Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nicole's First Email

Hello Family and Friends,
So, I learned that they changed the email rule. I can now both receive AND SEND emails to anyone.  However, although, emails would be great, I think I would prefer letters so it doesn't take up my emailing time. I only get an hour on P-Day (which is Wednesday) so, letters are betters. :-)

The first day at the MTC was a little crazy and stressful, but it was that way for everyone. 
My companion is Sora Newell and she's a bit like me personality wise, so we get along fine.  My district is really tiny; there are only three sets of two, so six missionaries. We are the ONLY ones going to Romania and learning Romanian, so we're pretty cool to the others in our zone, which is pretty much 40 Italian speakers. The reason we're so small is because new Romanian missionaries only arrive every 6 weeks, so as soon as we got in, the other missionaries were already gone. That, and we're the last Romanian missionaries to be at this MTC, because apparently Romanian missionaries after us will be going to the Y-View.  So, I'm good friends with those in my district now, we spend practically all day together and run errands together because we're so small and easy to keep track of. The other missionaries in the district are Elders Brown and Cooper and Elders Sookhoo and Brundage.

I've also seen a lot of people I know around the MTC since about 80% of us are from Utah. I saw Todd (Elder Naylor) today, I haven't run into Kyle (Elder Stewart) yet but I told Elder Naylor to say "hi" for me. It was kind of funny because Elder Naylor shows up and I get excited and stand up to hug him and he's ready to hug me, but all the sudden we remember that's not allowed, so we resolved to a handshake. It's also very weird to be calling everyone by their last names. People I'm just meeting it's no problem, but I run into someone I know and I say, "Hi Jak----Elder Worthington!." It's also taking me time to respond to being called Sora Smith, especially because "Sora" just sounds like a name. So, really, I guess my name is just Sora now.
On the second day of being here, though, I started getting these weird shivers that were probably triggered by the stress from day one. You know how sometimes when you're zipped up in a sleeping bag and you trap the cold in so it feels like it's just under your skin and it hurts a little? That's what it felt like all day long and I was that way the entire day. It was so weird and I felt horribly sick- I couldn't even eat anything. I tried, but only managed a half a cup of yogurt the entire day. I tried taking the Hycosamine (however you spell that) as well as the dietary supplement because I wasn't eating, and I went to bed feeling just as terrible. However, when I woke up, suddenly I'm fine and I haven't felt that way since. It was weird, but it's made me really appreciate how good I've been feeling since.
Speaking of food, the cafeteria food is terrible. Bob, Jeff and Adam mentioned getting sick of it after three weeks, but I don't know what they were talking about. It's worse than school lunches and we're eating this stuff three meals a day. I don't want to be eating cereal all the time either, so I usually fill up on a ton of fruits and veggies as well as whatever I'm willing to stomach. I've probably eaten two whole pineapples myself by now. This is the healthiest I've eaten in my whole life.
So this week was a little crazy to get adjusted to, but I'm doing okay. After day two my stress level has been way down. Romanian is difficult, and I'll explain why in a minute, but by day four we were already bearing our testimonies in Romanian without any help, and praying without help by day five. We're going so fast and I'm sure having only four people in my class helps (the other Romanian class is just the two other elders from my district) but our teacher has said many times that he's sure the spirit has helped us a lot by how quickly we're going. Our class has two teachers: Brother Vizante and Brother Frandsen. Frandsen is an RM from Romania, but Vizante was born and raised there so he's the intimidating one. They're both good teachers though. Romanian is hard, because there aren't set rules on whether verbs are infinitives. Not only do I have to memorize words but I have to memorize if they're infinitives. Also, EVERY SINGLE WORD in Romanian is either masculine or feminine, which changes the entire structure of a sentence depending on whether the subject is male or female. So yeah, getting around all these rules and congugation is a little confusing. Also, I'm forgetting how to speak English.
We've been teaching a "fake" investigator who is a Romanian RM, and every day we have to prepare lessons in Romanian for her pertaining to her background. Our first couple of lessons were a little sketchy because we can only say so much in Romanian, but we've been doing well. Yesterday I told her a personal story that I had translated to Romanian and I made her, not an actual investigator, cry. So, I suppose we're doing pretty good.
So everyone in my district has been getting multiple letters and/or packages every day except for me, so it's kind of been a running joke saying I'm unloved (everyone knows that's not true, I know that's not true, but it's funny). Elder Sookhoo felt bad so he wrote me a letter on a napkin.  So last night, a week after we arrived, my district went to pick up the mail and I was carrying my photo album. Elder Sookhoo was passing out the mail to everyone, then finally handed me my first item, a package notice. I got really excited and waved my photo album around saying, "I don't have to throw this away, after all!" and everyone thought it was really funny. Which, of course, is why I had to open it in front of everyone, and since they were donuts, I'm going to have to share with them, lol. But hey, I'm fine with sharing and there are only six of us. Thanks for those, by the way. It's a huge improvement from the cafeteria 'donuts' which I don't dare touch.
So, you know, letters and emails would be great from everybody, you know... I've just gotten that package and this email so you know... ya... know........
I'm running out of time, so I'm gonna have to end quickly but I'm doing well and I miss everyone and I'm excited to finally get into Romania in five more weeks! I don't have people's emails so have them write me and I'll write back! But letters are great (preferred) too! 
Here's something that President Holland has said about missionary work to remember: that if it gets hard and all you wish for is for it to get easier, then remember that there was someone who wished for things to be easier before us and that was Jesus Christ asking for "this cup to be removed". We can do hard things!
La revedere!
Sora Smith

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