Prepare to Serve

Monday, August 25, 2014

Epic Solitaire - For the Epically Alone!

Not a lot happened this week, it was kind of sad and lonely. We said goodbye to the Brown Elders, and Elder Whiting, and it was just Whiteley, Owens, and I for a while. Then Elder Smith and his trainee, Elder Cotu, showed up late on Wednesday, and we have only seen them twice since. Once yesterday during church and our usual Sunday night contacting on the rynek, and today, when we got food/ice cream with them, Ola and Cindy.
We finally went to the milk bar! We didn't go before because it was closed, which Ola said was Stumpf's fault because the same thing happened the last time she tried to get him to go to it. It was open again the day Stumpf went back to Germany, so her theory might not be completely crazy. When we went she took pictures of us all there and sent them to him on facebook saying "We ate the emptiness that you left behind" lol, Ola is so funny. But, this also means I was able to find out what a milk bar is. It's basically just a cafeteria, where you can get polish food, for really really cheap. I got soup and naleśniki (basically Polish crepes) for like 4.50 zlots, so less than 2 bucks.

I invented a new game! Siostra Whiteley was feeling bardzo sick on Thursday, so she spend a chunk of time in bed, and I played solitaire with the Phase 10 card deck we snatched from the senior couple apartment. I call this game "Epic Solitaire! - For the Epically Alone. It's solitaire with 2 decks and only 5 places to put cards, the number of cards in each space is doubled too. It's pretty tough, and really fun.I also played clock solitaire a little, and I won! finally. I don't think I've ever one that game before, it's all luck, so it's pretty hard to win. I also played and won Mega Clock Solitaire, which is the same thing but with 2 decks.

I've also been having fun with the Rubik's cube I got for my birthday. I have figured out most of it, I really just need to get the last face and 1 edge. Owens showed me how to do it (logically, actually solving it, not just memorising steps) but I can't remember how he did it, so I'm still struggling a little.

We had a great English class this week. It started with us having them read "Love - The Essence of the Gospel" (conference talk) and picking out words they didn't understand. Then we wanted to help them learn how to express themselves better in English. So we taught them some expressions and phrases... we also taught them "shady" and "sketchy" as it "you are shady as heck!" or "this restaurant is sketchy". They loved it, it was a really good class.

We also have a new investigator! I don't think I mentioned her last time, but she was Elder Stumpf's last contact of his mission. We were at the train station, ready to see him and Elder Fotu off to Warsaw. There was this girl there, she walked by and saw our badges. Kept walking for a bit, then turned around and walked by again, looking at our badges. She almost just kept walking, but turned around again, and this time walked right up to Stumpf and asked him why we were wearing badges. So he explained that we are missionaries and told her a little about her church. She was super excited. He asked if she'd like to meet with missionaries and learn more, and she said yes! So, we got her number. The Elders also chased her down before she got on her train and gave her a Book of Mormon. We met with her yesterday. She wasn't able come until 17:30 though, so she wasn't able to come to church. She is so prepared though. She has been searching, and studying the scriptures. She had even read some of the Book of Mormon before our meeting and did some research on the church. She's totally cool guys, her name is Sylwia pray for her hardcore. We are going to meet with her again this Saturday, with Prezydent Cieleński on the lesson, and she's coming to church this Sunday. Ah! I'm so excited!

Not a lot else happened for the week, it was really slow.

Kocham Cię and Keelah Selai

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Yay! Birthday week! I had an awesome birthday week guys! Monday was crazy though. after we finished emailing we all went to get burgers and then rode bikes to the mall for shopping. I was bardzo sick though. I had chills and I felt crazy weird. We all thought it was because I drank almost a liter of coke on an empty stomach, but by the end of the day it was clear I was sick. I kept freaking out though cuz I was hyper as well as sick. While we were eating lunch I kept shivering and occasionally saying things like. "Dude, that coke was totally laced with something!" At one point I turned to Siostra Whiteley and yelled "I'm trippin' balls, man!" She just busted out laughing, it was hilarious!

