Thursday, March 10, 2011

On Companions, Languages, and MTC Life...

I am having a great time here! It is a little weird to think that I am halfway done with my MTC time.
Glad to hear everyone is doing great!

This week I have two companions. Hna. Wilson came on Friday. She studied Spanish in school though, so she is really only here to get all her paperwork done. She leaves on Tuesday, and is going to the Madrid Mission. She is from Sacramento. Hna. Soderquist is still my companion. We decided it was a good thing we were in a trio in Provo, because we have very different personalities. Hna. Greer did a great job of balancing us out. Now we get along great though.

We have study time in the morning, class, lunch, class, gym, dinner, study and practices, and after that we have snack time!!! We have the same teacher every morning and a different one every afternoon. In Provo, our teachers worked class time around their schedules, so everyday was different. Each day is mostly the same here though, so that´s good.

The food is good for the most part. We haven´t had anything super weird yet, but I think the cafeteria here tries to make the Spanish version of American food. I think we might eat some different things in the field though.

Practicing in the Park is so interesting. The park is huge and everybody comes, even the tourists, so we meet people from all over the place. The natives speak really fast though, and I have a difficult time understanding what they are saying if I'm not super focused on trying to understand. I can usually say what I want, when the time is right, but walking up and talking to random people is so outside my comfort zone. But I do learn a lot when we go to the park.

The missionaries here are great! They are so much fun. I love my district. It is just six of us right now, but in a few days we will be back down to four after Hna. Wilson and Elder Ashworth leave. The whole district is going to Madrid, except for Hna. Soderquist, and I am excited to get to work with them. Elder Forsythe also joined our district this week, and he will be staying around until we leave. Elder Forsythe is from Texas. He and Elder Wilkinson were actually companions in Provo, but Elder Wilkinson is from England so he didn't have to wait for a visa.
We have to practice with the other districts at night, so we get to practice with missionaries who know more Spanish than we do, which is good.

Next week is the time to switch out districts. We are supposed to get a new district from Provo, but we don't know when they'll get here. The district that got here before we did leaves on Thursday, and the district of Portugese missionaries leave on Tuesday. We love the Portugese sisters. They are so fun, and we really are just getting to the point where we can understand their personalities. If we listen really hard we can understand what they are saying, and they understand our Spanish better than our English. There were two missionaries who came on Wed, but they are leaving for Malaga on Thurs. with the other district.

There is a missionary staying here because he broke his foot. He is serving in Madrid, and Pres. Watkins (Madrid Mission President) took advantage of the MTC to give him some time to heal. He has so much to share with us about how we can be good missionaries. He really does want us to be the best missionaries we can. It is great to be able to learn from someone who is in the field.

We are learning a lot. I really enjoy learning Spanish. I personally feel that the teaching will come as we learn the Spanish, but it really works the other way. The Spanish comes as we practice teaching.

The temple is so cool. It is really just a few feet away. And our stairwell has the coolest view. We go first thing on Thursday morning. The MTC does a session together, so both times I've gone it has been in English. Everything is printed in like five languages at the temple! Spanish, Portugese, French, Italian, and English. And many of the temple workers are Senior Missionaries! They live in the same building we do, on the floor just below the MTC. There is also a hostel on the floor below that is for people who have to come from far away to go to the temple. The first floor has the hostel office, a distribution center, and employment center, and possibly something else, I don't really remember.

The MTC is the top three floors of the building. We have a floor of classrooms, the floor where we sleep, and the floor where we eat. We actually live on the same floor the Elders do, but there is a wall dividing the two areas. We have to walk up separate staircases when we go to meals so we aren't walking near the other residences. The Senior Missionaries stay at the end of our hall, but they have actual apartments, we just have really fancy dorm rooms. The Senior Missionaries aren't usually here too long, just long enough to get their paperwork done.

I am so excited to hear about Grandma and Grandpa and their mission papers. I am so excited for them! It sounds like the temple missionaries are getting to close to leaving, in just a few months. Maybe they'll get called to serve in the Temple!!!

I promise I'll get some pictures out soon, I just don't know when I will get around to it!!!

Pres. Watkins had a meeting with Pres. Earl (Spain MTC President) yesterday, so I got to meet my mission president. He said that the sisters here are excellent missionaries. He also said that missionaries get up at 7 and go to bed at 11, and that after conference they get up at 7:30 and go to bed at 11:30! The Spaniards stay up really late, so we have to adjust our schedule to meet their needs.

Yesterday we took some "candid" photos. The First Presidency asked for some pictures of the MTC, and they wanted them to look like we were doing something. We were mostly posing to make it appear like we were actually learning, but the camera was just too intrusive. We think that the pictures will be used in the Ensign, but maybe they will be shown in General Conference.
Love you lots!

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