Hola! Mi querida familia! Como estan?!
Well, that´s about the extent of my Spanish, so I hope you enjoyed it! Ok, jk, so I know un poco more than that, but not by too much... lolz
Oh man, it´s been SUCH a long week. Every day here is like at least 3 days in the "real world." Every meal feels like it should be dinner, I swear...
Imma break my week down by category so that I can better organize my thoughts.
Arriving in Buenos Aires: My flight experience was pretty good, relatively speaking. I felt pretty calm and composed, which was a real blessing. In Atlanta I found one other Elder who is going to serve in Uruguay but who is in my district here in the CCM (the MTC in Spanish). After a few more hours four other missionaries showed up, so there ended up being six of us flying to Argentina together on the flight. I was pretty far in the back, which ended up being a HUGE blessing, because there were several empty seats from tickets that hadn´t been sold. So I ended up with the entire middle row to myself (three seats) for the whole flight. It wasn´t exactly comfortable (read, it was extremely uncomfortable), but it was still obviously a huge blessing as compared to how it could have been. I was able to sleep for like six hours! The temptation was real though, because they had tons of in flight movies and they even gave us free headphones... I resisted and just chilled/slept instead though. When we arrived there was no one there to pick us up because our flight had been delayed, so we had to wait another hour or two for a van to come. Luckily I wasn´t alone though, so it really wasn't a big deal. When we got to the CCM, we were greeted by tons of Latinos who were just hanging around outside since it was Pday. The CCM is right next to the Buenos Aires temple, so we obviously got to see that as well (but unfortunately it is closed right now because the power went out in the whole city, so they decided to clean it). We had a brief orientation, unpacked, and did some other things I can't remember on account of that whole day was a straight blur to me #overwhelmed.
Mis compañeras: I´m in a trio with Hermana Nuckles y Hermana Speakman. They are both super real and super chill, and I feel pretty blessed to have them as my first companions. Hermana Nuckles is from Mexicali and is super nice and really chill. She laughs a lot and keeps things fun (well, as fun as the CCM can be...). Hermana Speakman has a little bit of a more sarcastic sense of humor, and she´s super real as well and works well in our trio. She also probably knows the most Spanish out of the 3 of us, which helps us get through lessons better. My district has 5 hermanas y 5 Elders, so we have 2 trios. The Elders in my district are all very... unique... I probably wouldn't be super close friends with them normally, but it's easy to find things you like about people when they are sincere and bearing testimony of what they believe all the time. I´m working on patience and charity big time, so the problem might be more with me than with them. My district is good overall though. Most of the boys are going to Uruguay, but all of the girls are going to Paraguay.
Weather: The weather here is pretty bomb, at least compared to what I thought it would be. It definitely gets hot at times, but it´s been pretty dece overall. And we are inside most of the time anyway, except for that we eat meals outside and play sports for our physical activity time. It is pretty humid though, which essentially means that my hair never looks good. Bummer... We watched a devotional the other day broadcast from the Provo MTC and all the Sisters´ hair was done all cute and I was like "THEY DON¨´T EVEN KNOW THE STRUGGLE... UGH".
Food: Not gonna lie, the food situation has been rough for me. They serve meat for every meal (which I knew they would), but there´s really not too much else. I knew I would struggle with what to eat and be hungry a lot, but it´s one thing to anticipate being hungry and it´s another thing entirely to actually BE hungry. Especially when you´re sitting in Spanish classes all day long... I´ve found a couple of things that work for me though, and usually I can find something to eat that´s semi satisfactory. And Hermana Speakman gave me a bunch of fruit snacks, so that was way helpful. My biggest regret is not bringing more snacks... We only eat 3x a day (which I know is generally the normal amount people eat...), but I´m SUPER used to snacking 24/7, and when you are awake and busy ALL DAY LONG, you get SUPER hungry in between meals. Sometimes in between lunch and dinner I swear I´m not going to make it. But it´s fine, I´m almost positive I won´t LITERALLY die in the CCM. And I´m sure it will get better over time. It´s helped me to rely on the Lord a lot more. Also, it will be better once I can cook for myself again.
Spanish: Ok, so the Spanish has been a bit of a struggle. The way they teach it is very different than I thought. I imagined grammar lessons and conjugations and vocab and worksheets or something. But instead it´s pretty much just teaching us how to teach the gospel (they teach us mostly in English), and then just the expectation that Spanish will come naturally over time. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's been pretty frustrating. On literally our third day here we had to teach a fake investigator a lesson, and we literally couldn't say ANYTHING. We didn't even know how to ask if we could come into their house and share a message. It was SO SO SO bad haha. If there was ever a point this week that I felt like crying, that was it. It was soooo frustrating. It´s quite humbling. I obviously know I can't learn Spanish in a week, but I'm starting to realize just how long it´s actually going to take. Especially since I'm only going to learn it by just listening to others and trying to practice repeating what I haer. We teach lessons to fake investigators like every day... In Spanish. It´s a joke haha. My companions and I just say stuff like "Que piensa?" and "Que sentir?" which doesn´t really make sense haha. But we try. All of our lessons have been better than the first one though, which was the one that FAILED SO HARD. It was a good learning experience though. I wish I could say more about learning Spanish (I have so many thoughts), but it´s just too hard to explain and not worth the use of my limited time. Overall though, I LOVE SPANISH! I honestly don´t like learning it haha, and it stresses me out to think about it too much, but I really love the language itself. Listening to the Latinos speak it all the time is inspiring. I can't wait until I don't sound like a total idiot anymore. 6 months isn't that long, right? RIGHT?! :( It´s veryyyy humbling to learn another language. Sometimes I just think about stateside/English speaking missionaries and I start to feel a jealous rage coming on. But also I´m thankful for the opportunity I have to learn Spanish, and I´m excited to hopefully one day be able to semi express my feelings and not just say "Ahh, bien!" to everythingggg someone is saying. One day, one day...
