For everyone wanting to google search my exact address, I couldn’t find it but looked it up on google earth and the corner I live on is: Strada Boiangiu Radu and Bulevardul Ion Mihalache. When you get to that intersection, look at the block on the southeast side - that'll be mine! There is a little park on the inside of the surrounding blocks (apartments) where people are always hanging out.
Elder Barclay set me up to play ping pong with some teenagers in the park and I have to be prideful and say I whooped these euros - Haha! There’s also a homeless guy who lives there too and is really nice and likes to talk to us! So yes, this is home in the Buch!
This week has been quicker than quick! I don’t even know what to write or tell you guys about because I feel like I just wrote yesterday. It’s been a pretty quiet week for contacting and I wish we had done a little bit more, but it’s so easy to just get busy with other assignments. Since this is a new area, we have to get the area book filled-out and try to put together some kind of information for the next set of Elders to come in.
We had an exchange with the office Elders early this week too. Elder Collison, from Michigan, stayed with me at my apartment while Elder Barclay went over with Elder Phelps, who is from Farmington and went to Viewmont High School. Elder Collison has been here six months and we decided to go contacting. We walked outside and he said - "now don’t be afraid to talk to people” - NOT A PROBLEM! We walked for about 45 minutes and 3-4 kilometers and in that tiny stretch I contacted about 15 people! It isn’t much in a normal mission but after we finished I thought back to how many people I stopped and it’s clear I’m not afraid. The cool thing is Collison was waiting for me to finish my visits. I sure appreciate Elder Barclay! Not only does he let me do a lot of the contacting, but he will stop people himself as well. Plus, he also contributes to the conversations that I’m having and gives me a good example of how to explain and respond to certain things.
Occasionally it’s hard to contact (some) people; they almost always call me out right from the get-go and say "where are you from?" Before I answer, the say "ya you’re from Utah." Just one time I want to respond as say "no, I’m from Canada, England” or somewhere else just to see their reaction but before I can even spit out those words, Elder Barclay always responds "sunt roman" which means "I’m romanian!” He’s a funny guy and is always doing crazy things. He can speak well enough for people not to question him, but they always look back at me and call me out again.
It’s a different world out here though. I know that some people would go nuts if they saw some of these things. For one, there is this weird idea that Gypsies came up with. They take their newborn child and break their legs so that they grow in backwards which helps them beg for money easier when they get older. Just thinking about it gives me the chills. So sad! We see everything from crazy Gypsies to 10 year-olds smoking cigarettes. I might just be sheltered but this stuff is crazy!
Christmas is awesome here! Romanians are better at it than Amaricans. Imagine, Temple Square lights at every piata or round-about. When we hit the contacting wall, we sing carols. I know it sounds really lame but it works! I’m not proficient at singing publicly but it’s a lot easier when people approach us when singing. We performed a Christmas program this week, singing about ten songs for members and non-members in the church at Mihai Bravu. A lady came up to me and said that she paid $50 to attend a professional concert here in Buch and we sounded better than they did. I guess people can’t sing in Romania and they think we are professionals! Maybe I have a future career as the J.T. of Buch!
Speaking of J.T., check out google for Antonia Lacobescu; she’s a pop singer here – The Beyonce’ for Romanians! Well I come to find out that her father is President Lacobescu - The man who conducts my church meetings! He is the most humble down to earth guy. I love talking to him and he speaks very good English. He lived in Vegas for five years and that’s where his daughter was discovered. Pretty cool story! Antonia is/was a member of the church (not exactly sure). I heard whenever people ask her about the religion, she always says good things and defends the church! Pretty sweet considering Romanians avoid any religion other than Orthodox.
Anyway, I’m having fun and struggling too – But that’s good! The language is hard and I knew it would be. I love being around a different culture and learning different things. Be sure to send me questions for next week and I will try to answer them so you have more interesting stuff to read.
I love and miss all you guys - Have a fun week!Elder Brown