Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Surgery and Recovery


I had my surgery a week ago Monday and everything seemed to go just fine. Afterward, I stayed for three days at my teacher’s apartment where he and his wife took really good care of me. All I did—literally—was lie there and sleep all day and all night. I eventually started reading to try to make better use of my time. It was nice though because I didn’t hurt at all, so I thought I was in for a smooth recovery. I even went to a church dance activity on Friday night. I took it easy there, but I still really enjoyed it.

Then Saturday, I started to feel some pretty severe pain come on. It continued through Sunday, so I had to stand through all my meetings, which wasn’t too nice. I lost a little sleep Sunday night due to pain, then Monday it was even worse. A nurse was supposed to come to my apartment between 2 and 4pm that afternoon to look at it and make sure everything was ok. I had gone out for lunch and come back to my apartment about 2:10, when my teacher called me and let me know that the nurse had already come and gone, but would come the next day. This was terrible news, as I didn’t want to have to deal with increasing pain for another 24 hours—I didn’t know if I could do it. Well, I did make it through to the next day and, after going to a religion class and having to drop out of a walking tour of Berlin due to pain, I was home just before 2, when the nurse was supposed to come. He came at about 2:15 and was not at all what I was expecting. He was probably about 24 and brought NOTHING with him—no supplies of any kind, except a pair of surgical gloves that he was carrying in his bare hand. When he got here, he asked me where my gauze and tape were. Thankfully I had just bought some at the pharmacy a few days before. I was fully planning on asking him to leave me with more so I could have it just in case. I was shocked. He looked at my sore and kept saying things like “oh, this is very bad”. I asked him if it looks to be infected again and he said “yes”. Then I asked if I’ll have to go back to the hospital, to which he replied “yes” again. I was nearly in tears. The last thing I wanted was for this to get drawn out any longer than it needed to be. The son of the lady I live with then came home and translated his conversation with the nurse for me. Apparently the nurse told him that I didn’t have an infection and that I wouldn’t have to go to the doctor. This naturally confused me. So, I got a recommendation for a doctor and saw him that night. This doctor is a surgery specialist and he said that everything looks good—no sign of infection and the healing is going fine. I felt great about this. And this doctor was so nice. Now I go to his office, which isn’t very far from my house, every morning and he looks at my wound and makes sure it’s healing ok. Plus he changed my bandages out for me, which is nice not to have to do by myself anymore.

So I think things are looking good. I got a fantastic blessing last night from my teacher and a friend in the program here and that made me feel a lot better. Today when I saw the doctor, he said everything looks excellent and that the pain will get less and less everyday. This was fantastic news. I’m ready to be done with this whole thing and I think I’m finally getting to that point.

Other than my sore slowing me down, Berlin is a wonderful place. I’m really looking forward to being at 100% so I can see and do as much as I can.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I've made it

Hi Everyone,

I've finally made it to Berlin and I love it. I'm living in the same apartment with one of my friends from the program with a 55 year old woman and her son. Our apartment is right off of one of the main areas of town, but it's in a neighborhood that seems very nice, quiet, and safe. The area I live in is called Charlottenburg, named after the wife of an old king. My apartment is right by the subway station and everything is quite easy to get to. My roommate and I have our own rooms. The lady I live with is named Yvonne and is extremely nice...she does our laundry for us even—she refuses to let us do it ourselves. In fact, when I came home tonight, all my laundry had been washed and folded and put on my bed. Plus I have a wireless signal in my room, but it’s very weak—it goes in and out a lot. But if worse comes to worse, I just have to take my computer into my roommate’s room and get on to his signal. So things are working out great. I really like Berlin a lot.

