Saturday, November 12, 2011

MTC Letter #1 - November 1st, 2011

You guys, hi! I don't even know what to write but have got to write so much so fast!

So, first of all, my companion's name is Sister Winters. She goes to BYU and is a music ed major and is from Atlanta, GA. She is super awesome. The first day and a half or so, I felt like we didn't really connect or click really well, but now we get along so great and I love having her as my companion. Also, I think she is 100% the perfect companion for me to have right now. She is a diligent learner and hard worker, and even though she has no Chinese background, she is already awesome at Chinese. She is super patient with me and helps me with my Chinese a ton. So my district is me and her and then 3 other Elders who are in a threesome - they are Elder Stallings, Elder Timothy, and Elder Cranney. Elder Cranny is our district leader. We are all going to Taipei, except Elder Stallings is going to Houston, Mandarin speaking. We are together most of the time and have our Chinese classes together. I think that being in a threesome is a teeny bit rough for them, especially for one in particular. So sometimes when I see them, I like to say in a semi-condescending voice, "Elders, how's the threesome going??" They are always like, "oh, going good." But then one of them sometimes kind of secretly rolls his eyes. Funny. They are all so great though. Most of the missionaries in our zone are going to Taipei, and then some are going to Tai Zhung (sp?) and then others are going to NY, New Zealand, Australia, Vancouver, San Francisco, etc.

So, the other day, a bunch of the Taiwan missionaries got called to the nurses office. When we get there, we're all sitting around this table and the nurse starts explaining, "Okay, in order to go to Taiwan, you have to take 5 tests. Four of them are blood tests. No big deal. The fifth one is a stool test." She then proceded to tell us how we have to put this glove on, poo into this little container, break off a chunk of our poo, mix it with this liquid in this vial ("make sure there are no chunks!") and then turn it back into the health center. Yeah. As you can imagine, this has brought up tons of funny comments. For example, the other day, Sister Winters had the brilliant idea of running back into our classroom (where the elders were), grabbing her white paper bag (that has all the stuff we need for the test inside of it) and running back out to the bathroom. Dang, that's not funny written out, but promise it was super funny in person. Me = in the hallway, dying of laughter. Love making those elders mildly uncomfortable. Just kidding, we are super nice to them and always super appropriate with them. Also, let's just say that I did it the most difficult way. Yet another example of how I just naturally think to do things the hard way. Sorry, I know that is all so gross and so unspiritual, but it's basically made this whole week hilarious for me.

For the most part, the MTC is going really great and I really like it here. The first few days were weird/rough, but I'm liking it more and more. Occasionally the food is good (and I mean, who can complain about getting to use spatulas to butter your rolls!), and I am definitely eating more meat than I have ever eaten in my life. Love when thick white paste squeezes out from my chicken cordon bleu. No, but, really, the food is fine.

I had a minor breakdown on Sunday. I had the worst cramps I have ever had in my entire life and I had to keep running around trying to be places on time and I wanted to DIE. I accidentally broke down a little bit when I was interviewing with my branch president because I was so uncomfortable and in so much pain, especially because I couldn't stop and lie down or anything. But he and my companion were so kind and took such good care of me, and I felt better a little while later, and didn't feel frustrated or mopey anymore.

I am loving learning Chinese, but it is also so hard. The other day, as Sister Winters and I were sitting on the couches studying, we heard an elder say, "Depende" (as in, it depends in Spanish.) We were like, you have got to be kidding me. That's the easiest word I've ever heard. Just kidding, I'm not that judgmental because I think learning a language is always hard, no matter what language it is, but Chinese is extra rough. But, we have already learned how to pray, bear testimony, invite people to do things... and lots more. I'm blown away by how fast you can learn here. And I really like the energy of the MTC. Most everyone knows what their purpose is and people are always studying and progressing. It's a cool environment.

Everyone who wants to write me, will you use dear elder instead of regular email? I only have a few minutes to email, so if you want to email, then for while I am in the MTC, dear elder is the best way to go. You can call the MTC to get my address. But if you send something, they are really good about making sure I get mail.

Shout-outs! Allison, you win the prize for sending me TWO letters, Emily, you win the prize for telling me I look like a dream, and Ariel, you win the prize for sending me my first missionary letter! You all rock and I love you all so much. I will write you today.

Wah, love all you guys so, so much!! Being a missionary = totes fun and I can't wait to keep updating you and keep hearing about all of our lives.

Thanks. Out of time. Love and miss you all immensely.
- Natalie

(Editors Note: Sister Christensen's Dear Elder email address is: natalie.christensen (at) myldsmail.net.)

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