Monday, February 20, 2012

Denmark is Awesome

Hej alle!

I can't find the question mark on this Danish computer, the keys are different and spell check is freaking out, so sorry if this is unintelligible.

First things first, Denmark is awesome. Getting to Denmark was ... an adventure. We almost missed our flight in Paris, lost a suitcase (Søster Taylor's), and had an Ældste throw up the first day here. President Andersen and his wife are absolutely indescribably kind. Our first day here we contacted in the street (that went as well as could be expected), ate kebabs (well, really pitas because the order was messed up, but since it was the first real food we'd had in almost a day, it was delicious anyway), and went to visit the Copenhagen temple, the chapel behind it and the baptismal font there, and Frederiksberg Castle. Dad. You wouldn't believe it. Sure, we saw some Block paintings and the stunning chapel and the Kings prayer room and all that, but we turned at corner and it was right there. I wasn't prepared. I may have stopped breathing. The Bayoux Tapestry. No one else was as thoroughly impressed as they ought to have been, but I know for a fact I teared up a bit. The Bayoux freaking Tapestry!! Okay, I'm a dork, but life's more fun when the little things (even though this is by no means little) make you happy.

And thanks to your excellent upbringing, I actually knew all the scenes from the Bloch paintings. No one else really did, which was odd, but I blame the jet lag. I'm with a pretty smart group.

Okay, so now the good stuff you've all been waiting for. At least, I like to think of you all waiting with baited breath back home. It makes me feel better.

I've been assigned to the Frederiksberg, København area. Copenhagen includes other little cities inside it, not unlike the boroughs in New York, and Frederiksberg is there. My comps from the MTC ended up in Slagelse and Odense. Google 'em. Included in my area is the Youth Center, so we do FHE and Institute there every Monday and Thursday and get to work with a lot of really fantastic youth. I also go to church in the chapel behind the temple, and go past the temple every week. Google those too. They're stunning.

My companion is Søster Ronstrom. I canøt actually write her name correctly, since the last o has two little dots over it and that doesn't exist in Danish. Or English. She's Swedish though, so that makes sense. She's from Stokholm, so she totally gets the big city vibe of Copenhagen, and speaks nearly flawless English and Danish. She was only at the MTC for one month before coming to Denmark. She's been here 14 months. I'm really blessed to have her. We get along really well. In fact, the other day it was sunny (miracle of miracles - it's freezing here (seriously, it's totally normal to wear two or three pairs of tights)), and we were twirling across the train track overpass singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music" at the top of our lungs. Don't worry. No one was around.

Oh, and Søster Andersen is a fantastic cook. Our first night there she made a whole table full of traditional Danish food, more than I can eat, including røde grøde med flode, which I can almost say correctly and which is incredibly delicious.

I've also been blessed with a lot of great investigators and less active members to work with. My first day here at a Youth Center openhouse evening, one of the investigators came up to Søster Ronstrom and told her she'd decided to be baptized. So I get to see one of our investigators baptized my first transfer! I had nothing at all to do with it, and I am so happy for her. It hasn't all been perfect, but that's only to be expected. On Thursday I was actually going to ask one of our investigators to be baptized (again, I have nothing to do with it, but Søster Ronstrom was going to let me invite her), but she cancelled that morning. She'd broken up with her boyfriend and was drinking with her neighbor, so she didn't really want us there teaching her that day. She's a recovering alcoholic. That was really tragic, but it made us that much more dedicated. We also have another couple we're working with who are less active. She's American, so it was all in English. They're working on getting to the temple and have had a lot of trials. We taught them how to do FHE on their own and made them a really cute little FHE assignment chart where they can move their names around. Søster missionaries. What more can I say? (YES! I found the question mark!) We have quite a few others, but those are the only one's I'll go into now.

Danish isn't actually nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Everyone here speaks better English than I do, so they're really thoughtful and understanding. They're helpful with learning the language too, and correct my pronunciation and teach me new words. I can understand almost everything when people speak slowly, and I can communicate for the most part what I want to say, even if it may take a lot of circumlocution and pointing at stuff. Family, do you remember in the blessing when Pres. Scorsesby blessed that I'd learn Danish so well that people would be shocked? In church last Sunday I was chatting with some members (for any teacher who reads this, one was Ældste Perkins' girlfriend), and they were really impressed with the MTC program and how much I could speak and understand. President Andersen also said that this group from the MTC has been incredibly impressive. Tak for alt, Bror Stacey, Bror Birk, og Bror Pullan! Vi kan forstå mere end vi kan tale, men det er godt nok for os! Well, that may just be the only sentence not totally underlined by spell check. Oh! I've also started translating my journal entries into Danish. On Friday I didn't even have to stop and consult a dictionary (or Søster Ronstrom)! I'm so excited to keep working at Danish!

It is nice though when I hear a little English. We have a goal to speak only Danish outside the apartment unless it's critical that I understand everything said, but today while shopping for groceries, etc. I heard "Tongiht, Tonight" by Hot Chelle Ray and got so excited. That song always reminds me of you, mom. Plus, it was English.

I've also invested in a huge, face-enshrouding scarf. Almost everyone here wears them and they're almost essential, so that's one more thing to send a pic of. I include this mostly to tell Dad that I think of his huge scarf from England and also of Dr Who whenever I wear it. Oh, I hope you appreciated the Dr Who hat at the MTC I sent a pic of. If I could have, I'd have hugged that elder.

Contacting has been great. Again, Google pictures of Copenhagen. I'll try to figure out how to e-mail some of mine. Yesterday night we went contacting (a lot of people walk just to walk on Sunday nights, so it's a good time to visit the pretty walking areas) around a lake in the city that was absolutely stunning. There were seagulls walking on the ice too, which was an interesting juxtaposition. Ah well.

Jeg elsker jer!

Mom - They actually provide a giant feather quilt and a pillow. Sooo warm and sooo huge. Well, not provide. They just take payments out in istallments from our mission fund, but I'm totally fine with that since they  only make us pay half. I'll check my e-mail for the personal e-mail I sent you last week and see if I can re-send it.

Dad - I think I said everything in the other little e-mail I sent, but this is just one more chance to say I love you!

Cheryl - I'm so glad you got to share that story. That huge scarf also reminds me of you, since it's something I could easily see you in. I'm glad to that you enjoyed the articles. I'll have to send some recipes for Danish breads. Actually, google might be best for that. They're delicious and super healthy, often with seeds inside or baked on top. Totally something you'd love.

Greg - How's life? Sorry, I don't actually know what's really going on with you right now, so I don't have much to ask about.

Katie - Thanks for the big e-mail! I'm trying to print it to read it later, but I did see that it included updates of shows. Yay! Hm ... could you maybe send just the lyrics to Hallelujah (check Rufus Wainwright as the artist) and The Cave by Mumford and Sons, Arms by Christina Perry, and some of the other songs from that Dusk, Dawn and Everytime in between playlist or my New Mood playlist? Anything you remember me listening to often or that has poetic lyrics. Any of your favorite songs too! It seems like you're doing really well, which is always good to hear. Hopefully school isn't killing you! Oh, and I hope too that you enjoy your fantastic shoes! I have yet to see a picture, but they sound cute.

William - Man, I really want to give you a big embarassing hug right now. I don't have much to chat about (except how's your newest semester of school), but those always made me feel better. I O U one embarassingly large hug. I'll just start keeping a tally now, shall I?

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