Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Dear Family,

I had hoped to have already sent you this letter by this time because I had hoped to be somewhere roughly over Newfoundland right now as opposed to sitting in my room in Copenhagen. Such is life. First, before that story, the week.

Monday and Tuesday we’re our last full days in Edinburgh and we were determined to enjoy them. Enjoy them we did! Well, Monday I wrote my term paper, all ten or so pages of it, which, when you consider that it was a twelve credit semester, really wasn’t all that bad. Tuesday we did missionary work and visited museums.

AnneMarie picked up three copies of the Book of Mormon to hand out: one in Lithuanian and one in Czech for each of our hosts, and one in English for my MSP. She also got a Christmas Joy to the World DVD for the other chap who worked in the office with me, a really nice fellow named Graeme. We wrote in them and delivered them. #LighttheWorld. I hope something will come of it but either way it’s been a wonderful experience for us to share our testimonies. And on a side note, we found out that Jaro's cousin might be LDS and my MSP's wife was apparently raised LDS in Ireland?!! Coincidence? Definitely not.

The last thing on our Edinburgh checklist was the Surgeon’s Hall museum. Edinburgh can lay claim to all sorts of firsts in modern medicine and this museum was a three-part exhibition of some of this history. One part consisted entirely of bottled human body parts/organs/bits/pieces, all with a story/rare deformity or disease. Weak of stomach need not apply within! Some chunks of flesh were more innocent, however, in that their owners did not pass away in order for that part of them to join the museum collection.

My favorite in this category was the third leg of a man who grew up in the Highlands of Scotland in the 1800’s. It was a proper third leg and the placard told his story of how he had been branded a cursed monster by his parents, forced to live in exile, and rejected by the school/town, etc. He lived that way well into his fifties when a doctor who heard of his condition offered to remove the unwanted appendage and did so without complication. Also of note, the man had taken to hiding the third leg, which everyone called ‘the thing,’ underneath a long kilt!

The other part of the museum told the history of medicine in Edinburgh, how they invented anesthesia, etc. etc. As the brilliant doctors did their work, though, they required cadavers to conduct their research and Edinburgh was the capital of the burgeoning international trade of body-snatching. Seriously, international! Grave robbers from Ireland would ship boatloads of corpses over to Scotland by night and were paid well for it. This lasted until an infamous pair decided it was easier to procure fresh bodies rather than dig them up. The duo, Burke and Hare, were caught after Hare snitched on Burke in return for clemency and the museum has a book made from Burke’s skin…Macabre city Edinburgh, and kind enough to keep your mortality at the forefront of your mind.

Wednesday we packed, said our farewells and flew to Copenhagen without incident. We’ve had a wonderful time here in the land of AnneMarie’s ancestors. Thursday we explored the city, saw the original statue of the Christus with its accompanying statues of the twelve apostles, explored a Copenhagen street food market, went to the Copenhagen Christmas markets (even better than Edinburgh’s I thought) and took pictures of Copenhagen’s iconic Nyhavn harbor.

We tried lots of food, including a chocolate dipped waffle on a stick, gourmet porridge, and Korean street food. The porridge, perhaps surprisingly, was a hit, and we’ve been back twice since. Friday we visited the little mermaid, a star-shaped island fortress, and toured the royal residences located here in Copenhagen, including Amalienborg palace where the current royal family resides and Rosenborg palace where the crown jewels are kept. Rosenborg was almost my favorite castle we’ve visited in Europe except Saturday we spent all day at the largest castle in Scandinavia, Fredericksberg. I was mostly interested in it because it has most of Carl Bloch’s best known paintings on display in the king’s private chapel, but there was much more to see, which, knowing how much I love Bloch, is saying something. Personally, the inside of the castle was more impressive, to me, than Versailles, though Versailles’ grounds are unbeatable.

I should also mention, Friday night we caught the last session at the Copenhagen temple which is a couple of blocks from us and that was an instant highlight of our trip. Especially when we ran into a couple serving their mission there (Bob and Trudy Larsen) who are good friends of the Paces. Small world!!! Church was next to the temple in a city-style church building and the crowd there was standing only. Hopefully that means the church is growing here!

Well, it is temporarily at least since we’ve become unwilling residents of the city. As we were preparing to leave, I got a text message from the airline notifying us our flight had been cancelled and moved to tomorrow morning. Not a big deal, but we’re anxious to get home and kiss baby Emerson’s cheeks. Our Airbnb host was very kind as well and let us stay the extra night at no charge. That’s lighting the world and we’ve got a little pass along card that we’ll behind when we go in the hope that we can bring her some light as well. AnneMarie’s so good at remembering to bring those and leave them everywhere we go. I’m deeply grateful for this super-smoking beautiful Danish eternal companion I’ve got by my side.

Keep up the good work

All our Love,

Tanner and AnneMarie

Make yourself at home.

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