Monday, December 15, 2014

God Jul!


Hej everyone!

So this blog post is gonna be a bit unconventional. I'm gonna mix it up a bit! I am sure all of you are just getting so excited for Christmas... So, today I am going to be informing you all about what Christmas is like in a the wonderful and weird land of Sweden.  

Advent
Starting on the first Sunday of December Swedes start the long awaited countdown to Christmas! Most families have a little candle holder on their tables with 4 tall candles. Each Sunday is one advent (The first Sunday being called First Advent and so on...) and on each Sunday you light a Candle! So then the first week the first candle burns and by the last week all four are burning. You are going to find a common theme here that Swedes are obsessed with candles. I think it has something to do with the fact that we only get 5 hours of sunlight and the sun is usually blocked by clouds! 

Sankta Lucia
On the 13th of December there is a day celebrated by the Swedish Church called Santa Lucia. Santa means Saint! Bascially, Santa Lucia is a saint who brings light to the dark land of Sweden. Therefore, she is represented as a woman in white robes wearing a very nifty candle hat. She basically has like 7 candles on her head. (Remember the obsession with candles?) It is really cool because all of the churches do little concerts and sing special songs about Santa Lucia! I went to one at Adolf Fredriks Kyrka in Östermalmstorg. It was presented by little kids and they were all very talented. 

Jul Fika
Throughout Jul time Swedes love to snack on a type of gingerbread called Pepparkakor and eat lots of Clementine oranges. There is also this special drink called Julmust that everyone is obsessed over. It is seriously cheaper than water and Swedes drink it like it is going out of style. Swedes and most missionaries love it, but I think it is kind of weird! 

Julbord
Swedes have a big Christmas feast called Julbord. But, this isn't just any old turkey or ham being served... instead they eat seal! Yes, that cuddly little animal is being eaten up around Scandinavia. But that's not all folks! There is also a large selection of caviar, fish potatoes, and various jams to wash it all down! I am also pretty sure there will be lots of Jul must. 

Jul
Jul is celebrated on the 24th. Swedes like to have their holidays so open to relaxation that they don't even celebrate them on the actual day! So on Christmas, which is really Christmas Eve, they do all the present opening after the Julbord feast! In Sweden Santa Clause is Jultomten but if you ask me I think Jultomten is a really scary creature and I dont want him to visit me in the night. (Look at the pic of me dressed like Jultomten and tell me it isnt scary!)

Extra Extra! Christmas Goat
A very traditional little ornament is a Christmas goat (Julbock) made out of straw! I guess it has some traditional symbolism though. According to Swedish lore, Jultomten rides a goat when he delivers presents! So there you have it :) 

Anyways, I wish you all a God Jul! Dont forget to put the Christ in Christmas! And keep on spreading the He is the Gift video! #DelaGåvan

Med, Kärlek

-äldste treat





















Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

Swedish Thanksgiving

Hej Hej!

Greetings everyone! I hope you have all recovered from your Thanksgiving tummies. Did you eat so much you want to hibernate until Christmas? Can you believe it is December? Whew! Here in Stockholm I am beginning to be worried that we wont have a white Christmas! Can you believe it? We are actually staying (relatively) warm here and there isn't any snö (yet)! Anyways, I am sure you are all just dying to here what my week has been like so I won't keep you waiting any longer! 

Staying in Lidingö!
On Friday at our district meeting our zone leader, Elder Olsen (who is now home), came up to us to deliver the long awaited and highly anticipated transfer news. He took me and Keele into a little football huddle and began delivering the news. He started with Keele and said ''Elder Keele, you will be spending your Christmas... on Lidingö.'' This wasn't really a surprise since he goes home at the end of December but we high fived because it is pretty cool to stay in Lidingö! Then he continued and said ''Elder Treat, you will be spending Christmas.... in Lidingö!'' Because of the way he said it I totally though it would be a different place but it looks like I will be staying. I am stoked, there is still a lot here for me to do and I will get to be in Stockholm for Christmas! They already have some sweet decorations up and all the stores are decked out with Jul stuff! 

