Category: Tomas Mission

Tomas Update: Week 2 in Žilina

Ahojte všetci! I’m still alive in Žilina! This week has been a lot busier. Things are going good here and we are establishing ourselves – we are the first elders to be in Žilina for like a whole year so it’s an adjustment for the people we are teaching. But it’s been good!

This week we got to have dinner with a bunch of Ukrainian refugees – it was really cool to hear their stories and just be around them. Afterwards we took them for a tour of the church building (I say building but it’s really just like a set of rooms) and we played some Christmas carols for them. Overall a very good evening and it was cool to hear Ukrainian spoken – I could understand some but it was tough. 

Speaking of understanding, Slovak continues to come along well. I happened to sit next to a somewhat drunk man on the train to Banská Bystrica and he talked to me the whole time. He was muttering though and I had a hard time understanding but I got the general gist of his complaints about the war, refugees, and the Kia factory’s lack of production. It was…interesting but he said my Slovak was ok so that’s cool I guess. 

About the radio – the senior missionaries here, the Ottos, are friends with a local radio producer and she wanted to interview us about how Christmas is in Žilina because we are foreigners. It was just a quick interview – maybe 7 minutes total but we will be on the national radio or something like that soon! Hopefully someone hears and is interested. 

We also had the opportunity to visit Trenčín, where Mom is from and where Babka lives. That was cool – it’s different to be back there as a missionary instead of a tourist. We were there because there was a concert being put on and we were a part of it. That went really well, a lot of people showed up along with like half the missionaries that were nearby. There were lots of very good performances and the first saxophone I’ve ever seen played in a church building. Then we had traditional dinner with kapustnica and everything. It was so nice to be in Trenčín again even if it was just briefly. Also Babka got me two fire ties – one is super Christmasy and looks really good with one of my sweaters. She knows what’s up with the kroj. 

Speaking of ties, I figure I’ll update you all on the tie spreadsheet. It’s going well, although my collection/rotation has shrunk as I had to make some decisions on what I was keeping and was simply didn’t make the cut. My standards have risen quite a bit – the tie game out here is solid. I now have a list of decommissioned ties as well and have updated the dropdown to check both lists using a nested VLOOKUP. Good stuff. My rotation is now only 18 ties. 

Finally, me and elder Noflte picked up old Soviet cameras from a guy on Marketplace today. Mine is missing a part and he will get it to me soon, but the other one is pretty cool and I’m excited to see how the pictures develop. I’ll update everyone on that too. 

Finally, I’ve decided that instead of being limited by sending pictures in the emails I’ll just make a Google Photos album and add things to that as they happen. Here’s the link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/qYoYaKPmkqFZHoVM7

Thanks for all the emails you’ve sent – it’s been great to hear from everyone. Hopefully you all get some more snow back home – there isn’t any here either. 

Love you all,

Starší Cundick

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Tomas Update: Week 1 in Žilina

Hey everyone! It’s been a bit – things worked out funny with flights and changing which day I can talk, but I made it!! Right now I’m in Žilina, which is like an hour or so away from Trenčín, where mom is from. I have two companions, elders Frost and Noftle, both of which have played cello and violin for 11 and 15 years respectively. Our apartment is pretty cramped since we have 3 violins and 2 guitars just sort of hanging out. Expect some good musical posts on Facebook – we’re going to take advantage of it while we can before Frost goes home in January. 

The other night we were practicing at the church building, right on the main square, and we heard some love music out there so we went and watched that. It was a little surreal especially because I was just standing there, holding a miniature Christmas tree, listening to “Despacito” on two violins and a cello in Slovakia. Definitely a cool moment. Also there were two super drunk guys that were doing their best to dance which was pretty entertaining. 

Besides that, we’ve been at a bunch of conferences recently which means I’ve met everyone currently serving here, including a lot of Ukrainians which is cool. Thanksgiving dinner was Vietnamese with everyone who had to stay for social media training since we’re trying to be the best mission in Europe social media wise. In areas as big as here, it can be difficult to find people who live far away so we run ads and then contact anyone who was interested. It’s been great to meet everyone though – finally I am around more than 1 missionary who actually speaks slovak. 

