Mormon Mission World

Monday, March 12, 2012

In Bulgaria

We flew into Sofia on Thursday evening after a long day of travel. We had been sufficiently weighed, scanned and wanded everywhere we went. There was no direct flight from Riga to Sophia so we had a layover in Vienna where I so wanted to see something neat but it was very cloudy and we might as well have been landing in Detroit. But as we flew out of Vienna on Austrian Air there was sweet music playing over the intercom -- the Viennese Waltz. How appropriate! That was the best part!

  The Mission President, President Roth, and his wife were there with smiling faces to meet us at the airport. They took us to the office for a quick staff meeting and then to our new home just a block away. I had a little trouble with the soviet era elevator. It looks like a closet. 

                                     The moving closet, otherwise know here as an elevator

I got on with several of our bags which left no room for anyone else. Sister Roth told me to push button #2 for my floor and she would meet me there. In the meantime a fellow on the 4th or 5th floor called the elevator which responded to his request by taking me to the higher floor. Not knowing what floor I was on, I got off so he could get on and down he went to the 2nd floor where I had requested it to go. It seems it was designed to be responsive, if not efficient. I could hear Sister Roth and Elder Segeberg the lower floor talking and wondering where I had gone and how I had turned into a Bulgarian man. So back into the moving closet I got (which was not as easy since it had stopped a little high so I had to pull all three bags up over the edge to get them into the elevator. Finally I arrived at the right floor and was reunited with everyone. A little too much excitement after a long day!! After a quick tour we went out to have some dinner. This was not as easy as anticipated since it was International Women’s Day and every restaurant was booked solid. We ended up at the food court in the mall and ate at KFC. By the time we arrived back at our new home we were exhausted.
After a good night’s sleep it is amazing how much brighter things look. We began to find places for our things and did a little cleaning. Eventually we realized that since we did not have an internet connection all our electronics were still on Vienna time which is an hour behind Sofia. Then we scrambled to get to the office to meet with the Office Elders for our orientation.
Most of Friday and Saturday we wondered around the city. Friday was spent trying to find food – you know –hunting and gathering. There are many little shops with fruit or bread or meat, which are great, but we were hoping to find a real grocery store to get some of the other things that we needed. After two trips along the same street and a couple of close calls trying to cross that street, we did locate the store. It even had the pillows we needed.

Cute Church we saw
Cathedral in Center of Sofia

Sign said Happy Egg, touch the egg and make a wish

Views around Sofia. looks like a WW1 monument

View from our Apartment

On Saturday we headed for the Center to do a little sightseeing. We toured an enormous church that had spectacularly painting on its domed ceilings. Unfortunately, the many years of candle burning had taken their toll and the beautiful artwork is obscured with a dark covering. We also spent some time at an open air market in the park. Elder Segeberg thought that the Soviet memorabilia was fascinating but could not figure out what he would do with it if he purchased any. I found a Matroshka doll that I thought we needed to accent  our apartment. I knew exactly what to do with it.

Sunday was great! There was a lot less pressure attending church than the first week in Latvia. We have not studied any Bulgarian so we didn’t have to worry about trying to speak it the way we did with Russian in our Latvia branch. The people were very warm and friendly and several spoke English well.

Little market we like near our house
We are confident that we will be settled in soon and enjoying our stay here. As we wonder around it is evident that this is a poorer country than Latvia. The sidewalks are treacherous with broken or deteriorating concrete, as well as many evidences that dogs have left behind. As we gaze at the sights we are amazed that we are here. When we studied history in school we did not imagine that we would ever be walking the streets of Bulgaria.

I guess you never know where we are going to turn up next!

Love to all
Elder & Sister Segeberg

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