You should just know how stressed out i get to write home - i only get thirty minutes and so I am pant-breathin' the whole time trying to think of everything i need to say and type it out really fast. Sorry about the capitalization - I'm using a ghetto computer with a sticky shift button.
Okay, first things first, family, thank you so so so much for that cute lil' gum shoe orange package and Mom, thanks so much for sending towels! Thank you thank you thank you! And thanks for the snacks. You are all the best. But, also, i miss the boys so much and am a teensy bit chapped that they haven't written me yet. Even Zoe and Aunt Natalie have written me! C'MON! Other than that, still love you all so so much and i will try to write you all letters later today. The other thing that is really important to me - will you let me know when you have gotten an email or letter from me?? Because I wasn't even sure whether this email came through okay until Aunt Natalie mentioned it in a letter. Anyway, I get all stressed wondering if you have heard from me, so just let me know when you get something from me. Thanks!!
Chinese is getting better. I haven't felt quite so down about it or stressed about it because i have been trying to be super faithful and not fearful about it. I really do love the language and am trying hard to learn it. I definitely feel like David Sedaris' essay "Me Talk Pretty One Day." (read that essay - so funny.) We say eloquent sentences like, "When people no hearken, God bad give gospel." And the other day, someone bearing their testimony said, "I know God is monkey" instead of "I know God is alive." Love learning a language.
My companion is the BEST. Seriously, lucked out so much with her. Her mannerisms and the way she acts remind me of a mix of cousin Kayla and my India bestie Courtney Petersen (tall, DC.) She is so funny and she thinks i'm super funny, which you know how i thrive when peope think I am funny! And I can talk to her about anything, and she has learned that I need lots of reassurance, and so she is always complimenting me and telling me how much better my Chinese is getting, etc. She's so great.
I love my 2 Chinese teachers - one teacher is named Sister Fan - Faj she said that she is in that Chinese branch and that you are her high counciler person. Meet her!! i am in love with her. She is from Taiwan (biggest bonus everrrr to hear a native speak) and she served a mission in Taiwan, as well. She's great. Our other teacher is Brother Mix, and he served in Taichung. He is also really great and yes, Faj, he is super strict with tones and always corrects our tones which is awesome.
I love the people here in the MTC in my zone and branch and especially my district. My district is just me and my comp and a threesome of elders. I know i already told you that, but the dynamic of our district gets better and better. And by that, I basically just mean that the three of them are one-hundred percent different people, and so things get a little tense sometimes and Sister Winters and I always crack up. Sometimes Sister Winters and I chat with this elder from Cleveland (Matt Mays, he think maybe he knows you, but I kinda don't think he does - his name is Elder Tarver) going to Georgia on his mission. He's this tall, funny, black convert who told us the other day that he used to want to be a massage therapist, but decided not to do that becase he gets too grossed out by peoples' feet. Then he said, "This one woman - her feet looked like she'd been kicking car batteries. She had Tarzan toes, for reals. I am not massaging anyone's feet. Sorry, Jesus. That is one Christlike attribute I am NOT going to have." Anyway, love the people here.
Also, slightly funny story, we have been teaching an investigator name Wu Pei Rong, and Elder Stallings in my district, one time said her name in a gangster voice, and so, then, of course everytime someone says her name, I start cracking up. Like even in class. Dangerous. I blame the strict regime of the MTC on my extra laughy-ness. Luckily she isn't our investigator anymore
All the elders think I'm ridiculous because i crack up so easily. The other day, I was telling Sis. winters and the elders how much the laundry room stresses me out. I had just gone to get a sack lunch, and so I was making a pb&j in the lunch line, with plastic bags chuck full of clothes dangling from my wrists, so I was making the sandwich like a t-rex. So I'm already sweating and frazzled and then we get to the laundry room, which is just way too much stimulation for me. There are tons of washers and dryers, tons of people, gigantic fans, sweaty, hot, people standing in the skinny aisles, difficult to figure out how to buy soap and start your washer, etc. Anyway, the elders in my district reeeally appreciated that story (like just laughing so hard) and i thought you'd appreciate it because it is an example of me being ultimately disheveled. . Also, that same elder sometimes just says stuff in a gangster voice and I die laughing. The other day, Sister Winters was like, "Since we're getting better at reading (in Chinse), what do you say we start singing the hymns faster?" And Elder Stallings just looked at her, put his hand up and said in half gangster voice/half Chinese, "Hode up, Jie mei." (jie mei means sister in Chinese.) We died laughing. I will impersonate it when I get home and you will laugh too, even if you don't think it's funny now. Who would have thought I'd love gangster talk sooo much while on a mission?
I am learning so much about the gospel and how to talk about the gospel and how to answer peoples' questions about the gospel and how to teach the gospel. There is so much to learn. More and more, I am feeling the power of God's hand in my calling and I am realizing more and more the sacredness and solemness of this important calling. I'm so happy that I decided to do this. Even though it's been a short time, I already feel changed, and I already sort of can't imagine my life without havng this experience. I am trying to be more bold.
To everyone who wrote me this week, I think I'll be able to write you back today. Thanks for all the letters, you are all sooo great! Love you all so much.
Love love love all of you so much. Thanks so much for your support and prayers.