Church here this past Sunday was very different. I was expecting it, but still different. It was the three of us, the two senior missionaries here (which is the term for married couples who choose to serve as well) and then one American man and his little daughter. We did all the talks and stuff in Slovak, but then afterwards switched to English for the rest of church which was strange. I will say usually we have more like 5 other people but they were sick this week. It was nice though, we played a hymn arrangement and got to sing in Slovak and everything. 

Today was my first pday here! It’s been good – we went on a hike up to Súľov castle (just ruins) and practiced a bunch of chamber music for fun (it turns out I can’t read nearly as well as I thought-sheet music is a new skill for me but we are working on it). 

I guess I’ll also talk about the flight here – we flew straight to Amsterdam from Salt Lake, but then had a 6 hour layover there. But we got to travel with one of the sisters that got her Czech visa, which was nice. Unfortunately we had to leave one of our companions at the MTC as he did not get his visa yet, but hopefully he will get here soon as well. 

After we made it to Prauge, we actually ended up staying there for two days because of all those conferences, so we hung out with the missionaries there for a while and saw the sights and talked to some Czech people on trams (native Czech is very difficult for me as of right now, but it is likely that I will serve there later). Then we also spent two days in Brno, where some of us went and hunted for traditional ribbons at fabric stores so we could make cool ties. Brno was really pretty and had some cool streets and stuff. That was cool and also way bigger than Žilina, but it’s nice to be here. Also I managed to accidentally make black tea by not checking the box before – I don’t know why we have six in the apartment but it tastes like dirt anyways so I’m not missing out on anything. 

That’s about it for these last two weeks – just getting into it as an actual missionary. I’m excited to see more of Žilina and settle in and everything. Hopefully all is well back home and you’re all doing okay. 

Love you all and miss you,

Starší Cundick

Photos:

First miata I’ve seen here from Prauge

The view from Súľov

Elder Noftle and a weird statue in Brno

The trio at Súľov

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Tomas Update: Week 6 at the MTC

Hey everyone! This is it-my last email from the MTC!! We’ve been working hard recently in class to finish up everything so that we’re ready. It’s been good here, and I’m definitely going to miss the friends I’ve made while here – most of them are Finnish speaking so we will not see them again until after the mission. But it’s been great here and I’ve learned and grown a ton. 

As far as my Slovak goes, I have learned SO much here. I thought I was decent before, but I barely knew any grammar or even how to read properly. Now I know most of the grammar and I can read and pronounce so much better, and I really feel like I can actually speak. I didn’t know before how much I didn’t know. According to my teachers, my Slovak is about as good as whoever will be training me in the field, which is kind of crazy to hear but I’m excited to be talking to real natives every day! 

I have 25 ties now as well. The other day I made a big master sheet to keep track of days so I can make a graph of my tie usage and track how many times I’ve worn each one, along with their attributes so I can see which are my favorite. Once I get some data in there I’ll update everyone because this should be at least vaguely interesting…

Finally, I got my Slovak passport! I’m now officially an EU citizen and don’t need a visa to go to Slovakia, which means I for sure leave next Monday (the 21st)! 10:37 am we leave for SLC, then fly to Amsterdam and finally Prauge. I can’t wait to go! It’ll definitely be a long day of traveling but it’ll be my first time out in the real world in like forever. 

Anyways, that’s about all that’s happened of note this week. I’ll throw in some pictures, and then I’m not sure if you’ll hear from me next week because my day switches to Monday instead, so it might be a bit. 

Love you all,

Starší Cundick

Photos:

My passport!

The happiest the food has ever been here

Flag pictures!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Tomas Update: Week 5 at the MTC

Ahoj everyone!! It’s been such a fast week since my last email, probably because not a lot has happened, but I’ll try my best to make this interesting. I’ll start with the language and such – I feel like it’s coming along so well! At first when I got here I was worried seven weeks would be too short and I’d feel all stressed about going, but now I am just ready to leave. Just like 13 more days and I’ll be in Slovakia if all goes according to plan. Our practice lessons are continuing to go well and every day I feel like I speak a little better – I’ve come so far from where I was when I got here. This week I’ve been doing “šťastný moment dňa,” which all the Slovak missionaries have been doing – every day, I post a “happy moment of the day” in Slovak. It’s so fun to see what they’re doing out there – yesterday I watched my uncle cut open a water bottle with a sword.

