Favorite German Words

So I’ve given myself a little more time this week to compose a proper letter, since the letter that I wrote last week was pretty much “Quatsch”, which basically means “nonsense, baloney, crap, etc.” So hopefully I’ll get some better stuff in this letter.

I guess the first thing I’ll do is talk about this last week. That way I’ll get through with the boring stuff quick. Not really – my week really wasn’t that boring. So I guess one of the interesting things that has happened this week is the fact that Saarbrücken’s Oktoberfest started this Friday. It’s not all that exciting really. Just a bunch of people getting slightly more drunk than they usually do. Supposedly they’re having some cool parties and events somewhere in the city, but I haven’t seen anything yet. Oktoberfest really isn’t as big of a deal in most parts of Germany. It’s mainly just a big thing in Bayern, which is one of the German Bundesländer (regions/states).  Bayern is basically the part of Germany that people think of when they think of Germany. It’s where they wear the Lederhosen, and where the cool castles are and what not. They’re also very proud of themselves and classify themselves as their own country. It’s basically the German form of Texas.

Last Monday the four of us all went to go visit a young newly married couple in our ward. They just got married in the UK, she’s Scottish and they met while he was on his mission there. Anyways we went and visited them for dinner, which was awesome because the food was good, but more importantly we got to speak English the entire time! It feels good to speak English with people that aren’t missionaries! The weird thing though, that I realized, is that I can no longer pray out loud in English. They asked me to say the prayer, and it was hard! It doesn’t feel right anymore! My whole prayer ended up being in total Denglisch! It was a weird feeling.  We stayed there a little too late, so we ended up having to sprint all the way from their house to the train station, which was about a 30 minute walk, so that we could catch the last train that was running for the night!  We did it!   And then we all died on the train ride back! Let me think of other things we did this week…

We spent a lot of time just trying to talk to people, and that hasn’t gone very well. Such is the way of Germans. Germans don’t like to talk to other people. It’s perfectly normal for you to sit right next to someone on a train ride or at a restaurant for an hour or so, and never say a word to them. Germans keep to themselves. Unless they’re mocking or insulting someone else, which reminds me of something else that happened this week. So on Tuesday we were taking the Straßenbahn back to our apartment, when some foreign girl got on after yelling at her boyfriend very loudly for about five minutes or so. Well she and her friend continued yelling very loudly on the train, so this elderly German woman next to them asked them to be quiet. They did not respond well. They started yelling at her to mind her own business and whatever nonsense she was babbling about. Well then all of the other Germans on the train all got mad at them and started yelling at them very angrily in German and telling her that she was crazy, that she needed to get out now, or they’ll make them get out. She did get out and continued to yell at them and use some rude hand and body gestures as the train pulled away. Then all of the Germans talked amongst themselves about how stupid, crazy, and dangerous she was. There may have been some racist comments in there too, I’m not entirely sure.

I also had some very good splits this week. One was here in Saarbrücken with Elder Ruff, one of my Zone leaders, and the other was in Idar Oberstein with Elder Givens. They were fun, I like splits! Other things we did were meetings, making and delivering cookies to members and less active members, and just trying to contact people. That’s about all of the interesting things that happened to me, personally, this week.  While I was in Idar Oberstein, however, the other Saarbrücken elders got threatened with a bomb (kinda). They apparently were stopped by a drunk guy on the street who stopped them and told them to give him some money. They were confused and asked what he was talking about. He told them that they were American government workers sent to give people some of Obama’s money. When they told them that they were just missionaries from the church and that they didn’t have any money from Obama to give him, though, he got angry. He told them that if they weren’t going to give him some of Obama’s money, then they’re useless and need to get out of his country or else he would make a bomb, find them, and blow them up. Then he stumbled away drunkenly. I doubt he remembers the event. I’m sad that I wasn’t there for it. It sounds awesome.

