2.12.13

Week 1 in Romania

Dear family and friends!!!
Where do I begin? This past week has been such a blur. I finished out strong in the MTC last Sunday night, then started my journey on Monday morning. I rode in the biggest plane I've ever seen, hardly got any sleep thanks to a baby screaming for 4 hours straight, went through several time zones and arrived in Bucharest at 1 pm on Tuesday. 
 




 
 
From there the Mission President, President Hill, and his wife picked us up and whisked us off to the mission home. I honestly can't remember all the particulars of that day because I was so out of it but I do remember Sora Hill made us a Romanian dinner that night which was very tasty. 
 
Mission President and his wife

SNOW!  It's so cold!

Romanian ice cream

First Romanian dinner
 
 
 
For the next 2 days I was still in Bucharest, trying to get my visa. I finally got it on Thursday! We were traveling so much those days-I've never been in so many taxis in my life.  On Wednesday night, we found out who our companions would be and where we would be serving. My trainer is Sora Kelly and she is SO awesome. She's from New Jersey and has been out for almost a year. I'm serving in a city called Iași (pronounced yahsh), which is up near the Republic of Moldova. It was a 12 hour trip on a sleeper train from Bucharest so THAT was interesting. On Friday night, I tried my first "shaorma" which is like a meat, potato, coleslaw wrap and I was paying for it as I threw up all night. Literally all night. Thankfully I was able to get 3 hours of sleep in before it started. Even now, I'm still really out of it because of all the weird sleeping times, etc.
Some building in Bucharest--so Gorgeous!  Everything looks like that!
My first time buying something!

On the sleeper train to Iași

My companian, Sora Kelly

Romanian money
We match!

 Anyway! The city is so beautiful! It's the second largest city in Romania so it's pretty busy, but there's lots of cobblestone streets and huge churches and castles. I love it!!! I kept forgetting to take pictures this week, so I have a few, but I promise to take more in the weeks to come. 
 
Pictures:  Us in "Centru"(the center) , some views from our apartment. So crazy. There's so many beautiful things right next to poor, falling apart places. Walking through Centru again this morning!




 
 My Romanian is coming along pretty well actually. I've been able to start some conversations with people and somewhat continue them with the help of my companion. Church was interesting. 3 hours straight of Romanian was a bity overwhelming but surprisingly I caught on to most of it. I was asked to bear my testimony in front of the whole congregation. HAH! I just smiled and did my best. I'm known as the bebeluși (baby) missionary here. All the members were like your so cute! You don't look 19! Etc....Yep. I know. We have a very small branch of about 20 strong members who come weekly. My companion and I are steadily meeting with about 6 people right now who want to learn about the church. Some of those are 30 minutes teaching them English and 30 minutes gospel teaching which is really fun. In 2 weeks our English classes start again which will be so awesome! Apparently a lot of people come to those classes and then we just share an optional gospel message at the end of every big class. One of the ladies we teach has been meeting with the missionaries for a year!! Pretty crazy huh? Apparently a guy who had been meeting for 10 years just got baptized last week. This mission is so cool!! I love it so much!! The people are so kind and respectful and willing to listen. I've had so many amazing experiences and opportunities and I just feel so blessed to be here.
Okay just random notes. EVERYBODY smokes here. We're in an internet cafe right now and everyone is just going at it. Hopefully I don't die of second hand smoke!! Hhahah jk. They don't have dryers here (just washing machines) so we have to air dry everything. Romanians don't really shower a lot which is....interesting. Let's see...oh!! Mail! I only get my mail every 6 weeks because I'm so far away from Buchrest. So mom- try to send me just one or two a week so I don't get bombarded with 42 letters at once hahaha. Also, I have to pay duties on packages so if you are going to send me one (which I don't want anyone to anyway!!!) please try to make them small if you must send me one hahaha. I love you all so much!! Romania is amazing and I can't wait to finish out my 18 months here. I know for a fact that God knows each and every person! He is literally our Father in Heaven and he loves each of his children personally. He has strengthened me thus far and know He will continue to. I hope that I can spread that love I feel and the joy that this gospel brings me. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I feel so grateful for Him and His sacrifice especially with all this Christmas spirit around me! I love it! I love you all! And I know God loves you!
All my love, 
Sora Hovey <3
 
p.s.  some pictures of my last days in the MTC:
Elder Brown's birthday

Pumpkin pie my family sent me!

It was sooooooo good

Andrew at the Temple