Tuesday, MY BIRTHDAY! was the best day ever, hands down! We had so much fun. We had district meeting in the morning and the power was supposedly off in the chapel for the day, so we decided to have our meeting at the senior couple's apartment, which is now vacant, and super nice. I opened my presents there (my package arrived just in time, yay!). Thank's so much for the lovely gifts guys :)

Elder Stumpf also gave me a present, he decided to pass on his lava lamp, because he can't take it home with him. Now it sits next to my desk all day. We turn it on first thing it the morning, and then first thing when we get home at night. Sometimes during nightly planning we'll get distracted by it and then just stare at it for about 20 minutes with our mouths open, occasionally just going "ooo! ahh!"

After district meeting we went to a Pierogarnia as a district and had massive oven bakes pierogi. Then Siostra Whiteley and I went out to take a book to a self referral the White Elders gave us the day before. We gave the lady the book and then she gave us 2 more referrals! it was awesome.

We ran into the Elders a few more times throughout the day and had a lot of fun with them. I'm happy to say that we achieved perfect jedność (unity) with our Elders this transfar, we love them all and had so much fun with them.

The rest of the week was just really chill, we basically just enjoyed our lives hard-core and occasionally shouted "BIRTHDAY WEEK!" We also played "Mexican Train" with our Elders, which is the funnest, most stressful game in the world. We are planning to play it again today too.

We had a cool moment at our "sit-table/whiteboard" on Thursday (that's a regular whiteboard except we have a table of free stuff set up and 2 people contact, and 2 people sit at the table and talk to anyone who approaches. Elder Fotu and I were at the table and a woman came up to us, so Fotu asks her if she has an answer to our whiteboard question. I don't remember what her response to that was, but she eventually asked it we were JW's, we told her no and told her a little about our church, also invited her to come to church. Then Fotu asks if he can give her a pamphlet, he starts reaching toward the Przywrócenie (restoration) pamphlet. Then he stops, and instead picks up the Plan Zbawienia (Plan of Salvation) pamphlet. As he handed it to the woman, she got kinda teary and said that her husband had just died. She took the pamphlet and immediately started reading it as she walked away, it was a really cool moment.

So, this week is transfer week, which means Saturday was calls. Prezydent Edgrin called us at random points in the day to tell us where we'd be and what we'd be doing with the next 2 months of our lives. I was freaking out! So was everyone else though. Siostra Owen and Siostra Ott in Katowice (Ott was my companion for my exchange a few weeks ago, and Owen was Siostra Whiteley's companion two transfers ago, so we're pretty tight with them) called us multiple times throughout the week to give us their predictions and to freak out. Stumpf was the only one not freaking out, of course, because he's going home. He had his own predictions, and was right about most of them. He and Fotu got on a train to Warsaw yesterday, Stumpf goes home tomorrow, and Fotu is going to be an AP (assistant to the prezydent). Elder Whiting is going to Bydgoszcz to be a Zone leader. Elder Owens is staying in Wrocław and is going to be companions with Elder Meherg. Elder Smith (who we have nicknamed Brother Zacharias) is coming to Wrocław with a trainee. And Siostra Whiteley and I are staying in Wrocław as well. :) yay! She will finish off my training and I will be a full blooded Whiteley trainee... or Lilwhiteley as Fotu has nicknamed me.

So yeah, that's basically what's going on with us here right now. We said goodbye to the Brown Elders and are hanging out with the White Elders tylko today. We'll have to say goodbye to Elder Whiting on Wednesday and drop him off at the train station too, it'll be very sad. Then we get a whole day to hang out with Owens because Smith and his trainee don't get into the city until 20:30 and Meherg isn't coming at all until next week... I'm sure I'll have many highly entertaining stories about Wednesday in my next email.

Kocham Cię i Keelah Selai i tak dalej...

Monday, August 11, 2014

I eat ALL the sushi!!!!

