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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

First Look at Utah from a South African

Good Afternoon!!! From Utah :) I know its about Midnight for most of you ;P

Just to start I got my MTC postal address:

Sister Karen Marie Hollander
2009 N 900 E Unit 142
Provo UT 84602

If you would like to send me a letter or something please use it's FREE. I will only be able to reply probably once I'm out in the field or I will post a reply because of limited time in the MTC - PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR POSTAL address if I decide to post a letter back. (Postal time approx 2 weeks)

So just to give you a breakdown of my tome here in Utah so far (Which might turn more into a journal entry - might be the last of it's kind since I have the time now I will use it)

The flight to the States was a long one!!! Think I finally arrived in Utah at 10 45 SLC Time after missing my connecting flight from Dallas to Salt Lake. I'm Soooooo grateful that Elder and Sister Leavett were there and also missed the same connecting flight!! (They a Couple missionary returning home from working in the mission office in jhb - returning to St George side of all places) - shame they bought me dinner and everything though I still have left overs from that meal!! - we had the same flight from JHB but a different flight from London, and the same flight from Dallas. Crazy how we BOTH missed it! They were lucky to have fast track passes to get through immigration, customs and TSA quickly - but their flight landed an hour after mine. I had 3 LOOOONG ques to get through it was just madness!! Part of the maddness was because about 6 flights all landed at the same time. about 3 from London and one from Mexico one from Tokyo and another smaller one.

It was so great to eventually see the Porters (For those of you who don't know the Porters served their mission at our institute building and so have become second parents to me, they are absolutely incredible! It was just too fun talking to them about South Africa on the drive home. I really could talk to them for days - which has been happening so I am not home sick, though I think they are a bit. I only got about 3.5 hours in after I got to the Porters. 

It's great to be in Mormonville and see saints everywhere - you cannot believe how cool it is to see people dress modestly in this heat. Also to see all the Temples in a half-hour trip through the valley they really are beacons here.

Friday we went to the Salt Lake Temple. It was just wonderful!! Live sessions are not weird, they actually give more insight and more symbolism that I didn't think about before which was great. For those of you who don't know what Mormon Temples are and what happens inside have a look at this link & video:
It really describes it better than I ever could.

After the temple we had lunch at the lion house and had my fist taste of honey butter - it's quite awesome. Also had a go at the american creme soda. and well it's definitely NOTHING like our green ambulance back home but I had to try it :) anyway the food was great!

We then headed to the beehive house which was the home of the Prophet Brigham Young. What was crazy here was as I walked in one of the sisters asked if I was going on a mission. - It was possible that I could have been a non member (I guess highly unlikely since we all had just come from the temple in Church attire but still) Was great to meet them and have them take us on the tour - It is just amazing the spirit you feel around these sisters - I think they have a tough time having to take people on tours and keep the same spirit through the repetitiveness of it throughout their time there. But they do. It was also incredible to see how much Brigham young did with his hands. How he found the time for it I have no clue.

We then started on Temple Square with the Assembly hall and the Tabernacle Both have amazing architecture and the acoustics in the Tabernacle are impressive - would love to be there when they have a performance or something of that kind. 

The North Visitors Center have too many buttons I just wanted to push all of them! But the day was ending and i was pretty exhausted so we called it a day.

Saturday: we went to a Mountian Man Rendezvous in Wyoming (YAY now I can say I have been in another State beside Utah! haha) It was lots of fun! We went with a couple that The Porters served with in JHB, the Bakers were the PEF couple. They are so much fun and Sister baker is so adventurous  she dressed up and everything. Google it if you want to know more. I have posted some Pics on Picssa web albums and commented on each of the pictures the link is below.

After a long day I went and met the Sister Missionary who found and converted my parents to this amazing gospel. Sister Jill Hadley Neilson. 

Such an amazing women with an equally amazing family! they were just so wonderful and fun. She took me around BUY campus (which is HUGE by the way) and we stopped at the creamery for some ice cream while waiting for a man to get out his car so we could get in ours we were busy talking about South Africa and all of a sudden he starts joining in! Turns out he is the Son-in Law to Elder and Sister Bricknel (Adams is his last name) It was so amazing to just randomly meet someone and immediately be able to make a connection to home. (with Natalie and Cuen Bibb in My home ward)

Sunday: was privileged enough to watch music and the spoken word live with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir  It was absolutely incredible! Breathtaking musical talent in the orchestra as well as the choir.

We only had sacrament at 1. There was a police officer that got killed Sunday morning in Draper (where I'm staying) so almost all church meetings got canceled in the area. And it was in lock down pretty much. interesting how this are affected in different areas in the world.

We went to Jill for dinner and had a South African Reunion. Had Luke and his wife over and later on the missionaries came for desert - one of which is an Elder from SOUTH AFRICA (Bedfordview) Elder Ramos serving in Salt lake South Mission. I had never before met or seen him before. But we still had a good long chat about South Africa. Funny is though how Elder John Eppel is currently serving with his brother in Birmingham mission! How crazy is that!? all happening over the same weekend pretty much. Well we had a good time.

Interesting Story: Sister Jill Hadley (at the Time) Found my Parents and taught them - they eventually got baptized  Elder Neilson (at the time) found and converted Lukes dad. Now about 23 years later Luke served his mission in Utah, Ogden and I'm about to embark on m journey to Utah St George Mission. Luke and I are 6 Days apart in age. What a rejoices time for the Neilson's, Hollander's and Mockes.

Ok So I'm sure you would love to know about all the differences I have found and how I'm adjusting.

  • So far I have still got my accent!!!!! =D I am however picking up the tone that they agree to everything with. Some phrases that seem to be the norm atm for the younger generation is after anything you say they say "gotcha" Its interesting to say the least haha.
  • Automatic flushing toilets!! Yes they catch me like everytime!!! It's a strange one but it's so funny - I get a fright. It doesn't seem to be all public toilets but most of them.
  • Heat is very dry! I tried wearing contacts on Friday and my contacts were so dry when I took them out at the end of the day.
  • Number plates - They don't make logical sense like in jhb. Every State has it's own number plate but seems like if you don't like the look of the new number plate you can just keep your old one with your new car... hmmm...
  • Some of the Cars have red indicators - no one seems to know what I'm talking about lol Never saw that in JHB.
  • YES driving on the right side of the road freaks me out a bit!! I have been here a few days and I still get caught once we turn from a one way into a two way! :| But according to Elder Ramos he still gets into the car on the left side being the designated driver out of habbit so It might stick for a while still haha. Eish.
  • Food is too much EVERYWHERE. Portion sizes are rediculaous and rather expensive I would say.
  • Street address and roads are confusing me but I will get the hang of it. (100 South, 300 West - those are road names... and they are actually spelled 1000 South and 3000 West... go look at a map of salt lake. There is method in the naming it like that, starting with main street anything west starts with 1st west (10 west) etc.
  • No one is worried about safety. I left something in Jills car and asked if she could quickly open it I could get it and she was like "Oh I never lock my Car" and coming home to the porters the front door was open but I would still knock to get inside, expecting it to be locked.
All my photos can be viewed here

Hope all is well back home and congrats if you made it to the end of this email ;)
All My Best,

Sister Hollander
St. George, Utah Mission

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sis Hollander - I need to confess that I did not make it to the end of your email! BUT, what I read is incredible and I just want to let you know that we'll be thinking and praying for you on your mission. You are a special person and we wish you all the best - enjoy it, learn much, make your parents proud (we know you will) and come back safely! May Heavenly Father bless you now and for the months ahead! Keep well. Sis Christine Maritz, Roodepoort.