Monday, April 30, 2012
We learned on Friday that all of our paperwork is completed and we can apply for our long term visa. That means off to Warsaw. Our trip had to be planned around local holidays. We could not go this week since there is a four day holiday and then the weekend. So we have tickets to leave on Monday May 7th and return on the 9th. It will be such a relief to get the visa completed and this is the next step. We have been investigating Warsaw and are getting excited to go there. Next week you can see what sights we were able to take in. This week our post is short since we are having Internet issues. We had to do a work around through the cell phone to post at all. We just wanted to share the good news! See you in Warsaw next week!
Monday, April 23, 2012
Today started sunny and bright. We have posted pictures of the magnificent architecture that we have seen on our explorations of town. This week we thought we would post some pictures of our neighborhood which is more typical. We live about five blocks from the center of the city where much of the fabulous architecture is to be seen. The streets in the main area are paved with gold bricks and truly resemble the yellow brick road of OZ fame.
Not all of those who erected buildings had any architectural detail on their minds. Apartment buildings, such as the one in the picture, are found all over Eastern Europe in varies sizes but they are disturbingly similar and bleak. In Sofia these are located mostly on the outskirts of town since the center was well developed by the time they were built.
|Sister Segeberg buying bread. we just point and enjoy fresh bread.|
There are many food vendors along the streets. We have our favorite bread shop with a smiling lady who jabbers away in Bulgarian while we nod or shake our heads the incorrect way and point through the window at what we would like.
|Local Pizza Shop|
There is a pizza stand on nearly every block. Some of the items on the pizza are a little odd. We have seen corn and peas (what else would you have on a vegetarian pizza?), as well as pickles and sheep cheese which seem to be local favorites.
The fruit and veggie stands are very convenient with the best tomatoes we have ever eaten. There are grocery stores of every size. And believe me; we have been in nearly every one of them in our quest for peanut butter.
|Hole in the wall store|
Shops line all of the main streets and a lot of the side streets. Many of these shops look like closets. In fact, today’s woman would not think a closet that size to be satisfactory. Other larger shops are set up in what would be garages on the first floor of business or apartment buildings. Others are literally holes in the wall. There is only a small window to exchange merchandise for money. Inside there is room enough for a small seat with products stacked all around. I have not figured out how the proprietor manages to get in and out. The deliveries of candy, soft drinks and other merchandise are handed in through this little window. Many are so low that customers have to bend over to make purchases.
|Shopping at ground level|
Rattling down many streets are vintage trollies. So far we have not needed to use this form of transportation. We are not sure we are brave enough to try. Many side streets are one way due to how narrow they are. You often have to reverse and maneuver in order to make a 90° turn since there is usually someone parked on the corner and trees on both sides. The auto body repair shops must do a booming business!
Also, parking on the side walk is acceptable in most places. Pulling over wherever you please is also acceptable as long as you put on your flashers and are not totally blocking the road. However, the word ‘blocking’ seems to be up for individual interpretation. Today we saw cars double parked on a sidewalk. Hopefully, the poor guy on the inside middle did not have to leave before the others.
The traffic patterns are very chaotic. In many places lanes suddenly end or turn without advance notice. Car horns get a work out as drivers express their displeasure of other drivers’ shenanigans.
All in all this is a fascinating place to be. There is never a shortage of things to see. Experiencing another culture is one of the side benefits of a mission. It broadens you horizons.We are having a good time and serving the Lord too.
Love Elder & Sister Segeberg
Monday, April 16, 2012
Spring is Here!
The world is a gorgeous place when it puts on its spring apparel. This past week we have seen an immense difference in the area around us. As we have walked about, there are flowers blooming and trees leafing all around. Due to the fact we arrived in Eastern Europe in late fall we have only seen the drabness of winter – barren trees and desolate gardens. We have been anxiously looking forward to signs of spring and nature awakening. Bulgaria is a beautiful country. However, in the city, the dreariness of winter added to the drabness of many of the soviet era buildings made for a grim picture at times. Now, as nature awakes the contrast of the green leaves against the gray buildings livens up the scene.
Today we took a walk to a local park. The Bulgarians love their green spaces! It is one of the largest we have seen. Due to today being the final day of the Easter celebration (Orthodox Easter is a week later than ours) many businesses and schools are closed. There was a party in this park, as well as many others I am sure. There were crowds of people everywhere with children running, riding, laughing, and playing.
