Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lamenting the demise of Hostess and a Croatian Thanksgiving...


Hey Family!

I'm not surprised that I've frequently messed up my hear/here and they're/their/there....they always trip me up in the email, and I mess them up every time, and I thought I caught them....oh well. 

 I'm going to start this e-mail by addressing your last e-mail. About the baby shower....I  can only hope that that's the only one I have to attend. It was funny. Z*****, the member, was planning it and she looked at me and asked me what usually happens in America when there's a baby shower, and I just laughed, looked at her, and said, "I stay home..." She just laughed and I added that I didn't have the slightest idea. I just remember that my mom said that she was going to a baby shower, I asked if I could go, and she told me no, because I wouldn't like it, and that was the extent of my experience with showers. I also said that I wasn't the one to ask because it wasn't until I was 7 or 8 that I even realized that they weren't "showering the baby". I thought that it was just a giant bath where all the women helped bathe the baby....I think that that would still be more entertaining in most cases ;). 

I had heard about life is ruined! At least Little Debby is still around at the moment to help me pick up the pieces.....Zingers, little donuts, Twinkies...all just gone. I never even got to say goodbye....How could they do this to me? Oh well. I hope it'll all be solved and someone will have bought the rights by the time I get home. They have a year left. They best be gettin' a move on it. It would only be the best thing ever if Little Debbie company bought the hostess stuff! It would be the #1 cavity powerhouse of the world....It'll bite if Bimbo buys them though (you know the company...remember how if you buy enough stuff at the ghetto Mrs. Baird’s store they give you a free pack of like churro sticks or something...that's Bimbo...and they are all nasty)....I don't know about you, but a chili powder Mexican Twinky sounds so wrong and more like an intestinal problem, than a desert snack cake.  I can just imagine a world where my future children have no idea what a Twinky is...So sad...

Nope...not coming home for Thanksgiving...If I were, it would be quite the problem....

1.  Are you guys doing anything for Thanksgiving?
It's kind of long to type, so this is a copy and paste portion:  So, for Thanksgiving, they said that missionaries will have dinner with the senior couple in that city and that we need to be back on the streets again by 5:00 pm...Well, we don't have a senior couple here in Zadar, so the Tanners, who are kind of split between here and Rijeka (about 3.5 hours away...he's the branch president in Rijeka...they come down for a couple of days about every 2 or 3 weeks) asked president Rowe if they could bring the Rijeka elders down for Thanksgiving and have it here. He wasn't thrilled about it because the Elders wouldn't be back until late, so the Tanners decided that they would do Thanksgiving with us here on Wednesday and then go back to Rijeka that night and do Thanksgiving again on Thursday. So we are celebrating on Wednesday at the Tanners' apartment with the sisters. It should be cool. I'm going to make a cheesecake. So Ya...Thursday will just be like any other day, so that's they way missionary work goes I guess....I don't mind too much. I'm not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving anyways. I don't picture Wednesday night being too much fun though. Who can go out and tract after a big meal? We'll see what happens. It should be all right. 

2.  Did you get transferred?
Nope! Still here.... I'm gonna be here in Zadar for at least another 6 weeks. It would normally be another 2 months for sure, but we have a few elders going home a couple of weeks early to make winter semester of college, so we might have a little bit of early transfer shuffling. We'll see what happens. All four of us here in Zadar are staying the same, so no changes for any of us. I don't mind though. I think this will be a good city to be in for Christmas, and we have a webcam and Skype for the call on Christmas.

3.  New companion?
Nope...We're gonna have to stick it out for a few more weeks ;). Just kidding. We get a long just fine. 

4.  I got an e-mail saying that several new missionaries are coming your way courtesy of the MTC.  Does this affect you at all? 
It might. President Rowe went to a mission president seminar with all of the presidents in Europe, and they said that Europe is going to be getting a 40% increase in missionaries, which is absolutely HUGE! I think he said something like 40 elders and 30 sisters by next year! That’s compared to like 40 missionaries in general! So ya...It looks like nobody is getting off the hook by not having to train anymore, but we'll see what's ahead. 

5.  Are you cooking more yet since you are getting sick of Croatian food?  
Nah...just dealing with it for the moment.  

Ya...have fun with Thanksgiving. Good luck!

