Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dalin H. Oaks in Germany!!

DISCLAIMER! This blog post contains spiritual references and testimony building experiences! Proceed with caution ye gentiles! :) (if you can't sense I'm joking in that sentence....then...get a funny bone. seriously)

Last night was just amazing. The spirit was so intense and the speakers were beautiful. It felt like there were so many things that were just pointed at me. They were FOR ME. I wonder if lots of people are experience the same kinds of things as me, and the Lord was addressing a lot of us, or if he was speaking to ME! Or if someone can listen to the same talk as the next person and they receive what they need to receive. Of course I went looking for a personal revelation and messages and Jen said she enjoyed it and she really liked it, but she didn't really get a personal message or revelation. I told her I was looking and praying for it though, so yeah.

Sister Oaks talked a lot of how to be a single adult and the things we need to do
She said we all need to learn to cook. And then she told the cutest story about how she never learned to cook in her whole life and after she married Pres Oaks, he invited Neal A Maxwell, Truman G. Madsen, and the head of BYU's service center and their wives to dinner. But she had no idea how to cook, so her visiting teacher offered to cook for her. So The dinner was going veryw ell and she brought out the main course, chicken breasts and wild rice and hollandaise sauce and brocolli, etc. and The chicken was ROCK hard. And they couldn't CUT into it and she has no idea what her VT did, but sister maxwell said, How did you cook this chicken? And sister Oaks just kinda non chalantly said, Oh. You know. A little salt, a little pepper. She said the worse part of the whole dinner was nobody laughed.
The second thing she said we should do is Respect our feelings and emotions. Feelings and Emotions are blessings from Heavenly Father that lead us back to him. This life isn't where we belong, we're headed somewhere better. Feeling these emotions allow us to ask for heavenly father to help us. They allow us to ask him to lift us up. They bring us closer to him and allow him to help us. This was really personal to me, because I have had to learn to accept my feelings and allow myself to draw to Heavenly father when this happens. Homesickness, angst, apprehension, homesickness, homesickness, frustration. Asking heavenly father to help me draw on those powers of my family and friends and from the blessing that my daddy and brothers and bro in laws gave me has helped me with those emotions.)
She said have your temple reccomend and go there regularly.
She said to keep the commandments. "When we keep the commandments, the Lord gives us a testimony."
She said to use this time to follow and believe in your dreams. "I decided I wanted my life to be beautiful. Use your time wisely. Don't waste your time, but don't over-use your time."
Beware of technology. These kids get into the MTC and they don't know how to interact with people anymore. They are spening so much time on the computer and on video games. They have to teach them to smile. "We're not really trying to baptize iPods."

Elder Oaks was just amazing. He's always, ALWAYS been one of my favorite apostles. I have always loved his talks, I have always loved his words. And he is such a happy, cheerful, funny man. And I love how he laughs at his own jokes. :) Like me. And he just loves her so much. He got up and said, life with sister oaks is never dull. So cute.
He opened with some really cute stories, like when he became a general authority. He was a judge on the high supreme court for Utah, and he loved his job. It was his favorite and it suited him and one of the church leaders asked him how he liked his job and he said, I've died and gone to heaven! And He said, "He thought I had a pretty restricted view of the eternities." haha. Well he finally accepted his calling and he got told by Pres. hinckley (at the time one of the counselors to Pres. Kimball) to go to a stake conference with Pres. Packer. So he asks what he needs to do and pres. packer says, just make sure you bring your scriptures. So Dalin H. Oaks is like, great! All I have to do is watch and learn. This is nice. So the opening song is being sung for a 2 hour priesthood leadership meeting and packer leans over and says, okay. You take the first hour, I'll take the second. And he had 2 verses to figure out what he was going to say for an hour. So he stood up and said everything he knew, then said it again, backwards with different words, and looked at his clock. he had filled 45 minutes and he thought, wow. That's pretty good. So then he sits down and Boyd K Packer gets up, speaks for an hour then looks at his clock, seeing there's still 15 minutes and says, "And Now Elder Oaks will take the rest of the time to finish his assignment."
Funny huh?
He also told a story about James E Faust and how he told Dalin H. Oaks he HAD to go to those famous falls in between brazil and paraguay and Dalin H. Oaks argued that he didn't have time while he was there doing church business and pres. Faust said, "Dalin, Dalin, Dalin. You MUST go see these falls. The good things in this world are not only for the Gentiles." hahahahaha.
He also said that President Faust said, (and it's so funny, because after he shared these stories he said, I don't know really why I shared those with you, they have nothing to do with what we're tlaking about. haha.)
English is the language of Commerce
German is the language of Science
Italian is the Language of Music
French is the language of Love
Spanish is the language of Prayer
And when you pray in Spanish, the Lord answers back in Portuguese. Hahaha.
Yeah. that's president faust.

