing how much bigger it is than the Dallas temple. A sister in my district, Sis Trumbo,has a dad who used to play basketball for BYU and went pro and then went and played in Spain (Steve Trumbo....played with Danny Ainge. I doubt you know who he is). Well, anyways, old people in Provo always connect the dots and realize the relation. The past two weeks the guy at the front desk has been pretty much obsessing over the relation. It's funny that an old guy is so excited by it. But he wants to get her dad's phone number so his son, who was a big fan, can call and talk to him. I thought it was kind of funny....maybe you had to be there.
Also, last night in class Brat J was whistling some song and Elder S asked, "Is that ......" (I don't remember what the song was) and Brat J answered "Ne vem babalonski pesem" (I don't know songs from Babylon). We were both laughing. and then Elder S started whisting some song and Brat J called him out on it as a joke, and I just looked at Brat J and said, "I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that was a hvalnice (hymn)" He just lauged. It's fun using random Slovene words in your English. We're gonna try and go all day tomorrow without speaking English. It'll be the second time. It's not much fun speaking all day like a 3 year old, but oh well.
Speaking of kids, how are the triplets and B? Anything funny lately? Oh....I did send Mollie a letter on like Saturday or so. I got Bri's before p day, so I could respond right a way, but it took me a few days to get Mollie's done. I think that's about it for this week....boring....kind of.
Good luck with everything you're doing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 4: Cheesy MTC jokes and mispoken phrases

Zdravo moj družina!
Let's get the ball rolling with some MTC jokes:
You wanna know how rough the toilet paper at the MTC is? The toilet paper is so rough at the MTC, that the other day I walked into the bathroom and stumbled upon a blind elder trying to read it.
Can you believe that it's already been a month? The weeks are starting to pass faster than an MTC chimichanga! (kind of gross....edit out if you'd like) ;)
Anyways, this week seriously has gone by pretty fast. Just to tell you a few events:
The other day we were teaching our investigator Božtijan (Brat J), and we decided that we would teach him about the plan of salvation (Načrt Odrešitve). The lesson lasted 45 minutes and elder S and I felt like it went pretty well....Well we got out and the first thing Brat J asked us was (sorry for the lack of punctuation. I'm using a slovene setting so I can get the right characters, but I don't know where some of the punctuation marks are) "What's the word for Earth?" We replied, "želmja". He just lauged and said, "Žemlja kaj to pomeni (Žemlja means) dinner roll. The word for Earth is Zemlja." We felt so dumb. We spent 45 minutes telling him that God sent us to live on a giant dinner roll. We laughed quite a bit about it though. We also were putting the word telo (body) into the wrong plural form. It's irregular and so instead of two bodies being "tela" its "telosa"...... "tela" which we were using means calf...like a baby cow. So we spent a lesson teaching about how Heavenly father gave us calves so we could go live on some giant dinner roll........rookie mistake I guess.
That was the funniest part of my week. I'm glad we did that one now instead of in the field.
My response to your email:
That sucks about the glasses, Dad...... time for some lasik I guess. Make sure you get either Harry Potter glasses or giant old man glasses. That's also cool about the watch and the newish ipad. I want to see a picture of the watch. My new teacher, Brat S (he got back from his mission in December and just got hired) has a really sweet black Nixon that I'm pretty jealous of.
I'm glad that you were able to find the shot records. I'm not sure why they are such a big deal....especially since I have the second date.
That's slabo (bad) news about the talk. We have to prepare a five minute talk every Sunday and then they pick who gives it during the meeting....so you always have to prepare. But, luckily we are in an English branch, so we dont have to speak Slovene.
The devotional last week was really cool. They dedicated 5 new buildings and talked about the 50 year history of missionary training in Provo. Elder Holland talked about how we have a "solemn responsibility to honor the sacred tradition of missionary work from those who went before us." Elder Nelson mentioned that we all stand tall on the shoulders of giants that have gone before us and talked about the super successful missionaries in england after the founding of the church. It was pretty cool.
I ended up buying the razor. I got it for $65 with discount. It was orgininally 110. I used it this morning and it seems to be pretty awesome.
So far I've gotten a few letters. Stuff from all of you, Josh and Amanda, Bishop, Jake, Kai, Nate, and a package from the Gunters today. It's really cool. They sent me some drink mix (the packet singles) a mini pool table, a tide to go pen, and some candy. It was really awesome to get a completely unexpected package.
So to tell you about my excursion to the police station to get fingerprints. The best for last:
So the travel office called me down during class to tell me that I would be leaving on the shuttle at 5:15 to go to the Provo police department. I went to the travel office at that time with Elder S and we got on the shuttle. We had to hurry because the police only do 20 a day, and they were almost full. So the shuttle dropped us off and then took two other missionaries to fill a prescription somewhere. They came back like 10 minutes later while we were still in line to ask if we were done. We told them that we were no where close and we didn't know when we would be done, so the shuttle left....and it never came back. The MTC forgot about us and completely ditched us at the police station. It gets better. We were talking to an somewhat active guy inside about missions and stuff and it was cool. Then we were talking to a lady that teaches here. I also ran into Matthew Cole and his wife. After I got printed we went outside ot wait for the shuttle and a crazy old guy passed by us and said "This is a weird place for a couple of people like you to be at." We just laughed and agreed. Well he came back out a couple of minutes later and asked us "So what's the good word elders?" We asked him what he wanted to hear about and he told us that he was a inactive and that the church was all about politics and money and the leaders were out to steal our money through tithes. We were shocked and tried to tell him off with out being rude. Then he started talking about how he wanted to pay tithing, but his social worker wouldn't give him the money. Then he started talking about how 75% of people in Utah County belong in jail because they are criminals and shady people. Then he started saying that the us troops could be 75% of the atheletes in the olympics and how back in 2002 Mitt Romney was involved in a money scheme/cover up with the olympics and ripped everyone off. Then he started telling us about is small business and how he's going to school at UVU (go figure, huh?)....
Weird to say the least. We finally broke away, went inside tried calling the MTC again, got through, and they said that they would send security over to pick us up. We were there for over 2 hours when it was supposed to take a half hour. And then we had to go back out this morning for a money order.
Good news....we got everything done. And attractive girls/ girls my age still exist. I thought that they had all died and that I just didn't know it. But now that I know they're still there, I'm wondering why they aren't writing me. ;)
Anyways, I better get going. I might get back on later tonight or write a letter home.
Same time, same place next week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

