Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weekly Email - December 2nd

You will never believe what I see when I look outside. When I look outside the window and into the street light across the way, it’s almost like.... it’s snowing outside. That’s because it is snowing outside. I just thought I’d let you know that. That’s not really a part of the message of the week. And it gets dark at around 2 pm so I’m always tired.

How is everyone doing? I’m trying to find my journal entry from the start of the week so that I can tell you how the week went. I just found it. On Monday, Elder J went to Warsaw at 7:26 am. So we went to meet the other Elders at McDonalds at 6:30am. So we go there and find out that it doesn’t even open until 7am. So we waited and got our food. So we were late to the train station, of course, so the next train wasn’t until 8:55am. So we waited at the train station. Then I went with the other to The American Corner, it’s a place where they have books about America and they also have computers that are in English. That’s where the other Elders do their emails. It was fun! The guy that runs the place asked the Elders to make a presentation on Thanksgiving. He was off by a week for when Thanksgiving was so the Elders had to go this past Thursday to give the hour-long presentation. He just didn’t want any church/missionary stuff just Thanksgiving information. Then we went and shopped for food, we went to a cheap grocery store called "Lady Bug". Right after we got food we got a call from Elder J who let us know that he was coming back into Lodz. It was about 1:30pm. Then we went shopping at Manufactura, for Christmas stuff for people. It was kind of fun. Then R1 invited us over for dinner, and he cooked for us and made bigos, which is like cabbage and meat mix. It was really good! That was the 2nd or 3rd time that R1 has invited us over for dinner. That was Monday!

On Tuesday, Elder J was sick so we stayed inside the whole morning. Then we went and sent emails since he missed his email time on Monday.  That was pretty much it for the day.

Wednesday we did some contacting and then we had English class, which was pretty full. That was cool! Then we made Swedish Meatballs, and all the Elders partook.
Thursday, we had promised R2 that we would help him out. We met up with him at 2-ish. We walked him over to where he was performing at the Philharmonic. He plays the flute and sings and had a performance there that night. So we stayed with him while he rehearsed. We then got a call from a Canadian man who was hitchhiking through Europe. He needed to get to Gdansk from Lodz because he was catching a plane the next day to Finland. So, R1 and I went on splits to go and help the Canadian man. He didn’t speak any Polish. We got him a train ticket and sent him on his way. Then we rushed back to the concert to watch R2 and his friends perform. We had to leave the concert early because we were getting close to our curfew time.

On Friday we went to B's and taught him a lesson. That went really well, I guess. I also got a scarf from the other soccer team I still needed a scarf from. Then we had district coordination with R1 at 4 o’clock, after our weekly planning meeting. We then went to do a whiteboard but there was a bike protest/rally. They do that all the time, it’s like an anti-car rally. So we gave up the whiteboard and contacted instead. Then we had dinner at Positivka. It’s a polish restaurant that does crepes and stuff.

What did we do yesterday? Yesterday, Saturday, oh, I didn’t write my journal so I can’t remember anything. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away Now it looks as though they're here to stay... Oh, we met with B and R1 came. It went really well, because R1 is polish and he spoke in polish like polish people do. Then we went and had lunch with R1 and had Chinese food in a whole in the wall that was really good and cheap.

Then we did another whiteboard and we asked questions like, “Who is Better Spiderman or Moses?” And apparently Polish people think Spiderman is better. Even though I haven’t seen Spiderman part any seas lately, I haven’t seen the newest Spiderman movie so maybe he does stuff like that there. It was really cold and it snowed.  It sprinkle snowed Friday night, Saturday and Sunday but none of it stuck.

We went to Manufactura to have dinner and ice cream. They have really good ice cream there. I got hair trimmers today, because I’m going to cut my own hair. I haven’t done it yet so don’t worry, but I will!

Today was fast Sunday. B went to church with us. We picked him up. Church went like church goes. There were some good testimonies that were shared. After testimony meeting, R1 taught gospel essentials and taught about fasting. Then we went to priesthood and then we had choir, but we are still looking for piano player. Then we will have a men’s choir. There are no sisters in the choir.

Tonight we went tracting. A man let us in, but then he asked us to leave.

Note from mom: Elder J suggested that Brian share what he learned so here it is:

Today, while tracting I learned that there are some really sketchy buildings in Poland. You walk up these sketchy stairs that are metal plated stairs. You come to a T intersection at the top of the stairs. You don’t know what is going to pop up at you from either end. There is graffiti everywhere, I can’t repeat what any of the graffiti says, except that grandma supports the soccer team. Other than that is swear words. It looks like a nuke bomb shelter. There are cob webs everywhere. And there is this freaky insect thing that was hanging on the wall, it was dead. I have never seen a living one, cause if I had I would have wet myself. It was like some spider with wings. The top story of the building is like being up in the rafters, there are wooden beams that separate storage areas from where people live. These wooden beam areas look like zombie cages. I can just imagine zombies reaching out and trying to grab you. We contacted all the doors in this place. People answer and usually say they are not interested. One guy listened to me for a couple of minutes and then said he was not interested. Usually we just say we are missionaries and slam they are not interested.

I learned that when someone is sick missionary work is really hard cause you have to stay inside. I also learned that when the sun goes down at 2pm you are really tired. I also learned that you need to get the members to help you. We need more R1's in the world.

Saturday I got paint on my jacket. They painted the handrails but didn’t put up a sign. R1 saved me then too. He had some thinner and rubbed the paint out. Then the cold froze the scent cause I can’t smell it any more.

I forgot to mention that when we went to R2’s concert, we went to this big orchestra hall. It was awesome, because it was a full stage and beautiful. Something you wouldn’t expect seeing in Lodz. There were a lot of people that showed up, which was unexpected. All the performers were handicapped. The President of the City of Lodz was there, A female president. The concert went really well and R2 did really well on the flute. I was impressed with their talent. It was really cool to go to a concert in Poland. I bet you’ve never been to a concert in Poland.

Let me just add something about the Canadian guy. He was traveling from Russia. He was supposed to have a job in Russia, but he never did get the job. So now he is hitchhiking through Europe. So he ends up in Lodz and is hitchhiking with a man named A. A spoke a little Spanish and so does the Canadian guy so that’s how they communicate. We don’t know A but somehow he had our number so that’s how the Canadian found us and asked us for help.

Grandma Masza, I use your grey scarf every day now. It is that cold. The scarf is very warm and comfortable and it is now my most beloved scarf. It has been too warm until now to use it, but it is going to get colder cause that’s what he poles say. They say it’s going to be 20 below here. So I await the day that the black scarf is going to make it’s debut.

Love you all, You are the best!!! Trzymajcie sie cieplo, wszystkiego dobrego, kolorowych snow, na razie, pa pa

I am writing because I have some extra time after my president's letter. All is well, and the voice recordings explain the happenings of last week. It is -1 celcius today which is colder than it sounds when it is also humid, the air just cuts right through clothing. Grandma Masza's scarf has been saving my bacon for the past week. I haven't sent the package yet, it keeps getting delayed, but I hope to be able to pull everything together today that I need. I hope that will go well. Polish is still a hard language, but I think I am catching hold of some aspects.

Just so you know, Christmas trees are sooo cheap here, a 5 foot tree is probably only 120 zlots. A nice 3 or 3 and a half foot tree is like 60 to 80 zlots I think, We have seen some little trees go for 35 zlots (all fake trees of course).

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