Hello all! I hope everything is well at home.
This week has been just as busy as last week. Japanese is coming at me faster and faster, and I just have to try my hardest to keep up. I'm almost done learning the two phonetic alphabets. Sometimes when we have lots of extra "study time" we'll come up with little word games to keep us busy, like one person saying a word in English and us having to write the translation on the chalkboard in Hiragana, fastest person wins. It gets a little heated sometimes. Our district has also started to meet together at gym time too, to play volleyball or basketball or soccer. All of the Shimaitachi (girls) played soccer outside yesterday and it was so much fun! We try to use what little Japanese we know to come up with team cheers and battle cries. Usually whenever anyone scores I just yell "Chikara!" for "power", but we've started saying "chick-ara" (girl power). It's fun having so many more girls than boys in our district because whenever we vote to make decisions we always get our way. Who has to go first giving Japanese lessons? Never us.
One cool thing that happened this week was the arrival of a district full of Nihonjin (native Japanese missionaries). Their English is about as good as our Japanese, so communication is a little difficult, but I love saying Konnichiwa to them as we pass in the halls. I love them all even though they talk too fast. The first day we met them, last Sunday, we had a little get-to-know-you session in our classroom and they all bore their testimonies and said why they wanted to be missionaries. It really hit me then - that this is why I'm here. All of these Japanese missionaries' families had at some point been converted by someone like me, and now they're all so happy to share what they know with others in their home country. There was so much love in that little room that night. Even though I could only understand every tenth word, I couldn't stop the tears from falling down my cheeks. The Nihonjin leave in a week, since obviously they don't need as much time as we do to learn the language, and I'll miss them a lot.
One exciting announcement: this Sunday, the 23rd, the entire First Presidency of the church and all twelve apostles are coming here for a special broadcast that we get to be a part of! I'll be singing in the choir (and you all know how little vocal talent I have... the things I do to see the prophet) and the whole thing will be broadcast worldwide! There are all kinds of rumors about a "big announcement" that they'll be making, but I have no idea what it will be or if there even is one. Some theories I've heard are, 1) sister missionaries can now serve for two years, 2) they're opening China, and 3) all missionaries get iPads. Actually, a lot of people are convinced it's the iPad one. Crossing my fingers!
It's been very hectic trying to fit choir practice into our already-packed schedule. I'm thinking I might become a dropout once the big broadcast is over. Last Sunday night we only had fifteen minutes for dinner before we had to be at rehearsal, and the lines in the cafeteria were miles long. It never seems overly crowded here except on Sundays. I think mealtimes are shorter because they try not to have as many people work, so there are twice as many missionaries in the cafeteria during mealtimes. We picked the shortest lines we could and I ended up with a bowl of rice, some cottage cheese and one of those gross, sour green apples that are always around because no one wants them. The food is USUALLY okay though. Although I think I'm losing weight. But that's probably because I don't have unlimited access to the kitchen pantry full of snacks whenever I'm bored.
Our "investigator" from last week, Shuma, is now our second Sensei. We have Brinley Sensei for three hours in the mornings and now Willard Sensei for three hours in the evenings. Although I keep accidentally calling him Shuma-san and I'm not sure I'll be able to stop. That's just what his name is in my brain. Fun fact: both of our Senseis married half-Japanese women and either have jobs or will have jobs related to speaking Japanese. They are both on the short side... I wonder if smaller men really like going to Japan because they feel so tall compared to everyone there? Their wives are tiny too. One of them is having a baby boy in about a month!
Also, I saw Tori and Jacob this week! Jacob was at the other campus, so I only saw him once, but I've run into Tori a few times. She said she's staying for the whole nine weeks so I'll have lots of time to see her.
Overheard at the MTC this week: "Oh holy mother of pearl"
Love you all!
|Anna and roommates studying diligently|
|MacArthur Shimai and Dunne Shimai|