My teachers: My teachers here are the literal bomb. We have Hermana Juarez in the mornings, and she is so great, very positive, and super helpful. She is better about teaching us grammar and Spanish than our other teacher, and I like her a lot. She served her mission in England London South, which is where she learned her English. She got back about a year and a half ago. Our other teacher in the evenings and night is Hermano Catron. I´m not exaggerating when I say I've never known a person as charismatic as him. He is probably the most dynamic teacher/person I have EVER seen! He is SO funny and SO charming and KNOWS his Gospel and testifies SO POWERFULLY! I couldn't have asked for a better teacher. He has this way of making you feel like the most important person in the world, and I can tell he was a great missionary. He just got back two months ago from serving in Chile. Anyway, my teachers are just the bomb and I feel super blessed. All the teachers here in Argentina are really good.
Latinos: Ok, so the breakdown of the CCM is currently about 18 North Americans (10 from our district and 8 from another one that is two weeks ahead of us), about 20ish Brazilians, about 15 latinas and about 35 latinos. We are at capacity at the CCM rigth now with 90 people. The latinos only stay for two weeks, the Brazilians stay for four weeks, and the North Americans stay for six weeks. There are a lot more elders here than Hermanas. Seriously, the latino elders are SO FUN! I love them a lot. I wish I could be in a district with them. They are super funny and so chill and really, really friendly. We have actividad fisica every day for an hour (essentially recess), and it´s my favorite time of every day. We play volleyball and soccer and ping pong with all the latinos, and it´s the greatest thing ever. Mom, I know you told me this would happen, and you were so right! They´re THE GREATEST!
Sunday: This Sunday was my favorite day so far. It was fast Sunday, which I was worried about because I´m already hungry as it is eating 3 times a day, let alone not eating until 630 pm after having been up and busy since 630am. It was soooo good though. I was really blessed. I honestly didnt even get as hungry all day as I sometimes do in between lunch and dinner. And almost all of Sunday was in English because we just had church with the other North American district. And I had planned on bearing my testimony becauser there were only like 20 of us and teh MTC presidency. As we were in the meeting though, I really couldn´t think of anything I wanted to say. I had pondered it on Saturday as well, but nothing was coming to mind. All the sudden in the middle of the meeting though, I had a specific experience come to mind that I wanted to share. I can only describe the experience of the fulfilment of the promise that the Holy Ghost will help us recall all things in the moment we need them. So I bore my testimony and it went really well and even though I obviously cried during it (lolz), it was a great experience. Also, thats the only time Ive cried this week, so I probably needed to release some pent up emotion... The rest of sunday was good too and we watched Meet the Mormons at night, which was a good time. It was fun with all the North Americans and a few Brazilians who were trying to learn English.
Other hermanas: The other North American district has 6 sisters, and they are all great. They are all going to the Paraguay Asuncion mission, except one going to the north mission as a nurse. They are all super funny and have SO much energy. It's cool to see the way God inspired the construction of our districts. All the other girls in their district have SERIOUS boyfriends, either at home or on missions, and they've formed a kind of support group with each other to help each other through it. And none of the sisters in my group do, which I think is more than a coincidence that all the sisters were put with others in a simillar situation to them. I like the other sisters a lot. Also, girls crying every night at the MTC is NOT A MYTH, and those girls cry like every night and so did my companion and it´s a real thing. I had heard that, but I thought it wasn't a thing. IT IS.
Pre Mortal MTC: Other side note, it´s the craziest thing, but SO many of the missionaries here seems familiar to me. Not like we´ve gotten to know each other and it seems like we´ve been friends all of our lives, but rather just that I literally KNOW them from somewhere. And the feeling is STRONG. I honestly believe we were all foreordained to come serve in these missions at this time and in this place and that we all together in the pre mortal existence and planned on coming to the Argentina MTC together. All of the North American sisters say I look SO familiar to them. Like, they were freaking out about how much it seems like they all know me. And they all seem so familiar to me too. And the latinos too. It's so cool!
Overall, I have definitely left the Garden of Eden which was my former life... And I know it´s only going to get harder. I already have more emotions and more thoughts and need to rely on the Lord more than before. I have literally NO control over what I do here, and it´s been rough. I pray a million times a day for the strength to get through this. Honestly, I´m doing ok, and I don´t doubt that Heavenly Father will guide me through this whole experience. My personality has really helped me to keep perspective, and even though I don´t really want to be here, per se, I KNOW that this is where I am supposed to be. I´d be lying if I said the CCM was "super fun", but there are good moments, and I keep trying to remind myself that I´m not here just for fun. The atonement wasn´t easy, and neither is missionary work.
Mosiah 24:13-15 is quality scripture. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
I´m glad I've been led to the place in my life where a mission is the right thing for me to do, and I´m learning more to be thankful for the little things.
Love you all mucho mucho mucho!!!
p.s. D and C 31:3 was really cool to me this week. It says that the hour of your mission is come! TRUE STORY!
Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation.