Actually, there aren't many signs of Christmas here in Albania. They don't really celebrate it here. They do have a lot of lights and decorations, but they say it's for new year's. They even have Christmas trees that they call "new year's trees". Most of the members of the church don't know the exact day that Christmas falls on. Oh well. We have a puny little tree in our apartment with a Santa hat on top of it. And the best part of all: I found a body wash that smells like pine. Most people can say they've decorated for the season, but there are few people who can say they smell like Christmas.
The happenings of the week, in order of not-so-funness to good-memoryness.
We met Edmond while street contacting. He seemed to be interested in discussing religion, so we walked a few minutes over to the church. It wasn't until we sat down that we smelled the alcohol on his breath. Before that, I just thought he was quirky. After smelling the pungent odor of inebriation, it all made sense. What he said had very little meaning, and we were trying to figure out what he meant. Eventually, we just parted ways after exchanging numbers. Oh well, it was a positive experience for him, so I count that as a win.
On Monday, we returned from a hard day of work to find that we had no water. We checked our little pump outside the apartment and it had been disconnected. Apparently they do that when you don't pay your bills. This was frustrating, since the office elders pay all the bills online. We called some people, and they said to go to a little place down some obscure alleyway in the morning. We did, and they said we had to go to the water company's main office, so we did. They checked, and it turns out that in fact, the bill had NOT been paid for a stretch of quite a few months a while back. We had to pay for that right then, and wait for a reimbursement later. Then we had to go back to the little place, and they said they'd reconnect the water. They did, after about 3 hours. Finally, we took our refreshing, miraculous showers and never complained again about not having enough pressure. Don't worry, we used hand sanitizer when we didn't have water.
We had a good lesson with Fatjon. A member was there to help teach, and that is always good. It seems the only thing holding Fatjon back from baptism is that he feels his testimony of the Book of Mormon is not strong enough. So, every morning at 7AM we call him and ask if he's read. It's an interesting system, but it works. If he keeps going like this, he'll be baptized soon.
And on Saturday we had one of the best meals in a long time. One of the humanitarian couples, the Wilsons, invited us to their house (on the top floor of the mission home) for lunch. Now, it takes a special type of couple to invite 6 missionaries into your home and feed their huge appetites. We had meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, yellow beans, and some of the best carrots ever prepared by a human hand. They had brown sugar in them, making them taste like candy. And for dessert, there was actual ginger bread cake with applesauce, lemon sauce and whipped cream. That's going on the list of top 5 meals I've had in-country.
But one other thing happened: I got some Taco seasoning in a package! That stuff is absolutely unfindable here. So, we celebrated by making some taco-seasoned ground beef and putting it with noodles and cream and arrabiata flavored tomato sauce. That was one satisfying meal.
I hope you all are doing well and good.