Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Great things about Germany

We spent a couple of Mondays driving around the northern part of the mission visiting missionary apartments for inspections. The senior couples in our mission visit the apartments of the young missionaries periodically to determine if anything needs to be addressed and to make sure that the missionaries are keeping the apartment clean and in good order according to mission standards. We love making these visits because we get to interact with them. On this round of inspections, we caught them on their preparation day and took them some chocolate chip cookies we had baked. They are wonderful. They are fresh, full of faith, and determined to do their best. We love them.

Aren't those great faces?

The following things are peculiar to us, but we have come to appreciate them.

It is beautiful when it snows. Okay, we are Texans so it is a novelty for us anyway, but it is really lovely. There hasn't been much snow this winter, so the novelty hasn't had a chance to wear off.
Our first good snow

European Area Office building from our balcony
A walk through the cemetery is nicer than a walk in the park. It is peaceful and quite beautiful. Cemetery plots here are rented, not bought. If you fail to pay the rent or keep up the maintenance, you get evicted. That's strange to an American, but the result is gorgeous cemeteries.
If you don't pay the rent or don't keep up the plot, the management puts a sticker on the tombstone. The yellow one in this case is a "last reminder." Oops.

Selfie on a frozen morning in the cemetery

The ground is white with frost
Architecture is important in Germany. They preserve great architecture in cathedrals and other buildings and monuments. They also love to have every day modern structures with some panache.
Entrance to a subway station near the university and our mission office
Germans post really helpful signs like these.
Sign at the ice dispenser in a McDonald's - step 1. Fill cup with ice cubes. Step 2. Draw your drink from the tap. "Zapfen" usually means to draw beer from a tap, but hey, it's Germany, so it works for soft drinks, too.
Germans - actually Europeans - love French fries (Pommes). Unfortunately, they are not big fans of ketchup.
The "sauce" is actually just a mayo packet. Mayo on fries is growing on us. 
Smart Cars - they are ubiquitous, but they are not Smart because they are economical or great for driving. They are smart because in a country where parking is a continual challenge, you can park one of these anywhere.

Baby carriages have been engineered by the Germans. We have seen all types and varieties. Some are part of a bicycle and are mounted in front or in back. Some have three wheels. Some have four. They are all-weather and children ride in them in built in sleeping bags and in plastic tents when it rains.

Part of our service is with single adults. We meet with them on Monday evenings for family night. The Newmans take turns with us preparing a meal, Elder Newman teaches a self-reliance lesson, and we have an activity. We have grown to love these young people. Many of them are returned missionaries but some are not members of the church. There is always a great spirit present in these get-togethers, and we love spending our Monday evening with them.
A pretty full room on February 1
Young people here are hooked to cell phone, too

A beloved Italian friend who is moving back to Italy

Our sweet French girl Carolin in the center. The other two are German young women - returned missionaries with incredible talents and language ability
Our office is in an upscale part of town near the central financial district and is home to many foreign consular offices (Bosnia-Herzegovina has an office in our building) and law offices. The houses and apartments are expensive. A house across the street has an unusual driveway.
Don't you have a polished granite driveway?
One of the best parts of our missionary service is our association with other senior couples. We have made wonderful friends that we cherish and look forward to our continuing relationship back home.
Walking to dinner on a rainy night

Great conversation after a dinner of pizza and Turkish Döner (similar to Shawarma and super popular here)


  1. Love seeing your pictures, thanks for sharing!

  2. Love seeing your pictures, thanks for sharing!

  3. Has Sister Balls arrived? I'm looking for her in your pictures :)

  4. Has Sister Balls arrived? I'm looking for her in your pictures :)