But yeah, Germany is still pretty cool. I really like the language. I have some new favorite German words. Like “doch” that’s a great word!  There’s not really a good way to translate it because you use it differently each time you use it. Basically you use it as a contradictory statement in the form of a yes. For example, someone might say “I’ve never eaten a grape” then you would say “doch” which means “Yes you have”. Or someone would say “We’re not gonna go to the party” then you’d say “doch” meaning “yes we are”. It’s a great word!  I also like the word “Schadenfreude” which means taking joy in another’s misfortune. It’s pretty great.

Well that’ll do it for today, I think. I’ve gotta go!

Tschüß Leute!
Elder Austin Cassell

Ramblings and Volleyball

So I’m not entirely sure what I’m gonna write about with this letter, because not a whole lot of interesting things have happened this week. So I’m just gonna ramble on about whatever pops into my mind. This should be interesting.

Well I guess I should just start off with describing the things that have happened this week that are the most interesting. There are not a lot. Most of our time this week has been traveling via train to a bunch of the smaller cities in our area to talk to the people in the Rathäusen (which means town halls I guess. The direct translation is council house.) to try and find service opportunities. We went to some cities like Homburg, Bexbach, Neunkirchen, and Saarlouis. Try and guess which of those cities was at one point a French city. Hard, right? Well anyways that went pretty well, we found some potential things to do. The only problem was that it just sucked up a ton of the time in our week. Another large part of our week was meeting and coordinating with people in our ward to try and get some of the ward activities and plans started. Like our English class, sports night, a fireside, and a primary activity.

One pretty good little story was something that happened this Saturday. The other Elders and I all went to these volleyball courts near the river to try and play volleyball with some of the young people in our ward, and some of our potential investigators that we have. Nobody was able to come, which was lame, but we still went for a little while to see if we could play with anybody there. There wasn’t. But whatever, we stayed for about an hour just in case. So we were playing and it was my turn to serve. I’d like to remind everyone that I suck at volleyball. So I served it, hit it wrong, and it went way far left all the way into the river. Yep. I lost Elder Olson’s volleyball, which should be portrayed by the picture I just sent to my dear mother. So we had thought that we had lost it forever because it was in the middle of the river, and we weren’t allowed to go in to the water to go get it. But the other two went on one side of the river to go get it in case it washed up on the bank. Well we didn’t think we’d be able to get it back. It was in the middle of the water, and the only people around was a couple making out under a bridge nearby. But then all of a sudden a man on a boat rounds the corner, sees the other two and the volleyball, and picked it up and threw it to them! It was awesome! The man was a hero, and I didn’t have to buy Elder Olson a new volleyball.

Lost Volleyball in the Saar

Lost Volleyball in the Saar

Well that’s actually about all that I have time for. Lame. Last notes:  Germany is awesome, and so is the language. I enjoy it. People do smoke too much here, though. That’s my only big complaint. But I’m happy here, and that’s good!

Well gotta go, tschüß!

Elder Austin Cassell

Lots of New Pictures!

So I guess I should answer your questions first. So I just had some emergency funds stashed in the apartment in case I ever lost my wallet (see I can think ahead! And I did have a if lost please return to address and phone number inside the wallet. The person who took it is just lazy and dishonest.) so I’ve been living off of that back up money of 50 euro personal and 50 mission. I should hopefully get my mission card soon.  (His wallet fell out of his pocket on the bus, and someone took it within just a few minutes).

So yeah the thought of Cade going to homecoming and dancing with a girl is amusing to me. I can’t see it. You will have to send me pictures of everything! I want some amusement!

We haven’t done a whole lot that was very interesting this week. We went to a small little city in our area to find some service projects to do, so we can try and meet people through that. That worked pretty well, we’ve got some appointments. We went to the zoo on Saturday with the ward, which was pretty fun. Not a ton of people ended up going, but it was still fun. I’ve got some good pictures to show. By the way I uploaded a bunch of pictures last week on Dropbox. Did you see them?  Some of them are pretty great.  (Had to hunt for them – he put them in the wrong folder.  They are posted below).

