Monday, September 23, 2013

Living life in foster care

You know, I always wondered what it would be like to be in foster care...(actually, just kidding, I haven't). But I feel as if I have been in foster care for this past week. From companions to companions and area to area. After being with the sisters in Fier I went to my area, beautiful Lushnje (I was companions with Motra Bott on the drive over). There I met up with Motra Hawkins and her trainee, Motra Smith. We worked the area for a couple days before I was to receive my mini. We had a lot of fun. I had never met Motra Smith but she is way fun. She has some crazy bad luck...but we were able to laugh about those funny misfortunes. We had a straight up fshat meal. (fshat is the word for little village). I ate the freshest chicken I have ever had in my life. We had a lesson with one family and they invited us for lunch but we had another lesson but we told them we would come back. Well, when we left their house the first time that chicken was walking around outside. After we came back and left again that chicken was in our bellies. It was delicious. Motra Hawkins took me around Lushnje and showed me where people live, I just hope that I can remember! Most of it was in the dark...and my direction skills are.. how would you say it? Kotë? But yes 'twas a lovely time. It was neat to serve with them and we had lots of fun.

Well Thursday came around and we had a Zone Conference. It was fun to see everyone (and Durrës is in the South Zone so I got to see my friends!) It was a good training and I learned lots. I want to be better about goals, com One of the things that I learned was that the APs were not able to get me a mini and that I was to go back to Durrës with M.Hawkins and M.Smith. I tried to go to Kosovo with the STLs but no one went for that...(they were going up to Kosovo for a training the next day). But it was way fun to be back in Durrës for a couple days. I love that place. 

I got picked up Saturday morning by the STLs to go back to Fier until Monday when they would hopefully have a mini for me. Then I got a call on Sunday that it is proving rather difficult to find a mini for me... (I guess they all found out I sent my last companion home for health problems...too scared to come be my companion...bëj shaka!) Anyways, looks like I'll be here for another week. You know, just another normal day in foster care. Its gotten to the point that I can't really remember who I was with for certain things (food, people, places...its all mixed up). But yeah, its all part of the job description. I'm still loving being a missionary, no matter where I am at.

Oh funny story! I can't remember if I shared it or not but here I go again. It still cracks me up. So I was with Motrat Hoover and Wendt and we were visiting this less active member. After the lesson she has us come meet her old parents that she takes care of. We met the man first, he told us he was 100 years old! What the ancient! Albanians don't seem to live that long! Especially not Albanian men! I was shocked and amazed. But the best part is that when we found out how old he was Motra Wendt says to him "Edhe një qind" which being interpreted is "Even 100 more" or something like that. Usually you say this on/around birthdays and such. Anyways, he just busts up laughing. He though it was hilarious. Don't get me wrong, I thought it was  funny, but my favorite part was how much HE loved it. Oh, how I love these Albanian people.

Speaking of loving this Albanian people. Yesterday (I think it was yesterday) we met with another less active member and she had her TV on and there was some traditional Albanian music playing. I can't exactly remember what  happened but then next minute we were holding hands dancing in a line around her was GREAT! I love dancing and Albanians...what more could you ask for?

Side note: A cool thing about being in different trios is seeing how other people do things and to just see how they teach. I've learned a lot this past week. I really don't mind being in this crazy moment-to-moment-changing situation. Its edgy, ya know? I like keepin' things fresh. I like change.

Here's to another week of unpredictable-ness! Living life on the edge! Bring it on! The church is true! 

Ju dua! 
Motra Curtis

P.s. I had lots of fun pictures to send but I forgot my card reader in Lushnjë! Sad day. Next week! Kismet. 

Monday, September 9, 2013


Well, here I am in Lushnje! Its a lot smaller than Durres, but I absolutely love it already. The very first day we were riding down in a fergon with my stuff in the back. We stopped to pick up this man and his goat. They just put the goat in the back and carry on. You could hear the goat as we drove (poor kid...get it? goat, kid? bahaha...anyways). But yeah, never a normal day in Lushnje.