Yay! this week was fun, jak zawsze!
Our culture night was a hilarious disaster, which Whiteley says, is how culture nights usually are. I never found out what a milk bar is because it was closed. Ola blames Stumpf, she says he cursed the milk bar because the same thing happened when she tried to take the missionaries to the milk bar last year, when he was last serving in Wrocław. Funny thing is, she might be right, because the milk bar opens again the day Stumpf leaves Wrocław... We also didn't end up going to the oldest restaurant in Europe, because we ran out of time and it apparently takes a long time to be served there. We were going to meet Ola again, to ride bikes to the Japanese gardens, so our time was limited...

So instead we went to Pizza Hut... It was really good, but as far as Polish culture is concerned, it's pretty lame... By the time we were done at pizza hut, and Ola had showed up, it was raining, so riding bikes wasn't really an option, also, food took longer than we thought it would, so the Japanese Gardens were closed. In the end we decided just to take a tramwaj to a fountain show Stumpf had talked about, and call it a day. The rain stopped soon after we had made this decision. Unfortunately, we got off on the wrong stop and so, arrived at the water show 5 minutes before it ended... It was pretty while we were there though.

There were lots of little fountains around the big one, the kind that shoot water up out of the ground. Some kids were playing in it, so of course Ola decided she wanted to run through it, and convinced Whiteley to come with her. At first Whiteley just ran between the water so she wouldn't get wet. As Ola was trying to convince her to just run right through the water, Stumpf casually strolled over there and just shoved her in. It was hilarious! she got really wet, but it wasn't a big deal in the end because about 5 minutes later it started raining again and so we were all soaked.

So yeah, that was our culture night. It was disastrous, but also really fun. On Tuesday we went and got sushi with Prezydent Cielański. He wanted to take the Kowalskis (our senior couple) out to lunch because they are going home this week. The White Elders didn't come because they had a lesson, and the Brown Elders didn't want sushi, so they got kebabs and then joined us for the company, after they had eaten them. I was starving, because I forgot to eat breakfast, so I was toying with the idea of ordering one of the 30 piece dishes. Cielański told me that if I got it, and ate the whole thing, he'd pay for my meal... so I did :) It actually ended up only being 28 pieces, but still, I ate the whole thing.

On Wednesday Whiteley and I ate a the hipster place again (I found out the name too, it's called "Bułka z Masłem", which literally translates to "Roll with Butter"). It was the most awkward experience of my life, Whiteley and I could not stop laughing, it was so funny! We waited for about 40 minutes before they even brought us menus, no joke! And that place is so weird we couldn't tell who worked there and who didn't. As we were sitting there I suddenly had a vision, of a Portlandia skit, where they are waiting for menus at a restaurant a really long time, and finally a waitress comes over and tells them that they are sitting in the "no menu seats". Waitress - "We don't give menus to people who sit in these seats" Customer - "Well then, how are we supposed to order" Waitress - "You just kind of feel it out... and then you send your good vibes to the waiters, and they just know!" Customer - "But, we can't tell who works here, who are the waiters?" Waitress - "the customers are the waiters, and the waiters are the customers" After about 30 minutes into our waiting, we came up with three possible options... 1) Continue to sit there in total awkwardness. 2) Awkwardly get up and move to a new seats and keep our fingers crossed that they wouldn't be "no menu seats" as well. 3) Awkwardly get up and leave the restaurant, eat somewhere else, and never tell the Elders about our experience, because they would take the mickey out of us if they knew.

Notice how all three of those options had "awkward" in there, that's because there was no comfortable solution. We ended up accidentally falling into option 1, because we sat there for long enough, trying to decide what to do and laughing our heads off, that finally someone who we assume must have been a waitress, finally noticed us and brought us menus. I seriously love that place, it is so weird!

Not a ton happened the rest of the week, until Saturday, when we had our branch grill. Whiteley and I made a cake for it (mostly Whiteley... OK, all Whiteley, I washed out the pan and then pathetically sat there and watched her make it...). It was loads of fun, but it was bright and hot, and just about everyone got burnt. We had kelbasa, and yummy snacks, the Kowlaski's had games for the little kids, and a pinata. They didn't have a stick to beat the pinata with, so Cynthia Call stole one of Prezydent Cielański's crutches, and they used that... Then Starszy Fotu broke it, not irreparably so, but the rubber thing on the end went flying off when the pinata broke, and they had to search through the bushes to find it.