Other than that it’s been a pretty boring week. We’ve been trying to meet with some less active members and to find new people to teach, but it hasn’t been going all that great. Somehow we always seem to be busy though, and I’m happy.  We get to meet with members pretty often which is pretty nice. I really like my ward!  Elder Olson is pretty cool. We get along pretty well, and we both like sports which is good.

Well I gotta go, all the others are finished, and we have sweaters to buy. That’s another thing, it got really cold and rainy this week, I’m not sure that I like it!  But whatevs, it’s just gonna get worse.

So yeah, thanks for filling me in, and sorry that I don’t have a ton to fill you in on this week. Next week will be better!

Love ya! Miss ya!

Your favorite son!

Here are some of the pics he uploaded.  Don’t ask me to explain…I’m not sure what the story is behind most of them.  We will have to wait for him to come home and tell the stories!  However, if you remember the stories about the “Elder that would remain nameless” having to stop in the bushes, or the story about the member that accidentally gave the Elders Apple Wine instead of Apple Cider…both of those stories are documented now with pictures!  🙂  On a side note:  If you don’t know Missionaries, and how weird and random they can be, just understand that they find strange things to entertain themselves with!  They ALL act a little crazy and odd.  Hence…the weird pictures. 

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“The Elder that shall remain nameless”

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Success!

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“Apple Wine”

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Elder Kalt…no idea what is going on there…

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“King of the…Railroad???”

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Jump rope with a vine. Oh the fun these guys have!

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Not a clue…but he’s handsome!

Oh…they are interesting!!! A little odd…but “whatevs”!
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Not a clue…but it’s pretty!

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OK….sure. Nice hat.

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Not quite a horse!

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Was willst du von mir?

Well I guess that this is going to be my nice, long letter that I promised that I’d write. I don’t know why I should, though. What have you ever done for me?   Hahaha.  Just kidding!   By the way, the title means “what do you want from me?”.  This was retaliation because my letter to him was titled something like “you are such a twit!” translated into German, because it took him several days to tell me his wallet was lost!   Speaking of German, my language is still coming along pretty well. I definitely think that I’m ahead of the game. My grammar has definitely improved lately. There’s still stuff I need to work on, of course, but it’s getting better. There are still times where I’ll get lost in a conversation, but I usually manage fairly well. A lot of members and people say that I speak very well, so that’s always good to hear. I just really need to start enhancing my vocabulary, but that comes with time, I suppose.

We met our new comp on Thursday. His name is Elder Olson, and he seems like a pretty cool guy. He’s a Philadelphia Eagles fan, though. I do not approve. Anyways he’s a cool guy, and he’s been out here for about a year so grammar wise and vocab wise he’s pretty good at German. I think we’ll all get along well, and will work well together.

So Wednesday was my birthday. Woo!  I’m 20. I don’t feel any older, though. It really didn’t feel like it was my birthday either. It felt like it was a normal day, but people kept telling me Happy Birthday. We went over to the Schröder’s house for lunch like I said we would. It was really fun, because they are awesome. They have the two cutest kids.  Speaking of which, I am proud to say that I am now officially Anita’s (their super incredibly shy but cute two-year-old little girl) best friend. People tried to tell me that it couldn’t be done, but I showed them all just how good I am with kids! Other than her family, I’m pretty much the only person in the ward and probably the world that she likes. She’s funny to watch going through church because she hides her face in her parent’s shoulders and tries not to look at anyone, and if someone tries to say hi to her or anything like that she’ll start crying and freaking out a little bit. Everyone except me. Now she will talk to me and is happy to see me. Last Sunday she kept giving me hugs, climbing on my back, trying to sit on my lap and playing games with me. Then Elder Watson tried to give her a high five and she started crying and ran to her mom. But she does that with everybody. I am just good!  It took me a while, but I won. The rest of the ward doesn’t understand how I did it, and some of them are kind of jealous which I think is funny. Elder Kalt is probably the most jealous. Muahahah! But anyways we went there for my birthday, they made me burritos which was my favorite meal that she’s made us. They were delicious of course! They also made me a tort that said “Zum Geburtstag Elder Cassell! Viva La Texas!” because they always tease me about my Texan pride. Then they gave me a bar of chocolate, and I was happy.

