Wednesday December 28
Lesson learned: DO NOT drop your car keys from a second floor window or balcony! Who knew, right!?? So, my dear Elder went outside and forgot his keys. He buzzed up and asked that I "throw" his keys down. "I'll just bring them to you" I sweetly said, although the idea of throwing them down was much more appealing and he knew it! "No,just throw them down" he said, not wanting to cause me any trouble as he is so wont to do. I obediently (wink) went to the balcony outside our living room and threw them to him. I didn't want them to land on his head since they were rather heavy and so I aimed for a bit in front of him, and indeed they missed his outstretched hands and landed with a clanging heavy sound on the pavement. "Oh my, I hope that didn't damage the key" I said with a feeling of horror. And off he went. Later, as we got into the car to run our errands, the car wouldn't start. After several calls to the mission office in Berlin and the Opal dealer we realized that indeed the keys were damaged! We felt like foolish children. The only spare key was in Berlin 3 hours away and the cheapest plan was for my dear Elder  to take the train (70 euros) round trip to the mission office to pick up the key. But he had the brilliant plan to call a member of the church who travels for his job and asked him. No, he wasn't traveling but his daughter was coming up from Berlin to visit on Friday and she would bring the key. Hooray! Expensive crisis diverted, although we will still have to have a new key made which will cost around $100. Ugh. Lesson learned. I hope to spare you that lesson...again, DO NOT DROP CAR KEY FROM HIGH PLACES!!

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016
A day with the Strassenbahn(mass transit)  and adorable sisters

Today since our car key was unavailable, hence our car, we had to do our visiting on the mass transit which is just up the block from our apartment. The missionaries showed us how to get a day pass as it is cheaper and we embarked with our nervous selves for yet another new experience. We spent two hours visiting the three sisters all together and it took us five hours of traveling to do so. There are stops, there are waiting, there is walking then to find each person in these large apartment buildings. I have never seen so many apartment buildings!!
One of the sisters who is Sister Schlunz is 93 year old and the dearest thing. She speaks very slow German, which dear Elder enjoys and speaks no English but is so full of love I feel I can understand her. She said she prays for me every day! She served a mission in 1948 in Germany. I loved her apartment with pictures of her husband who died 18 years ago and treasures gathered from her long life. She lives very simply and comfortably. She had a little table set in front of the couch in the living room with small plates, two knives and a bowl of tangerines and apples. She said that she heard I don't eat sugar or fat:) (actually flour) and thus the fruit. What a dear. What a joy it was to visit with her and we wish we could have stayed longer but we were at the mercy of the strassenbahn and our next appointment. I was pretty cold and weary when we returned to our cozy apartment, but my heart was warm!

We had a lovely Christmas weekend. We ate some definite German meals at a couple of the branch members' homes and then went Christmas caroling. A good time was had by all and we were able to spend time with some lovely people and experience a little more of German culture. The people are so very sweet to us and there a re a few who speak English, but not very many!

It being the elders' Preparation Day the day after Christmas (senior couples can prepare any day they want to) we took them to the Baltic Sea Coast, about 15 minutes by car. It was windy and rainy on the way (gray skies and rain most all of the time here in the winter) but we did get a couple of hours of sun while we were walking around which was nice. The area was pretty full of people...all the tourist shops were closed because Germans celebrate the day after Christmas as a holiday as well. It  was good for me, so we just enjoyed the scenery and being out in the fresh air. The town was quite charming with cobblestone streets and homes and shops 4-500 years old; it truly feels like a step back in time although with all modern conveniences....well, pretty much..hard to find a public restroom and when you do, it usually costs 50 cents to use it!

Tuesday  Gentz and I decided to be big brave dogs and get on the train near our apartment to find a large department store; we know where it is, but have never gone by train. I am looking for a crock pot and a rice cooker..they are not very plentiful here in this area. Neither are large items of food; I do not know how the German saints do their food can buy flour one pound at a time and same with sugar. Needless to say, we go to the store quite often..good thing there are a couple within walking distance. 

Well we eventually made it on the train and realised we paid four dollars to go like a half a mile..we won't do that again and we walked back but at least we had the experience and know how to use it. Gentz has no problem asking questions when he doesn't understand something. His biggest problem over here is driving on these narrow narrow streets and trying to find parking on our street. There is very rarely a spot and when there is one it is way tiny. The mission office will pay for private parking so that is what we will do...there is a parking garage about ten minutes away. Still no crockpot or rice cooker so I will have to rely on Amazon I suppose:))

We are doing well and adjusting. I'm learning to rely on the Lord and my sweet husband more than I ever have in my life and that is a good thing. I am working on learning German, so hopefully in a few months I can at least ask a few questions. I am speaking in sacrament meeting this week, but Gentz will interpret for me. Usually during church, one of the elders interprets for me with headphones. There is another member, Vladimir from the Ukraine who comes with his two little girls and he doesn't speak German very well. Very few speak English; they say because this is East the west more people speak English. Not what I thought, so I'll just have to stretch and grow which is good for the soul AND the brain cells:))


December  2016

Just a few changes in the last two years and I will plan on making blog posts more regularly now! We moved up to Minnesota in August of 2014 into our delightful cabin, decided we could live there at least two years so in January of 2015, sold our sandusky home in Jacksonville and settled into the North Woods. We were able to pay off the cabin and declare ourselves debt free in Feb. of 2015. YAY!!

It was two years of service there in Aitkin, mn. How we came to love that area and all of those dear people in the church and the community! Gentz served as Branch president, I in the Relief Society and helping Mary McGee with her family history. We went to the St. Paul Temple regularly monthly taking members with us and the other times going alone. We traveled to see our kids quite a bit and with Scentsy. Gentz enjoyed long long walks in the woods.I stayed in doors probably more than I should have.  In May of 2016 we decided the time had come to serve a mission. We put our papers in and got the call to serve in the Berlin, Germany mission starting in February of 2017. Gentz was surprised and thrilled...i was thrilled but not at all surprised.

We had a wonderful family reunion in August with nephews and nieces coming from Utah and all of our children there. After they left Gentz, on one of his long walks in the woods and came back saying, "If family is our greatest joy...if we truly believe that, then we need to live near them." He didn't have to say that to me twice since I missed the kids and grandkids so much! Then after a few more days, we decided to put the cabin up for sale if indeed we were going to move near family after the mission..18 month mission by the way. So, we did and it had two offers in three days. 
Once we sold the house, we contacted the mission office to see if they would like us to come early. Yes, they answered about january? We said sure. Then a couple of weeks later they called to see if we could come the first of December and we figured YOU BET! Let's get this show on the road!! So, we had Christmas with the kids the first week of December and headed out to the MTC December 9th. Our mission officially began December 12 with a few days at the mtc and then we landed in Berlin December 17 after one hour sleep on the international flight. We left for Rostock that next Sunday morning since we could hardly sleep anyway and made it in time to get our suitcases into our city apartment and go to church at the Branch where Gentz had been assigned to be Branch President. Oh, and did I mention we went ahead and bought a home in Jacksonville on Bellevue Drive? It's crazy I know but we fell in love with the house and the neighborhood and John and Lily are living in it while we are away.
So, now we are in Rostock, and the rest of these posts will have to do with life in Germany!