Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Next Up: Borås, featuring Charlie and the Monks

Okay, first and foremost, hi! I'm alive! Sorry if it scared anyone when you didn't get to hear from your favorite Syster Maxwell yesterday. We had a zone conference I hadn't known about before transfers that made it impossible for me to email yesterday because we were in Gothenburg the entire time. but I'm here now, and I have some crazy awesome stories for you guys.

So, transfers were crazy. We made it to T-Central around 7:00 and I was waiting for my train FOREVER. Luckily, I made it on without too many problems, and ended up knitting for the three hours I spent traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast of Sweden. Even as a missionary, I'm working on my  granny skills! 

Anyhoo, after the train, we took an hour bus from Gothenburg to Borås (for anyone wondering, the nearest English approximation is Boh-roes. Almost, but not quite), after which we took another bus to the apartment and met up with the elders who helped carry my luggage that currently holds all of my winter gear up four flights of windy, twisty Swedish stairs. They're champs.

And, I'll be honest, I think I brought the crazies with me from Stockholm. First thing when we got off the bus, some 80-year-old Finnish lady contacted us and started handing out self-made portraits of the Savior (that, by the way, were a little disturbing. They were NOT happy pictures) and telling us all about how He is the way. And for some reason, we just keep having all sorts of fun out here. 

Really, though, Borås is a hoot and a half. We have palm trees, and there are hundreds of statues scattered around the city. Apparently Borås is famous not just for the number of statues, but in particular, an enormous statue of Pinocchio that I pass every day that is the largest in the world. And, I gotta tell you about the church!

We're walking up the street to the church, and I think I've spotted it, so I start turning, only to have Syster Byrd stop me and tell me that was the Buddhist Temple. That's right, the LDS chapel in Borås is located next door to the Buddhist temple that used to be a Jehovah's Witness Assembly Hall. We see the Monks out every now and again getting in their mini-van, mowing the lawn, greeting people.... I think it's the coolest thing in the world, right along with the automatic lawn mower that we have going 24/7 around the church lawn. I've fondly named him Charlie. It's great; we'll be sitting in lessons or meeting in church, and he'll quietly go right past the window.

As for the beautiful Syster Byrd, she's fantastic. She's an absolute sweetheart, and I already feel like I'm learning so much from her about diligence and teaching clearly and with the spirit. That, and, she sees to have an uncanny ability to know when I'm about to do something really embarrasing, like shove 10 grapes in my mouth, or a similar number of pringles, or just pulling a weird face, and catching me in the act! I'm pretty sure I'm the strangest companion she's ever had, but we laugh a ton, so it all works out okay.

Let's see... I love the ward here. There was a very different energy in the ward on Sunday then either of the wards I was in in Stockholm. They are a lot younger, and it just feels...... more relaxed. Or maybe that's just me getting into the new area. Whatever the case, I'm excited to get to know the members more.

Craziness from the past week included taking an 1 1/2 hour bus ride to Jönköping for district meeting, where it poured rain on us. Apparently Borås and Jönköping get a LOT more rain than Stockholm, as in almost every day, but so far, aside from district meeting, it's actually been pretty nice and sunny. Whatever the case, I've been carrying around my umbrella.

And, yeah. Zone Conference was amazing yesterday. It was completely unbelievable in so many ways that it was President and Sister Newell's last conference with us, but the spirit was amazingly strong as they were able to bear their testimonies to us one last time. I really am so grateful for the time we've had with them, and for all that I've been able to learn from them.

So, there's a week in Borås. I'll have more for you next week including SWEDISH MIDSOMMAR. Be excited, because I've been waiting for this since November. It'll be awesome!

TTFN, and I love y'alls stinkin' guts!

Syster Maxwell

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