I'm trying to think of other things to say....I really am getting bored at this computer, so I might be a bit of a tool this week and copy and paste from other emails...forgive me: 

This week, 2 of the Croatian Generals that had been arrested and sentenced to 24 years in prison by a war tribunal because of what happened during the homeland war of the 90's were released by an appeals court on Friday! It was huge. They flew into Zagreb while we were there, and People were driving all through town with flags everywhere with their horns honking. When we got back to Zadar, Pres. Perovic made us take a taxi home from the bus stations because drunken people were everywhere creating a bit of ruckus. So we got back right when all of the firecrackers, cannons, and fireworks started going off. I think there were a couple of gunshots too. Well, it was a huge deal. They had a huge rally in Zagreb and had like 200,000 people in the main square in the center of town and the Generals talked to the crowds and stuff. I wish I could have been there. It looked intense. You'll have to look it up if you haven't heard about it. I can't really explain it all that well. 

So we took the train to Zagreb for Zone Conference. It was all right. It would be really good if it weren’t twice as long of a trip. We had to take a 2 hour trip to a town called Knin and then we caught another train to Zagreb, but there was construction on the tracks, so we had to get off at one point and take a 20 minute bus ride to another set of rails and get on a different train. In the very first train, it was a super ghetto single car connecting train....the second was pretty cool. We were sitting in a felt like we were on our way to Hogwarts or something. We all made the comment at the same time that it felt like Harry Potter. The last train was good. It was all just regular seating, but every few rows they had 4 seats facing each other with a table in between, which was cool because we brought snacks and the sisters brought cards, so we played hearts for about an hour. It was pretty cool over all....just not a do over experience because of the length of time required. 

Quick story: So on Thursday night I went out tracting with Elder H (the Muirs' nephew) and we were walking around Zagreb and we contacted this guy with a mohawk and a few piercings. We asked him if he knew about the Book of Mormon, and he said, "Yes, I used to live in Salt Lake." We asked what he did there, and he said that he was studying music. He then said, "I study organ. I played in your tabernacle." We asked him about the building, and he went into detail about how the organ was too big for the space, but it's great. He then went into detail about the specs on the organ and the materials used to make it and how it compared to the Conference Center organ. It was one of the most surprising things to happen in the last couple of weeks. It was pretty funny. He was surprised to see that the Book of Mormon was in Croatian. He said that he had one in German (he's from Germany) and said that he wanted one in Croatian and that he wanted to meet up sometime to talk more. I just never expected a guy that looked like that to be an organ performance major. It was quite the surprise!

I think that just about sums up this last week! I love you all and I'm thankful for all of you and that fact that we get to Skype in 5 weeks. That's what I'm thankful for this year...that among other things. I hope you have a good holiday! Tell everyone that I say hi! Until next week....


Sunday, November 18, 2012

He now owns a pillow pet???



So I would just like to begin this email by saying, "This bites! My spelling is completely going down hill!" And the worst part is that it's not like I'm losing my "English".  My spelling is just on the downhill.  Also in pressing important matters: I might be extending my mission a little 3 freaking years! I just have to convince president Rowe to let me do it.... Just kidding.  I think the mission is turning me into a "cup is half-way full" kind of guy! 

That's so great that Brother F is home again! I don't know what his secret is. I guess that death is just afraid of that man. 

 Tell Julianne that I say Hi! I haven't seen her in forever...well I guess I haven't seen any of you in forever.... 

I'm still jealous that you all are going to Florida. Maybe I'll meet you out there. There's been a change in mission policy...Every missionary now receives a Christmas bonus in the form of a plane ticket to anywhere in the world! Ya...totally just kidding. Too bad though.  

Ya, Elder B mom seems super nice. From what I've heard about her, I think you two would get along well. Seems like you two use a lot of the same parental techniques. I'd like to serve with Elder B again, but the likely hood of that is rather slim. 