We had stake conference today, and that was fun to see so many other church members. The place was so full that I ended up sitting on the stage, which was slightly uncomfortable, but better than not having a seat at all. When I was in Salzburg, I was surprised at how much of the testimony meeting I could understand. But here at stake conference, the talks were a little more complex than the testimonies, so I understood a lot less. But I’m sure it will get better. Then later tonight, I went to a broadcast of Henry B Eyring’s address given last week at BYU, which was really good. All in all, I spent about 10 hours at the church today, and it felt great.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in a blog, but about a week and a half ago, I woke up with a very sore tail bone. I didn’t think too much of it until two days later when I woke up in some of the worst pain of my life. Bending down to put my socks on was as uncomfortable an exercise as I can imagine. Anyway, to make a long story short, I at first thought I had just bruised my tail bone somehow, then I thought I had a spider bite at the end of my tail bone, then I thought it was some kind of cyst. Last Friday I finally went to the doctor to see what it was…turns out it was an in-grown hair that got pretty deeply infected. So tomorrow I’ll go to the hospital in the morning, have the infection taken out of my sore, then stay in the hospital over night and come home Tuesday. Kind of weird. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a hospital overnight before, but this will be pretty exciting. The doctor said that this is extremely common and that it’s a very simple procedure to fix—they just want me to stay overnight just to be sure that everything works out ok. So this will be good to finally have this fixed; it’s been pretty uncomfortable for the last little while.

I don’t start school at the Goethe Institute for another two weeks, so I’ll have to use this time wisely to get ahead of the game on all the other stuff I have going on. Our main, on-going assignment for the semester is a “research portfolio” where we have to write one-page papers on 100 different things to see in the city, i.e., six gothic churches, five paintings by Dürer, etc. It sounds like a lot—and it is—but if I can keep on it, writing a one-page paper every once in a while won’t be so bad.

I’ll post again soon. Lots of love,


Again, here are some more pictures

Here I am with the Neuschwanstein Castle in the background

This is a picture of part of my group when we went to the top of the apls and hiked down. It was freezing cold! I liked this picture becuase it looks all misty and fairytail-like

This is the Doku-Zentrum in Nuremberg where lots of the Nazi trials took place. We went through the museum and it was really well-done. It's hard anytime you talk about learning about Nazi things, you can't say it was "good" because it's sad. But well-done works, I think. I thought it was kind of interesting that a fair was going on right next to it.

This is an original Luther Bible printed in 1524. I love seeing this kind of stuff. It's in a place called the Wartburg, a castle in Eisenach Germany. Luther was housed there for a while in order to keep safe from the Catholic Church.

This is a really pretty, typical southern Germany Alpine house.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Here are some pictures for all of you to enjoy:

This is a picture of a hike we took in the Alps to a church in a cave. The Protestants met here early on to avoid the wrath of the Catholic church

This is a great picture of me with Salzburg in the background

I'm in Berlin now and I love it! It is a wonderful place and I have easier internet accdess, so i'll upload more pictures soon.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Füssen and Nuremberg


It’s now September 7 and I just arrived in Nuremberg to a seriously nice hotel. There is a computer in the lobby with free internet access, so it looks like I’ll be able to post my blogs, plus a bunch of pictures which I’m excited about. I think some of them turned out pretty well.

After Munich, I went with seven others from our group to the town of Füssen, right close to the castle Neuschwanstein. This is seen as a sort of tourist trap, but it was seriously awesome—well worth the trip. I’ve got some pictures of that on my snapfish account.

Arriving in Füssen was kind of exciting. We arrived around 8:00pm and had nowhere to stay. Things close really early in Germany—hotels included, so we were very pressed for time. We walked to the hostel where we thought there might be some room (they had 130 beds, for crying out loud), but a huge group had just come in taken nearly all of them. Walking back toward the train station, we spotted Suzanne’s Bed and Breakfast. We rang the doorbell and were greeted by a woman—from Ohio of all places—who immediately started being rude to us. She told us she had room for all eight of us and would hold the room for ½ hour, not any longer because for her “to stay up so that we can find a cheaper place is totally ridiculous” to paraphrase her. She was seriously not a pleasant lady. We went to get the rest of our group (looking for cheaper hotels on the way, despite what Suzanne said) and didn’t find any that were open. Suzanne’s place was nice and clean, it’s just that she was so unpleasant it was uncomfortable. But luckily we didn’t have to deal with her too much. So if you ever go to Füssen, I would not recommend Suzanne’s Bed and Breakfast; find another place. Füssen itself was wonderful. We ate Turkish Dönner Kebaps and Italian ice cream. Plus I had an American hamburger and French fries at a Vietnamese restaurant on the main street in town. And it was seriously one of the best I’ve ever had.

