Monday, December 31, 2012
Christmas 2012 in Delft
PRETTIGE NIEUW JAAR!!!! It's New Years Eve!!! I am so excited!! I can't believe that it is already 2013.....well almost. We have to be in our apartment by 4PM this afternoon because of how crazy it gets here for new years. People take any chance to be crazy here in the Netherlands and I guess this is a good excuse. There have been fireworks going off for the last week like crazy!! Like real fireworks, the ones that the fire department sets off on the Fourth of July. They are super cheap here and readily available to everyone that wants them. So we have to be in because of that, because people make huge bonfires with all of their Christmas trees in the streets and...you know....when people celebrate in a country where everything is legal....everything is used to help them celebrate. We have been told that there is no way we are going to sleep tonight because it is just going to be ridiculous outside, so Sister Nielson and I are going to have a movie night!!! Yeah...we are going to watch all of the DVDs we use for proselyting tonight....like "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration", "The Testaments"....etc. It's going to be a party!!
Christmas Eve was SO COOL!!! We went to Delft because it was out P-Day. Delft is probably my favorite place we have been to yet. It is so pretty!! Really most of the pictures that you are going to find on the internet of the Netherlands are of Delft....unless you are looking for flowers....because that is in a completely different place. There is this super old church there that is absolutely gorgeous. We didn't have time to take the tour of it this last week....but we plan to very soon. They will even take you up to the very top where all of the bells are!! I'm going to feel like the Hunchback of Notredam!!!! The pictures that are attached are of the centrum. In every city in the Netherlands they have a centrum where most of the stores are and a lot of the big touristy shops are.
But Delft is way cooler that Den Haag because it is old. It really looks like Europe. Everything that you picture when you think of Europe is there in Delft!! I am so happy that it is in my area!! We have plans to make it down there at least once a week. It's hard because it's about an hour bike ride.
Oh, and I saw my first cheese wheel factory place!! It was way cool!!! There is a picture of that too!!!
We were also invited over the Stake President's home for Christmas Eve dinner and celebrations. The Oddens are really a super great family!!! We love them a lot!! We had these spicy meatballs that were really delicious!! Unfortunately...I can't speak Dutch well enough to catch the name of them....but that's ok. I am getting the recipe from Sister Oddens this next week!!! But it was just way fun. All of the Elders from Den Haag were there and also the Senior couple. We sang a bunch of Christmas songs....everyone in the Oddens family can play a different instrument so it really was a house full of music. And we had ROOTBEER FLOATS!!!! That was truly amazing because there really isn't Rootbeer here. If you want it....you have to go to the USA store and everything is really expensive.....so we don't go there very often. And the people here hate rootbeer. Can you imagine? I guess their cough syrup is flavored like rootbeer so they think that they are being forced to have medicine in a soda form. It really is very depressing. They gave all of us gifts!! I got my first really warm scarf which I am really extremely grateful for.....I didn't bring any scarfs here....so if anyone is wondering....they are necessary!!
On Christmas, we started our day with the Mule Family. Their son is in France serving a mission so they had all of us over. They are from Fiji and they are probably the coolest family you will ever meet!! They don't speak Dutch at all but their English is really good!! The Breakfast was amazing and we went and caroled to all of their neighbors. Sister Mule was way too excited about it and made everyone come out of their apartments and hear us sing. It was really cold, but super fun. Then, we spent the afternoon at the Seiter's home(they are the senior couple) and we played games and watched some church movies. Really...we were just killing time until we could go to the Prosmans. The Prosmans have a son serving a mission in England. And all of the little kids in their family really miss him so they were extremely excited to have the missionaries over to their house for Christmas. They kept telling us that we are now siblings because they were missing their brother too. It was really nice. We played a ton of board games with the kids, we sang a bunch of songs, we were allowed to watch animated PG movies so we got to watch Despicable Me!!! and for dinner we had Gormet(spelling?) Apparently it is really Dutch. So they just put a bunch of food on the table that isn't cooked. Meats, veggies, cheese, whatever. And they have these things where everyone can cook. They have two layers....one like frys things and the other slow cooks it. Everyone got to sit down, make what they wanted to eat and enjoy each others company it was super fun. The best part of my day of course was being able to talk to all of you wonderful people!!! I love you so much!!! It really was exactly what I needed. I needed to talk to my family!!!
