Wow! The kids are getting huge! B wasn't even crawling when I left, and L's hair is so long! The boys still look the same, except bigger and slightly older of course.... They still look like trouble ;).
That's so crazy that J T and G are both back home now! I guess missions do eventually end......Just kidding. Well kind of. I enjoy where I'm at, but it still kind of has an "it's going to last forever" feel to it. Which is okay for the moment. The thought of having to go back to normal life and worry about making choices that will affect the rest of my life is slightly terrifying. So the mission is a bit of a real life cop-out at the moment, but that's okay, I think. I think the craziest thing so far is that this thing (the mission) that I though would never end is almost half-way over. That's just nuts. If the second half goes by as fast as the first half, I'm gonna have to start frenzy-ing for the brakes.
President Rowe was saying that the call letters now call people to the Adriatic North Mission either speaking Slovene or BCS (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian)....which I guess doesn't mean much...because we all know just how solid that language part is, don't we.....I promise I'm not bitter. It used to be that you got called speaking Slovene, Croatian, or Serbian, but now there are just two possibilities. Which means that those serving in Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia switch around a lot more....which the police departments don't really like because we are constantly changing visas and they don't understand the reasoning behind it.
I hope that Thanksgiving went well for all of you. We had a great day last Wednesday. Last Tuesday I decided that I was going to make a cheesecake for Thanksgiving, because you know it wouldn't be thanksgiving without a cheesecake. So I decided to make an Oreo cheesecake (put both of the traditions together, you know). So I made one, but the crust to cake ratio was off and I ended up making a cheese pie. So I figured that I would make another layer and stack them. I thought I had a stroke of ingenuity; I had never heard of a double layer cheesecake before.....But of course, there's a reason why...because it's a terribly stupid idea. When you layer cakes, you just flip it out of the pan and stack it...well when you have two layers with pre-defined bottoms (the crust of course), it becomes just about impossible to stack without destroying one of the layers....and it's just way too much sugar after you stack it. It ended up all right though. Everyone said that it was good.
So we had thanksgiving with the Tanners, who are pretty much the coolest senior couple ever. He's the branch president up the coast in Rijeka, but they used to live in Zadar and they still have an apartment and come every other week or so. Well, they came the night before and picked us up at 11:00 am. So we and the sisters went to their apartment...in p-day clothes (it's weird how I feel more comfortable in dress clothes now)....and helped prepare more food. We made stuffing, mashed potatoes, seasoned the turkey and chicken, made some sweet potato dish (I didn't eat it...and I resisted every urge to make puns about how "yam" hot the pan was and stuff....), and rolls. It was so good. So by the time we finished preparing everything it was time to eat. So it was the 6 of us and D (President P's brother in law that just turned in his mission papers...he's 22). So we all ate. Then afterwards, Elder A, the sisters, sister Tanner, and I all played Banana grams. It was a lot of fun. We then got back to our apartment, changed, and then completed the hardest night of tracting ever. Imagine being "Thanksgiving full and tired" and then going out to walk around the town, climbing stairs, and knocking doors....I thought I was going to fall over and just sleep on the sidewalk. I slept well that night. It was a lot of fun.
1. How was your Thanksgiving? What meat did you guys have?
Answered above...turkey and chicken. It was so good!
2. Any new people to teach?
We got a cool referral from the sisters, and they told him that their friends who are guys would be coming by and he was okay with it, but he hasn't been home when we've been by yet. We also met a cool guy named Ž while we were tracting after Thanksgiving dinner, and he said to come by again sometime this week.
The coolest guy though is one of our new English students. So here's the deal. We are attempting to teach English to a deaf man. It's pretty difficult. He's super cool though. He's in his early 20's, and I'm not quite sure what his name is. I asked him, he told me, and I repeated it back because I wasn't sure and he said that what I said was correct, but what I said was T, which in English means plates...like plates that you eat on...So it might be his name. But he has a hearing aid in one ear that actually attaches to something in his skull and he can hear when people are talking, but he can't distinguish what people are saying. He just realizes when somebody is saying something, and then he turns and lip-reads. I don't get how he does it, because I feel like Croats don't move their lips a whole lot when they talk. I've tried to lip read and it just doesn't work. So ya. We have to face him when we talk, go slowly, and then try our hardest to follow his hand motions and try and distinguish what he's saying. It's so difficult to understand. It makes me feel like a genius when talking to anybody else because they are a lot easier to understand. But he's super cool and a really happy guy. Super nice. He knows a few words, and right now we are trying to teach him how to read pronunciation guides in the dictionary, that way he can figure out how to read and pronounce the words he's reading in the dictionary. It's a bit of an interesting experience. Teaching English to a deaf guy....
Oh man... I hope Elder B still has an upbeat attitude. The poor guy is in Belgrade now. But he's with Elder M, and they'll get along great with each other. I talked to him on the phone before he left and said that they weren't allowed to gossip about me and talk about how miserable it was for both of them when they served with me. We'll see what happens...see if they talk to me at the mission Christmas party coming up....
So just a quick bit: I hit my squalor limit this last week and went on a cleaning frenzy in the apartment. The mold on the walls is bad enough without us adding to the mess...(Duško, the landlord, has a leaky roof and his solution to the mold all around the top of the walls is just painting over it...so its a bit of a problem...we're in the market for a new apartment....the office approved us for a move) So it was clean enough to take pictures to send to you, but Shutterfly won't let me upload today, so maybe next week. I also took pictures of the Christmas decorations I put up last night. I found a Christmas tree and a bag of decorations behind a cabinet in the storage room (the bedroom that we don't use). You know how I told you every apartment has a Christmas tree because moms always think the missionaries want them, but everyone already has one because it was left by the missionary who received one the year before, so they increase exponentially every year...I set it up and everything. I'm attaching a picture of it...We'll see if it'll go.
So we have district conference this Sunday-pretty much stake conference- so we get to make the Zadar to Zagreb trip again...nasty...but oh well. It's kind of funny. None of the members here can afford to go on their own, because it's about $40 each way for each person by bus, but we don't have money for them to go, so it might just be the missionaries from Zadar that are going. The mission can't pay because the area won't reimburse it in Germany, because they said that you can't pay people to go to church, but these members don't have enough money to get there on their own. So President Rowe was trying to pull some strings, and the latest news is that the Area might give us money for it. Meanwhile, we have members that really want to go, but we can't give them a definite answer. It's a bit of a mess at the moment. Oh well. I just have to hold out another week, until it's passed, because then it definitely won’t be an issue anymore.
I'm trying to think of what else to tell you....Everything is going well here. Hopefully everything will continue that way! I hope all is well with all of you back home! Less than a month until Christmas!!!! Isn't that crazy?