Food concessions where plentiful with all of the hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, pop corn and cotton candy you could eat. Pedal carts, electric powered toy cars and such were available for rent and business was thriving. As we walked a lot of dodging was required – pedestrians are not safe when the vehicle operators are under the age of 10. In fact, here pedestrians are not particularly safe when the operators are over the age of 10.
Along with all the rest of the festivities there were inflatable jumping houses and also a bungee jumper sort of attraction. They strapped the gleefully paying victim into a harness and the operator would launch them into the air from the trampoline platform. It was like a ‘Johnny Jumper’ for those who had outgrown theirs. Young and old were having a thrilling time. It was fun to just observe – that was good enough for us. In the pond there were paddle boats and row boats for rent as well. What is more summery than time on the water?
|On the way home|
What an appropriate time to celebrate the Resurrection and the gift of the Atonement! We love all the hope and joy that emanates with this time of year. We hope all of our loved ones are enjoying the season as we are! Have a great week!
Elder and Sister Segeberg
Friday, April 13, 2012
|Our View of the Mountain|
Learning from the North Side of the Mountain
A shipbuilding company had this statement in its advertisement: “All our timber comes from the north side of the mountain.” Why the north side? What does that have to do with timber? After investigation, I found out that the best timber grows on the north side of the mountain because of the rigors of Mother Nature. The snow is deeper and the cold is colder, the wind is stiffer, and the sun is not so warm as the south side of the mountain. The harshness of the weather is a contributing factor to the toughness of the timber.
We received the above thought, “The North Side” – Author Unknown, from another missionary couple. We thought we would pass it on.
Human character is not much different from timber. Often the best in personality grows on the “north side of the mountain.” We grumble about our hardships and difficulties, yet those difficulties help us to grow and become mature. Each of us can look at our lives and see that the times when we made the greatest personal progress were probably when we were living on the ‘north side of the mountain.”
We are learning that the rigors of missionary work (living in a foreign land far from loved ones, etc) can be difficult, but as the ‘North Side stated, it is the struggles that make us strong, not only as missionaries but in the following years as husbands, wives, fathers and mothers and friends.
As senior missionaries, we are still in the strengthening process and learning important lessons. We recognize that we are learning lessons in the mission field that we couldn’t learn any other way. We love the Lord and we love the work. I am always amazed at the Lord’s efficiency. We are here to help and support others and in the process we learn and grow! I have learned a new appreciation for the “North Side.”
Elder & Sister Segeberg
Monday, April 2, 2012
This has been a slow news week. We spent a lot of time catching up at the office after being gone for a week. It is amazing how things pile up. Elder Segeberg was pretty much buried in email. But busy is good!
We had the Office Elders over for dinner one evening since one will be relocating next week. They were very appreciative of the meal and shared a nice message on prayer before they left. Another evening we invited the Assistants to the President. One of them is returning home on April 3rd. They, too, shared a nice message before leaving. There is always a good feeling when they are around. We will miss the ones who are leaving – some not too far and some very far away. It is amazing how quickly you get attached.
This weekend was General Conference from church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Due to the time difference we saw the two Saturday sessions, which had been recorded in the wee hours of the morning, on Sunday. As always the messages were uplifting and motivational. All the speakers have such kind and loving countenances. You can feel how much they are concerned about your temporal as well as eternal welfare. Everyone we have spoken to has a different message that held special meaning for them. We are anxious for them to come out in print next month so we can review them again.
All is going well in Bulgaria – we are settling in well and getting adjusted to our new area. We did have a peanut butter crisis this week since all the Skippy we brought from Latvia is gone. No Skippy here, but we found peanut butter from Belgium that will do in a crunch. Actually, it is smooth, but some sacrifices have to be made! Things are very different, but we try to think of it as an adventure rather than a difficulty. We will prevail!
Enjoy the sights of Sofia, below.
Enjoy the sights of Sofia, below.
Love Elder and Sister Segeberg
|National Theater -Sofia|
|Alexsandur Nevski Church -Sofia|
|St. George's Rotunda -This is old!|
|Ruins part of St. George's Rotunda|