Week 4 in Romania (December 17-December 23, 2013)

Crăciun Fericit everyone! (Merry Christmas!)
I love you all so much! I hope everyone has exciting/relaxing plans for this Christmas week! Our week has been crazy!

Last pday we ate at this burger place (they are RARE in Romania) and I had the best burger of my life. We played games as a district at the church and it was so nice to get to everyone better and to have a relaxing pday for once. The Sister Training Leaders came up to do an exchange with us on Tuesday so I spent the whole day with Sora Heim instead of Sora Kelly. Sora Heim is SO cool. I learned so much from her and she is going home in 2 weeks! It was so weird to serve with someone who is all done when I'm first starting! The rest of the week is a bit of a blur but I had my first gogoși! They are literally a mini fried dough and that's one of my favorite things in th whole world so I pretty much died of happiness! And they're only 1 lei!!!! That's only like 30 cents in American money. I am a very happy girl.

My first gogoși! It's a mini fried dough...heaven!!
 We went to one of our investigator's high school to see her perform in a little play and that was really fun. They all did so well and I was so surprised that it was just a class presentation for them. It seemed to be a lot of effort for something so small! Hmm...Then we spent a good chunk of Friday helping the sisters in the branch prepare the Christmas food for the party on Saturday. SO much preparation goes into everything! They don't buy cake mixes or anything here. It's all made from scratch. It was such a cool experience to learn all their recipes! 

Learning how to make Cozonac! (A type of sweet bread they eat at Christmas time)
 We taught our English class on Saturday morning which was Christmas themed. Super fun! We all brought in our favorite Christmas songs or stories and shared them with each other and played Christmas bingo! We taught them all this new Christmas vocab and one of our students brought us both Romanian wreaths as a present. It was so sweet! Then we had the branch Christmas party which was soooooo much fun. All of us missionaries did a little performance as we sang Romanian Christmas hymns and read scriptures in between some of them. The branch members always make me sing for them. It seems like nobody can carry a tune in a bucket here so they appreciate some who can sing in tune I guess. Then we just met with all our branch members and investigators who came to enjoy the festivities. I did a little ballet for everyone (not much cuz I was in my skirt) which everyone LOVED. The Assistants to the President came up to visit us here in Iași as well so there was lots of Christmas joy all around.
Party time Pictures:
Sora Kelly
eating sarmale

and again, the short jokes continue.....

Yesterday, I gave my first talk in church! I have to say, I was pretty nervous. It took me all week to translate my talk (with help of course) but thankfully I survived and it was understandable. I talked about the true meaning of Christmas and the role of Christ as our Savior. I talked about his birth and the prophecies in the Bible that he fulfilled. Then a little bit about his life and how his whole mission was for others and not for himself. I ended with his death including the suffering and ultimate sacrifice he made. I challenged everyone to find a chance to serve someone as we remember the true meaning of Christmas at this time. I want to challenge all of you to do the same! True happiness really does come as we serve others and put them at the forefront of our minds. I've definitely seen that in the month I've been here in Romania. When I am having a hard time, the best cure is to go out and do something for someone. I know it works!
Last night we walked an hour and a half to go somewhere to sing carols in the FREEZING cold. I literally thought my toes were gonna fall off. I really am not kidding when I say that I feel like the pionneers crossing the plains sometimes. "Just leave me....go on without me!" That's been my phrase of the week...pretty much. We're trying to get permission from the Hospital administartors to visit the Childrens hospital this week but we aren't having much luck. They don't really like us I guess. The hospitals are pretty scary looking. Very communist concrete blocks. I hear the inside isn't much better...apparently there are like no regulations and it's a scary place. But...all the more reason to spread some Christmas cheer inside! Hopefully we can!
Other pictures from this week:
Orchestra in the mall! They were really good!

A random brass quartet playing in the street. They are EVERYWHERE.
The non stop Moulin rouge! My favorite place! ;)
Fur hat and flip flops....makes sense.
Random weird pic...perfect photobomb by Elder Anderson.
Accordion man.
EVERYBODY here calls me a "chinizoiacă" Don't quote me on the spelling but it means "little chinese girl" Yep...I have no idea. I guess I look Chinese?
A Hungarian doughnut type thing. So good!
My desk! It represents the state of my head right now!

Anyway, I'll have more to share next week! Have a GREAT Christmas/New Years/Holiday break! Love you all!
Yours truly, Sora Hovey