It’s finally P-Day! Hallelujiah! I feel like I’m competing on some game show and it’s a race to get everything emailed out in one hour before I am kicked off the computer haha. Well anyway, thank you guys so, so, so much for all the emails and letters. Mom, Jordan and Julia, keep sending me the Dear Elders! They are awesome because I get them every morning and they make me so happy, even if it’s just something like what you ate for breakfast! I love you guys so much! No package yet but I am excited to get one soon!
The MTC is so crazy… I can’t think of one word that will sum it up. The transition was kind of hard, not because of the Japanese or the schedule or the missionary work, but because of the emotional exhaustion/companion struggles/homesickness. I hit my low point on Friday and went to bed crying (so embarrassing) because I had just had a rough day with my companion and was lonely and could not even wrap my head around 9 weeks here. But the saying “if you make it until Sunday, you’ll make it” is so true! After Sunday things got WAY better and I was able to be happy and have fun and work hard, etc. It’s flying by too. I’m all good now so don’t worry!
The schedule here is nice because all the “Asian Missionaries” (Japan, China, Koea, etc.) get gym time first thing in the morning at 6:40 AM, so we just roll out of bed at 6:30 and put our tennis shoes on. However, because our gym time is so early, we aren’t allowed outside on the field so we have to run around the indoor track. The MTC also has a decent weight room/machines. If we aren’t doing that, I’ll join Erin’s district for a game of basketball, knockout, etc. On Saturdays we have 6:15 am service and late gym, so we are able to go outside in front of the temple. It was SO NICE. I played a game of soccer with Erin’s group and we were all dying laughing. After gym we only have THIRTY MINUTES to shower and get ready. I have mastered the 8 minute shower, but never have time to do my hair! The struggles of the missionary life. The amount of studying we do is insane (6 hours in the classroom, then 6 hours of our own companion/personal/language study). The best part of the day is when my companion and I go outside and study in the sun. So nice!
So my companion is Smith Shimai from Toronto. She’s a really hard worker and puts her all into our lessons and into learning Japanese. We are both supposed to be working on expressing our feelings more (LOL sounds like therapy). I’ve definitely been learning how to be patient! Chapman and Klein shimai are the other girls in our district. Chapman shimai was actually adopted from a Russian orphanage when she was 10 and is fluent in Russian… thus the call to Ukraine. She’s been really struggling with Japanese so we are all helping her out! The chorotachi in my district are HILARIOUS and have the whole class bent over laughing over something meaningless at 9:30 pm after a long day of studying. We all have a good time together. (Dad, thought you would like to know that one of the chorotachi is from Spanish Fork but just finished his freshman year at Berekley, studying physics). Our “senpai”, the other district in our zone, are leaving on the 17th. They are all really great and our Sister Training Leaders have helped us out so much this past week. The girls in Erin’s district are so, so, so, so, awesome. They are all crazy and fun but also know how to work hard. I always just have such a big smile when I talk to them. Eyering shimai is literally THE FUNNIEST person I have ever met. She mimicks Erin and my voices perfectly and will act out our conversations. I usually am with them during exercise. Other tham that, I usually only say hi to Erin during meals and then at the end of the day we kind of sneak off and say goodnigh to each other. We are in the same building and on the same floor, but on two different ends.
Church on Sunday was so great. It was my first time fasting for 24 hours straight. Actually not too bad. Sacrament was completely in Japanese. My branch president is the only one in the MTC who speaks Japanese, so that is why we have the nihonjin in our zone. Dad, you would really like my branch president. He is a very sharp guy and served in Sendai/Sapporro. The 2nd counselor also speaks japanese and was actually mission president in Kobe (I think that’s the mission…) We just got a new set of nihonjin on Monday after the old set left. The new ones don’t speak a work of English so it’s really fun to try and talk to them. One of them knows Grandma and Grandpa!
The Japanese is going well! I love my teacher, Sister Tsukamoto. Scott cook also teaches us. I am kind of bored in class (they are trying to learn desu and masu right now) but the lessons we teach are so interesting and challenging! We have a “fake” investigator named Narita. He is actually a nihongo teacher. We have to teach him every single day. The hardest part is translating our lesson plan into Japanese… takes an hour! However, it is so cool when I am able to understand his questions and answer them. One time he asked us to bear our testimonies and I was able to say mine completely in Japanese without looking down at my notes once. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. Other lessons are more of a charade game, but that’s okay. I can understand him almost perfectly. My speaking is still weak, but I’m actually improving so much because I’m forced to speak now. I’m also continuing kanji while everyone else learns hiragana and katakana. I’m also reading one verse a day in the Japanese BOM. It’s fun to try and disect each verse. The fast track option would’ve gotten me out of here in 3 weeks, but those 3 weeks would’ve been all English and no Japanese at all. Erin and I both prayed about it and really felt strongly that we need to stay here the whole time.
What else…. the food is bearable. I don’t eat any of the meals they provide but there are some gems here. I go to the wrap bar and ask for a plate of spinach and then I put cranberries, nuts, olives, chicken, green onions, mandarin oranges, etc. on it. yesterday I had that salad for lunch AND dinner. If not the salad then I’ll make myself a PBJ, toast, or something else. Breakfast everyday this past week was All-Bran cereal and fruit. Yesterday they had whole grain bagels so I had that instead. I’m really enjoying what I eat right now… it’s already getting old though! Erin not only ate Papa John’s but also ice cream with all the toppings! Amazing!
Some good moments from this week: temple walk on Sunday, “Package parties” (usually people will get a bunch of cookies from their family and we all share). The branch President’s wife snuck in some fruit and veggies for us so we all gathered up at 10 pm in our pajamas and had a veggie party! Best snap peas I’ve ever had. Erin and I asked the kitchen for special permission to wash our water bottles in their back kitchen… and they said yes! Now I won’t have to worry about mold or anything 🙂
Thank you guys for eveything. I miss you all so much and just want to cry every time I think of you because I am so grateful for you. Sorry for the spelling… this keyboard is so sticky. I can’t wait to get to Japan! I LOVE YOU! CAN”T WAIT TO CALL!