Early in the week, I was having a hard time. Sister Zollinger called the Elders and asked them to give me a blessing. For some reason I felt like Elder Verushi should do it, but he only speaks Albanian so that was weird. We met at the church and he gave me a blessing, speaking slowly in Albanian. It was a super cool experience because I understood basically everything he said. I felt a lot better after that.
When we woke up, we found chocolate and notes on our door. The Elders knew I’d had a bad day so they got us chocolate and put it on our door. They remembered to get dark chocolate for me and milk chocolate for Sis Z, which was awesome. There were two notes, one note said “God loves you”, the other one said loosely translated "have a beautiful day from Elders Gajmen and Verushi. I have care for you." We had 5 lessons planned that day, but we only had one person that actually showed up or answered the door when we went to their house. It wasn't awesome. We went out to Kombinat to teach the lesson we scheduled.
The next morning we went to the mission office to talk to President Weidmann and practice the song we would be singing on Thursday in zone conference. Then we quickly got suflaqe's for breakfast and went to a lesson and did language study in the church. I was reading out loud from one of the pamphlets when someone came into the church. I looked over the banister to see who it was and it was Anthony. He was apparently meeting a friend at the church to take him to the institute. He was excited that we were there. I told him that it was my brother, Garrett's 12th birthday and he said to tell him Happy Birthday! He also wanted me to tell him congratulations on getting the priesthood. He's really excited for Garrett to go to the temple. The converts to the church here are rather amazing. The church is basically their life. They are so inspiring. They live their faith with absolutely no regrets. We all left and went to the institute and met Sonia. We had saved our lunch/break time so we could go somewhere with Sonia after institute. We played ping pong and I was on the same team as a guy who speaks no English whatsoever. I was super confused since they were playing by different rules. Anthony had to translate for me. Then we played UNO and he helped me win. Then we went to this AMAZING suflaqe place. I am 100% sure that they have the best suflaqe in Tirana. We walked over there and Anthony was terrified that I was going to get hit by a makine. There are basically no road laws here. You can just cross the road wherever you want, so I always look before I cross the road, but he was terrified I was going to die because I'm American and apparently not intelligent enough to cross an Albanian road. That sounds like the start to a bad joke...what happened when the blonde American crossed rruga kevajes? She didn't get hit by a makine....anyway...they made fun of the way I eat suflaqe's because I ate all the fries out of it with the salzkosi and then wrapped it up and ate it like a pita. Then we were walking down the street and Anthony stopped because he wanted ice cream, so he bought us all ice cream. They made fun of me again because I wanted lemon ice cream and chocolate ice cream together. We did a lesson with them so it was a great night in general.
The song went well. Sister Foller, Sister Zollinger, and I sang “Gethsemane”, Sister Jackson played the piano. It was great seeing everyone from the MTC again, but since zone conference is just for all of Albania we didn't get to see Sister Ariza and Sister Pierce (they are in Kosovo). We were all excited to see Crandall and Clemens. I see Guymon and Henderson all the time, and I see Sister Jackson often and I saw Sister Dunn last week. Anyway, after zone conference I went with Sister Kelli up to Shkoder. We took a fregon. Albania is BEAUTIFUL!!" On the way there I was talking to Elder Roemer and he says that he lives right next door to the Buckhorn ranch in Alamo, Nevada. He was pretty excited that I actually knew where that was. His family is either named Roemer or Bunker and he knows the Kitchens. S'e di. Shkoder was nice and beautiful. It was different from Tirana. Everyone was super chill there. It seemed like no one had a purpose wherever they were going they were just wandering. I didn't like it as much as Tirana. The next day we had lunch with the elders there, and had a lesson and went back to Tirana. It was about a 2 hour drive and the makine (I say makine because the word car is a swear word here...not how it's spelled just when you say it out loud) didn't have any air conditioning, it was really, really hot. When we got back we got ready and then had a movie night. We watched Ephraim's rescue. It was super good especially since I have never seen it before. No one got any of the sarcasm except the Americans so we were all cracking up and then it was funnier, but none of the Albanians got what it was saying. Then we had to hurry home for curfew.
Saturday morning we always play soccer with investigators and members and then all these little cuns (boys) come to play with us. It's super fun. After soccer, we went to lunch at Serendipity which is a Mexican restaurant. Then we did weekly planning until Institute started. Alice decided not to come to institute so we were super sad. We went to institute anyway because Sonia was supposed to come. Well...she didn't show up and neither did Anthony until like halfway through it. Then we all walked over to the church and went to the baptism for the T1 sisters. It was great. But, Aaron (the American intern) was pretty confused the whole time because he doesn't speak any Albanian. I also got to shendet Anthony. When someone gets a haircut you hit them on the back of the head and say shendet which means health...idk why...it's a super fun cultural thing. (I used a hymn book because of pg 33 I couldn't hit him with my hand). Then Anthony and Aaron were going back and forth making fun of me and saying that for that transgression according to the Law of Moses I should be stoned, but they didn't have any stones so they were going to find bricks. The two of them are super funny together. I have missed brotherly teasing and I get a plethora of it from Anthony and Aaron. After the baptism, we went with our investigator and the T3 Elders over to her house and they fixed her sink. Then we talked with Amy because she is having a hard time with something, and she needed someone to comfort her. While we were over at her house we called the Elders to come over because she wanted a blessing.
Sunday morning we went to church. I was wandering around and talking to people and Anthony was making faces at me while he was setting up for sacrament. I sat down and started talking to Alice, she doesn’t come every week. I talked to her for a while, I enjoy talking to her a lot. She is super sweet. We sang “I Am a Child of God” and Anthony was singing in my ear in English trying to confuse me while I was trying to sing in Albanian. Then after Sacrament meeting we stayed in the chapel talking because Alice wanted to talk to us and tell us why she didn't come to institute the day before and she bore her testimony to us and vowed that she would always put the church first in her life. She and Anthony talked back and forth in Italian for a while. I swear the people here are amazing at languages. We decided to do a lesson with Alice, and Anthony could join us. She wrote that she loves us on the board in Italian. When we left church she didn't want us to leave. She went with Amy and kept texting us random words in Italian. She's really funny. I love her so much. Then we went home and did studies and went to choir. Later, we went out and Skyped you all for Mother’s Day. We barely made it back in time for curfew.
This morning for P-day we went to the Skenderbeu statue to meet the elders. Then we all went to an art museum that Acheson wanted to go to. They told us it was closed, but then some guy in charge came out and told us to come on in and he would let us look around. Then some lady came out and told us to leave, but the other guy still took us on a personal tour. A lot of the art was propaganda from the former Soviet Union so it was super cool to look at. So basically, we got into a closed museum in the middle of Albania just because we are American. When we were going in Acheson turned to Verushi and told him that he had to act American, so he tried to start talking in English, but he gave up on that quickly. Afterwards, while randomly walking down the street, we found a store selling mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was super good. Apparently they have all the unusual food here in Tirana. Then we went into some gift shops and I found a Zenit camera today. It doesn't work though, so I once again didn't buy it. I kinda wish I had brought the one that Parker gave to me. The robaqepsi's here use old looking sewing machines for everything so why not use old, classy cameras as well? Then we went to lunch with another Sister. She is going home tomorrow because she is Albanian and got here on a half transfer. She was super sad today. I wish I would have gotten to know her better. I am going to miss her.
...I love you all to Gallifrey and back!!