Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Week 2 - Things are smoother

This past week has been a lot smoother than week one... let me tell ya ;)
The devotional speaker last Tuesday was Elder Marcus B. Nash. This past Sunday was Elder Stephan B. Allen.  Both were fantastic, I love going to devotionals. They are so uplifting and make you think that you can actually get through the MTC... until Monday.  Then not so much. Which is why it was divine inspiration to have a devotional on Tuesday because we need that much help ;) 
So.. in answer to some of your questions:
There are three bunk beds per room.  One against the wall on the left when you enter, one against the back wall/window and then a third parallel to it.  There are two desks with four chairs, but we are essentially never allowed to go back to residence until 9:30pm, so nobody studies here.  There are four closets and 16 drawers for the six of us. The space seems to be evenly divided so far.  It's always a challenge to maneuver in the morning because there are six girls and not a lot of space to move around due to the three bunk beds. But we make due.
The cafeteria has "4 lines" and a salad/wrap bar. And the eating times are all staggered so that way none of the lines are ever long... except on Sundays :P.  So the 4 lines have 2/3 different entrees split between them. And then there's the wrap bar, so that way if the only thing they are serving is fried food, I just grab a wrap.  They also have a fridge with pre-packaged salads so that way if you REALLY don't like anything (which has happened) I just grab a salad. 
I have no idea how many missionaries entered the MTC last week, but I know by June that it is going to be packed.  But at least by then I'll know a lot of people who are entering the MTC.  I ran into a girl the other day at the 6 am exercise class. Her name is Priscilla and she was in my ward last year.  She is going to the Boston, Mass. mission and leaves next week. So my district likes to laugh about the fact that 8 English speaking missions will have come and gone by the time we leave :D. And how much we wish we were English speaking because whenever we do mogi (role play) in eiggo (english) it is SO much easier!

This past Sunday I could actually get the gist of what was being said in the talks (in Nihongo/Japanese), which is fantastic!  Although, we struggle to read the Hiragana in the hymns,  it's a work in progress.  I don't think I told you how our "investigator", Hirakawa san, turned out to be our second teacher.. THAT's embarrassing.  All of us were hoping that we would never see him again.  Looks like we get to see him every day for about..the next 8-9 weeks. YES :\ It's been a difficult transition though, having him as our teacher, because his teaching style is SO different.  He made us make the goal of having both Hiragana and Katakana memorized by tomorrow.. (I've got Hiragana down but now working on Katakana, which is harder because they all look the same!).  But at least I'm eons ahead of where I used to be.  Our other new teacher, Todd sensei, always makes Douglass Shimai completely break down and stress out. 

I'm just thinking, it's not as hard as piano.. it's not as stressful as piano... I can do this... I'm just proud of myself for remembering not to say  "whenever I pray I feel pneumonia"!  As it   turns out,  the word for peace is very close to the term for pneumonia.  For peace is haen and pneumonia is hein.  Oops. 

Also as a side note, two of the Shimai in my district seem to have some health issues.  Damron Shimai has had terrible stomach pains this past week.  Apparently she has a history of gallbladder attacks. She's going to go to the doctor's today to determine if she needs to have her gallbladder removed this week or not. Then last night Womack Shimai was feeling stabbing pains in her left side of her stomach so my doryo thought it was appendicitis so Womack Shimai went to the clinic last night and then they sent her to the ER.. They didn't get back until 4 this morning after leaving for the ER at 10 at night... poor girl :( Also Womack Shimai has Celiac's... meaning that she cannot have gluten, but she said that it was a different pain than just eating gluten on accident.  I don't know, we just let her and her companion sleep in today.  Thank goodness it's p-day.  

