Week one felt like about 2 months, but it has been fun. There is much to say, so I will get to the point!
The CCM or MTC is very different than I expected. There are only 10 of us North Americans here, and the rest are from South America with very little English. My district has the 10 North Americans and 2 Brazilians. Surprise, I am actually going to come home speaking THREE languages (or just one massive blob of Spanglishese). There are always 3 languages going on in the classroom, and my language part of my brain hurts. The Spanish is coming slowly, mostly because we don't necessarily learn Spanish. All of our teachers just speak it constantly and we are expected to catch on. It can be hard sometimes, but every day I understand a little more!
My companion, Hermana Fillerup is foreign. She's from Wyoming. I think that is a country up North. I really like her last name. Say it out loud and I promise you will like it too. She rolls her r's very well and said that she learned how to do that from playing with Indians. Or maybe she meant from playing Indians. Either way, I like her a lot. We have developed a good teaching system, even with our broken Spanglish, and the spirit is always present when we are teaching our fake investigators.
My two other roommates are hilarious and short. They are from Peru and Bolivia, and they speak Spanish very well. It's like they are native or something. My companion and I like to scare them. We had all the lights turned off in our room and we hid right next to the light switch, and when they turned it on we said BOO. Only it was scarier than that. I made my own knees collapse. We have also hid under the bunk beds on a few occasions and grabbed their ankles. They always say in scary voices, 'venganza', which means 'revenge'. That is a little freaky to have little 4 foot nothing chicas following you around whispering revenge, but I have gotten used to it. They remind me of the minions on Dispicable Me, and I love them so much. I bet they will fit in my suitcase...hmmm...maybe I will ask Presidente Allred if I can keep them.
Sunday was my favorite day. Besides testimony meeting, all our classes were in ENGLISH! Ah. I miss English. I can't remember how to spell anything, and we all speak with terrible grammar. So, please fix any errors. Gracias, anyway, Sunday we watched The Legacy, and they KISSED! Ah. We all were going to die. It was like a mini chick flick. Then, at night, we had family home evening. The hermanas in our district sang 'I see my mother kneeling, mine is a home' whatever that song is called for both the Spanish and English people. There are about 60 people here total. Then we separated into two rooms and the Spanish speakers learned how to say some simple English phrases and we learned Chilean etiquette. The speakers were on in our room, so we heard them practice their English. It made me feel a lot better hearing them sing 'Called to serve HEEEM'!
The native speakers help us soooo much. I wish we could be with them all the time. I guess in the real mission we will be, but for now we get to go to our own special classes.
THE FOOD. Ok. I get sooo frustrated because things look like American things, but they don't TASTE like American things … especially the desserts. For breakfast they don't have milk. I eat the bread with some jam...no butter...or granola with yogurt. They have cereal but they eat it with yogurt. I don't like that very much, but some people do! I miss cold milk and butter.
We eat rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes for lunch and dinner. I usually eat a little of that for lunch, but the salad bar for dinner since dinner is so late. The stretch between lunch and dinner is loooong. Moral of the story is the food is good, and I'm not starving. bueno.
We run every morning at the park outside the CCM. It is so beautiful. It is probably my favorite part of the day, besides bedtime. The weather is actually really mild. It’s a little cold, but I have never been freezing. It has only rained once.
Well, here is something funny. All the hermanas here in my district were practically engaged or in serious relationships, but all felt the need to serve a mission. We begin to brainstorm why, and we decided it was because the family is under attack. Now, more than ever, the world needs righteous mothers.
Family, I love you. Thank you for the letters! I wish I had time to respond to every one personally. I am glad you are loving California and getting to know people. Keep writing!!! I NEED YOU CALI ADDRESS! Por favor! So I can write real letters. I forgot to get that before I left, oops.
The room is full of happy tears and sniffles right now. The four elders are even a bit emotional, awe. Family is great. Letters are great. Missions are great.
Even though it is really hard and we all want to give up at times...especially when we sit through 6 hours of Spanish and only understand 3 words...I know this is the right thing to be doing. I have felt the spirit testify to me so many times that this is the work of the Lord, He is in control. I try to remind myself that I don't need to know everything, just enough to bear my testimony and possibly buy some chocolate on Pday.
Please post this on my blog because I don't have a chance to tell EVERYONE who wrote me about all this. But I love and appreciate all the letters.
Oh, tell Grace I am not getting fat! We've all lost weight. haha.
I will attach pictures of my district, my first day here, and Pday. My companion is the one with super curly hair; it reminds me of Anna banana!
I guess I just type really fast because I am done saying everything and still have 5 minutes.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I know that the spirit will testify to us constantly if we are humble and listening for it. I know that families are eternal. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission.
Love you all, so much. Please write...I don't have the address but you can google the CHILE CCM and get it and then use dearelder.com to write.
Love, Hermana VanCott