Monday, April 30, 2012

I am in......deutschland!!!

I am here!! It is amazing! Everything is sooo different than the US, seriously....everything! I have so much I want to write so I apologize if it is mumbled, plus the keyboards are different here and its driving me nuts;so I am sorry if i misspell things!
So we hopped on a plane early Tuesday morning! We flew from Salt Lake then to Tacoma, where we almost missed our flight. Then, it was straight to Amsterdam. Good ghandi that airport is the scariest thing I have ever seen. Massive is an understatement and confusion is the only thing that exists there. Thank goodness for Elders who know where to go haha. We almost missed our flight in Amsterdam as well, but the next thing I know I was landing in Berlin. After 27 hours of flying and no sleep in days is was so nice to be on the solid ground of Germany.
I was greeted by the mission president and his wife. They are the nicest people ever! We then went and dropped our luggage off and got right on all of our paperwork. We all hadn't slept in over 60 hours and it showed! We all were literally falling asleep as we were signing all 50 pages of our paperwork. It was sad and hilarious. Not one person didn't have a page where the pen suddenly took a dart in a random direction from snoozing while signing. Then it was off to dinner at a German worst nightmare. I wasn't feeling well from traveling still so I stuck with a piece of bread. This whole no carbonation thing is going to be tough than  I thought. Its been 11 years since I have had any carbonation, and I will be lucky to make it 11 days here! Its not that its just hard to get, but many times they simply don't have regular water. At the restaurant we went to they didn't have one drink including water, that wasn't weird! After dinner it was time for "Golden Finding" We here in the Berlin mission don't use the term "greenie", instead they use Golden. Golden finding is where they pair you up with an experienced missionary and you go out street contacting. I got put with S.Bush. She is on her last two transfers and was awesome! Even though I couldn't understand anything I had a blast! We got to our hotel at about 10pm and were out in a minute flat.
Thursday morning we woke up and went to where the Berlin Wall use to be. It is a really neat thing our mission does. At the beginning of your mission you go there and say a prayer to dedicate your mission, then you return when you are going home and say another prayer to end your mission. It is such a peaceful incredible place. The spirit was so strong. It was amazing to have that opportunity to start with such a focus. After that, it was time to go find out who are trainers were going to be and where we would be serving! I got assigned to......drum roll please......Dresden and my trainer is Sister Neokomm (Noy-come)!!! Dresden is a big city in the south-eastern corner of my mission. It is gorgeous!! My trainer is amazing! She is from Switzerland and is a native German speaker. She has only been out 9 months and is already a trainer, that tells you how great she is! The first few days were a little bit quiet because of the language barrier but we talk all the time now! She helps me with my German and I help her with English. She speaks pretty well though. After I got my assignment it was time to head on a train to Dresden. However these train stations are no joke. The big ones are 2 to 3 times the size of the Salt Lake airport. Well needless to say we got lost.....for 3 hours haha. Mind you this is while I am lugging my 3 suitcases was pretty funny! We finally got on the train we needed and after 2 hours we were in Dresden! We wasted no time once we got there either. We dropped off my bags and hit the streets. Or I should say, the jogging paths. My companion is a marathon runner, that is important to note. I am not, that is also important to note. My companion loves going to the jogging paths to literally chase down people, run next to them (yes in our skirts and 20lb. bags), and try and make appointments. At first I thought I was just getting punk'd and this was a golden joke.....but nope this went on for another 2 hours haha. It was definitely interesting ;).
Friday started out with a morning jog.. or sprint if you choose. I thought I had stayed in pretty good shape in the MTC, that is until I went jogging with my companion. I still am unsettled with using the word "jogging". Home girl sprints the full 30 min we have to run. She might kill me off one day, but I have kept up so far. Then I have the task of trying not to show the effects of our morning run when we walk the rest of the day long haha.My first appointment could not have been funnier. It is the typical disgusting, smelly, cat infested, apartment. Her name is Doris and she has about 8 teeth left in her mouth. She was wearing a a minnie mouse tanktop and cutting garlic cloves. She has pictures of cats, cat pillows, a cat rug, and oh yeah i almost forgot....a lot of cats!! We all know how I feel about cats :). I seriously had to try my hardest not to laugh out loud whenever I thought...."of course this is my first appointment of my mission, of course!" It went well though, I mean I couldn't understand a word ha, but I could feel the spirit. Right after that it was first eating appointment. I was full to the brim with fear of German food. It was at Schwester Galaufs house. I have no idea what I ate but it had potatoes, fish, onions, and a lot of other things I couldn't identify. Would I use the world love? Can't say i would, but it wasn't bad... surprisingly! Later on that night, guess what was scheduled for us.....a singing lesson! Yes I am fairly certain I experienced my biggest fears, all on my first real day haha. But, I survived and I love every minute of my day!
Saturday we did a lot of tracting! I loved it! There are hardly any houses here so its just apartment buildings everywhere. You get in the door and then you knock on a LOT of doors. We were able to find 3 new investigators on Saturday. It was such a neat experience.
Yesterday was Sunday or Sonntag as we say here! In church they asked me to get up and bare my testimony, I was nervous my German would be terrible, but it was a good experience for me. Church was great. Even though I can't communicate with most of the people.  You find other ways and a lot of the members speak English. We have a big ward in Dresden, it is awesome! After church, we had another eating appointment with members. Once again I was scared to death, but once again it was really actually quite good! This family spoke English and it was incredibly refreshing!
Okay other are some topics I want to cover:
Weather: It has been gorgeous! Hot but so pretty!
Jetlag: It is real and real bad. I wake up at 2am every night and have a hard time falling to sleep. I think it is starting to get better though.
Food: everything is soooo different here. The markets here are scary because I don't see anything that is familiar. But I must admit, I have been pleasantly surprised at how good everything has been.
Public transportation: All I have to say It is insanely amazing here, and is our best friend as missionaries. We are constantly on a bus and then switching to a streetcar and then to a train. It is awesome!
People: oh the crazy Germans! haha. The people here have been interesting. The woman are all super natural. Never dry their hair and just dress really laid back. The men however, care more about their hair than the woman and are generally dressed nice often times.
Apartment: My apartment is awesome. I don't know what I was expecting exactly, but its a lot nicer than I thought it would be. We have a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom with a dishwasher :).
Music: They listen to American music. Within my first day I heard Jay-z, Brittany spears, and Rhianna. I know I am a missionary.....but it was insanely refreshing to hear haha.
Well I am out of time, and once again I need to apologize for how jumbled this letter is! To sum it up, I am loving it here! The language is so difficult for me, but we have been blessed with meeting a lot of English speakers in the last few days. Its nice because if they speak German than my comp takes the lead, if they speak English they are mine. I am so grateful to have the companion I do, she is seriously stellar. (Yes I did just teach her the word stellar this morning haha). We get along really well and I can tell this is going to be a successful time for the both of us. I love you all and I appreciate all the prayers that have been sent my way!
Sister Linford.

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