Wow its been a while so I will jump right in. I have a lot of updates to cram into one tiny blog post so I will make this as compact and well formatted as possible!
Without further to due:
Yes, I am in Örebro now. I made the train journey to Örebro in fairly good condition for the most part. I say fairly good because train travel is stressful as heck. I guess the fact that most missionaries make it to there destinations is proof in and of itself that a greater being is watching out for us! En route to Örebro I had to ride one bus and take two trains. It is always a bit chaotic making the switch from one train to another especially when YOUR TRAIN SWITCHES PLATFORMS AT THE LAST MINUTE. Yeah... that happens. It is quite a sight for the locals to watch an american child try to drag 3 suitcases across the gravel** covered platform in order to make a nearly departing train. I guess the point is that I made it! It is always a relief to arrive safely and set those heavy bags down.
I was welcomed by Äldste Baquedano, my new companion. Our first day in the area he showed me around the city, which is the seventh largest city in Sweden! It is a beautiful city that is centered around a castle. Winter looks good on Örebro. Speaking of winter looking good on Örebro we got the first snow of the year this week! HA! You thought Sweden was ''so much colder'' than Idaho, huh?! I remember before my mission I thought Sweden was akin to Antarctica in terms of weather habits. Maybe I have just been blessed with a mild winter though :) Anyways back to Örebro! Örebro is also known as the ''Heart of Sweden'' because it is kind of.. well... I don't know why the call it that.
Our chapel is pretty close to the city but it happens to sit on the edge of a little forest. During our sacrament meeting you could actually see some deer chillin' in the forest. Sweden is such an exciting mix of modern city and nature! We have a great ward here to. I think we have about 70 members here and all of them are fantastic.
I am currently serving with Äldste Baquedano who is from France! He has even taught me a bit of French which is pretty cool. Sometimes we teach some people from French-Speaking Africa and I get to sit and try to pick out the 10 words that I know. It is awesome. So more about him though, he is a great cook (stereotypes are true) he speaks English better than most Americans, and he has some super hip glasses. We are having a great time.
Christmas was absolutely fantastic! We spent Christmas Eve with a family in the ward and Christmas day with the Bishop's family. In the meantime we mostly just hung out at the church watching Disney movies! (Which we are allowed to do!) I especially enjoyed Big Hero Six. It was really good... which is probably old news for all of you! It was nice to chill pretty hard! Of course I ate an unholy amount of candy and I think I ate about 30 tangerines in the space of 3 days so that was a wreck. Here in Örebro we are serving with two cool sisters. Sister Haikkola is from Finland and Sister Hoke is from Texas. Those two places are basically opposites!
Två Tusen Vaaaa?
For the new year we went and watched fireworks at the castle. New years is the one night in the year where we are allowed to be out late! 12:30! It was really magical watching all the fireworks with the castle in the background. I also decided I love the Swedish way of doing New year! All the people dress up really nice and come and watch the fireworks. It feels very classy. It feels crazy that it is 2016 already! 2016 is the year I turn twenty, it is the year I start college, and the year I get to see my family again!. I'm not that trunky... but there is just so much to look forward to.
This is going to be a big year and I am so ready for it. I have no idea what life will be like next January and I love that. I love the feeling of being lost... not knowing what the future will look like. By the time 2017 rolls around I feel like life is going to be so different but I am really looking forward to it. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the fragility of this life and how important it is that we build deep and rich relationships with the people around us. In 2016 I really just want to focus on the people who are in my life and keep them close. I am going to travel and try to visit lots of old friends and hopefully make new friends along the way. I look forward to the journey. I hope 2016 brings me lots of unexpected and spontaneous adventures.
Bye Bye Black Year
Among missionaries the year of your mission where you are gone for the entire year is called a ''Black Year'' because in terms of media and real life it is as if you didn't exist. So 2015 was my ''black year'' and 2016 marks the end of it! Najs!
Swedish Primary>American Primary
On Sunday they asked us to come and talk to the primary about missionary work and what missionary life is like. We went in and we introduced ourselves. Quickly a lot of hands shot up because they had a lot of questions for us. I called on a little girl who looked really eager, expecting a simple question about what we eat or what we do, maybe even a question about whether we missed our families or not. What happened next was crazy. This little girl (about 6) proceeds to ask us where God came from, and how it doesn't make sense for him to just show up and that he needed to be created. We sort of stood there really shocked and tried to explain some possibilities but to be honest, I didn't have a good answer.
So I moved on, and we called on another kid who proceeded to ask us whether or not the Big Bang Theory and the possibility of God existing were mutually exclusive or not. Again, I didn't have any thing to give him other than my best guess. We went in expecting simplicity and we left completely amazed by the deep level these kids were on. I think growing up in such an atheist society has led this kids to be incredibly deep thinkers and I think it is really cool. I mean, when I was in primary I was mostly just focused on the candy or cookies we got at the end of class. Swedish Primary is next level.
I will close by wishing all of you a fantastic 2016. I hope that it will be filled with big achievements, and wonderful experiences. I hope the peaks are high and the valleys are few and far between. Find the joy in every day. Take chances. Don't forget to breathe.
In 2016 my focus is going to be on individuals. I think it is impressive to remember that every single person is a child of God. He loves them, and it is our job as siblings to them to find the reason why God loves them. I want you all to know that I am grateful for my family. Through families we really can find true love and success. The term family is important though. Because for some family is not the people who are related to them through blood, sometimes the family we are given are the friends and company we have. Not everyone gets an equal opportunity to have parents and siblings, but that doesn't mean family isn't important.
Peace, Blessings, and Gott Nytt År!