Monday, January 2, 2012

January in Germany

 Hi All!

So I am here in Celle. It was a four hour train ride here from Berlin. My new companion and trainer is Sister Stewart. She is from south Jordan, Utah and is really awesome. So a little about Celle...a Sister previous to me left me a history book about Celle and I've been reading it to get an idea of the city. Celle is what you would think of when it comes to a little German town. In Innenstadt (the city center) there are a lot of half-timber houses that are stores on the bottom and apartments on top. There are lots of cobble stone roads. So Celle was first mentioned in historical records as Kellu in 993 AD and considered part of lower Saxony. The book about Celle says there are about 70,000 inhabitants but Sister Stewart and I aren't sure where all those people are hiding. The Duke of Celle had a daughter, Sophie Dorothea and she was married to Prince George Ludwig of Hanover who was later crowned King George I of Great Britain. Cool huh? Celle has the oldest surviving tavern in Lower Saxony from 1378 and the man responsible for our modern techniques in agriculture, Albrecht von Thaer, did all his experiments here in Celle. There is a large statue of him on your way to the Bahn, I’ll be sure to get a picture of him. The oldest theatre in Germany is in Celle. Sister Stewart and I plan to go and find it some other p-day a long with a church that was built around year 1000 and has a 700 year old bronze baptismal font. 

             Our main mode of transportation here is by bicycle and I love it! It’s such a nice change from sitting inside all day long to riding a bike everywhere you go. In Germany there are bike lanes on the sidewalks and sometimes in the roads. Bike riders are really respected here. Sister Stewart said that bikes get the right of way most of the time. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to ride around in a skirt but it actually hasn't been too bad. My first full day of riding, it began to down pour on our way to an appointment. As I was riding I was thinking how painful rain is when you're riding the way the wind is blowing it. And then a piece of ''rain'' fell into my mouth and I realized it was hail. That sure was fun :) When we got to our appointment I was nervous to sit on this mans leather chairs for fear of leaving a wet spot, just like Mr. Willaby in Sense and Sensibility.

             Finding people on the street is really fun. I like striking up conversations with people just to get to know them but also to talk to them about the gospel. I approached one man in Innenstadt and introduced our selves and talked about Christ and he said to me as he was walking away, ''No English''. Sister Stewart yelled back, ''Its DEUTSCH''. It was funny. She said that the man was just a good example of German humor.  A lot of people seemed to be shocked with my size. We went to visit a member of the ward who has some mental disabilities and she said as she saw me, ''man she's little!’’ Germans are very blunt. You've got to learn not to be offended. 

Yesterday was my first Sunday and that I think was the most nerve racking. I can understand the gist of things in lessons but I miss out on all the drama between the members. Sister Stewart catches me up on it later though :) I stood up in sacrament and introduced myself and told the ward that I was looking forward to working with them. I made friends with a little old lady in the ward after church. Old people and little kids are the most fun to talk to. They don't judge how you speak the language and they enjoy the conversation. For dinner last night we went to the Stiegelmeier's. They're a really fun family. The mum is from Spain and so she and the three kids all speak Spanish, German, and English perfectly. The dad speaks English and German. So the dinner table has German and English constantly flying around it. A lot of Danglish, which is really nice for someone, like me still trying to be able to converse better. When Sister Stiegelmeier wants to chastise her kids then she pulls out the Spanish. It’s really fun and very entertaining. Sister Stiegelmeier reminds me of auntie Jean.

I'm feeling much better. I didn't eat real food until Saturday so I’m feeling much better. I think it was food poisoning from the food the fed us the first night, but no one else got sick. Maybe my body just didn't like it. Anyways, Hope all is well!! Love you!

-Ariel Nell

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