Monday, February 10, 2014

Goodbye America, Hello Bulgaria

Wow.... and to think that it was late July that I got my mission call here, and now I'm really here. My world just changed. Life in Bulgaria is completely different than that of home. It was true when I said that I'm going to be in a society where everything is not understood. Actually it's more like the people and partly the signs. In Sofia (I was there for a day and night) there was a lot of English mixed into the stores and signs. I little bit here in ..., but not nearly as much.

 The members here are so awesome, I love each one of them but still have yet to understand any of them except for one. His name is ... (... how to pronounce it). He's ... years old. There are actually just 10 members here, so it's not a branch or a ward but just called a group. It's humbling to see that here. I respect the fact that they are part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It would be hard to have no one in the ward or group.
Bulgaria sure isn't the same as America. The roads are super skinny so half the time we walk in the middle of the street (or that is what if feels like) until a car comes. The roads weren't designed for the traffic of today. Veliko Turnovo is built on a hill also. The mission in this city is known for the many stairs that we go up and down throughout the day. The buildings are built up because there is no space to expand. Some buildings look the same as back home but others looked completely trashed on the outside. It's weird to see. It's also warmer here to, I just remember it was freezing at the MTC in the morning but it's been really warm here, so it's nice as long as I don't have my coat on or have to carry it.
The food here has also been really good. I had a thing called денер (diner how it is pronounce). It's like a soft shell taco. It's hard to explain. Maybe you can look it up on Google. I should have took a picture of it. It was weird shopping for food earlier, I felt like a lost kid and my companion was leading me everywhere. Turns out, when you use plastic bags you have to pay .33 Lev for each bag used. The money here is really colorful here to. The coins are called стотинки (stotEnkE) and are in .01, .02, .05, .10, .20, and 1.00. Lev is 2.00, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100. I'll have to take a picture to show everyone.
The apartment is huge. I thought it was going to be a lot smaller. My companion Elder ... said it's one of the nicest ones in Bulgaria. There's 2 bathrooms (it's just Elder ... and I in the apartment too) a room we don't use, bedroom with 4 beds in it, a kitchen and living room. We have a deck that can see the whole city it feels like. It's amazing.
Elder ... is the best missionary I've ever met. He doesn't hesitate when we're supposed to be doing something. He knows the gospel so well and knows how to say it in a way that is simple. I feel bad because during lessons he goes solo pretty much but I can tell that he doesn't struggle at all. I try to help but now knowing the language really doesn't help. He has lived in South Korea and Germany I think. He recently lived in Arizona too. His family travels a lot based off his dads work. He has also been in Bulgaria for only 5 months. Him and 1 other are training 5 months here. I could never imagine that I could train a missionary here in the country in that amount of time being here. I have to keep telling myself that I'll learn the language because sometimes it feels like I'm never going to learn the language.
Being here as a Bulgarian, it's hard to make a living. The majority of people live day by day. In Sofia there was a man digging through a trash bin. It's sad to see but at the same time there's nothing you can really do. A member yesterday I learned is an orphan. He works at a restaurant that is under construction or something on that line. He's been working but hasn't been paid and can't work at the present moment. We had a lesson with a member and he was there also but was really down. I wish I could have understood him because all I know is based off my companion telling me. We have a lot of lessons with members to help keep them strong in the gospel. They need all the support they can get because it's not easy.
Church here is only 2 hours long, 1 hour for sacrament and another for class. All of the members have class together. I just tried to figure out what the book said that we were reading. It was Principals of the Gospel. It was about Adam and Eve. I didn't get far but class went by really fast because I was focusing on it so much. I also led the music and introduced myself in the little Bulgarian I know. The church is basically the size of kitchen and living room (In American Fork home to get you the idea of the church building size.) It's weird to have home in America compared to my home in the apartments that I live in at the MTC and here in Bulgaria. It sounded weird to me. I guess my definition of home is changing.
The time change is also weird to think about. I haven't really thought of it. Jet lag was really messed up for the first day or 2 here but adjusted because I stood up for a long time on the plane to try to leave according to the schedule here in Bulgaria. I pretty much stood up all night to adjust to sleeping for the night time here. It feels like the MTC with time. It feels like I just got here but the last 6 days makes me feel like I've been here for a month already. Being a missionary, it's the best way to have the definition of time changing just like home to I guess. When it's said that God time is different than ours maybe it's similar feeling. Just a weird thought I guess.
Time here is also in military time, or the majority of digital timers. It's also a difference here in Bulgaria. Also the showers is the whole bathroom. One bathroom has a tub but it's my companions bathroom (which I don't know how that worked out.) My bathroom has a shower head that just showers onto the floor with a drain in the middle of the room.

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Oh and I found a picture advertising gravity which I think is funny. I don't know how to look at the photos on the computers here so I send random ones. The gravity one I actually didn't mean to send ha ha

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