Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leaving the teen years behind....and some scenery pics

Hello to the family!

Sorry for yet another late email. These Croats are crazy with their holidays. If they can find a way to make a four-day weekend in the summer time so everyone can make a mad dash to the coast, they will. Friday was Anti-Fascist day (I guess they have to have those types of holidays in Europe....) and Monday was Croatian State day/ Day of the Croatian Council.....not exactly sure what it means or how it's celebrated other than the fact that nobody works.

So next bit of news: I am so jealous of Jake. He sent me an email saying, (paraphrased) "you listen to a band called Blind Pilot, right? I can't really remember for sure, but I think I remember you listening to them and stuff....Well anyways, I got to meet Israel Nebeker, the lead singer. He and his parents are in my ward and they invited me and my companion over for dinner." Holy Cow! I am so jealous. Who knew he was a member? Doesn’t completely surprise me. He always looked clean cut and stuff. But crazy, huh? Oh....he's so lucky.

So yeah, the big weird. I'm almost a quarter of the way done with my mission and life..... I have a day and a half left of being a teenager. Then I have to be all mature and stuff...Because being a missionary doesn't require me to behave myself or anything. It's a bit of a shame. I wanted to do all the teenagery type stuff for the next day and a half, but I’m too hungry to develop an eating disorder, I don’t know any stupid people to get into a train wreck of a relationship with, I have no homework to not complete, I don't have a car to wreck, and no parents to get all angsty with. So what am I supposed to do?

But yeah, I think this will be a pretty low-key birthday this year. We don’t really have any way to celebrate it. To tell you the truth, I keep forgetting that it's even coming up. It just doesn’t really seem important this year. huh....weird. 

And I might think of being a writer, but being professionally poor for the rest of my life doesn't sound like the most appealing thing in the world.

So I just started uploading some pictures to Shutterfly. The pictures are some the medieval fair and Zagreb last Wednesday. The meeting there was way good. We talked about new ways to receive referrals from the people that we're already working with and then we also talked about working with less actives and trying to reactivate people...because here in Karlovac we have about 20-25 active, but 60+ on paper. And for lunch we had some way good food....but it makes me quite the Benedict Arnold (having worked for Chicken Express in his previous life~Dore). We had KFC brought in. It was so good and so American. And then after the meeting, we had some time because we missed the first bus back, so we took a quick tram to the center of town and saw the buildings and stuff there and then we went up and saw St. Mark’s church...the one with the colored tile roof. It was so cool. And tons of Asians....everywhere. It's such a big place, Zagreb, compared to Karlovac. And the center was so cool… tons of old buildings and the old, narrow cobblestone streets. It's a cool place.

So it was pretty warm here the last week or so. it was freaking hot, but my strategy works. We found a song on a cd, and if you play it while dancing around like a lunatic, it rains the next day...every time. It's freaky how well it works. So we did the dance Sunday night, and it cooled down yesterday and then stormed yesterday afternoon. So it was still cool this morning, but it's back to the heat today. And we are officially into summer now. Oh...the heat!

I saw the "do something fun on your birthday" part and just told Elder B**** that we have to go to Venice on Thursday. He agreed. So I'm looking forward to that now. Totally just kidding. ;)

So everything has been going well this week. Well...kind of. We placed 5000 flyers for English class...had sign-ups for class on Saturday and 3 people showed up....oh well. We'll work with them and see what happens.

Nothing else major to report. I appreciate the birthday wishes and hope the best for all ya'll. Well, until next week, when your 20-year-old son emails you again,


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

He got his birthday package...and old men who answer the door in their underwear?!

June 18, 2012

Hello to the whole famn damily (What? It doesn’t say anything bad....)