Anyway, On the more spiritual side, Pres. Oaks said,
The sweetest thing we can have in this life is to know what the Lord wants us to do. In that, there is NEVER pain. There may be frustration and apprehension, but never Pain.

He talked about We need to Have Holy Habits and Righteous Routines.
Holy habits are things that ever member of the church needs to do.
Scripture Study, prayers, meetings, callings, sacrament, tithing.
But as we seek to overcome our weaknesses and sins and some of our old lifestyles, these are not enough. They build a base, a foundation, but then we need to have Righteous Routines to truly become stronger and closer to the Lord.
Righteous Routines are more personal and individual. They are things we do that others don't necessarily need to do. They may include avoiding hanging out with friends who drink if that's something that is a temptation for you. You can create routines in your life to create routines that help you avoid falling into temptation.
Don't be stupid.

D&C 38:42 And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Even so. Amen.
Men must be clean to bear the vessel of the priesthood.
Through the sacredness of marriage of the Lord are women carrying the vessels of bringing a spirit into this world.

It was an amazing meeting and I was so grateful to be tehre for it. I feel like heavenly father arranged this just for me. :) I'm sure it wasn't that way, but it felt like it! AAHH! THE CHURCH IS SO TRUE!
Also, I got to see sister Mortenson. She's my favorite missionary here! She's from Plain City, loves Bella's, and is friends with Adam Peterson. And I just LOVE her! She and I always just sit and talk at FHE or ANYtime we're around. She'll be getting home about 4 or 5 months after me (depending when I get home) But Man I seriously love her! She makes me wish I was on a mission just so I could be her companion!

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Package a Package what's in a package?

Okay, so lots of people have been emailing me and asking me what I miss and would like in a package. And at first I was like, oh no, you don't have to send me a package. No it's okay. But then I thought, no. I really miss these things. And why shouldn't I get packages??? So I decided to post a blog. So if you want to send me a package, I wouldn't mind getting these items.

First of all, my address (for packages OR letters OR postcards)

Mandee Shaffer
Wallstrasse 5
61440 Oberursel, Germany

Top Ramen (Oriental and Chicken flavor)
Mac & Cheese
Sour Patch Watermelons
ZipFizz (seriously miss these)
Crystal Light
Cheetos (yummo)
Brownie, Cake, Frosting and Cookie mixes.
Chocolate Chips
Country Gravy mix to make biscuits and gravy
Handi-snaks cheese and crackers
Goldfish Crackers
Rice-a-roni and Pasta-Roni
Lorna Doones
Chips Ahoy (both chewy and regular)
Werther's Originals
Ritz crackers
Instant Oatmeal, fruit kind
Burt's Beeswax chapstick (not the honey kind, just regular)
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. I wanted to read this before I go to Rome in May. Can't find it anywhere here.

Well. That's all i can really think of right now. I wish there was a way for you to send sobes and snapples. But that probably wouldn't work since they're made out of glass.

Things I wish you could send but know you can't:
Bella's chips and Salsa
Bella's Taquitos
Bella's Carlos Fajitas
Bella's Mojo de Ajo
Anything Bella's actually
Arby's Beef and Cheddar Melt
Arby's Fries
Mom's Peppersteak
Mom's waffles
Mom's Monkeybread
Nana's Cinamon Rolls
Maple Express's Schezchwan chicken
Chili's southwestern eggroll (why do they have Chili's and TGIFriday's in India, but none in Europe?????)
Kim's Capellini from Rooster's
Chocolate Souffle from Bistro 258

My puppy
My Mom

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The days...They just keep coming, don't they?

