Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oma's Pages #20

Oma’s Pages #20
The garbage was another interesting adventure. Some people in Groningen can put out garbage cans like we do in Utah, but mostly that is something only for businesses. The rest of the people have to take their garbage to a garbage location. There is usually one somewhere on the street close to where you live.
When we first arrived at Albertine Agnesstraat there was garbage in the kitchen garbage can so I asked a man who was helping us how to get rid of the garbage. He looked around a bit and then said, “Just bag it up and put it in the shed behind your apartment and forget about it.”
At the Church you have to walk down the street about a block, then turn the corner and walk halfway up another street to get to the garbage place.
As you can see in the picture, the garbage place thingy is closed and you cannot get into it unless you have a pass card.

Part of your expenses for living in a city is to have one of the pass cards so you can get rid of your garbage. But even that is not exactly correct. Here in Groningen you cannot put anything that is glass in the garbage. If you get caught putting glass in the garbage you will be fined 65 euros which is $92.00 in US money. You have to take your glass to a glass garbage place. You can find a glass garbage place near by some of the grocery stores or shopping centers. At the glass garbage place you have to sort your glass by green, brown, or clear glass and put your glass in the appropriate slot.
Your city garbage pass allows you to put garbage in the containers 200 times in one year. This is about twice a week. You can only put one large bag in the container at a time. All of this is very different from how it is in the USA.
Do you help do the garbage at your house? What do you do to help?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oma's Pages #19, November 11, 2011

Oma’s Pages #19
The biggest problem we had in this apartment was not the cold showers, not the small living space, not the missing kitchen table, not the fact that we have no place to put anything. The biggest problem we had was the parking. 
We began to know the cars we saw by the names we gave them. There was Mr. Salmon and Mr. Orange, and Miss Pink. Every day I would look to see where they were parked. Most of the cars never moved. There were not enough places for everybody to park so about 5 or 6:00 pm all the parking places were gone. Because of our work with the Young Adults and the people we had to visit in Leeuwarden we never got home early. So we never had a place to park near our apartment.

There is saying in Groningen that no matter which way you go, the wind is always against you and that is the truth. No matter where we parked, it was freezing cold with a fierce wind. We felt like popsicles by the time we got into the apartment. The ground where we walked was usually covered with ice so it was also slick. Sometimes we had to park about half a mile away from where we lived. A lot of nights it was midnight before we got home so it was also kind of scary to walk home that late in the cold wind on slick roads and walkways.
Because most of the cars never moved there were only about ten or twenty spots each day that opened up for people to park in. We began to notice that the car we named “Old Saab” NEVER moved. Every day I looked to see if it moved. As the snow came it froze on it and then more snow piled on top of that. This car was an old restored Saab. We began to say that it really wasn’t restored.... it just had never been driven so it had not aged... That was a joke but we never saw it move.

One day we even found a parking space right behind Old Saab. It was like I could feel that car's spirit.... if cars can have spirits.... I don't know, but I really liked that car.

Then one day we came home in the middle of the day and as we drove around the corner by our apartment we saw Old Saab driving out of the neighborhood. We never saw it again. I was glad we got to see it leave since it had become my friend. I would talk to it whenever we walked by it on our to and from wherever we had parked our car. We have driven back to that neighborhood several times to see if we could find Old Saab, but we have never seen it again since the day we watched it drive away.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Oma's Pages #18, November 5, 2011

Oma’s Pages #18
When we arrived it was almost Christmas. Do you remember that we had Saint Nicholas Day on the Sunday we were still in the Mission Training Center. We still had to go almost another week before we left for Holland on Friday. We arrived in Holland on December 11, 2010. For the first few days everything was crazy. We came with very bad colds, so we were sick. We were trying to learn all the things we had to do, and it felt like we could never do everything.
We had to keep the apartment totally clean, spotless, and with everything out of sight and put away every time we walked out of it. We had to do laundry at night because we could not hang it up during the day. We had to learn how to drive in the country again, and we had to learn how to drive this very strange car. It was very very hard.
One day I looked up and thought, it is going to be Christmas and we don’t have one thing in this apartment to remind us of this holiday. We had been told we would be moving soon so we did not want to buy a tree. Besides if we bought a tree we would have to buy something to put on the tree, and what would we do with that stuff when Christmas was over. We did not have room for the things we brought with us. We did not want to add anything more to our mess.
I had sent myself boxes of things that we would need after we arrived. I decided those boxes would be our Christmas gifts. Some of them had been sent several months before and I could not remember what was in them. Opa had no idea what was in any of them so it would be a surprise for all of us.
We gathered up the boxes from the Steinvoorte’s and built ourselves a Christmas tree with them. I put all the pictures I had on the tree. They were pictures of all of you guys and of Jesus Christ. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about anyway, Jesus Christ and Family.... So we were set!