So first off, this computer is driving me nuts.
We came to the Karlovac student center today
instead of the other ghetto place, but the computers are super weird.
I have no idea what operating system is, but its rather archaic, and I
don’t know how to switch the language of the keyboard. The z and y are
switched in Croatian, and its really messing with me. I also can’t find
the that’s why punctuation is missing..... So because
of this weird computer, I can't get it to read my memory card, so no
pictures this week.....

In other big news, I GOT MY PACKAGE!!!! But I decided that I’m going to
wait until my birthday to open it. I figured that since I’m on my
mission, I should be more mature. Totally just kidding. I ripped that
sucker open as soon as I got it on Friday. And that card....I think
the whole Karlovac district, the four of us, were pretty shocked.  
Yup....I showed it to all of them. It was a good laugh. Its now
hanging on my wall. Just kidding. But the watch is awesome! I wore it
on Saturday and the K**** family told me not to go swimming with that
anchor attached to my wrist because I’ll sink straight to the bottom
and drown. And the Airhead Sour Strips were way good. I shared them.
And Elder B**** likes the punching balloons.  Ever since I got them I
started beating on them instead of him, so.... I’m rationing out the
Skittles and I haven’t opened the Reese’s Pieces yet. And I’m so excited
for the cookies and Velveeta. Both of the apartments here in Karlovac
have deep fryers, so one day we’re gonna combine fryers and get some
chicken and I’m gonna try and fake some fried chicken, Express style.
As long as R*****(you don’t have to edit his name. I hope he
sees this. Although he doesn’t know me so I don’t know why he would),
the corperate owner, doesn’t try and sue me for infringement or
something all the way over here in Croatia. But someday we’re gonna
have fried chicken and Velveeta for dinner and its going to taste like
stars, stripes, and freedom. I just had the best idea! 4th of July
will be fried chicken, Velveeta, and salad with lettuce and ranch
dressing (Elder B**** has some Hidden Valley packets that he’s been
saving for a special day) and maybe some lemon white chocolate chip
cookies for dessert. I’m already excited. And we found a cd at the
church with the national anthem on it, so well put it on repeat while
we eat and feel free and then well find the American money we have,
smell it, and feel uninflated. It will be great!

That bites pretty bad about Mollies hives. I would milk it to get out
of camp, but oh well....well at this point I would milk it for a
couple more hours in bed, but it would be way to hot. It’s like someone
just hiked up the thermostat out of no where. For a while it was in
the high 70s, low 80s and as it started to get hot, it would just rain
and cool everything off. But the rain stopped a few days back, and it has
been so hot ever since. It’s supposed to be 35, which is misleading
because it sounds close to freezing, but yeah, Its 95. And air
conditioning is not a luxury we have in our apartment. We have
windows, but outside is the same temperature as inside. Its humid like
Texas too, so the night doesn’t cool off as much either. I took a cold
shower last night, but as soon as I dried off I was sweating again. It
was so nasty. Studies in the morning get way warm too. The church has
climas, like what the bishops always have in their offices. It gets it
pretty cool, so we like to chill (literally) every once in a while. So
yeah, we’re dying. And people like to just take their clothes off when it
gets hot. I’m tired of tracting into men in their underwear. I have no
idea why someone would answer the door in his underwear, but they
do.....frequently. And since it’s Europe and the men wear questionably
short shorts, I think the girls are in a competition to prove that
they can still have shorter shorts.   Seriously. So short....

So, this last week. It was all right. We met with A****. We were
calling I****, but A***** answered and just said, “When are you coming
over again to visit?” So we went over on Thursday and she seemed to be
doing a lot better and was really happy. She said that she was really
feeling the spirit and she prayed at the end and was in tears about
how warm she felt. I really hope we can solve some commitment issues
and get her going. She is so ready and she knows everything is true. I
think she just has some fear about tithing and the word of wisdom.