That's the difference between me and the rest of the world! Happiness isn't good enough for me! I demand euphoria!

Well Hello Family and Friends and Followers!

What a week and a half! Sorry I haven't updated for a while. I just haven't felt like it. But thanks to you who do write me back and update me and email me and comment. It means a lot and makes my days a little brighter and easier to get through.

On that note, Things here are well. I won't lie and say it's a piece of cake. Each day has its challenges, but some days are easier than others, and the easy days get easier.

The other day I went into town to run some errands and I walked by a gelataria and I stopped to get some ice cream, nutella gelato, and There I was, bundled up, gloves, hat, scarf, coat, walking through the snow, with an ice cream in hand. People were looking at me like I was crazy. This old woman stopped and looked at me and then started laughing and shaking her head. And there I was, just smiling, eating my 4 scoops of ice cream. That's right. 4.

I've been Craving Mexican a lot, since back home that's the main staple in my diet. We had some at FHE, but honestly, it just didn't hit the spot. I told them next time they want mexican for FHE, I'm cooking. Elder and Sister Lyon were like, that sounds great! So I got home and was just craving mexican, so I looked in the fridge and we had avacados and tomatoes. So I started working.
Now Guacamole, in case you didn't know, is an art. Look at how you make it. Maree and tommy are so precise. The way they scoop out the avacado, the way they put the ingredients in, the way they mash it...well there's not much art in mashing, I'll admit. With Anita, it's the show. Talking to the customers, entertaining, and lots of salt. And with Auntie Kaye, it's a masterpiece. I can see in my mind exactly how Auntie Kaye does each step of her guacamole. And I love it.
Anyway, So with the ingredients i Had and could find around the house I give you: Duhn Duhn Duhn! Mandee's German Attempt At Guacamole Fresco!

It turned out pretty good too. I could definitely be a manager! I even found oranges and limes to squeeze the juice out. I ate it for like 3 days. Carola said, do you also want ot make some sweet potatoes? I said sure and got them out. She asked how I make them and I said, well I really only know how to make them as Candied Yams. She asked what that was, so I explained with the brown sugar and the marshmallows and she just stared at me. No way. She said. Her kids were NOT going ot have that for dinner. I laughed. So she cooked this extremely healthy and honestly, disgusting dinner. And So I ate Guacamole for dinner. She said, You can't have just guacamole. I said, I do all the time at the restaurant. The girls were just staring at me and I said, What? And Carola said, "They're thinking how they can't wait to be an AuPair and eat whatever they want."
Ha. I do have to admit though, My jeans are getting a little tight. Uh Oh.

Saturday was Valentines Day. And I ended up going out with Jen (this awesome girl from my ward who I love.) We saw the International and went to a Spanish restaurant for dinner. I ordered in German and everything. Go me.
Jen and I at the tiny English Speaking Movie TheaterSunset on Valentines Day over the Oberursel/Taunus Bahnhof. Isn't that gorgeous?I got bored on Friday, and sick of my red hair, and went back to very dark brunette, but I also added some peek a boo red. If you click on the picture, it will enlarge it and you can really see. Not as intense as I'd hoped, but turned out pretty dang good If you want my opinion.

Anyway, On Sunday I spent the day at the Brown's house. Brother Brown is in Abu Dhabi for work, so Julie and Jen and Breanna and I watched season 5 of 24. I am officially addicted. Jack Bauer and his little satchel are so stinking awesome! Ugh. And I hate President Logan so much. But I'm glad nothing bad happened to Aaron Pierce.

FHE was a lot of fun this week. We had some Japanese Members make us a big dinner with Tempura Beef and this amazing sweet and sour sauce poured over it on rice. And I sat by these two awesome kids, Felix and Arvid. They were talking about dialects and accents and I was trying desperately to follow the conversation, and finally I asked them what German with an Italian accent sounded like, so they proceeded to give me an example. They also did French and Russian. I was dying. I thought it was so freaking funny. Italian was the best though.