Jake, I am so proud of you!!! I am so glad that you are going to be an Aggie!!! I brag about you everyday to my mission president because he is also an Aggie!!! I told me that you made the right decision because that is the only school that you are going to get the smarts you need!! About housing, everywhere is good. The older places like Moen are not so pretty and really small. Ok, everything is really small, but I suggest either the student living center(by the institute) or either Bullen or Merrill. The other Freshman housing is like a 15 minute walk away from campus. But those three places are bigger...you'll have more roommates in case you have a problem with one, and you will be on campus. Also, you just make this Ciara thing seem, you know, no big deal. I have some information for you broski. It's a big deal and I expect more info even if I haven't met her!!!
Rachel!!! You Passed LIFEGUARD TRAINING!!!! Now you can have a real job....that isn't just picking up everyone's trash that they purposefully leave there for you!!! YAY!!! Are you excited!!
Elizabeth!!! Keep working on memorzing those articles of faith!! I am doing the same thing right now....but in Dutch. For Christmas, I got a lot of stuff. I got to talk to you!! And then I got some CDs, a beautiful dress, a lot of chocolate from members and some hand warmers!! Those were the best thing!!! They are keeping my hands nice and warm here on the cold days!! I have heard that Wreck it Ralph is really good....so get those jobs done so that you can go!!
Mom, The only people I have heard from while I have been here is you, Grandma Gail, Allysa, Belen and Elder Butler. I think that letters are taking weird amounts of time to get here because of the holidays so I'm not too worried. I also don't get a ton of time to write on Mondays so I can only respond to two or so people a week. The dress fits perfectly!! I even wore it this week....but I didn't take a picture. I'll be sure to do that soon so that you can see it on me!! And we are also going to a Van Gogh thingy not this week but next!!! They have a huge art museum here in Den Haag so we are going to go there and check it out!! And when it comes to printing these off....it costs like 5 euro....so not really. I have enough time to read them and respond too so don't worry about it.
Dad, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! GELUKKIG VERJAARDAG!!! You are getting very old my man!! I hope that you have fun on your trip and aren't eating too many reese's pieces....because I don't think that they are going to have the 'peace' effect that you are expecting.
Send Mandy and Cami my love. I heard about Mandy through Sister Stout this week and I hope that little Marshall is holding in there!! If he is anywhere close to being as tough as his parents he is going to be just fine!!
Ok, so they have 3 Christmas days here. RIDICULOUS!!! I really don't understand how society survives here because everything closes down on the holidays. And I mean EVERYTHING!!! No grocery stores or anything!! But anyway. We did a service project as a Zone and we went to an old folks home and sang to them. Apparently I have been dubbed as the music missionary. I don't know how that came to be....but there really isn't very much talent in our zone when it comes to singing. Elder Maughn told the people who work there that we were a professional choir because no where else was going to let us come....and so....I was put in charge the day of to come up with a performance that would please a king. I didn't do it....but we did have a lot of fun. You should have been there for out attempt at singing the 12 days of Christmas. HILARIOUS!!! One of the Senior Couples recorded us and we are going to get a DVD of it here soon that I will send home!!
We have had a really fun and successful week here!! We got a new investigator, another progressing investigator who is now in date for baptism, and Ans Jansen accepted the Word of Wisdom and is now living it!! That was a crazy lesson, we were really scared that she would be done after that lesson because in our first meeting she went on about how ridiculous all of our rules are so it really was a miracle!! We have exchanges this week and a lot of appointments planned so I am excited!!
I love you and miss every last one of you!!! Have a great week and a Happy New Year!!
Zuster Megan Israelsen