We wanted to meet with M********, but she had to go to a meeting up in
Zagreb on Saturday. She ran into the other Elders and said ˝Please
tell your associates that I will not be able to meet on Saturday. I
have some rather urgent business in Zagreb that came up. Well, its not
too urgent, but I must attend to it˝ in her British accent. She is so
proper. It was kind of funny. They had never met her before, but they
immediately knew who it was from us telling them about her before. So
hopefully this week.

We spent a lot of the week stuffing mailboxes with English flyers. The
four of us combined have put out 4000 of them so far and were probably
going to print more this week. So a good chunk of time was taken up by

We are going up to Zagreb on Wednesday for specialized training (zone
conference), so that will be good. They’re always interesting and its
always fun seeing everybody.

I can’t think of anything else major at the moment. Thanks for the
package! It was awesome! Oh yeah! Pray for the Croatian soccer team.
They’re playing against Spain tonight in the Euro Cup. They beat
Ireland, and tied Italy. So if they beat Spain they move on. The games
are crazy. On game days everyone dresses in his or her white and red
checkered shirts, they have flags everywhere, and all of the little
kids blow their noise making horns all day long, and we can usually
tell the way the game goes by loud gunshot noises. We don’t know if
they are actual gunshots, but we're guessing they are. So yup....Spain
tonight. It will be interesting....well as interesting as soccer could
possibly not that much, but we’re missionaries and we’ll take
simple thrills wherever we can get them. Too bad we can’t watch the
game though. Oh well.

I also got a letter from K**in South Carolina. He has less than 8
months left and he’s loving it there. He said that the area he’s in
right now has a small ward. I laughed. Its still pretty huge if its a
ward. And Jake says that he’s now serving on the coast and his ward is
full of hippies.

I think that’s about it now. I love you all a bunch and wish Christmas
was a little sooner so I could talk to you again, but oh well. Email
will have to do for now. Sorry for the lack of punctuation, but oh

Love you all a ton!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Letters from/to Mom and Dad, his future wife, and Toast Olympics....

Dore here.... I decided to put excerpts from letters that Phil (P.J.'s dad) and I  (P.J.'s mom) wrote to him and then excerpts of what he wrote back.  I may do another post of letters he wrote to his sisters in the next few days because they are pretty funny....

From Phil:
 Hope all is well!!

 We moved Mom’s office this weekend. Her new office is nice; We will take some pictures when we are finished decorating it. We are trying to do a beach theme and it's looking good so far. Mom got in to it with the guy who rented us the trailer for the move.  Mom said he was really rude and dismissive. Wrong thing to pull with your mom! I didn't get to see it I was unhooking the trailer. I would love to have seen her go off on him!! We got a new bed on Friday. The verdict is still out. The bed is not as soft or as comfortable as the one we laid on in the store. I called the store on Saturday and they said it would take about three weeks to break in. I hope they are right. If not we have a one-year replacement guarantee;  if we don't like it they will replace it. We also bought some coconut foam pillows. They were $130.00 a piece at the store. We found them on line for $(let's just say for a lot less...)  for the pair from someone in Keller. Mom loves the pillow I'm not sure about it yet but I'm trying it out.  That's about all that has happened this past week.  

 P.J.'s reply:


I'm glad to hear that your talk went well. It's looking like I'll probably have a 20 minute talk here next month. That's not gonna be too fun, but I'll worry about that when it gets here.  

A week ago Monday was my 20 months left mark, and yesterday was my 5-month mark. It's crazy to think that in a day less than a month I'll be a quarter of the way done. Sometimes it still feels like I'll be here forever, but other times it feels like times slipping away. It's kind of weird.

Last Wednesday we were going out by bus to a little village about 10 km outside of Karlovac called Duga Resa, and as I was watching the landscape, all green rolling hills covered with trees and the river running next to it, it kind of hit me, that even though I miss all of you a ton, I don't want to go home at all right now. I like where I'm at and I like what I'm doing. 

That's cool about the new office, and funny about the dumb guy. I'm tired of rude people, but I just have to grin and bare it. I would love to give some people a piece of my mind every once in a while, but they probably wouldn't even understand me even if I cracked and did ;).