The girls have been off school all week, so I've had them a lot. It's exhausting. This family is really different from ours. Carola wants these girls to be doing something productive every minute of every day. So no, even though they're off school, they can't sit and play with their nintendo ds, which they never get to play with anyway. They don't get to watch a movie. They have to be doing homework, or workbooks, or reading exercises. Even though they've been doing them all day. And she enables the girls to rely on the AuPairs so much, because I have to be sitting there the whole time just watching. Instead of sitting on the couch reading. The girls expect me to give them the answers, and I have an inkling past AuPairs did, but I won't. I make them read the instructions 3 times to themselves before I explain it to them. So Funny. And they're always shocked when I make them practice on their piano each song more than once. I always say, ten million times is never too much. (see. I really am becoming my mother.)

Anyway, The other night I went to hang out with Jen. We played AeroSmith Guitarhero. It was a lot of fun. We had a blast. Then we watched Get Smart.

Love everyone. Miss you all! Hope you're all doing so well and I'll talk to you all later!

Friday, February 13, 2009

If I don't have a puppy, I will DIE.

So the other day I was thinking about when I asked my mom for a puppy and the process i went through to get coco and how I used a "christmas miracle wish" line on my poor mother. That's the moment she gave in and told me to start looking for a puppy. She can't resist a good christmas miracle wish story.
But I before then I would email her pictures of puppies like these....i'm pretty sure these are the same ones i sent

And I would say things like...Can I come live with you please? Or..I'm looking for a good home, Can Amanda bring me home?

My mom would always reply to these emails with
"Oh, No thank you little puppy."
As a young adult, I would beg my mom.
Anyway, I think this poem reminds me a lot of those beggings. And I just love this poem

There was a girl named Abigail
Who was taking a drive
Through the country
With her parents
When she spied a beautiful sad-eyed
Grey and white pony.
And next to it was a sign
That said,
"Oh," said Abigail,
"May I have that pony?
May I please?"
And her parents said,

"No you may not."
And Abigail said,
"But I MUST have that pony."
And her parents said,
"Well, you can have a nice butter pecan
Ice cream cone when we get home."
And Abigail said,
"I don't want a butter pecan
Ice cream cone,
And her parents said,
"Be quiet and stop nagging--
You're not getting that pony."
And Abigail began to cry and said,
"If I don't get that pony I'll die."
And her parents said, "You won't die.
No child ever died yet from not getting a pony."

And Abigail felt so bad
That when she got home she went to bed,

And she couldn't eat,
And she couldn't sleep,
And her heart was broken,
And she DID die--
All because of a pony
That her parents wouldn't buy.

(This is a good story
To read to your folks

When they won't buy
You something you want.)

Abigail and the Beautiful Pony

Shel Silverstein

Okay, so maybe that's a little extreme, but Hey, I was able to get my puppy!

And what a cute little thing she is! After I got Coco Chanel (she's half yorkie half chihuahua) I couldn't remember what it was like to not have a dog. And now I remember, and you know what? I hate it. I don't know how people don't have pets. And I already know that in some years when Coco passes on (or gets hit by a car from running away all the time) I'm going to have to get another dog. I just don't know how I could. I miss her so much! I can't believe how this little animal has become MY CHILD! I just love her so much it is RIDICULOUS!
All in all. I'm so glad that I have the cutest puppy in the whole world and I can't WAIT to get home, give my mommy a hug, give my daddy a hug, then cuddle my puppy and smother her with kisses and play ball with her!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

I know I'm not a mother, and I know I won't truly understand what
one is until I have my own child in my arms, looking up at me, like my dear sisters have all done. "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." ~Rajneesh
But I don't like saying I'm a nanny or an AuPair. I'm a pseudo-mommy. There's so much about motherhood I DO understand now. More than I even have spending time with my nieces. I understand the sacrifices my mother has made for me and my sisters and brothers and dad.

I also, am just like my mother. Like mother, Like Daughter....