We didn’t do a whole lot else for my birthday.  We did some normal missionary work – contacting, appointments, etc.  I got a card from Grandpa which was cool. I also got to talk to Sister Schwartz (the Mission President’s wife) for a little bit because she calls all of the missionaries on their birthdays. That was really nice. And Elder Kalt gave me a birthday card that said something like “You suck, but it’s not all bad because it’s your birthday!” and then for my present he gave me a cd that he found on the ground the day before, which happened to have a bunch of Indian rap songs. So basically it was the best present ever.  I love my flash drive, by the way. I bought myself a 32 gig one about a month or so ago, and now I have like 3500 songs on it. Some of them are repeats though, because we all share music. So I’ve got a bunch of Disney duplicates and mo tab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) duplicates and what not. I also have a bunch of talks and what not. Also German “Wicked”, which we have all decided is better than the American Wicked. Especially Glinda.  The German one is awesome. So that’s some homework for you, listen to German wicked for fun. Some of the translations are funny. Like “defying gravity” turns into “flying free and weightless”.

So I managed to get my package on Thursday. Elder Kalt was able to get it from the Elder that got it for me in Frankfurt, because they both happened to be in the same city later during transfer day. I’m wearing my Batman watch right now! Thanks for all of the stuff, it’s all pretty dang sweet! Good job! The blanket is a bit small, but I just decided it’s just gonna be the blanket I carry around in the morning when I’m cold, so it works. We have however decided that the 20Q game is kinda lame. It hasn’t guessed very many of the things we thought of which I thought was weird, since my old one used to guess just about anything. But whatevs, it’s still cool. I also got my lightsaber of course, so make sure to tell Kim thanks for me! It’s pretty darned sweet! All the other Elders are pretty jealous, so that makes the evil side of me happy! I definitely think that the watch is my favorite though, so good choice! It has two little buttons on the side though, that we don’t think do anything, so we can’t figure out why they’re there.

There’s not a whole lot of other stuff I can talk about, though. Not a whole lot has happened lately. We get to go to the Zoo with the ward this Saturday, which will probably be fun. Last week we had a ward Sommerfest party. That was fun, we got to wear normal clothes and hang out and play games with the ward and the kids in the ward. We played a little water balloon baseball thing where the members had to hit a water balloon with a “baseball bat” basically a stick. That was funny. Germans don’t know how to swing a bat. Then some of the kids and I tied up Elder Kalt and through water balloons at him. That was fun. Elder Brown I think has a bunch of those pictures, so I’ll try and get him to send them to me. I’ll also try and get some of the birthday pictures that the others took at some point.

So yeah, that’s how life is going over here in good ol’ Deutschland. I miss you guy a bunch. Mainly Huba.  (“Huba” is our dog’s nickname).  But I’m having fun here and I am always busy doing something, so I don’t really get homesick. I do miss you guys though! I made a joke with the Schröders about how if I was at home my family would shove my face in the cake (this is a tradition we have had in our family since my mother, Austin’s Grandmother put her face in her own cake when she was one!). They thought that was weird. Germans. So yeah, I miss y’all a ton, and that definitely includes you my most dear and silly mother. Thanks for all of the awesome presents! Try not to miss me too much, but I know that’s impossible because I’m so awesome.

Love ya lots!

Your favorite son in the whole world
Elder Austin Cassell

Random Dialogue

Austin did not have time to write an official blog letter this week.  We happened to wake up (thanks to a thunderstorm) about the time Austin (“Elder Cassell”) was emailing, so we were able to exchange a few short emails.  So this week’s blog post will just be a few random bits and pieces from those emails.  He promised a good one next week!  The rest of this post will be fragments of our dialog.  I apologize for the “chopiness”, but wanted to at least get something posted for this week.  After all, it IS his BIRTHDAY week!