I'm a little jealous about the new bed. If you felt our beds you would probably die. It's basically a wooden box with an inch of padding on top with fabric sewn over it. The good thing is that every night I'm so tired that I don't care too much. The lack of air conditioning is starting to kill me though. I have a washcloth that I get wet and freeze and then take it out when I go to bed and wrap it around my neck. It helps. It's also not quite as hot here as back home, but it is super humid, so we still get sweaty.

$**** for 2 pillows? Do they make you breakfast and sing you compliments when you wake up? And they're foam? Hmmmm.....I hope Mom likes them a lot because it sounds like she got ripped off, but oh well. 

**A little commentary here....Let me just say that even though those coconut pillows were obscenely expensive, they have been LIFE-CHANGING!!!!!  First time in forever that I haven't woken up with a yes, it does sing to me ...though it has yet to give me a compliment... 

The other day on the way to church I saw a grabber blue 2011 v6 mustang at the intersection. It was so weird. It's the only one I've ever seen here and it was from Germany. But it was a nice sight. 

Things are pretty routine here. We teach whom we can and eat and sleep in between. Sometimes it gets a little annoying when people ignore you, but oh well. A couple of weeks ago we tracted a 13 story building with over 60 rooms in about 45 minutes. Everybody either looked through the peephole and ignored us, or just opened the door and slammed it again. It gets old, but just one good door, and you remember that it's not a complete waste of time. We're starting English class again in a couple of weeks so we're gonna work on getting flyers out this week, but I think that's just about the most of it. We have specialized training (zone conference) sometime in the next couple of weeks, so I'll either be going to Slovenia or Zagreb. That'll be nice. They're always really good. And it's a way to get out of Karlovac. B***, our old landlady had us over for another barbeque last Thursday. It was so good! She had pork chops, chicken pieces, kobasica, and a ton of čevapćići, which is a type of sausage from Bosnia. Oh it was really good. I filled up big time.

 Mom and P.J.:

  Dear Favorite Missionary/son/P.J./dude-who-eats-lamb-without-complaining,

How are you doing?  We are doing swimmingly well.

So…Here in part is the e-mail I received after sending off your package:

 So, Yeah….I had all these thoughts of my poor son rotting in a Croatian jail. bit.  Then I got smart and looked up mailing prohibitions for Croatia.  It appears I was okay, and didn't do anything wrong.  Phew!  Tell me you didn't have issues AND that you got the package.  All I can say is that you are pretty much going to get ties from now on for gifts.  Sorry….  But, on a side note, did you know that one CANNOT send used beehives to Israel?  I stop and ask myself, "Why would one want to send a bee hive, let alone a USED bee hive?"  I mean, when would that EVER be necessary??!  Also, You basically are only allowed to send letters to Italy.  You can't send shoes, clothes, pictures, or anything else.  You can send toys to Italy as long as the whole thing is made of wood.  Go figure.  Be glad you aren't there….otherwise you would come home with a  nice collection of spinning tops, tic-tac-toe boards, chess sets, and the wooden golf-tee triangle thing from Cracker Barrel.  

So, what did you think of the cat-helicopter?  Ever see anything so nutty?

I better take off….Other people are waiting to use the computer.  Love you tons!!!!!  I love Mondays!  Take care, be safe, and behave yourself.  
Love you and I'm proud of you!!!!!

 P.J.'s reply:

Dobar Dan Family!

So I'm doing well. Sorry for the delayed email. We came to internet to email yesterday, but the place lost power and we got tired of sitting here waiting for it to get turned back on, and there is no plan b for emailing here in Karlovac. It's either this place or Tuesday, so that's why there's a delay.

 Congrats on moving offices. It must be nice to kind of have your own place. Now you get to go all HGTV all over your office. Have fun with the debit card!