Han är gåvan!
We are all super excited to be working with a new campaign that the church has started called ''He is the Gift'' It is a lot like the Because of Him video from Easter except this time it if for Christmas. You can check it out on mormon.org/christmas! It is a pretty short little video that reminds us of the really reason of Christmas which would obviously be Jesus. As part of the campaign they are seriously flooding media with advertisements. On December 7th the church has bought every single ad on the Youtube homepage! And there is gonna be a huge ad going on in Times Square! Hopefully tons of people will see it. As missionaries we are gonna be using the video a ton. Hopefully we can just find random people on the street and be like ''Hey, wanna see a super sick video about Christmas?'' and then we will watch it on our phone and they will be baptized. Hopefully. Anyways, go check it out because it really is nifty and it makes you feel all good and happy and stuff. 

Random Things!
- We had a super foggy day! It was foggy all day long and it was SUPER THICK. You really couldn't see much! When it is foggy all the ships have to use big horns so all day long you just hear these really loud sounds. They are kinda low like the sounds whales make but they are really loud. 

-Everyone thinks I talk Swedish with a German accent. Everyone always asks me ''Kommer du ifrån Tyskland?'' So i guess that is a step! 

-We taught a lot of lessons this week with home teaching splits so we have already been able to share the He Is the Gift video! 

-We had a sweet Thanksgiving (even though Swedes dont have that holiday) with all the missionaries. I tried a Scandinavian ''treat'' which is gingerbread topped with blue cheese! I know right... what the heck? It actually isn't so bad! :) Definitely weird though! 


Well, I gotta bounce. Have a wonderful Jul time wherever you are! 

Med Kärlek, 

Äldste Treat 

Christmas Moose

The Fog!


Add caption

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not So Green

Halla peeps! It's me again, and I have some good news! This ''Arctic Land'' I thought I was going to be living in actually hasn't been so arctic. In fact, I think the majority of you reading this blog are living in more arctic temperatures than I am! We have only seen snow once here in Stockholm, and it was super wimpy. It left in about 3 hours! Well, I guess I shouldn't speak to soon because transfers are coming up this week and just because I typed this I will probably be sent to the most northern part of the mission! (Boden!)

Not so Green...I guess?
Speaking of transfers coming up...that marks my 12th week in Sweden! Which also means that I am officially

wait for it... 

drumroll please...

DONE WITH TRAINING! 

Hoorah! Yes it is true. Tiny little Elder Treat will soon not be a greenie. I will be a full on straight up real missionary! It is kind of funny because I am the youngest kid in the whole Sweden Stockholm mission, and I am guessing it will stay that way for a while. But nonetheless, I guess even tiny little people are qualified to teach. It is kind of crazy because basically everyone else in my district is about to go home and I am just starting. This week one of our super cool Stockholm sisters, Sister Hill, peaces out! And then just after that, my trainer, Elder Keele is gonna peace out. (Look for him at BYU-I, ladies.) Anyways, I am super excited for everything that is happening within the next couple months. It is getting busy! Everyone says that real mission life starts happening after you are done being a greenie... so I am stoked.

Stockholm Splits!
Last week I went on splits with Elder Mott in the Stockholm central area! It is the busiest and most populated area in the mission! For a whole day, Elder Mott and I were in charge of 600,000 people! Crazy right? Between the two of us we had only been out for 9 months! So much responsibility! Stockholm was really fun though. We got to walk around all the old European streets and the Swedish harbor! It is so fun to be in the big city. It is so fast-paced and you meet people from everywhere in the world just in one day! 

We've got Talent!
Us missionaries here in Stockholm Ward put on a ward talent show! (In Swedish: Talang Afton) Now I know that sounds kinda cheesy but it was actually really fun. Swedish people go hard at ward parties! We had a legitimate band, a robot dancer, and we all did a ''synchronized'' swimming routine. Dont worry, we didn't go swimming! We just held up a  blue sheet and pretended to swim behind it. The ward was cracking up because we didn't actually have so much time to practice. Cuz ya know, missionaries are busy with other stuff. So it wasn't perfectly synchronized, and it wasn't real swimming, but it was the coolest synchronized swimming routine Stockholm ward has seen! 

