Monday, October 20, 2014

Wandering in Wien

First of all, Go Royals? I've been waiting my whole life for the Royals to get good. And now I'm half a world away, and they are going to the World Series. People! Missions bring blessings! :)

Anyway, this week I went on my first-ever real Tausch! (exchange.) It's weird that I'm in my like, 4th month on a mission and had never had a real Tausch. For the Elders, the district leader goes on exchange with every Elder in his district every transfer, and the Zone leaders go on a tausch with every district leader in his zone every transfer. For the Sisters, the Sister Training Leaders go on tausch with every set of Sisters in their zone. The Wien zone only has 4 Sisters total, so that's just one tausch a transfer. Basically, you trade companions for 24 hours so that you can learn from other missionaries and get feedback on how you can improve. Last transfer we did a 'super tausch' where the STLs came up to Wien for 2-3 days, so I finally had a real tausch this week! 

It's a little tricky because the STLs (Sisters Threlkeld and Pentz) are in Graz - 2 1/2 hours by train south. They picked a train station half way between the two, and we all rode there, switched companions, and went back. We had a bit of a mix-up where Sister Freimann and I called right before we bought our tickets about what kind of tickets we should buy, and the Sisters were like 'you aren't on the train right now?' Oops. We were supposed to get on the train that had left an hour previously. Oops. Everyone makes mistakes? So we got on the next train and finally tausched. The views were beautiful! Neither Sister Freimann nor I had ever ridden south before, so we enjoyed the views.

Sister Threlkeld came up to Wien with me. I was honestly a little nervous...I had never been in Wien alone before without Sister Freimann. We never got seriously lost (thank heavens,) but there were a half-dozen times where I had to declare "Sister Threlked! We are going in the wrong direction." And we would turn around and go the other way. We never missed any appointments though, so that's good! The FHV asked us to go visit this lady in our ward who was in the hospital, so that was one of our items on our agenda for the tausch. On the way to the hospital we came upon the cutest little flower stand, so we bought this pretty pink flower to bring to her. BUT. When we got there, we found out that she had just checked out! Thankfully she is better, but we didn't know what do with our flower. I ended up carrying it around Wien all day. It was actually fun. I planned on casually putting it into someone's bag on the Bahn, but it didn't work out. Bummer. Oh well. 
Sister Threlkeld and Sister Bushman

The whole experience just made me super grateful for Sister Freimann, and that she knows how to get around Wien. I don't know if I could manage on my own! Wien is HUGE. But, I may have to manage, because transfer calls are this week! We have no idea what willl happen. Transfers have been a smidgen wonky recently because normally they are 6 weeks, with transfer calls on the last Friday of the transfer, and transfer day is on the Wednesday of the first week of the new transfer. Präsident Kohler has this Europe Mission President's Conference in Portugal normally when we had transfers, so everything is different. This transfer was 7 weeks, the next transfer is 5 weeks, we'll get our call of fate on Wednesday, and transfers will be next Tuesday. Gah! It's going to kill me knowing what's happening for almost a WEEK before I can tell anyone! But I'm excited. We'll see what happens.

Random, I wanted to write about mission family trees this week. It's this fun little mission thing. You establish a bit of a 'family tree' with who trained you, and who trained them, etc. My family tree is pretty funky though, because I was trained in a dritt. Sister Freimann is my 'mom' and Sister Allman is my 'grandma'. Sister Smith who tausched with us last transfer is my 'aunt` because she was also trained by Sister Allman. Sister Erdenetsogt is my step-sister, because Sister Freimann did the second half of her training. When I met Sister Smiley, she told me that she was my 'Fairy Godmother' because they didn't know what else to call it. So. Sister Smiley is my fairy godmother, Sister Powell who trained her is my fairy-god-grandmother, and Sister Wilkes (who is currently being trained by Sister Powell and my pal from the MTC,) is my fairy-god-aunt. So funny. 

A couple funny things from this week : 

- There are these ads all over Wien with people holding signs that say different stuff. I don't quite know what it's for (Austrian Radio?), but all I know is that I saw this ad that said "Liberte...Egalite...Beyonce", and if I could, I would buy that product or listen to that program.
- Sister Freimann had never heard of grilled cheese before her mission. (What?!) She tried to make it for the first time yesterday, and didn't do a half-bad job! I was counseling her through the experience. Missions are fun.
- The other day we were cutting through a park because it was faster to get to Bahnhof, when we heard this man call from across the park "Hakuna Matata!" We turned to the direction, but kept walking. This man was like, "No joking. You guys are awesome. I love what you're doing. Mormons? (we nodded) God bless!" It made us laugh. Sister Freimann said he was drunk. I'm just impressed he knew that we were Mormons.

As missionareis, we're limited to what books we can read. It's mainly limited to Scriptures, 'The Mission Library' (4 books including Jesus the Christ), and anything our mission president says is also okay. I made a goal in the past week that I want to read the whole mission library before I go home. I started with Our Search for Happiness, by M. Russell Ballard. (He's a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.) I can't put it down! He says in the intro that it is written for people who aren't members of the church, so they can get a better understanding of who we are and where we are coming from as a church. It's so well written, next time we start teaching someone new I just want to sit them down, give them a copy, and tell them to read! I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to know more about why I'm on a mission, or anyone who just wants to get better at explaining the 'big stuff.' It talks about everything - from the Plan of Salvation and how that gives us perspective to make it through trials, to why we don't have crosses on our churches. Good stuff.

Last week on P-day we ventured to the great world of Ikea, where Sister Freimann and I discussed which backsplashes were better, and when we excitedly told the Elders about our adventures, they didn't understand why it was so fun. Agree to disagree.
Sister Freimann and Sister Bushman
Since we aren't sure how long we have left in Wien, we're running around today - get Sister Freimann a Freitag bag, me some cute winter boots, go dirndl-thrifting (it's so addictive,) and stop by the Manner Schnitten factory shop if we have time.

Bis zum Mond und zurück!

Sister Bushman

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