Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Staying in Zadar, blue tongue, and holding a suit together with tape...

 ~P.J. in a niche at the cathedral? I don't know why this struck me as funny~

So hopefully this email will be a decent one. I know they've been a bit skimpy for the last few weeks. So just to let you know, I've uploaded some pictures to shutterfly. They are from Zagreb, and today....They are in the Zagreb cathedral, Sv. Donat Cathedral here in town (the one from the 8th century or something), and the cool graffiti that we pass on the way to the church...and a picture of the church building. I realized that you didn't have one yet.

~The Church building in Zadar or Zagreb (I think...)~

So everything is going pretty well here. A little tired. Not really looking forward to traveling to Zagreb again tomorrow...below is why I'm traveling:

So we got transfer calls last Thursday. I'm going to be staying here in Zadar for another 2 months at least. My new companion is Elder A from Provo, 3rd companion from Utah. He's been out for a year and 2 months. I've never met him before because he's been serving in Serbia for his whole mission so far (in a town called Novi Sad most recently), so I guess he's technically been "Serbing" not "serving"...bud dum ching (drums and cymbal) So things are going to be pretty different for him. But the lucky dog gets to come to the coast. My companion, Elder M, is being transferred to Београд, Србија (Belgrade, Serbia for you American English speakin' folks). He's going to go be a Zone Leader there. Things are going to be weird for him too. Beograd is a huge city....It has 2 million people that live there. That's half the population of all of Croatia and almost as much as the whole population of Slovenia. Supposedly it's kind of like Gotham from Batman. So guess what that means...

Things are lookin' like I'm going to become the First Counselor in the Zadar branch presidency (I think it's a pretty much a done deal). Pretty crazy, huh? Who would've guessed that I would ever be in a branch presidency on my mission? I'm not quite sure about it. It shouldn't be too much to handle. President Perović is super cool and he has a habit of taking the majority of the load onto himself. And just in case you're wondering, I won't be set apart. When I was set apart as a missionary, I was set apart to serve in which ever capacity I was assigned to serve in, so I guess that technically my set apart as a missionary covers this as well. So wish me luck!

Elder C told me about the YouTube video when I saw him in Zagreb...Don't worry. I did get the shirt (supposedly it looks like I didn't...don't worry. I haven't watched it. That's just what I've been told). I just had to get an XL and they were down at the end of the table. It's so random that it was found. How did Sister Gunter find it? Does she know Elder C's mom from when they lived in Mesa? And about the "very visible" statement. I think that that's always the case. It's hard to blend in in these clothes... Sometimes it freaks me out that I'm a missionary, too. It's weird to think that I'm actually one of those people that I've seen all my life. I could never physically picture what I would look like as a missionary or what I would do day to day, because all I've seen are Ft. Worth, Texas missionaries, and it's so different here, so sometimes it's weird to think about the day or to look in the mirror. Especially since I still feel like a normal person. The weirdest part is that everyone around me doesn't think the same thing. 

Oh gosh....How about a nice Skype for Christmas? I honestly can't think of anything. Sorry that this year I'm even harder to shop for than usual. Don't hate me, but I honestly have no clue. Ties would be fine..... I can't think of anything that I need. Maybe some new insoles (Zagreb has an Ecco store, but we didn't get to go into it)...maybe a suit eventually. The tape is still holding the hole shut at the moment, so it can still wait. Don't you just got to love the "missionary repair" attitude? Welcome to the mystical land of missionaries, where tape is a magical substance with the ability to repair and restore any item to it's original "mint" state....I bet you could even patch a bike tire with the right kind....wouldn't really know for sure though. The bikes were stolen 2 months ago and are still missing. I figured that it would be better to wear out the trash suit as much as possible instead of buying a new one right now and wearing it out.......

About sharing the package. I shared some Gatorade powder and some Pez, some of the Kit Kats too...but I don't think the warhead thing is getting passed over. I shared the sour patch kids with multiple people, so I think I'm entitled to all of the warhead powder.... the Velveeta too. It worked out well when we didn't have anything else to eat last Sunday.
~Evidence of the Warhead powder~

I only shot Elder M in the face with rubber bands twice....So I don't think that they are all that distracting. It's not like we're skipping tracting to set up a rubber band gun range...but now that I think about it......Just kidding.  Although we did spend all last week building a race track for the balloon cars you sent me for my birthday...I won. Just kidding again....And if you look on shutterfly you can see how I used one of the punching balloons. I would like to thank Mollie for the original idea.
~This is a frozen Punching balloon ice-ball (with the punching balloon torn off after freezing...not sure what the point was...~

1.  What do you want for Christmas?
Things haven't changed too much from the last paragraph, so unfortunately, I'm still a little clueless.
2.  Anything you are missing that you would like included in the next package (Cheetos, sardines, cricket-in-a-sucker, etc?)-I can get the sucker at the Stockyards, you know…
I think I'll pass on the cricket sucker.
3.  How about a new suit?  Quit being so cheap!
Already addressed that concern....So eventually.....
4.  Bri wants to know if you enjoyed the birthday gifts she sent (the stuff tied together in the package).  
Yes, and I told her about them in her email.
5.  Are you staying well? far. Nah...just kidding. It's all good out here. The tourists are leaving and restaurant prices are dropping....on a side note, the word "restaurant" has always been spelling kryptonite for me and no matter what, every time I type it, I always end up getting chewed out by the red squiggle line....but I managed to spell it right this last time! Whoo hoo. 10 points for me!
6.  Are you guys cooling off yet?
Yes, we got record rainfall/flash flooding, and it's been pretty cool ever since then. It's around 50 in the mornings and it heats up to about 70. It's great. I actually used a sweater the other day in the rain!

