Tuesday, July 16, 2013

hello to my kazoku

Ohaiyo Gozaimasu, mina san!

This week has flown by. They always do; however, it's starting to feel as though we've been here a longggg time - we've seen so many people come and go, while we just keep on keepin' on. A few days ago, our devotional speaker was the same one who spoke to us the first week we were here. To be honest, I didn't even notice (notetaking is still not a strength of mine) but one of the girls in my district did, and she leaned over to whisper "you know you've been here too long when they start recycling speakers." Same with the cafeteria food - there's a pattern to what they serve, and we've now been able to notice the schedule repeating. Update on my efforts to eat meat again: I can do small pieces in soups or salads just fine, and maybe even full pieces of chicken or turkey, but I tried a bite of roast beef last week and instantly gagged. Oh man it was so gross. I'll have to work on that before I go to Japan so I don't offend some kindly family.

Hmmm, where to start. All of the Daisempai (6-9 weeks) left this Monday morning, so we've graduated to Daisempai! It was sad saying goodbye to them, and terrifying/exciting to think that we'll be the next to leave. We're 2/3 done.

Sister Dunn and I have been adjusting to our new calling as Sister Training Leaders. This week we interviewed all of the girls in the branch to get to know them, and I was surprised how talkative they all were! It was awesome. In my interviews, I was always like "yeah, yep, doing good, I'm fine, no I don't have any questions, are we done yet?" But a lot of girls really liked the opportunity to talk. They're all so sweet. This job forces me to be more social, which I guess I needed. It's a lot of fun.

Last Tuesday, after I sent my email, my district had our weekly P-day picnic lunch. We have lots of free time in the afternoons, so we ended up playing werewolf for like two hours. Today, we're having a little party with the care package you sent (thank you!! I have the best Mom ever!). Then on Wednesday, I hosted new missionaries for the first time. Hosting is mostly standing by the sidewalk, waiting your turn when cars pull up - I was there for about two hours, but only hosted 2 girls. But it's all good. You help the new missionaries get their luggage out of their car; say goodbye to their family; then take them to get their name tags, drop their luggage off in their room, and grab the books they need before dropping them off in their classroom. The first girl I hosted actually came here with her twin sister, and they're both going to Korea! Crazy. She was so sweet, and I had a deja vu moment when I took her to her classroom and her teacher greeted her in rapid Korean, never pausing to explain anything in English. I saw the bewildered, wide-eyed look she gave him and remembered doing the exact same thing to my Sensei six weeks ago. Another fun fact I learned this week about the MTC: All of the classrooms and residence halls for English-speaking missionaries are wayyyyy nicer than ours. Not fair at all. They all have comfy chairs, huge TVs, decorated walls, etc. and we're in a tiny room with a chalkboard. CHALKboard. But it's okay.

Friday morning I woke up to find everything wet - I guess Utah has some storms in the summertime. It rained on and off for the next two days, and everyone was SO excited about it.

We've had a lot of extra teachers come in recently, for more opportunities to practice teaching or get individual coaching. It's cool to listen to each one of their Japanese styles, especially the native ones, because everyone speaks differently. We were also visited by Brother Mortenson, an Italian teacher, and he said he knew Marilyn! "Oh yeah, Sister Bradford is great" is what he said. Which, of course, she is. I love reading her letters home. We also get more opportunities to teach new people in TRC - this week, Sister Dunn and I taught the Taguchis, an elderly Japanese couple who come all the time. Apparently they used to live in Salem for a long time! They were very nice, and spent almost all of the lesson time explaining the meaning of the characters in their names and telling us other facts about Japan. They had a whole binder full of laminated pages covered in maps, pictures, and other charts - clearly they've been doing this a long time, and have their presentation perfected.

When we were taking a walk around the temple grounds on Sunday, we ran into a lady from Tokyo who was very excited to meet us. She took lots of pictures and talked to us for a long time, constantly bowing and apologizing for keeping us from dinner but then taking more pictures. She was so sweet. It was really encouraging that I was able to understand her, even though I'm sure she was speaking slowly and dumbing down her words for our benefit.

Oh, I got to play the piano last night for the first time in what seems like years! It was amazing to see my fingers remember what my brain couldn't. We had some extra time after class ended before we could go back to our rooms so we went and found a room with a piano so we could all sing together. It's amazing how fun stuff like that becomes when you don't have Netflix or other things to do.

OK, now I have to include one ridiculous story that happened this week. Venting about things helps me not to feel angry, so I'm considering this therapeutic. Anyways, Sister Dunn and I offered to send any last-minute packages that the Daisempai had after they left Monday morning. One girl told us that she had a couple boxes of things to send home, which she'd leave outside her door, labeled and ready to go. So when we got there, we were shocked to see TEN boxes, all of them overflowing with junk, and a few addresses written out on paper next to them. And I mean BIG boxes - at least three of them were the kind produce comes in at the grocery store. Nothing was sealed or ready, and she didn't leave money or anything. Did she really expect us to pay for all those boxes to be mailed off? It would easily amount to over $100. Anyways, we weren't sure what to do so we called our branch president (Dad asked about that, I think - Our branch, about 100 missionaries, has a president and three counselors) and gave him the girl's mom's phone number so they can figure it out. They live in Provo, so they'll probably be able to come and pick it up in person. I don't know. In the meantime, we have to store all of her stuff in our room. I guess I should have seen it coming - this girl received THIRTY packages from home during her stay here, so it's safe to say she probably lives a charmed life. I hope being on her own in Japan isn't too big a shock. Actually, I take it back. She needs a wake-up call.

Well, time's up! Matta ne!


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