More Pictures!

So, here are more pictures from the Elder. I am going to include his own captions that he wrote on the back of the pictures. Just a side note...His dad's birthday is on Sunday (happy b-day, Phil! :) ) and P.J. sent the sweetest letter to his dad. It's too personal to share here, but it was awesome. Even though we are happy he is serving a mission, I will admit that we have missed him almost-freakishly a lot! Now, in his own words....

My district...We're small. We call ourselves, "District Sef (boss)," but we're actually 14A. Note the Mission-appropriate separation gap?

The back half of my room. I'm on the bottom bunk. And no, that's not my stuff everywhere; I'm actually being rather clean.

These desks bite (last word changed to make blog appropriate)! So we were happy when.... (next picture)
someone dropped off 2 awesome desks which have huge surfaces, a shelf, and padded, rolling, and reclining chairs. Everyone keeps saying that they're gonna steal them. There was just a note on them saying, "From your friendly neighborhood Spiderman." We were so excited, we were freaking out for a few minutes!

There are more pictures, but since pictures are rare from the Elder, I'm saving some of them for future posts. Here is another e-mail from him from later on Tuesday:

So I'm back on......
I don't think I have a whole lot of questions for you guys. I'm glad that my visa finally got sent off....I was starting to think that I'd be here forever.
Just some stuff that I found out about slovenia from my teachers:
We have 12 missionaries there right now (6 elders and 6 sisters) assuming that Elder S and I get there before anyone goes home, we'll make it 14. The missionaries are in Ljublijana, Kranj, Celje, and Maribor. They used to be in Nevo Mesto, but after over a year and a half, they couldn't get any baptisms or any members to show committment, so they shut it down about a year and a half ago.
Supposedly outside of Celje, it's all green rolling hills and people build their homes into the hills. Sis. K said it's like tracting in the shire from lord of the rings. Supposedly the food is pretty good. I heard they dont know how to season or sweeten their food, but i'll deal as long as it's not pig intestine like Brett in Romania.

