Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Guten Morgen!

I have a new companion!! Sister Cherrington is awesome. She's American but basically grew up completely in Saudi Arabia. She can speak Arabic too, and it's really fun picking her brain about her upbringing on the other side of the world. Now that I think about it, all of my comps in the field have been pretty exotic. Sister Freimann is German, Sister Smiley lived in Taiwan and Denmark, and Sister Cherrington grew up in Saudi Arabia. Man. So cool.
Sister Bushman saying good-bye to Sister Freimann at the train station.

Sister Bushman with Sister Cherrington (they switched name tags!)

Sister Bushman's name in Arabic

Anyway, as crazy as all of that is, the craziest thing is that we had a class together at BYU. Seriously. We both did a year at the Y last year, and when we were comparing schedules we realized we both were in the exact Speech Language-Path class last year. Isn't that crazy? We bonded over memories of funny things our TAs said. Also, both Sister Cherrington and I really love Manner Schnitten and aren't crazy about birds, so we get along great. I'm her 'step-mom', but it doesn't quite feel right to say that she's 'my golden', so we've decided that she's my 'silver'. Good enough. It's definitely been an adjustment turning into a senior companion over night. Instead of asking the questions, I have to know that answers! It's been a blast running around Wien this week. Holy cow, this city is huge. I could always generally find things, but I realize now that I took Sister Freimann's sense of direction for granted. I can't count how many times we've been laughing running after U-Bahns we've barely missed or we've had to spend entire minutes consulting our pocket-maps trying to find where our next appointment or local S-Bahn station is. It's been a lot of fun.

But this week was AWESOME because we were busy. Holy cow, we had so much stuff on the agenda this week. It was great! There's nothing more you can ask for than to have lots of stuff to do. Not only did we have places to go and things to do, but they were actually all worth-while. This week we had a ton of some of my favorite things - service activities and member appointments!

I. love. service. projects. It's really fun talking to people on the street and teaching lessons, but sometimes it's really fun to put on a pair of jeans and use your hands! A few weeks ago we called this lady we found in our area book. She hadn't been met with for a while, so we called her up to visit. While we were there we asked if there was anything we could do for her! She said that she was actually in the middle of flipping her apartment upside-down and could use some help. We said we would love to and would wait for her call. She called this past week! So we called the Elders and went over. It was so fun! We helped empty these bookcases and box up their contents so that the bookcases could be moved into another part of the apartment. It was so fun to chat with her about her life and work and laugh with the Elders. We literally had a blast. Then, at the end, she told us how she had been super overwhelmed with everything and had prayed to God for help with her apartment. She said that she prayed, "God, I can't do this by myself!" And then we called! She said that we were a huge answer to her prayers and that when her apartment is done she'd have us all over for dinner. We were so touched. We hardly felt like what we did was worthy of her words...we simply called up someone we had a good feeling about, then came over with some friends and tried to be useful. But that's what she needed. It was such a cool experience!

Also, members are the best. Seriously. Whether they feed us or we just go over to do a little Preach My Gospel lesson, it's seriously the best. This past week we went to a member appointment, and as we were leaving they asked if we had a lot of work to do in the area where they lived. They live near a pretty big U-Bahn station, so we said yes. They told us that if we were ever in the area and were cold, to give them a call and we could come over and warm up with hot chocolate. I wanted to cry. It was seriously the nicest thing. Members are the best!

Okay, funny thing...Actually, it's not really funny at all. But it makes a good story and it's all resolved now, so whatever. Saturday morning we got a call from President Kohler. We were kind of freaking out...for President to call, something huge has happened. We thought a family tragedy for one of us had happened or something! I picked up the phone, and it was for me. (gulp.) Turns out my mom had reached out to him - there had supposedly been some fraudulent charges on my card and they needed to get it figured out ASAP to limit the damage. He told me to text him later if I had any more questions about the situation later. That night I found myself texting with the President of the entire mission about my stolen identity. Well, as Granny B says, either things go well or you have a good story. Ha!

Oh, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Halloween definitely isn`t as big here as it is at home. I saw a couple pumpkin-related treats or skulls here or there, but it wasn't huge. I had this weird realization, though. It was my first major holiday away from home. It was surreal to think about how while I was walking the streets of Vienna, there was probably a bowl of Kit-Kats waiting on my piano for trick-or-treaters, like every year. So weird. We were planning to just go about business as usual, but last minute this really awesome member invited us over for lunch and pumpkin carving. It was so fun! It was Sister Cherrington's first actual pumpkin. (Apparently they're hard to find in Saudi Arabia...she said one year they carved watermelons painted orange, which I definitely want to try one day.)

Speaking of Pumpkins, Sister Cherrington has this really cute thing on her wall from her mom, about how we're all like jack-o-lanterns. We're 'picked' by God, and then he scoops out all of the 'yucky stuff' like greed, envy, and hate, and then carves a big smiling face. I thought that was really cute.

I love you! Have a good week!

Sister Bushman

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