The missionaries are definitely a lot more involved with the branch. We do mutual on Wednesdays for the Young Woman and we also play soccer with the youth on Saturday (we didn't play this week because Motra Wait has not been feeling well) but I"m very excited for that. I'm hoping I can convince them to want to play Ultimate Frisbee as well...we shall see. Church is only 2 hours because its smaller and most people leave after Sacrament Meeting anyways, but we'll get there! Its been interesting trying to meet with people. I guess Motra Wait has never had so many people not be able to meet, hopefully I didn't bring bad luck! Also, church attendance was unusually low this week. I actually gave a talk, I tried to make it as long as I could but it was only 10 minutes. It was funny, as I got to the end where I was speaking without notes I looked up and there was a group of older women that were just giggling! Hand over mouth and everything. But hey, if they remember how bad I was when I started here, hopefully they will notice drastic improvement. 

Motra Wait is such a patient teacher with me and the language. She is way good at explaining principles to me and then helping me practice with them. I already feel like I've improved so much! Also, since we are both relatively new in the country we have a lot to learn and we'll be learning it together. It will be interesting to see how we progress with the language and teaching and all that. We haven't been able to do too much these past few days because she's been feeling under the weather, but it gives me more time to study the language! Also, I'm not sure if this is just a side effect of her being sick and all, but she thinks I'm so funny! She laughs at my jokes! I love it! Maybe she is just being nice, but it sure makes her easy to love! It doesn't hurt that she is quite the hilarious person herself. I think we will have lots of fun together this transfer. Lushnje is definitely a new area with new challenges, but I'm excited. 

Also, the apartment here in Lushnje is hands down the nicest apartment I have ever lived it. I don't even want to send pictures because this is not the norm! Its a new apartment so everything is new but it is also pretty empty. They just recently got a microwave before I got here. But its fun, you just have to get more creative with some things. The main room has big beautiful windows! I love light! And the view is amazing. Not a bad place to be for the next 4 months.

I love the youth here, super nice they are. Okay, maybe I love them everywhere, but I do love them here! They don't seem to mind repeating themselves multiple times...and some of them know English. They were super nice to me after my talk and told me they understood it. I'm still getting to know people but they all seem great. I'm excited to get to know them better. I'm excited for this week! 

Till next time!
Motra Curtis

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I'm going South for the winter...

Exciting things happening this week!

Transfer calls came this week, last night in fact. It was a rather thrilling experience, lots of anticipation. We were expecting the call after 9:30 but at about 8:30 we get a call from President. We were about to start a lesson (ok, we actually answered it because we were only small talking and it was from PRESIDENT on TRANSFER NIGHT) But we explained that we were about to start a lesson so he said he would call back. AHHH!! He finally did. Motra Wheelock went first. She is going to Kosovo with Motra Robertson (who was in my MTC group, I love her, she is so nice!). As for me. I'm going down to Lushnjë to be with Motra Wait (who was also in my MTC group and I absolutely love her - a stellar missionary she be). I can't wait! Get it? Motra WAIT..can't WAIT! Haha. Oh, it never gets old....

Anyways, I'm super excited to serve with her. But I'm also sad to be leaving Durrës! I LOVE Durrës! The members here are fantastic! I can't even begin to explain how much I love them. They have been so patient and kind to me. They just love. Its not hard to love people when they love you. Durrës is just a great place to be! The city is fun, the people are great, and we're right next to the sea. I'll miss this place. But I might come back! Motra Wheelock got trained here, left and then came back to train here. Motra Hawkins got trained here, left and is now coming back to train here. We're getting 9 new sisters in January and its pretty certain that my MTC group will be maybe I'll come back and train here! We'll see. 

It rained on Tuesday. A lot. We had district meeting that morning but didn't think to bring our umbrellas. When we first left it wasn't raining. But then we stopped to get byrekë...and it went from a light sprinkle to pouring rain. We tried to wait it out a little. Finally we accepted our fate and got soaked on our way home. It was fun, we danced, jumped, skipped in the rain. When we came back out we were in new dry clothes (with umbrellas this time). It didn't really rain much more but the roads were covered in rain. Normally that wouldn't be a huge problem...but they have death traps here in the roads! Not really death traps, but they have these square holes in the road close to the curb (usually). Its not hard to avoid them when you can see them but when there is water covering them...if you step in one of those...sometimes they are pretty deep. So that was a fun adventure. 