Some news about the mission: We met the grandmother of one of the AP's in the mission. She recognized the language on the nametag and started telling us about the mission. Supposedly the mission is about to open two new contries. There are sr. missionaries setting up apartment rentals and church rental spaces in Montenegro and there are rumors about Bosnia. So that would make 5 countries total in one mission (slovenia, croatia, serbia, montenegro, and bosnia). Dont worry.....I'll still be in Slovenia. All of those other languages except for Slovene are pretty similiar, but Slovene's different enough that it would be too much of a hassle.
Some weird stuff about the language:
Slovene congugates based on singular, plural, and dual....which (bites) big time. So if I were to say, "I am" (jaz sem), if there are two of us I would say, "we are" (midva sva), and if there are three or more I say, "we are" (mi smo). And it's like that for 1st 2nd and 3rd person. A bit of a pain. But Slovene also doesn't have a word for "of". So much of the language is based on context and the case endings on certain words. Like Church of Jesus Christ: Cerkev Jezusa Kristusa. Since the implied non-existant "of" is after church, it turns Jezus Kristus into Jezusa Kristusa.....We have a lot of memorazation to go. I think I have the hang of conjugation, but the cases and word order need some work.
There's some more basic info. I look forward to hearing from you. And I'll email you later to let you know which apostles show up tonight.
Love you and miss you a bunch,

Elder Holland and Elder Nelson spoke at the devotional. It was way cool. And Elder Nelson dedicated 5 new buildings here as well. It´s not weird about the emails. They thought it was a good idea. And I dont mind if you read the blessing, since if I hadnt been lame and waited you would have been there anyways. I better get off....it´s almost time to get off to bed. we got to cut the devotional line because we have an international companion. They try and give them a chance to see church leadership up close. I love you a bunch and wish you luck with work. By the way, I sent dad something in the mail today for his birthday. I hope it´s there by Sunday

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Week 3-We have pictures!!!!

~Yes...Our first look at the official missionary~

Is it just me or does anyone else remember when missionaries looked like men? You know, like when you were 10 years old and the missionaries seemed really old.... I will post pics from time to time with his actual captions on them. He is doing well! Here is one of his letters from this week.... I'll post the others later this week.

Hello to family and all.....

Just to answer the questions to start off....
I'm not sure about the mmr shot. I got a notice saying to go to a room to talk about it, but that was like a week ago and I never went....I forgot. But they haven't called me back yet. So I'm not sure what the deal is. I'm sure I'll find out eventually.

The shoes came last wednesday. I like them a lot. More than the other pair. Thanks a bunch. They're so good they haven't even hurt my feet yet. It's like they come pre-broken in (I can see some little chinese kid in a sweatshop running around in a size 14 shoe in order to break them in...I'm terrible).

As far as political news.... We (me, my companions and the Czech/slovaks) were sitting around the other day and realized that we didn't know what was going on in the outside world anymore. We had no idea about politics and others were wondering who was playing in the Super Bowl (I personally don't care). It's weird how shut off we are in here. There could be a nuclear fall out and we wouldn't even know. We would just be going to class as usuall while the rest of the world slowly died. That's good that Romney's gonna crush Gingrich. He's such a tool. Time to come to his senses and just drop out. What about Huntsman, Santorum, and Perry? Have they dropped yet?

And ya....all I'm gonna say is that I don't know anybody in Russia or Germany, let alone girls.....

In other recent news: The language feels like it's starting to click. Earlier this week we taught Boštijan (Brat Johnson) and I suddenly could start stringing semi coherent sentences together. My vocabulary is still somewhat limited since we dont learn words in class. They just teach how the language works and vocabulary is our own responsibility.

Also, Sister K, my other teacher, is engaged and we were asking her about her fiance the other day and we found out that he worked at the MTC. We asked if he spoke a Slavic language and she didn't respond and she wouldn't tell us who he was....well we did investigating later and found out that she's engaged to the Slovak teacher, which is funny because he wouldn't tell his students who he was engaged to. We felt like detectives, but when we told Brat J that we knew sister K was engaged to the Slovak teacher all he said was, "that's so last semester." but we still felt accomplished.

We had trc for the first time on thursday. We teach former missionary volunteers as themselves in Slovene. Kind of tough. But we got some good practice so we'll be better this week.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the mtc, so there's supposed to be some big names at the devotional tonight. If I can, I'll get back on tonight and tell you who showed up. I'm excited. We're going 2 hours early so we can get a good seat. I'm gonna send another email later. I got to run off to lunch right now and I still have 15 minutes left. So look for part 2.

Starešina P.J.