Friday, January 2, 2015

Week 9 - Prishtina, KOSOVO

  . inside our church bldg. some missioanries here translated #share the gift into albanian, and when we were in Tirana we saw it playing on a big billboard screen, our own little Albanian Times Square :)

 ah look at Prishtina!!

motra zollinger and I bundled up in our apt. on new year's eve (daily planning, drink herbal chai, write in my journal & go to bed on time = turn up?)

 the "boulevard" aka a huge sidewalk where we will go kontakt ne rruge (street contacting) tonight (& probz every night), and a glimpse of Prishtine. My pics don't do this beautiful city justice though...
 the "boulevard" aka a huge sidewalk where we will go kontakt ne rruge (street contacting) tonight (& probz every night), and a glimpse of Prishtine. My pics don't do this beautiful city justice though...
love the fruit stands! & 1st pic of my trainer  /  my comp is cute & crafty & decorated my planner

ah hey prinderit, I can't contain my excitement because right now I am in PRISHTINË, KOSOVË. 
(we get p-day today since everyone is hungover because New Years.)

I have so much to say, I don't even know where to start! 
My last Sunday night devo at the MTC was David Archuleta, and Richard Elliot, MoTab's organist, and his nutcracker medley was incredible. And of course David was amazing! He sang hymns and "glorious" and shared his sweet, humble testimony, and teared up talking about missions because he missed serving in Chile... of course every sister missionary in the room was like "write me!!" haha. But I got to meet him and SHOOK HIS HAND woo, and he commented on my Albanian nametag ("that looks tricky, good luck sister- I mean, Motra!) haha he's so nice. 

Okay and then things just kept on getting better! Only had an hr of sleep before leaving but good thing we had HOURS on planes to nap. I felt like I was back in Russia on the bus ride to the airport because bundled up, riding on a tour bus, looking out the window at lots of snoww. Our plane from Salt Lake to Chicago was delayed 2 1/2 hrs so we were rushed in shy-town and my group was glad I know how to get around airports because for a lot of them it's their first time ever! 
Our long flight to Vienna was spacious and comfy and I loved hearing/speaking Deutsch. I was with Motra Peters and White on the 1st two flights and they were great travel buddies, and we ran into Bulgarian missionaries who had been reassigned stateside b/c of visas and were just now headed out. They were such great missionaries, teaching lessons to and reading the Book of Mormon with people around them, and it just made me so proud, watching from across the aisle :) There were Albanians behind me on the flight, I found out, and it was soo fun chatting in Shqip with them :) and we totally understood eachother, surprise surprise! Then in the Vienna airport we had tons of time so kinda napped and then met some Albanians and chatted with them which was fun, and also translated German for my group, but it was kinda unnecessary since every worker there spoke perfect English. On my short flight to Shqiperia, I had my first contact! The man sitting next to me was Albanian but works in Germany, and he was so much harder to understand but we managed to have a conversation for the duration of the flight, switching to German when necessary. I was determined to talk to someone about the church my first day free from the MTC, so he was my victim. He said he was orthodox but had only gone like three times in his life and agreed to check out the LDS church in Durrës, where he's from. I got his number to give the missionaries there ha and wrote down the name of the church and Albanian website. Hopefully he checks it out.. when I asked him about his family he said, "well, I have two.." and turns out he has a wife & kids in Albania, and a girlfriend in Germany. Really sad, but the rumors are true that Shqiptare are very friendly and open. If nothing else it was good practice! 

I fell in love with Albania as soon as I saw it from my window-seat on the airplane. It is beautiful, and the drivers are crazy; absolutely no traffic laws (so many mercedes & VW & smart cars), but wow it is just so COOL. Such a vibrant, funky, unique place ah. The bright buildings and markets and palm trees everywhere are bukur (beautiful).  I LOVE Pres. Weidmann, he is so personable insightful and just great and def. gonna be general authority. His wife, Esther, is so beautiful and graceful, and they have such a nice house (villa/palace) that we got to stay at our first night, and so cool that they're from Switzerland! Macht immer spass, ein bisschen Deutsch zu sprechen :) (“It’s always fun to speak a little German.”) And their daughter served a mission in Russia a while ago, and her first area was Voronezh! Where I lived for a semester. 

Okay well, I'ma skip over some more detes since this is pretty long but I LOVE Kosovo and feel soo lucky to be sent here. I feel like it has such a bad rep because it is soo nice here and feels a lot more like Western Europe and the city I'm in is clean and niice and new/modern-feeling, esp. compared to Albania, and my trainer is Sister Zollinger and she is soo nice and I love her already and I think we are gonna do some good work here in Prishtinë :) We drove up with Elder Stewart, a Canadian who I recognized from his blog hah and his new comp., a native Albanian. The drive was so breathtaking.. snowy mountains and occasional cool-looking houses/ ruins. Kosovo is freezing! Def. wasn't expecting this much snow down in the Adriatic. Def. a lot colder than Shqiperia actually. 

Well, I love you all, and I am soo so happy and excited to be here because I love it here and am so pumped to be serving in Kosovë. !!!! It's crazy because this country is 98% Muslim so I'm sure I will have interesting stories, and the branch is full of recent converts, the longest were baptized maybs 3 yrs ago? A little after this country was opened for missionary work. My comp and I are the only sisters here and there are 4 elders. Motra zallënxhër (=Zollinger in Albanian) showed me pics and told me about the members and I can't wait to meet everyone. 

Also it'll be fun to learn "gheg", the dialect spoken here ("tosk is spoken in Tirana and that's what we learned in Provo), and apparently it's prettyy different? 

I'll send pics later, Mirupafshim!!! 

xoxoxox me dashuri, Madi :) 

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