It snowed last week as I was writing my email! We got like two inches in some places, which promptly disappeared two days later. Maybe it will snow again – that combined with having all my google photos is making me miss skiing a lot. It’s impressive how much the temperature varies here, and how temperamental the weather is. If it’s cold, it should stay that way – but it never does.

We still clean bathrooms every Tuesday, but last week we got to clean a different set of them which included vacuuming the indoor track (which is weird – it’s 160m, square, and has four super sharp corners making it very inconvenient to run on) with a ghostbuster vacuum. You know we’re having fun out here when the highlight of my week is using a cool vacuum for an hour.

I lied – the highlight was probably when we got to hear another devotional from an apostle last night – Elder Bednar. He talked a bit about what apostles actually do – he’s spent 4 of the last 18 years (as in 4*365 days) just traveling on planes and everything. They do a lot of work that kinda goes unseen. He also talked about the importance of sequences in the scriptures, a sort of forest for the trees sorta deal, and also how so many people believe the gospel applies to everyone but them – so true. It was great to hear from another apostle and was such an incredible experience.

Okay, that’s about it for this week. I’ll throw on some pictures but again, not much happened this week.

Love you all,

Starší Cundick

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Tomas Update: Week 4 at the MTC

Here’s the latest from Tomas:

Hey everyone! I hope you’ve all been doing well. Things are still all good here, although this week a lot of our friends left since they were learning languages that were less than 7 weeks here. So we no longer have any Norwegian, Swedish, or Spanish speakers on our floor – it’s so quiet. I’m glad I could meet them and wish them all the best out there, but it’s just not the same anymore. I just have 3 ish weeks left here though! I can’t wait to actually be out there in Slovakia. We teach practice lessons with a missionary who has come home from Slovakia, where she pretends to not know anything, and each one is better than the last. This most recent one we gave her a Kniha Mormonova…and then had to ask for it back because we needed it and she definitely already has one. Then again, that lesson I accidentally referred to God as “Bob,” since I confused the words God and Boh (Slovak for God). She thought that was really funny, but managed to keep her composure until we explained what had happened in Slovak. 

We play a lot of sand volleyball. Pretty much every day, since we have an hour a day to exercise (or two on Wednesdays!). No one else has been able to take on the devastating combo of the Czech/Slovak and Finnish elders to the point where other districts of missionaries have heard of us and are afraid to play us. It’s raining today, though, so I think we don’t have much time left outside before it’s too cold or covered in snow. Last week we played in the light rain and it was SO cold, but also very worth it. 

There are a couple of running pranks here, but I think the best one is what happens to new zone leaders (that’s the word for people in charge of essentially the residence floor, kinda like a college RA). Since January of this year, there has been a collection of empty cans passed down from zone leader to zone leader, but the way in which it’s passed down is by dumping them all on the floor of the new zone leaders’ room. When we got here, the current zone leaders had around 250 cans. In like three or four weeks, the floor collectively doubled that to almost 500 – many hands make light work. But we also had to figure out how to get into the room, since they knew it was coming and had secret knocks and everything. We just had our biggest guy bust into the room in a brief window and then all ran in – sometimes simple is best. Then we helped them restack all the cans on top of a closet again, prepared to add another 250 before we leave.

Halloween also happened like a few days ago! I say “happened” because really not much was different. One of the elders in our district got a witch

 warlock hat in the mail, and I wore two ties and two tags because my costume was two elders. Then we did a little bit of trick or treating, but no one really has a lot of candy here or anything. It was fun though.

Okay, I think that’s about it for this week. Crazy to think that I’ve already been here for like a month, and soon I’ll actually be in Slovakia. Still having a great time here, although I miss you all, and I can’t wait to share what I do next week as well.

Love you all,

Tomas

Pictures:

500 cans on the floor

Me, in full costume

“Food”

The last picture of the whole floor

A monkey I drew

Our little trick or treaters

The fabled triple layer drink

Us watching the BYU game out the window 

Master Chief visits the MTC cafeteria

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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