I had a cool moment right at the beginning of the grill, when Mariusz introduced me to the people who would be playing music for us (yes, we had a band). I had heard a few weeks before that it is customary in Poland for a man to wait for a woman to extend her hand for a handshake, the woman gets to decided if she is going to allow the man to have the honor of shaking her hand, but I'd never really seen it in action until I met the violinist. He was a really cool old guy with a huge beard and long grey hair. When I said hello to him he hesitated and just stood there with his hands at his side, waiting for me to decide if I was going to shake his hand or not. When I realised what he was doing, of course I stuck my hand out. It was kind of cool though.

Also, speaking of the band, they totally played the "Candy Mountain" song that is in "Charlie the Unicorn" it was hilarious, but now I want to know what that song is originally from. We spent a lot of the time playing a boardgame Starszy Owens made on the computer. It is called "Thud" and it is apparently from a Terry Pratchett book. He's been teaching all the members how to play it and they love it. I beat him both times I played it against him though and now he owes me 2 White Lion candy bars, and a White Twix, ha ha! Cindy Call played against him as well, she was losing horribly both times, but right before the end I got Owens to close his eyes and helped Cindy cheat but placing all of her captured pieces back onto the board in the perfect formation to destroy Owens at his own game. it was hilarious! I count it as a solid win, and so does Prezydent Cielański. Therefore, it is condoned by the church :)

Yesterday I taught Relief Society, all by my lonesome! First lesson I've ever taught in church and is wasn't in English. It was super easy though because the ladies in our Relief Society can yarn for hours! All I had to do was ask 3 three questions and they answered them for 45 minutes! I realised right before the close that I hadn't prepared how I was going to close the meeting, and I had missed most of what they had said during the meeting... so I awkwardly just said "Miłości bliźniego jest ważny... i dobre... śpiewamy?!" which directly translates to "Charity is important... and good... we sing?!" Then we sang and prayed and it was over. They all know I'm a greenie though, so I'm sure they expected nothing more or less from me :)

Well, that was basically everything cool that happened this week. All our lessons fell through/had to be re-scheduled so I don't have any cool teaching experiences or anything like that. It my birthday tomorrow though! Wooo! Whiteley has decided we are having Birthday week! Which means that I get to do whatever I want in the name of birthday week! I'm so excited! And I get to open my presents tomorrow! The ones mom sent me in the MTC (I did not open them, I didn't even peek) and some games that I bought myself, though Whiteley has taken them away and insists I didn't buy anything for my birthday, she's going to wrap them and give them to me tomorrow :) Laney, I know you will be interested to know what games they are. I got Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. All together they were about 45 dollars! Awesome, right!

Today is Stumpf's last P-day in Wrocław, second to last ever. So we are going to be doing whatever he wants to do today. It sounds like we are going to get burgers and then ride bikes (if it doesn't rain again) to Magnolia Park (a really nice, nearby mall) and go shopping, I assume. Ola and Cindy Call are coming too. It should be loads of fun! I love you all family, I'm super jelous that you are at San Clemente, but it's OK, cuz I have Coke here... and hipster resturaunts... and birthday video games I can't play... and it's only going to start getting colder... :( lol, just kidding, I'm having a great time :) Have a good time!

Kocham Cię, i Keelah Selai!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wszystko niezręczne

Hey hey hey, this week was pretty chill, so this might be another short letter. The main thing that happened for the whole week is that Siostra Whiteley and I laughed... a lot, like the whole week. We were on something, it was crazy! This was probably the funnest week of the transfer so far, which is saying A LOT, because this whole transfer has been so fun I don't even miss video games... Yes, that's right, I just said that. I'll say it again, in case you're brains couldn't handle that kind of crazy, impossible information, and just blocked it out... I don't miss video games... Don't get me wrong, I still love them and I'll probably cry the next time I hold an xbox controller, but I'm having so my fun and I feel so much purpose right now that it's like, meh, whatever, I'm good. I also don't really miss TV. occasionally I miss movies, like when Whiteley and I listen to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. but yeah, wszystko dobre.