But I notice i
n the things that drive me crazy about my mother. Now, these aren't things that I hate, they're are the endearing things that make me bonkers, but I would never have my mother stop doing them, because they are the things that make her my mother. And I do them with my girls. And They hate it as much as I do.
1-I sing good morning merry sunshine and other songs when they come down for breakfast.
2-I ask them
a lot of questions about their day until they say, why are you asking me so many questions (i know mom would laugh at this one, because I HATE this one)
3-I give advice when it's not asked for.

4-I have to be asked like 3 times before I remember to get a glass of milk
5-I drink half the gla
ss before I give it to the girls
6-I force the girls to hug after they've had an argument

There are so many little idiosyncrasies I do. The way I cut vegies, the way I prepare food, the way I put the dishes in the dishwasher, the way I do laundry. I am my mother. And how often do we hear people go, "AAH! I'm my Mother!" or "You're acting like your mother."
The funny thing is...If someone said that to me, I would smile.
What a compliment.

I have quite possibly, the greatest woman on the Earth as my mother. So while I pick up these "endearing" things from her that I do, There are some character traits I pray I learn from my mother.
--I hope to be completely unselfish like my mother. I know she claims she's selfish, but she's not. --I've never known my mother to do anything for herself other than buy gel pens. (she loves the sparkly ones) and even those are for Genealogy. She would argue that she does Genealogy for herself, but no. That is for her past ancestors, and her generations to come.
--I hope to have her hands, weathered, beaten, hard, and completely tender, full of love, full of life, and beautiful.

--I hope to be as happy as she is. Even when she is exhausted, she has such a cheery disposition.

--I hope to be caring and loving as she is. I
can't even count how many friends of mine and my siblings my mom has taken in as her own children, loved them, listened to them, fed them, done their laundry (seriously), and most of all, completely loved.

--I hope to be as fun as she is. She is fun. My so much fun. She loves to do fun things. And I have NEVER beat h
er in a snowball fight, even when i join forces with Russell.
--I hope I can be as supportive as she is. My mother has supported me in whatever endeavor I undertake. Doesn't matter if it's theater, band, film, soccer, figure skating, piano, trumpet, choir, dance, she is there along for the ride, cheering, crying, smiling, laughing, and of course screaming, "Go manda! Toot that horn." (Ok, there's nothing endearing about this last statement.)
--I hope to have as deep of a testimony, knowledge, love, and commitment to the Lord and his gospel as my mother. Her devotion to the scriptures, to her callings, to her visiting teaching, to her tithing, to her life in the Lord, is absolutely inspiring and one thing that has always kept me as strong as I am, with the testimony I have. She embodies Alma 56: 47-48

47.....yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
48-And they rehearsed unto me the word
s of their mothers, saying: we do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Not only has my mother been a great example to me, but she has also been an example to my sisters, who in turn have become great examples to me. Watching my sisters be mothers has been one of the biggest joys in my life.

I love how Jacki is so involved in her girls lives, supporting them in whatever they choose to do. Whether it's driving or watching them in Gym, Softball, or High School Musical, she is just so involved in what they do. She's is so proud of them.

I love how Kendra is so
loving and tender with her boys, adoring every little thing they do and say. It doesn't matter if it's Tristan talking about his school or Britain learning to say something new, she absolutely adores her boys.

I love how Sharla interacts with her girls, taking them to the zoo or sitting on their beds watching iCarly. It doesn't matter what she is doing with them, the love in her eyes sparkles with love when she's with her girls.

And Celena, this new mother has such a wonder and amazement in her eyes as she holds this new little baby boy. Her soft tender heart shows through in the pictures as she discovers what it is to be a mother.

I have seen all of these with my mother. Pride, love, adoration, amazement and wonder. And I know where we all learned these things. And how lucky our children are to have such a wonderful grandma.

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." ~Washington Irving

All in all, I am quite possibly the luckiest person in the world to have the mother and sisters I have. I have the bestest friends in the whole world. They love me, and I love them. There isn't anything we wouldn't do for each other. And it's beyond comforting to know that if my mother isn't around, I have my sisters to care for me and advise me and love me and help me. So thank you to 4 of the greatest influences and best friends in my life, Jacki, Kendra, Sharla, and Celena.

