Monday, October 29, 2012

Woot Woot! We're In Belgium!

Bonjour Tout Le Monde,

Well, as you all know, we're in Belgium.  Its crazy here, as is all of Europe. But no, its going good and im liking it here. It wasnt very strange to be in Europe again since i've been here already.  Im typing on a French keyboard, so I can only type like 20 WPM. UGH!!! I hate the French keyboard.  Anyways, We got to Paris and we got picked up by the mission President and did all that dealio stuff.... And then we went out to eat with them and stuff... And then we slept at the mission home for a night until transfer day. We woke up in the morning and went into Paris.  I got to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and walk around the streets of Paris for a while.  Then we went down to the church in downtown Paris and met up with our trainers.  I'm with Elder Bequette and he is super awesome!  We are both super chill and get along really well. He is from Maryland but he speaks French really well.  He is the reason I've survived my last few days here.  But we are assigned to Liege, Belgium.  Liege is one of the larger cities here.  There are 2 companionships here and we are Liege 1.  We actually went today for PDay, to the Battle of the Bulge area with a member from Liege 2.  He took us to see a bunch of the stuff from WW2 and it was sweet.  Its nice to finally be out in the real world and doing real missionary work.  Here, we have about 8 Investigators and they just had a couple baptisms the weekend before I got here.  But I got to stand in on the confirmation for a man named Dora this Sunday.  But the mission as a whole had 32 baptisms the week before I got here.  They say things are on fire right now in Europe. They say its probably the best time to come into the mission.  But Its going good here in Liege.  IT IS FREEZING. Haha its really cold.  Lots of humidity and so the cold gets colder.  It rained here the first 2 days I was here, so thank you so much for the umbrella Miss Shanna, saved my life.  But yeah we had church yesterday and its a fairly large branch.  I'm in the process of uploading photos still. I havent been able to find wifi when I have time to send stuff.  But I have some pretty cool photos :)
So comps train was late when he came to paris to pick me up, so when they announced who people were with and where people were going, I was all alone and dubbed "The Orphan"  Haha but he showed up some time later and it was all good.  We caught a train from Paris to Liege and its about a 2 hour train ride.  It was cool to see all the countryside of France and Belgium with the sunset.  We got here at about 9 pm.  The next day we just got started on the daily routine and here I am.  I am surprised at how much I can actually understand and speak.  My comp said that people were surprised at how well I spoke for only being here a couple days.  I still dont think I speak that well, but its coming pretty fast.  Its just super weird to walk out your door and just hear French everywhere.  Actually the Belge have a different accent and its sometimes hard to understand.  But the member that took us to the Battle of the Bulge place today was from France and I could understand him a lot better.  The real French speak faster, but its easier to understand.  But yeah, my trainer thinks I'll be able to understand most of the stuff happening after my first transfer, and I hope he's right.

Overall its good to be back in Europe and I love the culture here.  Everyone is nice here and I havent had any super mean people talk to me yet, lol.  We dont have a car but thats ok.  There is a pretty good bus system in Liege so that is nice.  We also have a big train station, so we take the train a lot (photos on the way).  Since Liege is fairly big, we have a GIANT shopping mall :) Its like 4 stories tall :)  and my comp says theres a ton of stores for suits, he needs one too, so we are waiting til soldes (sales in January) to pick some up.  But yeah, doing well.

Oh and I guess packages are fairly expensive to mail here... Comp got a package from parents that costed 70 bucks.. so maybe a flat rate international if you plan to mail something.  But yeah, doing well here, I wish that I could type faster so i could type more.  I'll try to improve my french keyboard skills.

PS - Thanks for all the stuff you gave me at the airport, it was so nice to read all the letters and stuff on the plane.  I ate some of the stuff but loved the "green" theme :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Last Week at MTC

Hi Everyone! 

Well, its been a long (but seemingly short) journey here at the MTC.  I am super glad that I will be leaving this place and moving on to France.  Thank you everyone who wrote me letters over the weekend. I got about 9 letters total :) Thank you especially to both the Grandparents for sending me a letter! :) I loved each letter and they made me smile :)  

As you know, nothing too special happened again this week, but things are starting to calm down.  The teachers are getting more laxed and we are starting to get stuff ready to go for the long haul to Paris.  Its crazy how fast the time goes here, and i've been told that it goes even faster once you are in the field, so I guess we'll see.   

I'll be leaving the MTC at 1:30 PM for the airport with a scheduled flight from SLC to Paris (direct) leaving here at 4:50 PM.  I'm going to try to call most of you that I can.  Since mom and dad will be there, we may even be able to Facetime and you can talk to me then.  If not, I'm sorry, I wish that I could call everyone and talk to you, but they dont give us that much time.  I will be Skyping from France on Christmas, so make sure you're at my house or wherever so you can talk to me then.  I am sending a tape home this week for you guys to listen to, and yes it will have a lot of French on it (spoken) but you cant make fun of my crappy accent, ok? Deal.  

