¡Jaime, mi querida amiga!
I am so sorry I fell behind with the letter writing last week! Just know that the only reason I won't send a letter is because I simply had no time on P-day. (Last week I selfishly got my hair cut. Lo siento. Pero, yo lo necesitaba.)
I sent a friendly reminder to my parents to forward the e-mails, so hopefully they will comply! If not, just send a message to Angie on FB and she can forward it to you. You should be hearing from me weekly, my friend!
It's good to hear about the haps at home. To be honest, I had totally forgotten about the Olympics until someone mentioned the figure skating a couple days ago. As sad as I am that I don't get to see them, you know what I'm going to say... I'd rather be here! And here's the crazy thing: I leave for Panama in 4 weeks! ¡Que loco! (Uno de estés días, escribiré una corte todo en español. Pero para hoy, escribiré totalmente en Ingles ☺. --> okay, not "totalmente."
We've started teaching the lessons in Spanish now! I'm not exactly what you would call "flent" but I get the point across. Hay mucho mas para aprender. Por lo menos, puedo decir que estoy progresando.
So I came to a startling realization last week. I thought I was doing a pretty good job forgetting about myself and focusing on the work but we had a zone conference that taught me otherwise. Our teachers stressed the importance of being a "SER" missionary, not an "ESTAR" missionary. A ser missionary (o misionera) is someone who cares so much about the work that they continue talkign about mission related things while they're eating, in the dorms or in between classes. One of my teachers asked us all to think about the last things on our minds were at night. Mom? Dad? Boyfriend/girlfriend? ... What about your companion? The people you're preparing to teach? Yeah... I realized I was too often trying to take a "break" from missionary work by thinking about things that didn't necessarily apply to the work. (They weren't trying to condemn us for occasionally thinking about home - it was just one of those "good"/"better"/"best" things.) It's going to be a bit of a sacrifice to stop thinking so much about myself but, honestly, this is the most important thing I could ever do and this is my only chance. I really can't afford to waste a minute of it! (By the way, writing to you will never be considered a waste of time!)
I guess there's a part of me that sort of wanted to cling to everything I had before so that I could prove that I was the same person I was when I left. Now I know that was ridiculous because being here has actually made me feel more like myself than anything else. FUnny what the gospel can do for you, huh? :)
Anywho... no worries about your Pal. She's a happy kid. (I mean "Hermana.")
Okay, I know I don't nearly tell you enojgh about the goings on round these parts so today I'll try to make amends! I've decided to do some character profiles for you today starting with:
My companion: Hermana Nicole Graham
I cannot begin to describe my gratitude for Hna. Graham. She really is a gem of a compaion! Aside from being physically ripped, she is sweet, sincere, funny, tall, beautiful and very spiritually attuned. I was sick a week ago and she took incredible care of me, making sure I had water, medicine and peace and quiet when I needed it. That's probably why she's studying to be a nurse at BYU. She has a natural gift of taking care of people. Oh, and she's a fantastic piano player, too. You might hear about this from my parents' email but she accompanied for another Hermana who was singing in RS on Sunday (and I turned the pages! Woot!) She has so many talents. We get along almost nauseatingly well. I love teaching lessons with her because I end up learning so much. She's constantly studying the scriptures or her Spanish textbook, so her example's really motivated me to work harder. (I am, after all, very competitive like that. :)) I can't wait for you to meet her some day!
Hermana Ochs and Hermana Kennedy
These are the other two sisters in our district/room, so they are basically my "other" companions. The four of us are always together at meals, meetings, class and in the dorms. These two are almost as different as Hna. Graham and I are the same. Es muy cómico. Hna. Ochs is a tender hearted sister from California whom I am confinced would never hurt a fly even if the fly was stabbing her in the back. She'd probably just apologize for being in it's way. I absolutely adore her innocence, which I think can sometimes come off as blonde-ness (no offense, James.) I could send you a list of the quotes we've compiled from her, the most recent being this little exchange:
Elders: We're going to Las Vegas.
Hna. Ochs: California?? Awesome!
She is truly a treat :). You'll hear more about her I'm sure.
Hna. Kennedy is a cute, blonde 5'2" ball of fire from Missouri. She's hilarious - I'm always catching her eye in class and busting up because we have very similar senses of humor. She's friendly, outgoing and has an infectious smile. She actually studied French in school so SPanish has been a bit of a transition for her. I love it when she speaks Spanish with a French accent (like "ahntray" instead of "entre.") It's almost as cute as her little Missouri accent when she says, "grassyus, Elder!" I never told you the snoring sotry but here's the gist: one of the sisters in our room had a rather bad blockage of the nasal cavity (snores SO LOUDLY!) and one night I was staring up at the ceiling with bloodshot eyes while this was happening and smoething sort of snapped - I started laughing uncontrollably (I was so tired and all I wanted was some good sleep.) Hna. K. sleeps on the bottom bunk below me and must have been awake too because I felt a sharp poke in the back and pretty soon we were both in tears of laughter. And the snoring ceased. :) We break out into many fits of laughter here. How is that different from the way things were at home? It's not. I'm just spreading my insanity :) .
The Elders in our district
We have six Elders: E. Piena/E. Christinsen, E. Haskell/E. Anderson, E. Rumsey/E. Anderson (yes, there are two.) I have a hard time remembering they're all 19 because they are incredibly mature and respectful - when we're not busting up laughing during our Spanish hymns (we struggle a bit - except with "cuenta tus bendiciones" - it sounds better in Spanish!) They take our trays at the end of every meal, hold open doors and, best of all, make us laugh daily. We're like some quirky Mormon spin-off of the Partridge Family or something. You woudl really enjoy our classes. They are characters!
My teachers: Hermano Zirkle y Hermano Bingham
Perhaps I say this too much but my teachers are AWESOME. Hermano Zirkle took Hno. Anderson's place a couple weeks ago and even though I was devastated about losing Hno. A, Hno. Z is fantastic and I've learned an incredible amount from him in just a few short weeks. I think he cares more about the people he teaches than anyone I've ever met. He has a sincere desire to help the people who are preparing to receive the Gospel and it's really taugth me to open my eyes and look beyond my teaching abilities and more toward the feelings and needs of the people I teach. Hno. Z is also very ADD - and that is truly entertaining to witness. He'll twirl chairs, toss markers and do pirhouettes on the doorstep while he's teaching us. And he does fantastic impressions whenever he tells us stories about his mission (In Bilbao, Spain!). But he doesn't do the "th" thing :(. I love Hno. Z! We get along really well because he appreciates my sarcasm.
Then there's Hno. Bingham - fresh off the mish as of about two months ago - but I swear he doesn't seem 21. More like ...23. I dunno. You'd just have to meet him. He is a hoot. Very animated yet serious at the same time... he's always saying and doing funny things but he never cracks a smile. Oh - except one time when we were singing "Abide with me; 'tis eventide." Yeah, I don't know either. It's a terribly hilarious hymn... We used to have a lot of fun with his Spanish lisp but he decided to stop doing it (probably because we could never make it through a sentence without laughter.) Anyway, we have fun with Hno. B.
Those are my main amigos here! There are many more (thankfully) but devotional is about to start, so I have to call it quits. I'm going to spend you a picture of my district! I hope my 3 favorites (plus Shehan) are doing well!
Let the others know more letters are on the way! I love with all of my little corazón!
p.s. could you send me some pictures of any/all of us?
p.p.s. I love you :)