So we finally got here to Tromso which is crazy but we made it. It's hard because I have to carry absolutely everything in two suitcases for two years but whatever. So to get here we had to take a flight from Oslo to Tromso, which seems easy enough but the Assistant to the Mission President (AP) booked the flight and thought my name was Clayton??? So super chill. So had to haggle at the ticket window for like 30 minutes with a Norweigian but after a while another guy came along and was like "your nickname is Clayton" and pushed me through security. And then after that no problems so that was super cool on my first day in the country.
All I have to say is wow. Everyone is absolutely gorgeous. It's kind of cold but it feels so good. I hate it being too hot and since we have to wear white shirts all day it's nice being cold.
I probably will leave before Christmas time but I might be here for Morketid (dark time) in which the sun doesn't come up. But as for right now the sun doesn't go down. Literally ever. No matter what time I wake up in the night the sun is up. Yeah it's insane but so is this country.
When it gets dark I will probably get to see the northern lights but that really isn't for a while. There's 6 active Norwegians in the branch and then an American family of 6 that's here until December. So basically no one. And no one wants to talk but they are all so uncomfortable so I just laugh all the time.
You can see and smell the ocean from just about anywhere, it's just a tiny little island with a pretty small population compared to anything in the States. It's also the most expensive place ever, FYI! And as missionaries we're poor so that's a fantastic conversation.
Loads of muslims who like to talk your ear off about Mohammad so that's cool. I guess it's kind of how everyone else feels when we talk to them.
We'll talk to people half in English half in Norwegian. Whenever we stop someone on the street in Norwegian they always pretend like they don't know norsk, but then we start speaking in English they run away because they know we caught them in their lie.
My companion is Elder Gingrich from Virginia, he's cool and he's teaching me loads of stuff. I learn a lot. On Wednesday night we're going to Alta, and I will be one of the highest (northernmost) missionaries in the world.
We also have two sisters here in Tromso. They're super cool too. Soster Peterson and Soster Nielsen.
Everyone is super weird here and I just love it. The other missionaries will always be like "wow that was so weird I don't even know what happened" and I will just go on and on about how cool they are. Maybe I'm just here to be friends with the weird people. Mainly because the mission president told us our main focus is just keeping members going to church. And I see why. It's a struggle for these people and four of them Skype in to go to church.
Norwegian is great, it's coming along but we'll see how well I actually do.
You'd all get a kick out of this place. It's absolutely breathtaking, just like everything here. What a great place and what a great time. Hope all is well. Also Glenn Martin GBS (Jackson wanted this included on the blog.)
Much love, Eldste Hoopes