When we got to our investigators house that evening the road up to her house was completely covered in water. Sometimes the Lord parts the water...sometimes he lets you walk through it. We walked through it. We couldn't really see how deep it was, so I went first and it came up about halfway to our knees. So yeah, that was fun.

I also have to mention food: I also had the most amazing ice cream this week. I love hazelnut. Its great. Understatement. Its fantastic! But I've never had hazelnut ice cream. I had some this week. Changed my life. Enough said.

Also, on our way home one night we passed by this concert. From what I could tell they were celebrating the city of Durrës. It was awesome! The elders were there too, one of their investigators is head of the organization that was putting it on. Durrës is just an awesome city! Imma gonna miss it. 

I loved my missionary District here in Durrës. We had 2 senior couples, 2 sets of elders and us. We had a lot of fun together. I did make a rap about them, kinda like what we would do for the missionaries back home. I wrote it for them, I don't know that everyone will appreciate it as much and some of the words are in Albanian. But so that you can know a little more about my awesome district, I included it. Some of the words don't technically rhyme and its not super consistent but when you say it- you just fit it to the beat. Its goes something like: 

Durrës District Rap

Now here's a little rap that I got to tell
its about the missionaries that you know so well.
We all got lucky and to Durrës we were sent.
We all have different ways but in Durrës we were meant.
Now let me introduce them each to you
you'll see why I love them and you will too.

First there's Elder Bott, he makes the numbers right,
he loves the people dearly, with them he's really tight.
The service that he renders comes from within his heart,
even mastering the language does not teach you that art.

Then there's Sister Bott, they make a lovely pair,
there's never any doubt about her love and care. 
An incredible example, yeah, she also plays ball.
With girl parties, help & service, always giv'n it her all.

Elder Andrus is street smart, he knows them by their names.
He got a lucky call and came here to play games.
Just kidding he works hard - the youth love him a lot.
In the hearts of all these people, he'll always have a spot.

Sister Andrus is with him, for the youth she came as well.
She loves them and they love her, its something you can tell.
For all the things she does, you can't give it a number,
and her delicious ginger cookies I always will remember.

Elder Anderson's an oldie, he will die before the rest,
but he's stellar at the language you can put him to the test.
He be chill'n like a villain with the locals e'ry day
If he gets this geg stuff down, I won't know a word he say.

Elder Reber is a climber if a wall is in sight.
If you punch him in the car, I don't know, he might fight.
A storyteller and a joker, the people love that too.
He'd love to help you out...if you want a Nike shoe.

Elder Foster runs the court, he's the leader of the group
and he does it by example, inspiring the troop.
He's not a llafazaner, what he says is worthwhile,
to the people that he serves he brings a happy smile.

Elder Harlow is the brit and an awfully good sport.
He still came to our picnic, to celebrate the forth.
He's a fun one to tease and he rocks the socks off ping pong.
When it comes to the work, he be ownin' it like King Kong.

Motra Wheelock is a walker, she goes spejty speijt
When it comes to the preaching, she tells it to you straight.
She likes to have fun and on her head balance books.
When it comes to her hairs, they be attracting looks.

Now we want to help these people so we gotta get to work
put our shoulder to the wheel, now don't you shirk.
As people join the fold this place will grow.
Soon the Durrës ward that we love and know.
So come on and help us move the work along.
You heard it right here on the Durrës District song.   

Well, that's about it for today. That's whats going on in my life. Lots of change. That's what. Tune in for next week: Lushnjë! I'll be there tomorrow...weird. The elders there already called me...I have a talk on Sunday. Welcome to missionary life! 

Missionaries change areas. Missionaries arrive. Missionaries go home. The work goes forward. And the best part is, you don't have to be a missionary to do missionary work (that's what our Sunday School lesson was about yesterday). Be a missionary!

Paqe dhe bekimet!
Motra Curtis