Chestnuts Roasting

Monday, October 24, 2016

This week began with the Vreugdenhills, on the mist-blanketed top of Kalenberg.  We watched their little dog race ahead through the leaf-strewn path, and squinted over the edge of the mountain where the view of Vienna was devoured by white nothingness.  

We wore thick coats and gloves whilst we pointed at the villas of millionaires, explored the chapel built as a wedding gift to Empress Sissi, and stood reverently on the hill where Austria was dedicated.  The steaming bowl of soup (and not to mention the birthday cake!) was definitely welcome  afterwards. While home is hot as 97, it's been dipping down daily into the 40s here. 

I'll admit, this week flew by and I can't remember much to report. But along with getting caught in the rain, traveling around town giving stake conference invitations to those who haven't been to church in a while, and waiting 30 minutes for a guy who never showed up (#ithappensmorethanyouthink), here are some random   
Notable Notes: 
- We accidentally went to the U.N. when trying to find stake conference

- Chestnuts roasting on an open fire are a legit thing.  So are gingerbread cookies and Christmas lights in October! #canitbedecemberalready . 
- We had eating appointments with SEVEN MEMBER FAMILIES (and it was even actually supposed to be nine!).  Our ward is the best!  I love getting to know them.  Our conversations ranged everywhere from Christmas traditions to the low food supply during Depression/War times to phycological tricks like the Linker Method which help you remember long lists of random words.  
Friday was exchange with Sister McClellan as well as Teodora's birthday dinner and YSA waffle night.  We agreed that that evening was the awkwardest of awkward, a comedy of mishaps, an utter social disaster.  But even despite the hour-late guest, the stolen food and all the absurdities in between, the night was salvaged when (after we got home) our sweet friend whom we had invited texted us saying that she had had a fun time and that she was grateful for us. Awwww!
- We ran into another friends on the subway TWICE this week.  We also ran into one of our members twice.  This city is so huge I don't know why it happens.
- Is there a third Divergent movie out or something because I thought I saw it out on DVD at the store.... I didn't even know they had so much as a PREVIEW out for that thing. Have I really been out that long?
- There were five sisters in the apartment on Saturday night. Ya know, spontaneous exchanges, like my third transfer.  'Twas fun.

- I have been getting nineties songs stuck in my head all week.  Don't ask me why, all I listen to is Christian Rock and EFY music.
- During language study I finished reading the German Old Testament's Book of Tobit.  I have been thoroughly entertained, and only slightly weirded out.
- We had an appointment where we talked about the Plan of Salvation, which is my favorite gospel topic.  I know it for sure helps ME understand this crazy world a little better!

Well this week we had stake conference, so all the members in this half of Austria had the chance to meet at the huge Austria Center Vienna.  The highlight for me was listening to a British member of the Seventy.  To loosely quote him: 
"You may be kind and they will be rude.  Be kind anyway.  You may be happy and they will be jealous. Be happy anyway.  You may be honest and they will cheat you.  Be honest anyway.  You may give your best and it will never be enough.  GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY."
I invite you this week to be your best self, to continue working hard and seeking Christlike-attributes no matter what the world throws back at you. You have so much potential, don't let it be squandered by those who try to tell you otherwise.
As he finished, "In the end it's between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway." 

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