05 January 2012

Many Thanks for Christmas!

Note: It's funny hearing her English deteriorate :)

I am so happy to hear from you! Didn't I tell that I got Sister Squeeze's package, it was waiting for me here after I returned from Lappajarvi trip, so thanks again. Mom Squeeze, I got yours this Tuesday, it was nice that they arrived different times, so had a little longer Christmas !! Thank you, it was nice to get good herb tea, the gloves, mine, the green ones that I have had forever were showing little holes, so these are perfect, even for text messages in the bus, like the other kids are doing !!!!  And the umprella (I forgot my dictionary !) is great to have, since Finland is so wet anytime! 

So good to hear that you have happy times there, like Christmas and new year celebration ! Christmas season is almost over here, tomorrow is the last day, January 6th is called "Loppiainen", meaning "loppu", end of the season according to the Lutheran church's timetable. It is celebrated as a holiday, stores are closed, free day from work, etc. And the bus service is probably according to Sunday service, that means I need to find out when I go out to my bus stop ?!

This week is the "Russians week" and we have been very busy at the Temple. They are very faithful, they have their own ordinance workers with them. We, the missionaries are just helping them, where ever they need us, and we get to do it in Russian ?!! Yes, they give us some lessons to read in their language, but the letters are "Romanized", does that make sense ? So, we learn some Russian here, and of course, we do it in Swedish too, although that is so much easier and old Swedish starts coming back!  We also have Estonians coming here and the Lithuanians, but the Russians are the ones that need the whole week every so often for themselves. The members from these eastern countries seem very happy and bring us always some goodies, they have pockets full of goodies and when they pass you by, they stick candies to your pockets ! It's kind of fun.

The weather has been very unpleasant since I arrived, it is raining every day, that is the truth. I needed the umprella, which somebody lent to me, but now I got my own since Mom Squeeze sent me one! Thanks ! One day, it did snow, actually Christmas day, but of course it's gone now. I hear you don't have it either. 

Christmas was very nice, was able to spent it with my brothers families in Tampere and Lappajarvi. I took the bus from here to Helsinki, about 30-40 minutes, and got the train to Tampere, about 1-1/2 hours. The Transportation service is very good here, trains are very modern and fast, as are the busses. By the way the busses are very large and the middle door is wide so you can push the baby carriage  (the door is street level) in and you do not pay! Only others go through the front door and pay. That's one of the social benefits for having children. 

I am living by my self in an apartment, since the missionary housing is full (which is next to the Temple) and actually meant for couples, and are for the missionary couples. They do have 6-people apartments meant for people who come from out of town places and stay for few days to do work for their ancestors and others. They promised me that I will have my own apartment in few months in that same building, which will be used for other single people or maybe families, after I leave. I have been treated very friendly, it must be my age, they offer me rides to the stores, to Church on Sundays, P-day outings, and of course, I'm included in all the activities and parties (!!) 

Temple is a very special place, and you do feel the spirit there, it makes you cry often because it touches you, and how people seem to change there. They leave the outside world behind them when they enter the Temple and experience something special for few hours. 

Have a happy new year and take care, See you in 16 mos, I think !?  I've been here over a month now.

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