Our last days in Berlin involved a few reflections, a great Sunday dinner, our transfer notice, and saying goodbye.
Mon. May 28.
After four weeks on our mission, Monday was a day when we took stock of what we are doing and what we have done. It started with a walk trying to decide on a place to eat, Sister Frank turned to me and said “I don’t want to walk down this street in this direction again…at least not today.” She and I had both been up and down this stretch of Clayallee in Berlin, Zehlendorf (the area right outside our apartment leading to the S-Bahn terminal) too many times. I could tell from the tone of her comment that there was more to this comment than just scenery dissatisfaction. We discussed a few of our unexpected frustrations and experiences to this point. It seemed like every frustration was balanced by more than our share of great blessings and insights. So below is a few of our reflections:
SF: The cobblestone sidewalks are very uneven. For a person my age and with a bad hip, it has been a challenge and very hard on my shoes.
SF: There are bicycle lanes on the sidewalks and EF has reminded several times to get out of the way of the bicycles. I haven’t been hit by one yet.
EF: During those walks we pass many bakeries and SF gives me trouble if I suggest going into them.
EF: Because we are walking so much and have no time to eat between meals, I have lost weight eating a piece of kuchen each day.
SF: We walk a few miles everyday (at least weekdays) to get to the bus station. You’d think that I’d lose some weight, but it keeps finding me. (I blame all of the cheese and pastries.)
SF: The walks have been good exercise and it’s nice to see the different stores, people, cars, dogs, etc.
EF: It is frustrating not knowing where our permanent assignment will be and wondering whether or not we will be in a Young Adult Center or have another kind of assignment.
EF: It has been a great blessing returning to Berlin and visiting areas where I once
SF: Our apartment was on a main street close to the Bahnhof, and it was so noisy at night with all of the traffic.
SF: I finally got used to sleeping through practically any noise, especially on nights where we were so busy at the Young Adult Center.
EF: There have been several days where little was scheduled and we would have hours in our apt. to study, write, study, read, and study the hours away.
EF: On a few of those days, I have been able to revisit some of the areas where I served as a young missionary.
SF: It was hard not to be able to speak everything I wanted to say to people at the stores, at church, at the Young Adult Center in Tiergarten, ordering food, etc.
SF: Even though I wasn’t able to communicate very well, I did make some progress. I met great peopleI. It is a beautiful and huge city and so multi-cultural it’s been amazing for me to see. My impression of Berlin is much better this time around. I didn’t expect to feel sad about leaving our tiny apartment and the wonderful people we’ve met, but I do.
EF: When I knew we would be spending time in Berlin I had great plans of finding members I had baptized, showing Sister Frank the wonderful places I had served, and having her feel the same feeling I had when I was a missionary years ago. Little, if any of that happened. You can’t repeat the past.
EF: The great blessing that did occur, however, was that both of us discovered the potential of Young Adult Centers. We met wonderful young members of all nationalities and races. We met great members in the Berlin Wards, who showed us love and respect even with our struggling German. We even were sad as we left our homely apartment for the last time.
Outside our apartment in Zehlendort, Berlin and Clayallee where we did much of our walking every day.
Our last days at the Berlin Center for Young Adults. Two happy missionaries in the kitchen and plenty of hungry students eating.
BYU students plus the Berlin Students getting ready for dinner. The people in the S-Bahn are not our friends yet. Maybe someday.