 Speaking of sacrament meeting, funny story: 

So President P texted us on Sunday morning before church asking if either of us had a spare talk prepared because he forgot to assign speakers. So I told him that I could throw something together. So he said that he would speak, and then I would. So we got to church, set up the chairs, prepared the sacrament, and then I started throwing a talk together. I finished it before church started, so all was fine. Well President P went a little over in his talk and there was about 15 minutes left for me, and the closing song and prayer. So he finished his talk, and said, Now Elder Quinn will speak to close the meeting....And then a lady in the branch (just as a preface, we've realized it's easier to just give her what she wants than to battle with her...gotta pick your battles), just yelled out from the congregation of 10 people, "Eh, drugi put!", which means "ehhh...some other time."....So ya... I got denied by a member of the maybe I'll just speak next week. I'm not mad or offended, because she would do that to anybody...I just think it's funny that it happened. I can just imagine someone doing that in America....”So now we'll have Brother Whatever give a talk”--- "Ehh. Not right now...some other time!----....It would be funny.  

Questions for you:
1.  Are you teaching any investigators?
We're looking. Everybody that we ever had just dropped off the face of the planet  or just gave us the "We'll call you when we have time" excuse. I guess it's a graceful way of saying stop calling me.  
2.  What are you guys eating these days? get by 
3.  We haven't seen any pics of your apartment or of your new companion.  Fix that, would ya?  
Sorry. I've been really bad about taking pictures this transfer. I don't think I've really taken any at all. I'll have to take some this week for next week. 
4.  When do you find out about transfers?
We should find out on Friday. We go up to Zagreb on Thursday for interviews with President Rowe. Then we stay the night at the mission home and have Zone Conference on Friday. Then we go home again. We're taking the train this time just because none of us ever have before and we all want to. It usually doesn't run in correlation to our schedules, but this time it does, so we're gonna try it. 
5.  Been to any cool sites lately?
Not really. I still love it here in Zadar, but places have kind of turned into old news. I think I've been everywhere by now. Zadar is an old city with old stuff, but it's still not a big city by any means. 
6.  Miss anything American?
Just America itself. Walmart seems like the most amazing place in the world right now!
7.  Best part of being in Croatia? 
If you asked me this question a few months back, I would have said the food, but it's managed to get old. So let me think of a few more minutes.....The people that are nice to us are awesome. That's definitely the biggest thing I would have missed out on if I had never come out on a mission. There are so many people that I've met that I'll never forget that I never knew existed, or even ever thought about prior to coming to this country. 
8.  Do you and your companion speak Croatian to each other?
Uhhhh...probably not as much as we should, but sometimes. It seems like when we do, it's for joking purposes. It's so hard to sacrifice the English language. I love it so much. So much just gets lost in the translation when you aren't a native speaker.  

So news from this week: I got a pillow pet! It's a milka cow! Milka is a chocolate brand. I'm not sure if you've ever had it before. Well, I saw it at the store and bought it. It came with 2 giant chocolate bars, a regular size chocolate bar, and 2 packs of cookies. It was cheaper to buy the pillow pet and the chocolate than just all of the chocolate bars by themselves. Impulse buy at it's best. Aren't you glad to know that I haven't changed all that much?

We had a baby shower this last week for the Perović's. It was cool. Z****, a member, threw it together. Her husband, F*****, is a professional chef at a hotel here, and he barbequed for us. It was really good. We had a few games, ate food, and watched a slide show that Z**** compiled and I made. It was pretty cool. It was a nice branch activity. We had a pretty good turn out. 

I think that pretty much sums things up...well the exciting parts anyways. I hope all of you have great weeks!


Stomping out fires at the cemetery and getting nailed between the eyes...

November 5, 2012

Hej, bok family!

After my check-up on Friday, I can declare that I am back to complete normal! We got on the 8:30 bus and got there at around 12:15 (it wasn't an express bus, so instead of about 3 hours and 15 minutes, it was about 3 and 45...) And then jumped in a taxi to go to the doctors. They did another urine sample and all came back okay. So hopefully I never have another Kidney stone again! After, we had lunch at the office, did some stuff there for a little bit, caught early dinner at McDonalds and then caught a bus back to Zadar. And this was a weird bus. They played a movie...a strange one. It was something about Nazis living on the moon planning an attack on Earth and moving their plan forward by teaming up with Sarah Palin, who is the American president. So yeah...Space Nazis taking over the earth with the help of Sarah Palin. It was freaking strange. But it wasn't as bad as the last one. It was some weird movie that had English audio. So even without watching it, you are subject to f-bombs every 45 seconds. But the worst part about this movie is that it was a relatively short movie (figures...where is the plot gonna go in a movie like that?) on a relatively long it played 3 times. It was so obnoxious.

