Monday, October 10, 2016

365 days ago I celebrated turning 19 by exploring the glitzy tropics of Waikiki.  With bare feet and sandy hair I asked Lexi if we could scout out the Cheesecake Factory and try the pumpkin flavor cheesecake, even if just to get a tiny taste of fall while living living on an island in the middle of the ocean.

Last year in Waikiki, Oahu on my 19th Birthday!
This year my breath crystallized and my boots crunched on cobblestone whilst I lost myself in the grandeur of Franz Joseph's glorified city. Truly there is nothing like autumn in Vienna, where the auburn trees provide contrast against the bright architecture.  With the rest of our district we tasted the famed Sache Torte Cake, entered the ancient Stephansdom and saw the city from upside down at Prater Amusement Park.  I couldn't have been happier for the inbox full of emails, the mailbox full of packages, or the cute hearts Sister Slack left all over my desk.  Missionaries treated me to blueberry pancakes and pumpkin muffins and later tonight we are meeting Baagii downtown!  Honestly, it's just crazy how much everything changes in a year.

There are some days as a missionary where you will be out in the chilled rain, your nose red, your fingers numb, with nothing to do other than just talk to anyone who will listen. After one finding session I was admittedly happy as we were turning the corner into our apartment complex, after all I was cold and tired. But I saw a guy walking quite a ways off and had a feeling that I should talk to him. "Nah," I told myself. "I'm already home." As Sister Slack started opening the door I felt again like we should keep walking to talking to him. "He probably wouldn't wanna listen anyway," I justified. Then as I walked into the building and she pushed the button for the elevator, I could feel it in my gut and it was like a voice shouting in my head, "YOU NEED TO TALK TO HIM!" "Sister Slack, come with me!" I said quickly. I am so grateful that we were given the extra courage to talk to just this one more person... Because we have since met with him, and he is amazing. To think if we had chosen to follow the desires of the "natural man" to just go home and kick our shoes off rather than follow the prompting... Wow.

Some other notable notes:

On Thursday we taught the German class where we played the question game, and then later all the missionaries got together had a game night. We had a number of people we invited show up and it was such a blast for everyone!
- Sister Slack had the unfortunate mishap of standing under a bird whilst we were talking to a lady in the park...... I was really proud at how well she managed to keep her cool despite all the yuckiness that landed in her hair.
- We visited a Turkish mart, where hundreds of vendors lined up together on a street so packed that one could hardly move. My eyes could hardly absorb all the colors (of food, tapestries, and jewelry alike!) and the aroma of exotic spices hanging in the air was delicious! We bought a couple of things: Baklava, hummus, and this savoury pastry stuffed with feta and spinach.

- We celebrated Baagii's birthday! She is the BEST.  One day when I am an RM I will just return to Vienna and lay on her floor.
- European holiday milk drinks should be on your bucket list. The apple-cinnamon-caramel flavour literally tastes like the epitome of fall.  Also, the world can take a lesson from the Viennese fall fashion. They all look like they came from a magazine. One of the elders mentioned how happy was that it is acceptable for manly men to wear scarves here haha.
- We have gotten back in contact with 4 people whom I met with when I was a golden. So excited to see them again soon!

365 days ago I was a design student who spent her time studying, socializing and swimming with sea turtles. A year later I find myself, remarkably, speaking a foreign sprache with strangers on a subway. The most astounding thing about that concept is that 365 days from now I will no longer even be wearing a name badge.  Time kinda just has this weird way of going fast-slow, but I think if we try to live in the moment than we can truly find the greatest satisfaction.  I loved the talk this past General Conference about finding joy even despite all the difficulties.  As a missionary, yes rejection and homesickness can be hard.  But we missionaries also learn to take so much joy in the little things: an example for me, getting texts from people who said they have felt happiness since meeting with us. Being joyful doesn't necessarily mean that your life is easy, but that you are doing what you can to give your best in the moment.

Mosiah 2:41

41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Have a beautiful week!

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