Zagreb this last week was pretty cool....You'll have to look at the others' emails because I don't have time to retype. It was a good experience though. Not really lookin' forward to going back tomorrow, but I have a reimbursement to pick up.

Everything is great though. Guess what? I forgot to mention it, but I hit my 8-month mark about a week ago. It's crazy...and Christmas is in what? Like 3.5 months. Pretty cool!

Love you all a bunch!

Love,  P.J.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seeing some homeless guys' lives changed and he got mooned!!!!

Dear Family,

It's going to have to be another quick one this week. We are trying to make the 8:00 bus to Zagreb and it's 7:00 right now, so I have half an hour. We are going up today to spend p-day there and then there's a fireside tonight with Elder Rasband for members, investigators, and members and then we have our zone conference with him in the morning, so we are spending the night at the zone leaders apartment (it's pretty has a loft and a dishwasher....was there almost 2 months ago).....It's going to be fun in Zagreb, but I hate the bus ride. It's 3 and half hours long...they take a 30 minute smoke break about half way. It wouldn't be too bad if I hadn't already been to Zagreb and back this week.

On Wednesday, We left for Zagreb at 8, got there around 11:30 and had an exchange with the assistants until Friday morning. Elder M  was here in Zagreb with Elder H  (the M's nephew) and I went up to Zagreb to be with Elder F. He's way cool. He goes home in like a week, but he's still hitting it hard. So we had fun up in Zagreb. We taught some homeless people that they met at a McDonalds. They overheard them in the corner talking about "the Jehovah’s Witnesses over there" so they got up to talk to them and tell them that they aren't  Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was kind of interesting. They found out the guys were homeless and created a plan to make them not homeless by the end of the month. They found out that the homeless guys were spending 50 kn a day on alcohol and cigarettes and they told them that if they stopped smoking and drinking, that they would be able to afford an apartment. That blew their minds. The guys had never thought of it before. So they taught them the Word of Wisdom, and they stopped drinking tea and coffee and between the 3 of them, they've pretty much stopped smoking and drinking too. It's way cool. Now they are spending their money on new clothes because they have job interviews. It's pretty crazy. But we had a lesson about the Restoration and watched the movie. They all liked it. Two of them said that they thought it was a true story, so we asked them to pray until they knew. They said that they would. It's cool seeing that dramatic of a change in somebody. Three bums that collected plastic bottles for a dime apiece so they can have their smokes and beer to three guys that are getting jobs and an apartment and learning about the gospel.

We also went to a pretty crazy restaurant. It's in the center of Zagreb around the corner from the mission office. It's a place called Karakas, and you walk in the door, go down stairs and the restaurant is all wood paneling and pirate themed. It feels like you're in the hull of a ship. And the waiters wear pirate clothes too....but for some reason, all of the food on the menu is Mexican food. It's the weirdest thing, but it was really good. The waiter was pretty cool too, which can sometimes be a little bit hard to find. 

And while I was in Zagreb I got my PACKAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In case you haven't opened the picture yet....that Warhead candy really does turn your mouth blue. I went and got my hair cut after eating it, and the lady got a bit of a kick out of it. The Gatorade is awesome. And I like it better with the 20 oz. of water. It's a bit like Kool-Aid if you just use 16. The music is great too! A couple of other missionaries made the comment that you're a good package maker/sender. They were impressed that I didn't get any weird decorations or other things like that. The Velveeta was a savior yesterday. Because I was sick last p-day, we weren't able to shop, so we were pretty much out of food. But Velveeta just needs water, so we were in business....It was so much fake cheddar goodness.

So a quick interesting story from earlier this week. We were walking across the bridge from the town center, and a guy at a cafić started waving and yelling, "Hey!" at us. We weren't sure if he was yelling at us or someone else, but when we crossed the street, he kept on yelling. So we walked over to him, and he said "Help soul is so lost" and he was obviously messing with us, but we walked over to him anyways. So we walked over and he had a bunch of empty glasses on his table and he was kind of staggering and one eye was more open then the drunk.... and he said, "Hi, my name is Jesus, you know...your boss...What are your names and what are you doing today?" So we told him that we were missionaries and told him that he had to be serious. He said, "Okay, you don't think I'm being serious?" And then he turned around and dropped his pants.....full moon in full public.....So yeah, we got mooned by a drunk guy claiming to be Jesus. We just walked away..... I've been thinking a lot about this. Maybe this guy had some legitimacy to his claim...after all, Jesus always said to turn the other cheek.... Bud-dum-ching (like the drums.....)

So I've been feeling fine since Tuesday...not sick any more. I think that's pretty much the major events from this last week.  

Guess what? We have transfer calls this Thursday. Can you believe it? Probably not because it's not that big of a deal for you, but this last transfer/2 months just flew by. So we hear this week what's going down for the next 2 months. It's pretty crazy. I hope I stay. I like it here and it feels like I haven't been here very long. So by next Monday, when I email again, I'll know what's going on and I'll let you know.

I better get going. I love you all a bunch. Mollie, don't worry about the lack of the email....I’ll talk to you next week. And Bri, thanks for the email...and I'm glad your dental won't be too bad. I hope you get your papers in soon. And Dad, I'm super excited to see your new truck. It sounds pretty awesome. And that sounds like a ton of fun to work on that '67!

Until next week, Love,

P.s.... I tried to attach a pic of my blue tongue, but it's taking too maybe next week.