Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 8, 2014

December 16:
Hey!  Well, after an exciting turn of events, I am now back in Romania.  Ploiesti, to be exact.  I think I set the mission record for "shortest time serving in Moldova" for a grand total of two weeks.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get sent back up there soon.  It all kind of feels just like a vacation now. sigh.  Anyway, so now I'm companions with Elder Cloward, and serving in Ploiesti, the strongest branch in the mission.  Being in a branch this large is almost like being back home.  And having church in an actual chapel and in a language I can understand doesn't hurt either.  So yep, back in the motherland.  It's kind of weird, because Moldova was so different than here.  There are TONS of gypsies here, unlike Moldova.  Also, every morning, there's a woman who just spends her energy screaming out her apartment's window, so that's just a nice addition to a cheery morning.  However, there's a lot of missionary work to do here, so that's always a plus.  All in all, it'll be good to serve here.  

We had our zone conference/christmas party last monday, and President Hill ended up doing a rendition of If I were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof.  

January 6:
Well, this week was exciting for us.  We had New Years, which is a medium-to-big deal here.  We went to a member's house and we were allowed to stay up until 12 so we could properly celebrate the coming new year.  We stood at the window waiting for the fireworks to start, and once 12 rolled around, start they did.  It wasn't at all how we were expecting.  We were expecting there to be an organization that sets off their own fireworks show like in America.  Instead, everyone here sets off their own.  There were tons of fireworks going off all around the city, on all sides, for about an hour.  There were fireworks hitting blocs and even some being shot off right outside the window, close enough that the sparks and smoke came in through the window.  It was like being in a war zone.  

So then a couple days after we got our pday moved to Friday so we could go up to a town called sinaia with one of our investigators.  It was incredible.  It's the home of Peles Castle, the most beautiful castle in romania.  I'll show you pictures.  Words cannot justify.  So after we toured the castle, our investigator, Alex wanted to show us a cool place that he knew near there.  He said it was a bit of a hike, but we were game.  So we start trekking through the woods and then about 10 minutes into it we just ditched the trail and started climbing the mountainside.  It wasn't too bad and we made it to a stream, which we followed for a bit, and then we reached a giant cliff, which we commenced to climb.  Okay, we didn't literally scale a rock face, but it was pretty close.  It was really steep and slippery.  Alex just charged on ahead and the rest of us crawled after him.  Once we made it to the top of the cliff, we asked if that was it, and he said no, we had to do 2 more.  The second cliff was the longest and steepest of the 3.  Alex easily reached the top and I eventually made it up there with him.  Once I caught my breath a bit, I turned around and saw the havoc.  People were tumbling and sliding down the mountainside like nobody's business.  Eventually, we all did make it to the top.  We took a quick break and then forged on ahead toward the summit.  Huffing and puffing, we made it up there and it was immediately worth it.  The view was incredible and the air was so clean.  Incredible.  We stayed up there for a bit, basking in our glory and the warmth of the sun, and eating salam and squeeze cheese sandwiches.  Nothing better.

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