My mother is that person who tells me to keep climbing when I can't anymore. When I sit down on that mountain because the climb is too steep or too rocky or just too hard, when I'm out of breath and tired and my feet ache, she hugs me, pulls me up, dusts me off, looks me squarely in the eyes and says,

"Sweet Angel girl, my little Manda, I love you. I know you can do this. I know it's hard, and I know you're tired, but get up. Put one foot in front of another, and keep climbing, because when you get to the top of that mountain, the view will be worth it. Smile, enjoy the view, then climb down that mountain. I will be there to hug you at the bottom and to help you get ready to climb the next one. Keep climbing, baby."
And without her, I would still be sitting at the bottom crying.

But until my mommy isn't around anymore, I am the luckiest girl in whole world to be the baby of the greatest woman to be living today. I have the greatest mother in the whole world. And my wish for you is that you do to. Thank you Mommy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

One month Down. 11 to go

Just as a Candle cannot burn without fire, Men cannot live without a spiritual life.

HEEEYYY everyone!

Well. Tomorrow (Tuesday) Marks one month since I got here. It's crazy. Absolutely insane! There is a part of me that is like, Oh my gosh! I've already been here for a month? And then there's another part of me that is like..What the? It's only been a month? Feels like I've been here an eternity!
What happened this week? Hmm..Well I met a sister missionary from Plain City, we reminisced on missing Melina's and when she found out my cousins owned it and I worked there she asked if I knew Adam Peterson. I thought, Wow. Those Peterson boys. From Craig on down to Adam. They know ALL the ladies. ;) No, but it was fun to talk to her, She's way cool! She's been here for as long as I have.
Everyone kept saying that I would get homesick this week and I didn't believe them, but lo and behold. I think I had a realization of how long a year is and I just...kinda...ooohhh myyy goossh! What am I doing? It wasn't a bad depressed homesick. It wasn't a "something bad happened" homesick. it was just simply a, "wow. I don't want to be here" homesick. I'd rather be home or in New York with Russell. I think I'm just longing for someone or something familiar.
I went shopping this week as well. There was a really weird statue....I still can't figure it out, but even then I was like. what the???? what is he doing?
Also, in the shopping area of Frankfurt they're building this building and it's weird...I'm convinced it's a portal to another dimension. But none of the ropes were within my reach so i could climb and find out. dang.
QUIZ TIME! This man is a-) a carnie begging for money
b-) taking his pony for a walk
c-) all of the above

If you answered C, then you are CORRECT!

These things are creepy! They don't even sound like horses, more like...pigs. But whatever. There you have it: Teacup horses and Carnies! They need lovin too!
On Friday, the girls had a potluck dinner at school and Carola convinced me to make foods for them, so here's the conversation:
"Mandee, Anna's class is having a potluck dinner at school friday night. Do you know what a potluck dinner is?"
"Yes, Carola." (underlying tone: I'm Mormon, I'm Utahn, I'm American! We revolutionized Potlucks and Buffets.)
"We're supposed to make something everyone can eat."
"Yeah, generally that's the idea at Potlucks, " (no laughter in response to my mild joke)
"Okay, Then what are you making?" (WHAT? When did I get roped into this?)
"What am I making?"
"Yes, I assumed you were going to cook something for it?" (Oh okay.....)
"Well my brother taught me how to make this amazing pasta salad. If we had top ramen I could make cabbage salad." (score. those never fail at potlucks!)
"Salads? No Mandee, it needs to be a finger food. Don't worry you'll figure it out. Friday night. Okay? You can come if you want. I don't see why not." (Oh! You mean I get to cook the food AND eat it too? Lucky me!)
So I started wracking my brain for a finger food you could take to a potluck. What did I do?
Ladies and gentleman: Croissasnt dough, gouda cheese (they don't have cheddar here) and wienerchen....I give you: The Mandee's Germanized attempt at Pigs in a blanket:

The result: Yummy, but ladies and gentleman, even this german sausage can't compare to a little smokie. I'm telling you. Americans are onto something there. Oh and the picture? That's onlya bout half of the pigs. I ended up taking tons to the American neighbors and then I didn't even go to the potluck. I went to the institute for movie night and took some with me to that.