That's cool about the ward split, even though it won’t affect anything...especially me ;).  

That's cool about the cat. He seems pretty cool. I can imagine Simon wanting to play with him. I wonder if he'll calm down, or if he'll hate him forever like JoJo does.

Guess what? Even if I get the box early, I might actually wait until Christmas to open my stuff! that a typo that Jesse graduates from Basic in November? (It is...the correct date is January) Isn't it usually 6-9 weeks? That's cool that he's going to do in San November. It would bite to do it in the summer there.

That's crazy that the election is this week. I'm kind of sad to say it, but I'm completely clueless about the whole situation. I've heard bits and pieces from senior couples and Sis. Rowe. But besides that, not much. It'll maybe be exciting. That's cool that you dodged Jury duty. That would bite. I had to go to extreme measures and leave the country to get out of mine back in March ;). 

So question time:
Questions for you:

1.  How goes teaching?
Better. We got in while tracting. We got let in tracting and had a lesson with an old couple. I don't remember the woman's name, but the man's name was Z*****. They were really cool, but they had the annoying, "Well, everything is good and correct" thing going. It's kind of funny how it's more frustrating when people believe everything, rather than nothing. At least when they don't believe anything it gives you somewhere to go....But they were really nice and said that they would tell their family about us, so we'll see what happens.
2.  Are you eating enough?
So far....
3.  Do you still look the same??
Uh....I dunno. I would assume so. Nobody has ever questioned my passport yet, so I'm gonna say, yup, still look the same. But I guess you'll find out in little less than 2 months!
4.  Do you still remember how to speak English???
Unfortunately yes....and even more unfortunate is that my English is still far better than my Croatian.
5.  Notice how the question marks are getting progressively more????

So we had a pretty good Halloween party back on Wednesday. We pretty much just carved pumpkins and ate refreshments, but it was still fun. We tried to make a "Stick your hand in the eye balls" sort of game just to mess with the kids. So we over boiled pasta and threw in some cooked mushrooms (they smelled terrible by the way) and mixed them together for brains, and then we peeled grapes for the eyeballs. We would have made more things, but it was a bit of a last minute idea in the first place. For refreshments, Elder A made a pretty elaborate chocolate cake (his mom is a baking master of sorts) and I made some caramel and cut some apples. Caramel doesn't exist over here except for in candy bars, so I had to make it from scratch. It's not the best stuff, but it was decent. Especially if you’re a Croat and have no concept of what caramel is or what it should taste like. I think it's funny when we make desserts for them because none of them can take too much of it because it's all way too sweet for them. It's just our little chance to show them what dessert should really taste like.

Thursday was Svi Sveti (All Saints Day). That was pretty cool. I took pictures, but don't have my camera. We went to the graveyard and checked it out. Everyone brings candles and puts them everywhere...that's pretty much my basic understanding of the holiday. It has something to do with praying for souls in purgatory or something like that....But they put hundreds of plastic candles together and inevitably they melt and catch fire, so we got to put out a couple of fires at the cemetery.

English class seems like it'll be pretty good. We had 7 people show up to the first class and 3 came to the second class (It was on All Saints Day, so we figured as much). They all seem pretty cool... 

Funny story: I don't know why, but Elder A  went to ring a doorbell last night, and it shocked the you-know-what out of him. Something weird was going on with that building mixed with the rain, because the next door did it again. I just put my finger near the button and could feel it. It was funny to watch him push the button and flip out though, because I didn't know that could happen.

Another one: So we were sitting in our apartment a couple of weeks ago, and Elder A asked me if I though that I could dodge a bullet, I said yes, so he chucked a pen at me and I hit it away with my hand and the pen just broke into pieces, so on Saturday morning he was joking around and asked if I could do it again. I said yes. Well he faked me out once and then threw it. I thought he was faking me out again...Well to make a long story short, I didn't dodge or flinch at all and the pen nailed me right in the middle of the forehead and made me bleed a little bit. It hurt a bit. Now I have a scab between my eyebrows. If it had been a bullet, I'd be dead. Guess I need to practice more.

I'm trying to think of anything else. I think that's about it for this week. I love you all a bunch! I bet I'll remember a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting right after I log off, but maybe for next week!

Love you all!