Transfers are this week, and Austin and Elder Watson will be staying together in Saarbrücken.  I asked him if he was disappointed that he did not get a transfer.

“Nah, it’s all good. I wanted to stay here in Saarbrücken, so I’m happy about that.  Elder Watson and I get along well enough that I’ll enjoy this transfer. Elder Kalt will be getting a new companion.  Elder Brown was transferred to Frankfurt as a Tech Elder. “

Do your companions or does anyone know it’s your birthday?  What are you doing today for your P-Day?

Yeah, they all know. So does the ward. The Schröder family is having us come over on Wednesday to celebrate.  She’s making me her Peruvian Burritos. I’m exited!  And I have no idea what we’re doing today. It’s Elder Brown’s last P-Day here, so we’re letting him choose.   Then the Deutsch’s are taking us to all you can eat pizza.  My life is miserable here, isn’t it?

Asked about if he received any Birthday cards & his package that I sent (which has been stuck in the mission home for over a week!):
I got a card from Grammy, one from TX Grandma, and one from Brock and Sarah.   Nope, haven’t received the package yet.  I’m probably gonna get it next Tuesday. One of the Elders in my district is going to Frankfurt to pick up his new Golden, and will bring it back to me.  So he does that on Thursday, and then I’ll see him next Tuesday for district meeting.
Tell me one interesting thing that happened this week since you are not giving me a proper email!   (Unfortunately – this first one was NOT the kind of story I had in mind!!!!)

Well you wanna know about something else that happened this week. This is an excellent segue into something else that I needed to tell y’all.

So guess who lost his wallet with all of his debit cards and drivers license this week? Yeah, me. So my wallet fell out of my pocket this last Wednesday while we were on a bus. I realized that it was gone after about thirty seconds after we got off, so we were able to track down the same bus since it looped around about 3 minutes later. But somewhere between those five minutes somebody stole my wallet. So yeah. That was awesome. I didn’t have more than $15 of mission and personal money in it, so that’s good. But sometime this week can you try and send me a new license, and cancel my two debit cards and send me new ones? Sorry to be a pain in the butt. I blame the dishonest people of Germany. 

Something actually really cool happened Sunday.  I started fasting on Saturday, and was praying and fasting for a special experience at church on Sunday. We went through the first two hours of church, and nothing extraordinary or different had happened, so I was feeling a little let down. The Deutsch’s weren’t even there. Then a member came up to me and Elder Watson and told us that there was an investigator in the chapel.  We were confused because we only had one investigator, and we didn’t think that he would come to church. We went into the chapel and saw a young man sitting towards the back with Elder Kalt and Elder Brown.  I recognized him, but could not remember where I knew him from. Then it hit me. He had come up to Elder Watson and I the previous Monday while we were walking on the street, and had told us that he had been a foreign exchange student in Arizona, where he had lived with a member family.  He knew a good amount about the church. We didn’t really get to talk with him then because he just kind of left, but we thought it was just cool to meet such a nice guy.  So Elder Kalt talked with him for a while, and apparently he had also seen the other two Elders walking on the street, and decided that he had seen two different groups of Elders in one week, and that was a sign from God. So he went online to find out where and when our ward met, and decided to come.  He also really liked it, and said that next week he will come for all three hours.  Also, the Deutsch’s did come during the opening song in sacrament, and Sister Deutsch brought her younger sister. Apparently Sister Deutsch’s sister is interested in the church, and we are going to have an opportunity to work with her.  It was just a really cool experience that really strengthened my testimony about prayer and fasting.

Well yeah, I gotta go. Sorry I can’t write a proper letter this week, I’ll make sure to write an awesome letter next week! I love you guys!

Love your favorite son!

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