So Once again taking the girls to school, it was a very frosty morning, everything covered in that white frost blanket, and there was a beautiful sunrise, which I captured, and in my opinion, did a pretty dang good job. I thought this was gorgeous.

Saturday Morning I woke up to POURING RAIN. POURING. I knew I had two choices: Sit in te house all day and go insane with homesickness, or brave the rain and find something to do. Yep. Brave the rain. So I went into Frankfurt, took the train to Schweizerplatz and found a chocolate cafe called dulce. Man it was good. And then I found the Städel Museum of art history. I was just...captured for 4 hours. I sat and sketched costumes and took notes on what they were wearing, etc. It was like I wasn't in germany, I wasn't in America, i was just in this little world with all this artwork, Vermeer! Degas! Renoir! Manet, Monet, Van Eycke, Munch, Boticelli! It was just amazing! My favorites are still Renoir and Vermeer. And I love the impressionism paintings. I feel like I've intruded into someone's dream with impressionism. Like it's that space between waking up and sleeping where you still remember your dream, but it's fading fast. And I love Vermeer and his use of light and composition. I find his paintings so simple, and yet so bea

When I left the museum, I was on the Rhine, so I crossed a bridge and took some pictures of Frankfurt. It was pouring rain and kinda foggy, so they're not that grea. I can't wait to see this city in spring! Frankfurt was bombed during the war, but it is one of the few major cities that still has most of its old buildings and churches from before the war. They've rebuilt the Alte Oper (old opera house) which got demolished, but you go downtown, and most of the churches are really really old. So I grabbed the train home so I could go babysit at Julie's and drifted off. When I woke up we were leaving a station, so I looked up to see what the next stop was. Bad Homburg. Oh okay. Wait..BAD HOMBURG? that means I missed my stop. I woke up AS we left my stop. And I had to be at Julie's to babysit in 10 minutes. So I got off at Bad Homburg. There wouldn't be another train to Oberursel for 25 minutes. So I had to grab a taxi to get back to Oberursel. So Russell, I slept through my stop. But unfortunately, it wasn't quite as easy as missing a stop on the subway.
But when I got there, the boys were watching Star wars, so we made brownies and watched star wars. Woohoo!

The language is...not coming, but I"m trying. Anyway, here's a video for you guys. Honestly It's probably not that funny to anyone, but it makes me laugh so hard!

Last night I had dinner at the Brown's house. (People from my ward). We had the best pork roast and then spätzle. Okay. I have always known this and i say it everytime I eat it, but I LOVE SPÄTZLE!!!!!! We had a fireside afterwards for the youth. It was about the Journey Faith by Lehi's family and it was seriously just so cool! They're daughter, Jen, is 21, and we Visiting Teaching partners. It was a good sunday.

I lvoe you guys! Hope everything is well! Can't wait to hear from everyone. Love you all!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Pepperoni, and zuchinni, and a lots of mozerella!

Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth, "You owe Me."
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights up the Whole Sky.

I love that quote, don't you?? It's painted on the wall at the girl's wall and everytime I see it I am grateful for those in my life who have given to me unconditionally, even conditionally, but thank you for bringing a light into my life that has brought me where I am today.

I just can't believe how fast time goes. I feel like I"ve been here forever. And yet I can't believe it's already been 3 weeks. I'm really getting into the groove of things here. I'm starting to get to know the girl's schedules really well and know what needs to come next, etc.

I got to go to FHE at the institute this week. As long as one of the parents are around, they'e okay with me going to FHE on Monday nights. I wish I could go to institute thursday nights as well, but Thursday nights aren't good for Carola, so FHE it is. I met some really cool people and I can tell it's going to help my german a lot.

I met a kid from my ward, Adam. He's the Mission President's son and it's just so much fun to have a friend to hang out with that is American. We were sitting by each other at FHE and this...I think he's malaysian, guy was just chewing us out for being American. The sad thing was that Adam and I were laughing the whole time.

