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Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Love To See The Temple

When I was invited to go with the youth to the temple I was so excited. I hadn't been to the temple in such a long time and I was excited to see the Frankfurt temple. It was so different than any other temple I have ever been in. To get to the baptistry you enter a separate building and go down stairs and through a long hall. We were then taken into a room with three rows of chairs in it. This is where they gave us the baptismal clothes and checked our recommends.

In every temple I have ever been to in the states they try to conceal the underwear inside the suit, but not in Germany. They called us up one by one, boys and girls all mixed together. One sister missionary gave out the suit, then we moved to the next sister who gave out the underwear. Just right on top in plain sight. I couldn't help but think of how many young women in the states would be mortified to have that happen. Just one of many examples of how even in the church culture can be very different. We also got a badge that said we were doing baptisms, this let us go right pass the desk where they usually check your recommend. 
 There was one guy who did all the baptising. By the end he must have been exhausted, but you never would have guessed it by the glow on his face. When the youth go to the temple the group is usually around twelve people, we had a lot more than that there! Even though I couldn't communicate with most of the people there I felt closer to them and so grateful to be part of the ward. My experience at the   Frankfurt temple was very different from my other temple experiences but one thing was the same. The spirit I felt there and the pure joy and excitement for life was the exact same as any other temple I have been to. I am so grateful to have this gospel in my life and to be able to go to the temple and serve among angels.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lovin' London

 In February I got the chance to go to England with My friend Olivia. We started out in Bradford, which is where Olivia is from and also where I found this awesome telephone booth.
 Before the trip Olivia kept telling me how excited she was to go shopping in England, So we went to the Leeds White Rose Centre. We did a lot of shopping and the above picture is what we ended up with between the both of us.
 Since our ward in Lux is in french we were really looking forward to church. I was so happy to be able to sing hymns in english.
 After Bradford we headed to London. We parked the car then took the underground in to London. We parked right next to where they held the olympics so I got to see all the facilities from that.   
 Big Ben was the first thing we saw when we walked up from the underground. It was a great way to start my day in London! 
Our first big adventure was the London Eye. It is a giant ferris wheel with each booth enclosed. Both Olivia and I are a bit afraid of heights so it was quite an experience.
 The Eye moves very slowly, it doesn't even stop for people to get on or off. Which is why it is perfect for taking pictures. I highly recommend it to anyone going to London.
 All my pictures on the Eye of Buckingham Palace turned out kinda foggy, so it was the next thing on my list to see. 
 We decided to walk to the palace instead of taking a taxi. I am so glad we did because I got to see more of London that you don't get to see when you are on the roads. 
 Buckingham Palace was absolutely beautiful! The flag was flying which means the Queen was there and we got there just in time to watch the changing of the guard. It was an awesome experience.
 After Buckingham Palace we took a taxi up to Covent Garden. We walked around looking at all the different booths and stores. There were lots of decorations for Valentine's and Easter. They had giant Easter eggs all over that different artists had painted. 
My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time in London. I got to see everything on my list but I still can't wait to go back! The whole time I was in England I was on cloud nine. I have always dreamed of travelling to London, and it had finally happened!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