On a funnier side note, Willard Sensei (third teacher) came and ate with us and his other district that is leaving this week for Japan.  And the Nihonji (Japanese people) came and sat down with them.  Then our sensei takes off his name badge and goes over and talks to the Nihonji in broken Japanese, claiming that he is a new missionary learning Japanese.  What was hilarious was that one of the guys was kind of mocking whatever Willard Sensei was saying, in jest.  But then our sensei breaks out in fluent Japanese and just floors all the Nihonji.  Their reactions were priceless. :D
The MTC has pushed me and pulled me and stretched me and I know I have grown so much spiritually and in my capabilities to speak Japanese.  Lessons with investigators are still slow and they never seem interested because Douglass shimai and I struggle to say basic sentences like, " Joesph Smith was a prophet" or "Jesus Christ is God's Son" but we still have so much to learn that it seems like 8 weeks is not enough.  Lately, my companion and I have been wondering, 'Well, what is my best?"  People keep telling us, just do your best everyday and the language will come.  But what is that?  Is it when you do all you can do without mentally exhausting yourself or... Just doing the same what you thought was your best before.  Or is your best before not the best that you can do now.  Can you see why we get a little frustrated?  Then there's the frustration of learning a new language and not even understanding what your companion is saying. But right now, I just feel at peace.  I know everything will work out and that getting frustrated is not going to help the situation.

Something that's interesting about my relationship with my doryo is that she is a procrastinator.  Meaning that stress is what motivates her to work.  Stress makes me fall apart,  so I like to get things done before I get stressed.  So then she thinks that I'm not working that hard because I'm not stressed and I'm not cramming, which is funny to me. But luckily, we both communicate frequently so there are no hard feelings.  

Not going to lie, for the first couple weeks it seemed like almost anything we did was incorrect or not 'dignified' as the MTC presidency likes to put it.  But we're getting used to it, and honestly, it seems that even if I try to strictly follow the rules-I'm always doing something wrong (which can be frustrating). Now, I just laugh it off and keep moving cause that's what you do at the MTC, you just keep swimming ;)

The photos are from Sunday's walk to the temple!  Hallelujah! We get to leave the MTC for over 30 min!!  The shimaitachi are the girls that I room with.  The tallest girl is Ellsworth Shimai, her companion is the tall brunette, Womack Shimai.  My companion is Douglass Shimai (petite with dark hair) The other two are Damron (rhymes with cameron) Shimai (short platinum blond hair) and Mason Shimai (brown hair with bangs).

The elders in my district are: Hanohano Churo (Hawaiian, shorter) and his companion is the tall blonde with the scrunched up face in the back row (Bloomfield Churo).  He's the goofball of the district :) he says a lot of things that don't always make sense!  They are the only missionaries going to the Fukuoka mission, and in fact, the only companionship in the district not going to Kobe!  Cook Churo is half Japanese, and his companion is Scharffs Churo.  Scharffs Churo is the kind of scrawny elder with the brown hair.  And the last companionship is Lewis Churo (the other tall blond with the skinny tie) and Wood Churo - the elder with the black fuzzy hair!

Lots of love, Sarah
P.s. I love getting letters from anybody, they make the days not so long and the studying not so laborious.  Just... fyi.. hint hint... nudge nudge. I will reply :)  

Katakana (片仮名, カタカナ or かたかな?) is a Japanese syllabary, one component of theJapanese writing system along with hiragana,[2] kanji, and in some cases the Latin script(known as romaji). The word katakana means "fragmentary kana", as the katakana characters are derived from components of more complex kanji. Katakana and hiragana are both kana systems; they have corresponding character sets in which each kana, or character, represents one mora (one sound in the Japanese language). Each kana is either a vowel such as "a" (katakana ); a consonant followed by a vowel such as "ka" (katakana ); or "n" (katakana ), a nasal sonorant which, depending on the context, sounds either like English mn, or ng ([ŋ]), or like the nasal vowels of Portuguese orFrench.
In contrast to the hiragana syllabary, which is used for those Japanese language words and grammatical inflections which kanji does not cover, the katakana syllabary is primarily used for transcription of foreign language words into Japanese and the writing ofloan words (collectively gairaigo). It is also used for emphasis, to represent onomatopoeia, and to write certain Japanese language words, such as technical and scientific terms, and the names of plants, animals, and minerals. Names of Japanese companies are also often written in katakana rather than the other systems.

Sarah's MTC District:

Back Row: Bloomfield Churo, Hanohano Churo (Hawaiian)   Middle Row: Lewis Churo, Cook Churo (Half Japanese), Sharffs Churo and Wood Churo   Front Row: Ellsworth Shimai, Womack Shimai, Damron Shimai, Mason Shimai, Douglass Shimai and Bevan Shimai

Left to Right: Bevan Shimai, Damron Shimai, Douglass Shimai, Ellsworth Shimai, Womack Shimai, and Mason Shimai 

Sarah and her companion Sister Douglass in front of the Provo Temple

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