I heard two songs this week, just out and about, that made me super happy. The first was "Breakfast and Tiffany's" ahhh! I love that song. A lot of the laughter this week came from Whiteley and I singing that song. The lyrics are just so ridiculous, it's like "yeah, we've got all these problems, we hate each other and can't agree on anything... but we saw that one movie that one time and we kind of remember it... I think we both kinda liked it... so we should definitely stay together." Ha!
The other song I hear was "Tango la Camisa Negra" (not sure if that's even close to correct spelling) It made me think of you Salsa, and it made me really happy. I was super surprised to hear it though.

We had a lesson with one of our recent converts this week. We had to have it through skype though because she's had to go home while her legal work for Poland goes through. She is from Azerbaijan, but she should be returning to Poland in a month or so. Her name is Tamara, she's super cool and totally solid, and we're pretty sure she's probably one of the only members of the church in Azerbaijan right now... so that's awesome.

We also are going to start meeting with some girls from our English class. Their names are Kasia and Ewa, they are sister and have been coming to English for about 5 years. They're talking to the missionaries before about the church, but have never been actually interested in investigating until now. They both speak English really well too. Siostra Whiteley had me set up with them. I was kind of nervous when she first told me I would be doing it. But at the same time, I know Kasia and Ewa really well now, we're tight. So it went great and I had no reason to be nervous. I think it's good that the first time I set up a lesson with someone it was people I know and am really comfortable around. I think teaching them will be really fun to. They are both really sharp ladies though and I'm certain they will have a lot of questions, luckily I know that they are both good enough at English that if I need to, I can respond in English.

This week we did some free tables, just Whiteley and me. It was super fun and we met the cutest kid during one. I call him a kid, but he was probably in his late teens early 20's. His name is Piotr and he was so funny. He walked past our table (with a friend), got like 40 feet away from it in the tunnel, looked back, saw us, ditched is friend and came over. He had already heard quite a bit about us, I think he said something about JWs, we're pretty sure he had talked to them. He asked us if he could have a Book of Mormon, and we gave him the Elders' number. While Siostra Whiteley was writing down the number he continued talking, to me. I didn't understand everything he said, but I did hear him say that he was going to a Catholic church, but he thinks Catholics are "dziwny" (weird) and made a hilarious face. He was adorable though, and we really hope he calls the Elders!

I had a really cool experience in church yesterday. We were waiting for it to start, and for about half the members to show up, cuz they're always super late. And one of the members, Andrej Cieślak, started talking to me. I've been having a lot of trouble understanding what people say when they are talking directly to me, I can actually understand a good amount when they are talking to someone else around me, but I always freeze when their questions are directed to me. It's been really discouraging and I've actually been worrying a bit lately that I'm never going to be able to really speak and understand Polish as well as I want to. But when he was talking to me (and mind you, I've never really spoken to him before, so I'm not used to his Polish) I actually understood almost everything he said, there were a few moments when I got confused and had to seek help from a nearby bi-lingual person, but for the most part I was actually able to understand and respond quite well. It was especially cool because at one point while he was talking, and I was understanding, I had the reassuring thought that I will be about to get this language. 

There's not much else that happened this week. Today we are having culture night though. We are going to the oldest restaurant in Poland... I can't remember what it's called though. Then we are going to see some Japanese gardens, we might rent bikes and take them there if it doesn't rain. Whiteley really wanted to rent tandem bikes, but I don't think they have them to rent anywhere, I haven't seen any. Then we are going to see a fountain show, thingy... not sure what it is, but I'm super excited! Yay! Culture night! Woo! Pants!

Talk to ya'll next week, next week's my birfday!!! yay! I'm freaking out! It's almost transfer week to and I do not want this transfer to end... I have never before wanted my birthday to just not happen as much as I do right now, cuz when my birthday happens that means we only have like a week left... AH!
Hopefully I stop freaking out by the time that happens...
Kocham Cię and Keelah Selai!