Monday, November 18, 2013


So, first and foremost, I'm still alive in frozen Sweden!
Actually, from what I hear, it's about as warm here in Sweden as it is at home. I'm actually not sure what the temperature has been here because I'm still not sure where a thermometer is, but itäs been about 5 degrees Celsius on average, if not a little less.
President and Syster Newell are amazing, as are all of the Senior Couples. We were welcomed in right away, and I can't say that things are uncomfortable right now, aside from going from sitting in a desk all day to walking around Stockholm for hours at a time.
I've been assigned to an area just south of Stockholm. We're lucky; our apartment belonged to senior couples before us, so it's HUGE, and really nice. It's a little different, because they shower is not at all seperated from the rest of the bathroom ( really, we have to hang the rug over the shower curtain every morning so it can dry out), but considering that that's the only strange thing I can find about it, I'd say we've got it made.
Speaking of 'we,' I have an amazing new companion, Syster McCollaum, who is a Doctor Who fan! We've both been celebrating our mutual nerdiness all week. She is from Delta, Utah, and only has a few more months out here on her mission. She's been great so far, and an amazing help with learning the language.
I got out of the MTC, and I quickly realized, I don't know the language half so well as I thought I did. Everyone speaks so fast here, and they fluctuate their words in spots Americans would never think to. I'm at least able to seperate different words, but Syster McCollaum does most of the talking when we're out contacting since I'm still trying to figure out what in the world people are saying to me.
It's definitely been different here; it's usually dark by about 4:30 p.m., and we stay out contacting until about 7 or 8. The phrase I'm working to master right now is 'ursäkta' or 'excuse me.' Contacting is harder than expected. I'm still not entirely sure what people are saying when they talk to me, so I'm a little more cautious when I approach them, just to be certain I'm not somehow saying something ridiculous or offensive.
I have done more running for Tunnelbanan and Pendeltåget than I have ever run for any form of transportation in my life in the past week. I'm pretty sure I'm getting just as much exercise walking around Sweden as when I exercise in the morning. We've yet to get an actual lesson in; we keep scheduling them, and people keep cancelling or not being home. Hopefully that changes in the next week, especially since we have a good number lined up.
We've also done an amazing amount of singing in the past few days. We had some Elders from the next zone over have us come and sing with them at a mall, which attracted a fair number of contacts. We also went to the Stockholm Stake conference to sing there. I was actually briefly able to see President Nyman, but due to time and language barriers, I didn't get to talk to him much. We've also been asked by the ward to sing 'If the Savior Stood Beside Me' as part of the Primary Program next Sunday. Also musically connected, my district leader is a violinist! He was playing yesterday after church, and I kind of did a little happy dance out in the hallway to hear strings played again.
The members are awesome, or at least, I think they are from how much I can understand when they talk (we're still working on that). They also love the missionaries. They had me get up to bear my testimony på svenska on Sunday in Sakrament, which was terrifying, and kept very short so I didn't have too much room to mess up, but great. They've also already had me pray in meetings. My hope is that I'll be forced to speak the language so much that it'll just start coming as I need words.
Oh, and one last thing: Sweden has been perfect for my diabetes so far. I do work hard, and once or twice, that's brought my sugars down, but never to an actual low. The food has SO much less sugar than the MTC or just American food in general. My sugars have been AMAZINGLY on track in the past week, which has been an enormous blessing as I've been out working all day to meet people interested in the gospel. It's been an answer to so many prayers from the MTC, especially given how hard it was to focus and progress there with out of whack blood-sugars.
   Syster Maxwell

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