We left Füssen this morning, caught the train back to Munich and made our connection to Nuremberg. I have a serious tail bone injury that I have no idea how I got. But sitting is miserable, so the entire way from Füssen to Munich was very uncomfortable. Thankfully I packed some Loritab, took two of those for the second leg of the trip, and have never slept so well on a moving thing: car, train, or plane. I feel great right now.

Nuremberg is extremely cool. The old part of town is still very medieval—the wall still surrounds the center—and our hotel is right in the center of it all. It’ll be fun to have some time tomorrow to go exploring. From here we go to many places fast: Frankfurt for one night, Mainz (where Gutenberg printed) for about a day, Bacharach (where we’ll stay in a castle on the Rhine, from what I understand), then to Bonn, Cologne, Hamburg (maybe), and finally to Berlin. All this traveling has been awesome, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking forward to settling in one place for a while.

Try to enjoy the pictures. There's only one there now due to time contraints, but check back periodically. I'll try to figure it all out and post more. Let me know what you’re all up to.

Love to you all,



The internet is much harder to come by even in the big cities than I had thought. I have a hard time paying for an internet café, so this blog is being written with Word and going to be transferred to Blogspot as soon as I can get some kind of internet connection. I’m here in Munich—finally in Germany—in the oddest hotel I’m aware of. It’s seriously as if a two-year-old built a tower out of Legos and somehow the world’s worst architect got a hold of the tower, copied its designs exactly, and actually had it built. Some of the rooms have doors that don’t open even to a 45 degree angle because the wall is in the way. And if you weigh any bit over your recommended BMI, good luck getting through the coalmine-thin hallway. My room (my own room) is really big, but the weird thing about it is that the bathroom is across the hall. It’s a private bathroom—I have the key to it—but it’s across the hall. There are stairs in it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I heard one of our group say earlier today, “I am miserable in that hotel”. But I don’t mind it. Anywhere that will give me functioning bathroom equipment and a clean bed will be fine for two nights. Our other hotels have been quite a bit nicer. Though my room in Salzburg didn’t afford enough room for me and my roommate to stand side-by-side in it. It too was coalmine-thin. Really fun though.

I left Dorfgastein about four nights ago now and went to Salzburg. I really liked Salzburg. It’s a town with a lot of charm. Our hotel was a little outside of town, so we had to take the bus everywhere we went, and I’ll tell you all, I felt great on those busses. I honestly thought I was really good at figuring out where I was how to get to other places. Sure I only had to ever take two busses, but that didn’t matter to me—I still felt great.

We went to church in Salzburg which is always a fun thing to do. I love going to church in places outside of Utah. It’s so nice to see who the church members living in that area are. Plus it’s a confidence boost for my German to understand a lot more of what is said. Context is a great thing.

Any of you who have been to Europe may already know that everything is out-of-control expensive here. Drinks on a menu at most restaurants are the worst—about €2.35 for ¼ liter of Coke and €4.00 for ½ liter. With the exchange rate at about $1.28 to €1, a ½ liter of Coke costs over $5.00! And that’s with no refills and no ice. Plus apparently it’s “tacky” to ask for tap water. But honestly, that’s what I have to do. No wonder Germans spend so much of their income on food. One thing that I have loved about the German restaurant experience has been the amount of time you spend at a restaurant—usually several hours. It’s been nice to have time to sit and relax and talk.

Tomorrow I’m supposed to get on a train and head to Füssen—the town close to the castle Neuschwanstein. You’ve all seen pictures of it. I’ve heard rumors that it is the castle that Walt Disney designed to Magic Kingdom Palace after. I have nowhere to stay in Füssen as of right now, but I’m banking on the idea that I can get a room as soon as I get there. I’m not traveling alone, however, so I’ll be fine. I’m excited to get down there. Then it’s off to Nuremberg to see the Nazi rally sites and whatever else there is to see.

My time in Europe has been fantastic so far. The people in my group have been really great—we all get along really well and have a surprising amount of things to talk about and say to each other.

I’m glad to have the internet so that I can communicate with all of you. Thanks for all the emails. It’s a great feeling to open my inbox and see a bunch there. Write to me if you want. I’m pretty good about getting a very short, personalized response back.

Love to you all,