EDITOR'S NOTE: Eli is happy and doing well in his new area of Zaandam, Netherlands with his new (third) companion, Elder Toole. Eli promises a letter is on the way via snail mail. To tide us over, here are some bullet points compiled from emails back and forth with Eli during his weekly online session.
· We were out and about this afternoon and decided to email in the Amsterdam church and hang out with the A'dam Elders.
· No worries about food, we are sitting just fine with that.
· Last p-day we were just walking around Amsterdam, and we went through this huge flower place. You can buy those wooden shoes, tulip bulbs, all sorts of tourist stuff. So, if you want me to buy some of that stuff and send it for Christmas, let me know.
· I also think it would be cool to just send over a load of different Belgium chocolates to you guys. If you want to pay the shipping, though...
· Elder Toole got a Christmas package from relatives before Halloween. That was weird. But if President says to send packages now, well then I guess that's the best idea.
· I've had it great with all my companions; no problems with any of them. It was just a little annoying after a while being in a four-man. Elder Toole is great, though. Elder Claflin had been his companion, and he told me some funny stories about them two, so it was cool when I found out I was going to be his companion. He's got a big heart, and we are very sarcastic all the time in the apartment. Makes it light and fun.
· A church member here in Amsterdam goes to Germany and can get 95 "Pick-Up" German chocolate bars for 15 Euro. So, I’ll probably take advantage of that and get some to you guys. It's a pretty good ward. I kind of miss the small branch [in Belgium], but Amsterdam is cool. There are always Americans here on Sunday, so after Sacrament meeting they pass a mic around and introduce themselves. Pretty interesting.
· Dinner appointments aren't very ideal for us Zaandam Elders. We get about three a week, because it takes an hour for us to usually get to an appointment in Diemen (Amsterdam).
· Last Monday evening at a McDonald's with a member we saw a mouse running in and out of its little peep hole. I managed to snatch of a few photos of it, too, I’ll upload them to Dropbox. So nasty!
· It's a 10-minute train ride from Zaandam to Amsterdam Centraal, but we have to take a tram that stops all the time to go to the far end of Amsterdam, Diemen, where the church is located. It makes for about 50 minutes of total travel to church. The life of Zaandam! But we ride bikes a lot in our own town, so I'm not traveling insanely like in Belgium.
· The biking is soooo awesome here. I love it. I haven't experienced anything that crazy yet, but I have total right-of-way on my bike. It is very safe here biking, despite no helmets, with all the bike paths and everything.
· It may only be 4C at times, but it feels even colder. Something about the index of moisture in the air just freezes you to the bone. Much more different than Wisconsin. Our apartment is loaded with hand warmers, but I don't think they all work too well. But yes, hand warmers are nice.
· Oh yeah, I bought a winter coat for 40 Euro. I thought I was getting a great deal 'til all the buttons started falling off. I think I can still make it work though, but maybe my thriftiness will come back to get me.
· President loves Turkey-bowl, and we have that going on in a couple weeks, so that's exciting. No thanksgiving meal, I believe: just football. But we'll see, though.
· They don't do any thanksgiving of any sort, sadly. But a member will be having us over, not to worry. That's all the time I have. Forgive me, I forgot my journal so I couldn't write an email about this week. Expect a written one for sure, though, in the mail!