*Letter has been edited from original email for public viewing*
So I’ve had a pretty crazy first full week in Germany. As I try to compose my thoughts about what I actually did this week, and what I should share, I’m just gonna ramble and rant a little about Germany.
Germany is a very strange place. For one thing, and this goes for all of Europe – get some real money! I miss American money. Money that actually feels like real money. The Euros here makes me feel like I’m carrying around monopoly money with me all the time. They’re too shiny, and come in too many different and bright colors. I don’t really know if this next thought applies to all of Germany or just my area, but seriously how many casinos and wig shops does one city actually need? There is at least one or the other, usually both, on just about every street in Saarbrücken. I counted about eight of each on the ten minute walk to this internet cafe. I’ve decided that Germans have very bland taste buds. Anything that you eat here that says “extra scharf”(extra spicy), pretty much translates to “very slightly above mild”. It’s very disappointing. Germans also have a very big misconception on what is “American”. We went grocery shopping today and the American section was definitely not American. For starters, Americans don’t combine and sell their ketchup and mustard in a toothpaste tube. That’s German. And we definitely don’t have any “Hamburger dressings” that have sauerkraut in the ingredients. Again, German. Other American foods included donuts, steak, apple pie, and hot dogs. I’ll give it to em, those are pretty darn ‘Merican. Also, cough drops are not candy! They try and sneak the cough drops into the candy section of stores, but I see past their lies!
So what of interest have I done this week. Well last P-day (Mondays are “Preparation” days or “P” Days) the other three Elders and I went to the Schröder family’s house for dinner. So what was the first tasty German meal prepared for me by members? Burritos. Not very German is it? Well I don’t even care because they were SO good! Sister Schöder, I can’t remember her maiden name, is actually from Peru so she was able to make us some incredibly tasty authentic South American burritos. Her husband, who we call Pascal, is a really cool guy. He speaks English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian. All fluently, and all very well. He’s awesome. He also wears a very nice and fashionable white fedora. They have a little almost two year old daughter named Anita, who is super shy but super adorable. Yesterday, though, I was able to get her to smile at me and give me a high five at church, so we’re basically best friends now.
We spent the rest of last P-day going to stores in the city trying to buy matching ties and lightsabers for the four of us. That’s another thing about going on a mission: missionaries find weird ways to entertain themselves. Apparently there is a pretty big sized game going on throughout the mission, where people pretend to be Jedi and Sith. Elder Kalt is a member of the Jedi council, so he said that if I joined the Sith then he’d hate me forever. So I guess I’m joining the Jedi. You have to undergo specific training to join, though. To become a Jedi Knight you have to study underneath your desk everyday for a week, and to be a Jedi Master, you have to be able to juggle. That was convenient (Austin loves to juggle, and brought his “professional” juggling balls with him to Germany). So I’m gonna become a Jedi Master. I haven’t decided what color lightsaber to buy yet, either green or purple. Blue is too mainstream. So today we’re gonna go and try to buy those again since we weren’t able to find any last time. But yes, missionaries find very strange ways to entertain themselves. I listen to Disney and other various musical songs daily, which is pretty darn awesome. I need to buy a good flash drive, though, because that’s apparently how missionaries share all of their music. There are missionaries that have every Disney and musical songs that I have except in German, which I need to have! My goal is to come back home after the mission knowing every Disney song in both English and German. And hey, I’m already half way there! We also listen to a lot of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings music, and quote them both a lot. Whenever the four of us are together, which is a good amount of the time by the way, and someone asks “should we walk in the rain?” or something like that, someone has to respond with “I do not fear death!” Or when someone asks where we are going we’ll respond with “into the wild” and if you know Lord of the Rings, you should know those quotes.
We ride the trains a lot, which is kind of cool. Our area is very green and has some very beautiful locations, but I end up sleeping most of the time on the trains, since we legally aren’t really allowed to talk to people unless they talk to us. We pretty much walk everywhere, except for when we ride the trains. We technically have bikes, but there’s no point in using them, and they’re stored in our Keller, which is our basement. Kellers are gross, though, so we don’t really go down there unless we really need to. I’ve learned that missionaries pretty much leave all of their things that they don’t want to take home with them in their last area, so I’ve found some pretty useful stuff in my apartment. I’ve found some coats, umbrellas, ties, and a German board game called “Dungeoneer” which we will never play, because even with the English instructions it’s still the most complicated and ridiculous game in the world!
This week has been pretty busy, though. We’ve had a lot of meetings to go to, some really far away, so we haven’t had a lot of time to actually go and find people to try and teach. We have gone a couple times though without much real success. Germans are all very nice, though, most say that they’re not really interested, say have a good day, and then leave. So for now we’ve just mainly been planning, setting up appointments, and getting ready for a big event that our ward has next Saturday. We’re having a “Tag der Offenen Tür” which basically means “Open house” where people are supposed to come to the church building, have a tour of all the rooms and paintings, do a genealogy workshop, an English class, and then a question and answer thing. We’ve been planning and working on this a lot of our time the last week, and it’s a pretty big deal to the ward, so I hope and pray that it works out. That’s another thing, I really like my ward! They’re all really nice, and my bishop is a bee keeper! He makes German Honey and gives it to us! It’s awesome!
Well I’ve got to go now. We’ve got a lesson to teach today, to a guy named Ammon so that’ll be cool, and we’re gonna go buy lightsabers and buy me a Döner (A Döner, or Döner kebab, is a sandwich thing – like a pita or gyro – they are pretty yummy!). I’m excited!
Peace out home skillets (Love ya and miss ya Mom and Dad),
Elder Austin Cassell (The Awesome)