I died when I read that postal e-mail. To be honest I was going to start off this email saying, "Sorry I wasn’t able to email yesterday. Just wondering, why did you mail that stuff to me? I don't really care why, but the Croatian police kept on asking me yesterday why you did it while they were beating the trash out of me in some dungeon in Zagreb.", but I figured you wouldn't find it all that funny. And all joking aside, I still haven’t gotten the package but I hear that's normal. For all I know, it could be sitting up in the mission office in Zagreb. Most missionaries only get mail once a month, but we have the H****** that go up to Zagreb once a week, so we're luck. I'm holding my thumbs (Croatian version of crossing your fingers...I’m just so immersed in the culture ;) yeah right.....) that I get it soon.

And wait....does that mean that I didn't get the one thing I was asking for.....a used bee hive? Too bad.

Question time:
1.  How are your clothes holding up?  Do you need us to send you anything?  Don't be shy.  And don't ask for a used bee hive…I don't know where to find one of those.
I think everything is okay. My tape on my suit pants is still holding, and I wore out my grey pants, but I still have 4 other pairs and I think that I could probably buy more pants here in Karlovac, I just haven't tried. So I think I'm holding up well...or at least my clothes.

2.  Have you been teaching anyone?
Yup! We met with all of the members that went to Zadar and district conference the previous weekend and discussed the experience and who they would like to share that sort of experience with. (Directions of President Rowe) We also found a new investigator, M******. She speaks English! In Karlovac! She is a retired English teacher from Gymnasium here in Karlovac (Croatian high school). She is super nice and she used to translate for the missionaries when they first came to Karlovac back in the early 90's. It's kind of funny. I was doing a door approach in Croatian and she responded back in English and told us that she used to do work for our "people". She said that she wanted to talk to us, but she was really tired because her family just got back from a trip to Slovenia, and she asked if we could come back the next night. So we returned and had a great lesson in English! She offered us ice cream when we got there and she showed us scrapbooks of Karlovac during the war and some of the old missionaries from the 90's. She has real interest in the church and said that she has been on Sunday a few times and would like to come in July when her weekends open up. She's reading the Book of Mormon and we set up a return appointment for next Saturday evening. It's things like this that make tracting worth it. It gets rather old when it's fruitless night after night, but just one good thing like this makes it worthwhile.

3. So, what did you think of the cat-helicopter?  Ever see anything so nutty?
The cat helicopter is freaking weird. I showed it to the others and they were all laughing. It was definitely a trip. Now he needs to make little mice airplanes and chase them around outside with his cat-copter.
        **Another commentary... In case anyone is curious....this is a cat that died then the owner had it stuffed and made into a   helicopter....kinda disturbing....

Nothing too interesting the last couple of p-days. We played Risk last week and yesterday we explored the bombed out hotel again then played a bunch of rounds of Clue. It's a pain here on p-days because there's not a whole lot to do and it almost always rains on Monday. But we get by. Sorry for the short email this week, but I’ve got a headache and I still have to email President. But I hope the uploaded pictures redeem it. I love you all and hope you have a great week!


This is my future wife. Yes mom, I know you don't approve, but oh well. She's pretty isn't she? She's Italian and a little dangerous, but totally worth the risk. I can't wait until after my mission when she'll be mine! Just kidding. I'm not that weird, but i really do want an Aprilia bike some day!

It's a carved wooden pen and base that i got at the medieval fair. It cost like $4 and i thought it was pretty cool. It's hand carved and stained.

Every Sunday night we have the Toast Olympics. We take all of the left over bread that's hard as rock (because nothing lasts here) and throw it out the window of our kitchen like Frisbees and see who can get it the farthest. It's fun. Simple things for simple minds, I guess. So that's just a picture of all of the bread. You throw the big loaf pieces like footballs. They bounce pretty high when they hit concrete.  

How you know you're in Duga Resa (or a small town)...... 

Until next week.........