I hope you all are great. We had a division this week. In divisions, one companion stays in the area with a sister training leader, and the other companion works in the sister training leaders’ area. Our sister training leaders work in Guaranhuns — four hours away by bus! Divisions last 24 hours and missionaries have to have a companion the whole time so it can get pretty crazy. I stayed in Palmares this time, but I had to travel four hours to Guaranhuns to get Sister Porcote and drop off our sister training leader, then we waited an hour and a half and got back on the bus for another four hour bus ride. The busses shake and bump a lot, so after eight hours of driving I felt a bit sick. The first time we had a division, last transfer, I remember being grateful I knew the word “shake” in Portuguese. I memorized it in a list of vocab words in the [missionary training center] even though I thought it seemed like a less important word to memorize — and it turned out to be useful! Anyway, I sympathize with easily-carsick people who have to go to Guaranhuns.
“Rafael” got baptized this week! [Click here to read Sister Faulconer’s earlier post about him]. He insisted on coming to our weekly ward missionaries and full-time missionaries meeting because he said he wants to be a member missionary and get ready to serve a mission. He is awesome!
The above photo is what you get when you can’t take your camera very many places (robbery=serious problem) and you don’t do a lot of photogenic things. The brown thing is cocada, a popular sweet made from coconut. It is crumbly and pretty good. It is on top of the remains of some fries that I bought. On display is a toothpick you get with all fry orders here. This is so that your fingers do not have to touch the fries. Then they usually squirt mayonnaise and ketchup on top of all the fries. There are things people eat with their hands here, but actually touching the food with your hands is less common — usually you get lots of napkins or a paper package or a toothpick.
I have so much to say this week and less time than usual! I wasn’t sick for long and I’m totally fine now, so that was a blessing. This is also the last time I’ll be emailing from the CTM! I’ll be leaving super early Tuesday morning (likely between 2 and 5:45!), driving to the airport, and flying a couple hours to Recife. I will probably be able to send a very short message when I arrive, but I’ll have to wait until Recife P-day (I don’t know when it is) to read emails and send a real weekly one.
Things I’m excited for:
1. Teaching the gospel
2. Serving the Lord and the Recife-ans
3. Seeing Recife
4. Speaking Portuguese
5. The possibility of occasionally using a kitchen (instead of cafeteria food)
6. Never playing another game of volleyball
Most days we have 50 minutes for physical activity. I’ve played so much volleyball at the CTM, but it’s still languishing at #2 on the Sports I Dislike Most list after kickball. The CTM has an adequate gym with lovely exercise bikes but unfortunately it is never open.
Reasons I don’t want to leave the CTM yet:
1. I will miss my companion (she’s going to Natal)
3. Also Portuguese
4. Portuguese (and teaching real live people)
It’s difficult to see my progress in Portuguese sometimes, because I constantly hear myself making mistakes. But I know progress is happening. On August 28th, I knew about 20 Portuguese words and Portuguese was utterly indecipherable. Today (thanks be to God) I know a few thousand words, I can sorta have conversations, kinda teach missionary lessons, and Portuguese is sometimes mostly understandable and sometimes only partly indecipherable. That may change with the Recife-ish accent, but God willing, I know I will understand it eventually. Right now having conversations in Portuguese is thrilling — it’s so exciting to be able to communicate in a different language! Sometimes I understand the words people say but don’t interpret the tenses correctly or get confused by words with multiple meanings.
This week our pretend investigator asked if me and my companion would baptize and I said yes! I thought he asked if we had been baptized. Hopefully now that I’ve made that mistake here I won’t make it in real life in Recife!
In other news, one of our two instructors was abruptly reassigned, (they needed his language skills for the Help Desk) so we got a new instructor for our last week. We were all sad because our old instructor was great. We spend about 3 hours a day with each instructor, so we get to know them a little bit. Our new instructor seems nice.
For you Harry Potter fans out there, I strongly recommend Brazilian traffic for a taste of The Knight Bus experience. Last week we drove to the São Paulo Temple in a van, and it was so similar to the Knight Bus that I expected the cross + rosary hanging from the van’s mirror to become a shrunken head at any moment. We zoomed around, stopping centimeters behind bumpers, driving on the wrong side of the road to pass, accelerating through tiny gaps, rapidly switching lanes and swerving around semis in bumper-to-bumper traffic — it was an experience. Dad, your right foot will get a lot of exercise on the invisible brake here. Mom, I hope you visit Brazil; you will love it. But find a good TV show to watch so you never look out a car window!
*Easily nauseated people, skip the following paragraph*
One of the elders in our van threw up during the van ride! He was slightly sick to begin with, but the swerves definitely exacerbated his problems. Another nauseating moment happened yesterday. One day after the MTC President said “leave childhood things outside” about twenty times in different meetings, two elders had a jello-eating contest, complete with cheering crowd. The winner ate 22. The loser ate 20 and threw up (purple) right outside the cafeteria door!