Almost Swedish
So I can't exactly speak Swedish like a Swede yet... But I can actually communicate now! And I can understand most of what is going on around me. It is funny because Swedes talk in the front of their mouth, in almost a whispery way. It is hard to explain, but it makes my voice sound way different when I speak Swedish! This month I have been working really hard on my accent! It is hard because their vowel sounds are all really different. You have to use your lips and tongue more than you do in English! I am hoping that I can get it down though because Swedish really is a beautiful sounding language... if you do it right. We missionaries kinda butcher it! :) My language might not be so good yet, but last night I ate meatballs, potatoes, and saft for dinner. So i guess that means I am at least becoming a little Swedish? 

Anyways, I guess that was my week! Have a party wherever you are! Also I would love to hear what questions y'all have so shoot me a line! :) 

Peace! 

-äldste treat 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Just pics this time

A cool old church 
Stacking Oranges- A Hidden Talent





Viking Ship -The Vasa

The thug life

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mists of Darkness

Hej Hej peeps!

Äldste Treat here again! This week I hit my 3 month mark! Crazy right? 

Things are still going great here in Lidingö! Everyone is telling us that we are lucky because it is usually way colder at this time of year! So I guess we better enjoy the nice 35 degree weather while we have it! We have actually started to work with an investigator and his wife so we are very excited to be teaching them! Anyways, I will let you know a little bit about what has been going on here in good ol' Sweden! 

Pancake Party!
Last week we had a district meeting and then we all stayed to have a ''pancake'' party. Elder Schindler is our new district leader and he proposed this great idea to cook up some ''pancakes'' for the whole district! I say ''pancakes'' because Swedish ''pancakes'' aren't really pancakes at all. They are really just crepes. That is okay though because we Elders take what we can get! And, they really are pretty good. To get full off of Swedish ''pancakes'' you have to eat about 10 though, so the kitchen staff had some work to do! 

Zone Conference
This week we also had zone conference! Everyone from the Norrland zone and the Stockholm zone came together to learn how we can be better missionaries. We learned a lot about how we can plan lessons specifically for people instead of just teaching the lessons in a pre-set way. It was really cool because I got to see a bunch of MTC friends who came down from the North! I think it is already snowing up there so they were probably grateful to be down in Stockholm. Two Elder from Umeå came to stay the night with us before the zone conference. In the morning we decided to make a fancy breakfast so we got a bunch of eggs and bacon and all that good stuff. Well, I was happily eating my breakfast when suddenly, I was attacked by the mists of darkness. I looked up and the whole room was filled with smoke! So i shot up and opened a window while the other Elders scrambled to figure out the problem. It turned out someone had left the greasy bacon pan on the burner and it was just smoking like crazy! We were just too busy eating to notice. So it wasn't actually the mists of darkness. But for a second I thought I was a goner. Nothing bad happened, but I did smell like bacon for the whole day.  

Winter is Coming
I have recently acquired word from the Arctic Circle missionaries (the kids up in Luleå and Boden) that Sweden has officially started to receive snow! Or as they say in Swedish... snö. So i guess that means that winter is finally upon us! Maybe Lidingö just doesn't know it yet. The forecast doesn't call for any snö, but it is gonna start to get colder. Something funny about being in Sweden is the fact that they use Celsius. Now as Americans, we have no clue what the heck Celsius temperatures even mean! So, every day when i check out the weather and I see a 5 I get really nervous because it seems super cold. It turns out, 5 actually isnt so bad! (At least for someone who grew up in Idaho!) I know that winter is coming though because it starts to get dark at 4:00 here! We only have  hours of sunlight per day! So much for my nice tan...