De Nouveaux Amis

A few weekends I met up with my friend Olivia at the town centre. Soldes (the end of season sale) was going on and we were ready to shop! I was able to find some great deals on boots, clothes, and even got a great running outfit for really cheap! Olivia and I decided to grab some food at Subway. The bread offered here in subway is different in the states, and they don't have my favorite, Italian Herbs and Cheese. But when the lady asked me "Quel pain?" I forgot all about the fact they don't have the same breads. Thanks to Duo Lingo I was able to understand the question and responded with what bread I wanted. I felt pretty good about myself. The next weekend Olivia and I hung out at my place Friday night then on Saturday we went with her family to Little Britain, which is an english/american store. Most of the things are english, but there are a few american items such as nerds, runts, and pop-tarts. Since Olivia is from England she was pointing out all the things I had to try. After we loaded up on crisps and chocolate we went back to Olivia's. This is were I found the smallest lift I have ever seen. There were four of us and we had to take go up in two separate turns.
We hung out at the apartment for a while and then decided to go out to eat. Olivia and Mathew really wanted to show me this mexican restaurant called Coyote Grill. The theme of the place is the cinema, probably becuase it is located in the same building as the cinema. Because of the theme the restaurant is very unusually decorated. Such as aliens, monsters, pieces of airplanes, etc. They have two very long tables each with a coffin shape glass on the surface and a monster inside. At the bar you are stared at by many movie characters such as Yoda and Superman. The food was really good but much sweeter than I was expecting. Just another thing to add to the list off differences between the U.S. and Luxembourg! It is becoming a very long and interesting list. Then this weekend Olivia and I met up with Luisa, who is from Spain and working over here as an au pair as  well. We went to a bakery at the town centre and then up to Cactus (a mall near my home) to take advantage of Soldes. I was finally able to find a couple pairs of nice pants, both under 20 euros. After Cactus we introduced Luisa to Little Britain. She was really excited about all the english chocolate! That night I went out with Tracey, Sue and Becky to an indian restaurant. While we were leaving I realized that over here I am practically supermodel tall. Which is extremely different compared to back home where I am often teased about being the shortest in the family. Tracey and I went to the cinema afterwards to see 007, which I loved. The only thing that would have made the movie better was if James Bond wasn't so stinking old! On the way home from the movies it started to snow, and over here     they don't exactly know how to take care of the roads when it snows. So we weren't sure if the roads would be clear enough to get to church the next morning. Then it rained and everything froze. 

Scott and Tracey accidentally slept in Sunday morning until 8:45, so the kids and I didn't know if we were going to church or not since it starts at 9:30. It was pure madness rushing around getting ready for church and scraping the thick ice of the windshields, but we made it with about 30 minutes left in Sacrament Meeting. We were a bit unprepared with things to help the kids stay quiet and the girls ended up being unusually loud. I was relieved when Sacrament was over. The ward in Luxembourg is french speaking. We just barely got an english sunday school, but Relief Society is still an french. For some reason this Sunday in Relief Society they handed out the dreadful translator headphones to the three of us who spoke english. We tend to avoid these as much as possible because they are very heavy and uncomfortable. Because the earbuds are so big and the whole contraption is huge it actually hurts to wear them. As if that isn't enough, they look ridiculous! But I think Olivia and I pull them off pretty well. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ringing In The New Year

 For new years eve we ordered in a bunch of Indian food, which was delicious! Paul and Becky brought the food with them around 8pm. 

 After the delicious food we all got bundled up and went outside to set off some fireworks. I am discovering that when it comes to holidays, the Oliver's go all out! There were so many fireworks and the kids were really excited. 
 When the fireworks ran out, we went back to the house for dessert. We had cake, cookies, shortbread, ice cream, and lots of fruit. The ice cream was amazing! By the time we finished stuffing our faces it was almost midnight. We watched a french news station for the countdown, then after clinking glasses together and wishing everyone a happy new year, we quickly threw coats on the kids and ran out too see all the fireworks. 

They were going off in all directions! I love fireworks so seeing so many at once made me extremely happy! It was a good way to welcome the new year. Now I just need to make some resolutions… hopefully ones I can keep!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Chaos

       I hadn't been around little kids on christmas in a very long time. It was crazy and fun to be surrounded by all the anticipation and excitement of the kids.  Tracey, the mom, always hosts Christmas Day dinner. So on Christmas Eve we did some baking with the kids. It was a mess! The girls were so eager that they kept trying to open everything and add all the wrong ingredients, which resulted in a lot of spills. But the kids seemed to enjoy it and were very proud of what they helped with. 
         Tracey's mom recently moved into the house so she was already here Christmas Eve. Tracey's brother and his wife came over in the evening to spend the night so they would be here for Christmas morning. The kids put out milk and some treats that we had made that day out for santa and some carrots for the reindeer. I have never seen them so willing to go to bed.
Cameron waiting to open his gift
My stocking
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get to sleep until after three in the morning. Then at 5:30am I was woken up by the sound of the tv blaring on the main floor. I found the three boys up and watching a christmas movie, all sitting by their stockings.. Surprisingly none of the presents were open. 

