05 June 2014 / Erin

15! I have eaten a salad for every lunch and dinner since I have been here… except for the time when I ate papa john’s pizza for dinner because I was sick to death of salad. Don’t worry, I regret breaking my salad streak. I eat all bran and raisin bran for breakfast, along with fruit. It’s an exciting life. I can’t wait to get to Japan to eat the food there! Every day the shimaitachi in my district make bets if I will eat “real food.” So far they have not won. But in all seriousness, it’s not too bad! It’s just a very long cleansing. Thank you so much for thinking of me and sending me a package… I am so excited to get it!

Thank you SOOO much for your dear elders, letters, and e mails! They seriously make my day. Everytime I get a dear elder I wish that I could e mail you right then and say thanks!

The MTC is hard but really fun! And that is all because of my district, especially the shimaitachi who I LOVE! We are all great friends. 10 people in my district, 4 girls. Wilson shimai and I are companions. She has been teaching me ubonics or something like that. It’s ghetto/street talk. Quite enlightening. One day in class she was teaching me “buji” which means a sassy girl (like ratchet) but apparently it means “safe” in nihongo. So our teacher came up to us and was proud of us for practicing that word and wrote buji on the board in hiragana. It was super funny. She is also teaching me how to dance cool and she has a goal of 1)making me cry while we are in the mtc and 2)always making me eat more food so I won’t “wither away.” We’re opposites because she doesn’t like fruit or veggies… but we are great friends. Anna loves her too and so we are always cracking up together.

Eyring shimai and Robertson shimai are the other companionship. Eyring shimai is HILARIOUS and is the reason I am not only surviving here, but having a great time. I am seriously laughing all day because of her. She is also fluent in sugeingo and speaks more spanish than english. Robertson shimai is older than kayla… almost 22.

So, first things first, I decided to stay here the whole 9 weeks. I prayed about it a lot and fasted about it because I was really stressed about it. I could either take a test, and if I passed it, stay here for just 3 weeks in eego only and then go to nihon. Or, I think I could move up to a district that is leaving earlier. Whenever I thought about leaving early, I just really didn’t feel good about it. And I kind of got the impression that I am supposed to be here for 9 weeks… not to learn nihongo but to learn and grow in another way. So, here I am. And I am not too upset about staying here the whole time because I am having a good time and love my district. I also talked to a girl who was in our Japanese class who got here 5 weeks ago. She said that everyone caught up to her in about 3 weeks.

The first day I got here, right after I left Kayla who was hysterically sobbing, I dropped off all my stuff in my room and went to the classroom. The teachers only speak nihongo, so I had a converstion with my sensei. He asked me how I know Japanese, so I told him the story. And then everyone else who came in just freaked out when he asked them questions and just was like “i have not clue what you are saying.” It was kind of funny.

There are a ton of people going to nihon, and about 8 of them are from new zealand (I know I spelled that wrong) and australlia… so cool! In our branch, we also have an elder from Holland and an elder from Sweden who came in the same day as us. They call Wilson shimai and I “California” and they’re so funny.

We teach an “investigator” (aka an RM) every day. We’ve had the same one for the past week and the lessons are sooo hard. It’s hard for me because I usually understand everything but I can’t respond the way I want because my speaking is awful. I wish so much that I had talked to you guys (mom and dad) in nihongo so I could be better. But I am slowly learning more. I have learned a ton of church vocab. It’s hard because wilson shimai can’t even say a sentence yet… she just writes down everything and reads it when we go in. So it’s up to me to answer everything. I try to get her to but she gets nervous and just tells me in eego when she wants to say and then I say it in nihongo.

Talentino choro is in my district and his nihongo is soooo good. We came in at the same level but I swear he doesn’t sleep and studies nihongo all night. He could definitely leave for nihon right now but he is loving it here… I think he was made for this place. And he teaches the class during our study time. It’s pretty funny.

I am having a really hard time sleeping here. It seriously takes me an hour to fall asleep, and if I wake up in the middle of the night, I can’t fall back asleep again for a while. It’s frustrating because I’m so exhausted, but my mind won’t shut off. I am hoping that it will get better soon.

Mom, the peach almond granold bars you got me are actually really good. Thank you very much. Dad, my watch already broke. Taihen desu nee. But luckily I brought a back up watch.

On Sunday we fasted until 5:35 and by the end I thought that my body had died. But other than that, it was a great day. It is so true that if you make it to Sunday at the MTC, you will be fine. It was so nice to go to meetings and just listen to talks. It is amazing how much better you can feel the spirit and feel connected to iesu kirisuto to kamisama when you spend all day everyday learning the gospel and how to teach it. Talks that I would have thought were boring are now so great and I take away so much from them. In one talk that was given during mission conference on Sunday, the speaker said “become the missionary that your parents think you are.” That is seriously my goal!

Mom, it is crazy that you are connected with Wilson-shimai’s mom on facebook! Wilson shimai and I love it, we joke about it a lot.

So, I mentioned that my district is awesome. We are all great friends and even though we are stuck in a tiny classroom together for 9+ hours a day, we choose to eat our meals together. One of the funniest lunches we had this week was when we spent the whole time guessing each others first names. I was actually pretty good at it. Everyone thought I looked like an Ashley.

Weird connection, but the 3rd counselor of my branch presidency knows Dave and Laurie Gufstufson (okay I spelled that wrong too). Their daughter is married to Mike Gufstufson, Dave’s brother.

On Wednesday all of the nihongo missionaries wear pink (Kayla, name the movie.) So, naturally, my three shimaitachi and I wore all black. Quiet rebellion here at the MTC.

Mom, you are right about me having to work on my face so it doesn’t look angry when I’m not doing anything. The chorotachi in my district said that they were scared of me the first few days because I spoke Japanese and I was quiet and they thought I was angry. So now I am trying to have a pleasant relaxing face. I think I will master it in the next 8 weeks.

Looking back at my nihongo this past week, I don’t feel super good about it. I feel like everyone else has learned soooo much and they’re really catching on. But other than leaning vocab, prayer, testimony, invitations, etc, I don’t think I’ve been improving too much. It’s hard because I have to teach myself and choose what to learn because the teacher is teaching stuff I already know. But I am going to challenge myself a lot this week and work ahead, like dad said, to try to learn the nihongo I need to teach most effectively.

Julia and Jordan, I can’t believe you’re on summer break!!! Julia, I hope your graduation was fun! Let me know what fun things you do this summer.

Okay there was just so much to write and I hope I got most of it down. I will send the picture in another e mail next. Thank you SOOOOOO much for the letters, dear elders, and e mails. I feel sooooo blessed to have such a great family.

Kayla, I sent you a letter today. Mom, I am in the middle of writing you one. Julia, I hope you got mine. Jordan, stay crusty. Dad, I cannot believe your exercise, you are crazy. Good job.
PS sorry for the typos, I am writing super fast.

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