All Helgons Dag
On November 1st we celebrated All Saints Day! Here in Stockholm we have one of the largest cemeteries in Scandinavia (maybe the largest) called Skogkyrkogården! (Skoog-sheerko-gordan) Everyone goes out and puts candles on all the graves. We were able to walk around the cemetery and see all the lights!  Despite being a creepy, dark, foresty cemetery, it was actually quite peaceful. It doesn't really have a Halloween-ish feel. It has more of a Christmas feel. It was really cool because this is the first holiday that Sweden has had that we (as Americans) dont really celebrate. I am still pretty bummed out we didn't have Halloween though! :P

Funnies
-In Sweden, every door I try to open confuses me. All the PULL doors look like PUSH doors and all the PUSH doors look like PULL doors. So I always end up pushing/pulling the doors that are meant to be pulled/pushed, respectively. Needless to say, I look like someone who is not such a genius every time I try to use the very confusing invention of a door. 

-Everyone says things in twos. If someone wants to say hi (hej) they say ''Hej Hej!'' It is the same with thanks too! ''Tack tack!''

All Helgons


How you learn what you sound like when you talk

Sketchy Thai Massage Place

Pancake Pary

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Witch!

Sometimes I hop on a bus and there is just a lady nursing a baby. Straight up no blanket for the whole world to see. It is really weird. I have also learned that there is a high population of mentally insane people who are attracted to missionaries. It is never the normal people who want to learn! This week I met a lady who ''used to be a witch'' and talked all about strange mystical powers. She said she wanted a blessing because she thinks that spirits are haunting her. She called me ''the holy man of the priest order.'' In the end she just kinda wandered off. Sweden is strange sometimes. It is all really cool though. It is a beautiful place and I am having great experiences! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't Get Bananaed!!!

Hej Everyone!

So I have to begin with a quick apology... I don't have any really great stories this week. In comparison to all of my other weeks this one has just been a bit average! So in order to not leave all of you hanging I have compiled a short list of things I have done this week and hopefully the pictures help out!  

My Week

This week we carved pumpkins with an American family who lives here in Sweden. It was a blast, because I wasn't expecting to be able to celebrate Halloween since they don't have it here! 
So when we got invited to carve pumpkins I was really excited. We had a little competition to see who could carve the best one... and of course me and my companion won! With a name like Treat (Trick or Treat) I had to take any bit of Halloween I could get very seriously.

We have an Elder in our district who learned that if you put your arm around someone and put a banana on their shoulder it is really hard to feel or notice. He has been trying to do it to people and I knew that he had already had a couple victims. So at church, i got bananaed. I couldn't figure out why everyone was laughing at me and I look really confused in the picture because I didn't know why everyone was taking picture of me either! I then realized the terrible misdeed that had taken place and I looked down at my shoulder. Of course, there was a banana. It is pretty funny I din't even notice. Maybe we can get this to catch on! So if you are reading this, try to banana someone and get a pic! Also, beware of getting bananaed! 

The work here in Lidingö is hard because we don't currently have any investigators or people we work with. So we spend most of our days talking to people. It always is interesting to have a conversation with people about religion on the street. Some people love it, some people hate it. Either way, I know that it is important to share our message with people. I know that the Lord has a plan for every person and I know that eventually we will find the people that he has prepared for us. 

This week we had a missionary leave from our ward. He is going to the Spain Madrid mission. It was really crazy to see a missionary go out because I was in his shoes three months ago! This week we also had several missionaries leave the mission. It is amazing to compare the difference between those who are just going and those who are going home. I know missions change people for the better, and I know my own mission is changing me! It is a very cool process to see how far I have come in even three months. 

Mission life continues to be awesome, and Sweden is as amazing as ever. It definitely is becoming my second home. (America is still the best country ever, just for the record.)

Jag älskar er! 

-Äldste Treat



Lidingo

Bridge from Lindingo to Stockholm

Aldste "Treat"


Banannad

Nothing yet.

Still, no clue.