I'll be arriving in France at 11:00 AM their time (so like 4 AM here).  I am going to be snapping a ton of photos and will be posting most of them to Facebook once I have the chance so that everyone can see them.  I'll be uploading the same ones to my SkyDrive (for higher resolution) and you can access them from there, mom, if you want to use them somewhere else.  I can only email 6 photos at a time, so its faster to just upload as many as I want (at a time) to FB and then do a back-up to the SkyDrive (9 photos at a time, with high-res).  So look for some photos hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I'll be emailing you my address once I figure that stuff out and you guys can email me back or write me a letter or whatever you want to do.  

Other than that, nothing else too exciting going on here.  Still learning French and practicing it.  It will start to improve once I get in country and what not.   Glad to hear Dad's ankle is getting better really fast.  I hope you are still taking care of my Macbook as well as I did. No scratches, please!  

Yeah, just excited to get out of prison.  Looking forward to some casual Fall golf with members maybe? IDK, we'll see :) Hopefully someone there likes to play golf. Its time to get out and do something fun.  

Anyways, let me know if you want any other specific info before I go.  Last time I will be able to use the computer will be Thursday or Friday. ;) 

Love, Jason


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Missionary Announcement - Same Old MTC


Another week has come and gone. Time warp at the MTC has really taken hold and I'm assuming its only going to get faster once I hit the field... hopefully someone can confirm that. Nothing really exciting happened this week in my everyday life, but conference was a shocker, as many of you indicated in DearElders. We got to watch conference in the big devotional room in 19M and it was cool to watch it among all the missionaries.  When Pres Monson announced the new age limit, everyone in the audience went crazy.  The MTC Presidency didn't look shocked, assuming they already knew about this.  I could hear all the Sisters being like.... "Seriously? I could be home right now.." haha I was just laughing. I'm just glad that I wasn't born a year earlier, cause I would not have been ready for this a year ago.  Its exciting to hear that Michael and Hillary are putting their papers in asap and Syd is still contemplating...  

Some inside info from the MTC... they are starting to build some new buildings here, and renovating some.  We found out that since the Hong Kong treaty thingy is going to be up soon, China will either have to give Hong Kong up, or adopt their system, making it possible for missionaries to enter into China. So, supposedly, anyone from US going to china will be coming here, and they are supposedly getting ready to build a China MTC. Just the word on the street at the MTC. 

It was exciting to hear the new change and it opens the door for all the younger guys and girls.  Girls that leave now will still beat me home... which isn't cool... haha.  Overall, conference was pretty good.  That was probably the first time I have ever sat down and watched all 5 sessions actually paying attention. LOL ;)  But it was good. Saturday was probably the best of the days. I really enjoyed the priesthood session talks and the morning session. 

Today, we switched things up for P-day and it was really nice.  We got up at 6:30... then hung out with the district just chilling til like 7:20 ish. Then we got ready, ate breakfast, and went to the temple.  We decided not to do a  normal session and we did sealing today.  That was really really cool.  We got to be witnesses and children and it was awesome! I like it way more than a normal session :P  It is way shorter too! We got done an hour and a half earlier than the rest of the district so we got our laundry done and ate by the time they got back :) Then we took a 2 and a half hour nap :) so we're pretty happy right now. :)  

Language is still coming along, we have learned pretty much everything there is to know about the grammar, just mastering vocabulary and practicing.  Its crazy to think that the new missionaries coming in after January are going to have a 6 week language program! I would die if I had to leave a few weeks ago! I kinda want a native companion at first, but it is scary to think that I wouldn't be able to communicate for like 6 weeks... that would be hard. 

I accidentally sent the wrong video to you guys, haha.  The mic is located on the top of the camera and I put my finger over the mic on that video. The other one I didn't... sorry. But look forward to more videos when I get in France. Cause videos are always cool.   

But yeah, I also started packing my stuff up today and figuring out what I need and what I dont.  I finally tried on my UA stuff and found out that the pants dont work, so i'm sending those home.  Will you send me back the ones that are in my room that I set aside? Those ones fit me better and will be warmer. I guess I really didn't have that much stuff, just a lot of food... once I started digging through everything, my suitcase got a lot less packed and had more room after I took the food out.  These next 2 weeks are going to be a party in the residence. I have so much food and dr pepper left!  

I was thinking about sending the phone home, but you sounded like you didn't want to see  me in the airport?? Quote, "I'm worried that we may not see you in the airport..."  Really? Ouch.  HAHA, but seriously, you can't ditch out on me after you said you were going to be there.  I haven't told anyone and I'm holding up my end of the bargain, whats up with your end? Have you received my travel plans yet? I should be getting mine in a few days, so hopefully I can see what gate I will be at and what not and let you know. You better be there early too, cause I want to see you guys the whole time I can.. I dont want to be sitting at the gate, waiting, and finally see you 10 min before I have to board, how lame would that be?  I'll just keep the cell phone in case something goes wrong, just make sure you can activate it if I miss you or something. 

Nathan Merrill - Sorry man, I dont have MW3. I wish that I did! We'll be sure to play the latest and greatest when I get home! Thanks for sending me a DearElder! :) Look forward to some Parisian ties! :) :) :)  

Not sure what else to say... Same old same old at the MTC.... hasn't changed since I got here.  

Send me an email if I forgot something...

Love, Jason