When I walked into the living room I seriously could not believe my eyes. Their were so many presents it literally took up two rooms. The boys waited until after 7 to go wake up the rest of the house by singing Christmas carols. We started opening presents at 7:30 and finished around 11:30. The kids loved all of their presents and I loved being around all the screaming and joy. The Oliver's were very sweet and got me some amazing presents as well.
Kyla eating her chocolate santa
The missionaries came over in the afternoon for the Christmas feast, which was delicious. They also got to open their presents and talk to their families. After the Elders were done skyping, we brought out the many many desserts. That night Traceys brother and his wife stayed the night again. We all stayed up till midnight playing games. Then I got to talk to my whole family and see my adorable little nephew! It was a great Christmas here in Luxembourg and I am so grateful that I got to have this experience. I have always wanted to spend Christmas in Europe, and now I have.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Week One

My first week in Luxembourg I shadowed the old nanny, learning the daily routine. The three youngest kids had christmas programs at their school. It was fun to go and watch them sing in Luxembourgish and German. On Thursday their old nanny and I got off work early. She explained the bus system to me and then we took the bus down to the Gar. The Gar is the train station which is in a beautiful building.
       Then we walked through the town centre, and she showed me the Castle. It was dark and rainy, but it still looked beautiful. I am looking forward to going back sometime in the day. We also went to the Chocolate House which is right across from the castle. I had the most delicious chocolate cake ever! With all the people inside I could tell it was a very popular place. After we couldn't eat any more we met up with a couple people and walked through the Christmas Village. 

During the first week I noticed many differences between Luxembourg and the states. The more exploring I do, the more differences I see. The roads here are tiny, and so are the cars. The washers and dryers are smaller as well, most things seem to be a lot smaller. Even though things here are not at all what I am used to, I learn to love it more and more each day. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Airplane, Airplane, Sorry I'm Late

With the woes of packing and saying goodbye to loved possessions behind me, I was ready to face the only thing worrying me. My 35 minute connection in Chicago. I upgraded my seat on my flight from SLC for $39 to be closer to the front. That way I could get off faster and book it to the next flight. As luck would have it, there was no room for my carry on in the overhead bin. So along with many others, my bag was gate checked. Then to add to it the plane took off late. 

I was one of the first off the plane, but one of the last to get my bag. Then I scurried to the other side of the airport, sending up prayers the entire way. Finally I arrived at the gate, just as they closed the door. Sweaty and breathless I asked "Is this the flight to Munich?" I was the last one on board and again had to have my bag checked, this time all the way to Luxembourg. This had me a bit worried because I had packed a weeks worth of clothing in my carry on, thinking my checked bag probably wouldn't make the connection. Now if my luggage was lost, I had nothing. 

It was a relief to get off the plane in Germany. I hadn't been able to sleep a wink and knew that in just a couple more hours I would get to meet my new home and family for the next year. The signs for my next gate were very confusing and I ended up circling around and around the Munich airport. After my third loop I decided to venture down an abandoned hallway, and that is where I found my way to the next gate. After passing through customs, I found my gate in no time. I went to board my final flight, and was told they couldn't find my luggage. While I hadn't been hoping for this, it wasn't too big of a surprise. Yet, I prayed that somehow my bags would make it.
When I got to Luxembourg I saw the baggage claim and felt that I should wait and see if my luggage came through. Lo and behold… it did!! I was so relieved to have both my bags and finally be done flying. It was a short drive from the airport to my new home. It was exciting to see it all for the first time and to meet everyone.