Saturday, November 2, 2013

Arriving in Charleston

 On the way to Charleston, West Virginia, we had a layover in Atlanta.  Biggest airport ever!  It was weird to be in public with our nametags on.  I got to call mom there.  Not gonna lie, I cried the most out of anybody.  I never really understood how important family really is until I got out here.  It’s everything.  EVERYTHING.  Our second plane, that took us from Atlanta to Charleston, was TINY.  I got to sit next to a boy going to my mission who was from Duchesne, Utah who grew up farming.  The poor kid had to endure me in his space the whole time as I watched out the window.  

As we got closer, the flat of Georgia turned to hills, and the hills got bigger and bigger.  You could almost feel the excitement of the plane full of missionaries as we landed on top of a hill in Charleston, West Virginia, in the country we would call home for months to come.  The thing about it, was that it really did feel like home.  I had a hard time holding back the tears, and I knew I was where I was supposed to be.  As I, with over 30 missionaries, got off the plane and took our first steps in our new homeland, I was greeted by two angels, by the name of President and Sister Pitt.  Sister Pitt caught me up in a hug only a mother could give, and President’s soft eyes spoke to me every word I needed to hear.  I brought him a hello from Trissy Salisbury, and he went on and on about how fabulous the Salisbury’s are.

From the airport we went to the mission home in Charleston.  I’ll never forget how it smelled there.  It was a smell I’ve never experienced before, but I’ll always associate with West Virginia.  It was an almost bitter smell, a bit like the cabin at Bridger Lake, but mixed with the smell of warm food coming from the kitchen.  They fed us a home-cooked meal at the mission home and we had a testimony meeting with President and his four assistants and Sister Pitt.  Then the elders went down to bunk beds in the basement and the sisters were taken to a hotel in downtown Charleston.

Let me rewind real quick and tell you about my first view of Charleston.  We drove down into the city from the airport on the hill at about 5:30 p.m.  The sun shone on the yellow and brown leaves of the trees that completely cover every hillside, making them shine gold.  It was breathtaking.  The city itself was beautiful, right on the Kanawha (pronounced Kuh-nah) River, with beautiful bridges everywhere.  At night when we drove back , the city along with its bridges, was all lit up.  In the morning, a fog hung over the city that was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  The air was thick and wet.  As we drove out from the hotel to a church outside Charleston in Sissonville, where we had training all day, the fog receded until it only left wisps between the hills.  And the hills.  Oh the hills.  They are covered with trees and undergrowth with a suprising face of rock every now and again.  West Virginia isn’t almost heaven.  It IS heaven.

My first full day in West Virginia was spent in training and interviews with President Pitt.  We got to eat the famous West Virginia slaw dog (a hot dog with cole slaw, onions, and chili on top) for lunch.  It wasn’t bad!  The next day, was transfers. 

From WB to WV!

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