When we eat dinner at FHE, they ask us to give 1,50 Euro to help pay for dinner, and Adam was late and put his money in, but I was the only one who saw it. So the senior missionary couple were teasing him that he didn't put his money in and I said, "No I saw him put it in. I'll vouch for him." And everyone started giving the "Americans" a hard time for sticking together and the malaysian kid said (and was totally serious). "You Americans! First you ruin the economy! Then you come over here and steal our lunch money!" Adam and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing and couldn't stop.

I got to see a fantastic sunrise this week when i was coming home from taking the girls to school. Luckily I had my camera, so I pulled over into some farm fields and took some pics. It was so beautiful. This picture isn't photoshopped at all. The sun and the sky were really that orange. The sun doesn't look that orange in this pic, but it was sooo orange. It was beautiful. This picture doesn't even do it justice.

I hung out at Rob and Julie's this week (My American Neighbor.) Chad, her four year old, was home sick, so I went over and hung out with them and Chad taught me how to play Indiana Jones Lego on the X-box. That this is so funny. The Lego games for Xbox and stuff...they are just funny. But she's just so awesome. I also got to babysit the boys. We made brownies and put ice cream on it. I love my family I live with, but it's just so nice to be with some Americans who are so sweet to me and tell me, "Come over anytime, eat whatever you want. We stocked up on Fanta and Diet Coke for you."

Oh, Russ, Thayne, Sid, etc. The youngest girl I watch is named Cara and her English isn't as good as her sisters, but she'll try. But she'll usually just directly translate from German and so she'll say something like...well in German she would say, "Mandee, Warum machst du das?" Which is , Why are you doing that? But she says, "Mandee, Why do you that?" or "Mandee, I like that not" etc. So sometimes I call her little yoda. hahaha.

I got a package from My mom this week which was just so fantastic. It was sheets and some slippers and thermals (YAY) and my blankie and books for the girls. They loved Are you my mother, they were so worried for that baby bird. They wanted him to find his mother so bad. And laughed whenever he asked a new animal "Are you my mother?" And they weren't even looking at the book when i read, "Green Eggs and Ham." But I wasn't looking at the book either. They were just staring at me like, "Oh my gosh. She actually can say this whole book."
I can't wait to read Fox in Socks to them. I just hope i can do my brother, Thayne, proud. I mean, I know with Fox in Socks I'll never be to his caliber, but it's something to strive for. ;)

Julie and I always laugh that Julie has stuff shipped from Costco here, in economy sizes. Like Peanut butter and microwave popcorn and huge bags of chocolate chips. YOu know, stuff you can't get here. Well when I eat breakfast, or need a snack. I'll mix muesli and cornflakes and yogurt and just eat that. So Carolla came home the other day with this like...COSTCO size box of Cornflakes. The kind that has about 3 bags in it. I was so happy. It made me laugh.

It felt so good to have a day off finally. I've worked the last 2 saturdays I've been here, so I really haven't had a day off except Sundays, which is great, but it hasn't given me a chance to go DO something. So on Saturday I met Adam in Frankfurt and we went to Vapiano's for lunch (Russell, I have to take you here when you come, their pizza is amazing. Like...I think you'd approve) and then we went Rock climbing. It was just a blast! It felt good to take a break from my work and be with a friend.
Hey Look at Me Go!!!!

Me and Adam taking a break

After I fell bouldering. My forearms were shot by that point

Allright So here's my video for the week. This is for Russell and Carlyanna. And they will know why when they here me sing. But these pizzas were amazing. Mine had shaved Parm and Fresh tomatoes and I don't know what the green stuff is. But the sauce and the melted moz were amazing. Anyway, here you go Russ and Car

Yeah that's been stuck in my head all day now!
We had a great fast sunday today in my ward. Beautiful testimonies and an amazing lesson on personal revelation. You know what I love? When you are sitting in church listening to the lesson and you start pondering on your own life, and you DO receive personal revelation. I did today. and I'm so grateful for that.

Alright Everyone! I hope things are going well! I love you all so much! Tonight Michael and I bought me a handytelefon (Cell Phone). It's nothing fancy, and everything is prepaid cards, but incoming calls are free. I'll get that number out so if anyone ever wants to call me, you're more than welcome! It'll be more convenient than calling the house phone. Alright, I love you guys! Write me!!!!