Saturday, February 29, 2020

Shopping Fun on P-day

It's been another busy week in the mission office.  LeRon helped me develop spreadsheets to track everything that I need to do for our missionaries arriving, departing, and needing visa renewals, and driver's licenses.  He's helped me learn to do formulas with dates so that I can be warned of upcoming things I need to do.  I'm pretty excited about it.  LeRon has used spreadsheets in our farming business for over 45 years and really understands how powerful they can be.  He's been a lot of help to me.  We're having fun being together 24/7!

This morning we drove our mission president and his wife to the airport and then we did what we always do on our P-days.  All missionaries get a weekly Preparation Day (or P-day).  It's a day to clean house, do laundry, shop for groceries, see cultural sites, and write letters home.  Junior missionaries' P-day is Monday but we take ours on Saturday, generally speaking.  Sometimes we still need to work in the office on Saturdays if something urgent comes up, which it often does.  Senior missionaries have more leeway to organize their time than do junior missionaries.

So for our cultural experience on P-day, we . . . shop at the mall!  It's good exercise and it's definitely a cultural experience.  The Täby Centrum Mall is the hugest mall I've ever seen with almost 300 stores.  (I know that's much smaller than the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which is the largest mall in North America, but I've never been there so I can't compare.)  We did our exercise for sure, trying to find the stores we were looking for.  And while we mall-walk and get lost numerous times, we always share the gospel with those we meet.  Most aren't interested, but that's okay.  The important thing is to open our mouths and share what we believe with all our hearts. It's great fun and 3 hours later, we stagger home with our groceries and other treasures!

Finally . . . snow in Stockholm!  It's been lightly snowing all week.  First time we've seen snow since we got here on January 16.  When we left the Calgary, Alberta airport, it was -30 C!  Here in Stockholm, it still hovers around 0 C.  Nice!

Now to the shopping . . . The Täby Mall is huge and has lots of underground parking.  Valkommen till Paradiset!  Welcome to Paradise!  Ha ha.  Is shopping paradise?  Maybe for some people.

Cool parking.  There are red and green lights above each parking space.  Green of course means it's open.  Here's LeRon carrying our shopping bags.  They charge for shopping bags in Sweden so everyone brings his own.

So excited to find a whole store dedicated to Lindt chocolate!  Wow!  Lindt or Lindor is my very favorite chocolate, which I shouldn't eat now that I'm diabetic.  Oh well.  One a day will probably not kill me!

Valentine's Day is not a big day here in Sweden.  Very few stores even advertised for it but this Lindt store did.  The girl told me that every year Valentine's Day and Halloween are getting bigger and bigger, but still not big like in the West.  LeRon bought me some Lindor chocolate and I'm happy to say we still have most of it.  I'm being very careful with how much I eat!

So maybe Valentine's Day is not big, but CANDY is big here in Sweden.  There are rows and rows of candy in every grocery store.  On any given Saturday, you see families gathered round purchasing bags and bags of candy.  The theory is that if parents give their kids candy on Saturdays, they don't need it during the week so families gorge on candies on Saturday!

I laughed to see these Kinder Eggs.  We have them in Canada too but in the United States, they are actually against the law.  Someone very close to me took 24 Kinder Eggs across the border to her grandchildren and later found out that there's a $2500 fine PER EGG for bringing them into the States!  She found it out not by sad experience, thankfully.  Apparently there is a very old law saying that toys should not be inside of edible candy.  American children, apparently, choke easier on them than do Canadian, or German, or Swedish children!!!!

Doesn't this beautiful display of fruit make you want to buy it?  What a good idea to put a mirror up.  Your eye is drawn to it immediately.

Vegetables too!  Mirrors make all the difference.

Many different kinds of fruit here.

The mall also has a huge hybrid car display on one of its floors.  Hybrid cars are a big deal here.  Even our president drives one.

And then I found the Renault car on display down another aisle.  I used to drive a little yellow Renault when I was a university student.
So interesting to see a car dealership in a mall!

Love these shopping carts and this moving escalator for shopping carts.  As soon as the wheels touch it, they magnetically lock on and then you are "hands free".  Also, the wheels (when they are not locked on to the escalator) move in all directions like the ones in Kenya.  So nice to be able to move the cart forward, backward, or sideways.  It's a little more difficult going uphill but with this kind of an escalator, it's wonderful!

Today on our way home from shopping, we stopped at a little church in our neighborhood.  In the back there's a wooden stave church and a huge cemetery.  Stave churches were medieval Christian churches.  We've seen them in Norway and also in Fargo, North Dakota where our daughter lives.  A lot of Scandinavian people moved to North Dakota in the 1800's.

So fun to see heather growing here in the cemetery in the snow.  We named one of our daughters Heather.  When she was young, she used to say that "she was just a little shrub."  We've seen heather growing in Scotland, where the Torrie's are from, and we love the shrubby little plant with its pink or white blossoms.

Love the stave church and find Celtic crosses so interesting.  They are a form of the Christian cross but with pagan origins.  When Christianity came to Ireland and Europe, they often mixed Christian symbols with pagan ones maybe to help the people adapt to a new religion.  Later:  we learned that this is not a stave church at all but is a bell tower which houses . . . church bells!
One Saturday, we took the bus and then the Tunnel-bana (pronounced toon-el bawna) -- the underground -- to Gamla Stan, the Old Town of Stockholm.  It's much like many old towns we've seen but still fun.

Narrow walking streets and high buildings in Gamla Stan.  Love the cobblestones but they're not easy to walk on. 

Love this house!  We pass it every Sunday when we go to church and also every time we go to the mall.  Lovely!

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