Clair's first email home (It's long, I didn't want to take anything out of this first one):
July 1st (travel day) was way way way way too long. Holy cow! I didn't meet up with any elders until 10 minutes before we were supposed to board but we were delayed. All elders, 10 of them. We got in super late and the day just dragged on. I road the train for like an hour probably hahahahahahahha.
July 2nd we were supposed to get 2 extra hours of sleep but our latino companions thought we were on their schedule so they woke us up and everything. Ugh. It is 2 latinos, Hermana Rasmussen and hermana Monson, my friends, and my companion, hermana Davis. She is from Heber City but originally Washington or Seattle idk. I was very tired all day and so much of the intro stuff was in spanish and I was a little overwhelmed but so so so grateful that I took spanish in high school.
July 3rd was a great first full normal day at the ccm. CCM is the Centro de Capacitacion de Misional and it is pronounced say say emay and I love this place. I tripped coming down stairs twice and everyone, (being the latins and teachers and leaders), were so worried. So so so embarrassing. We eat rice for lunch and dinner with chicken and either beef or pork or fish. We usually have potatoes as well and sometimes, if you're lucky, veggies. Breakfast is yogurt with cereal which is kind of like frosted flakes, a little bit. After this day I could pray in spanish!!! There are also hummingbirds everywhere. I love it. We had an investigator come in, Carlos. He and his wife are having financial difficulties and don't understand why bad things happen to good people. All 45 of us new north american missionaries taught them... kind of.
July 4th they decorated the cafeteria in complete USA stuff and went ALL out. It was way nice. The food was extra delicious and we got pumpkin pie! :D I learned how to bear my testimony in spanish! Our teacher in the morning is Hermano Aguilar. It turns out the investigator from the day before was not real, because our teacher was Carlos. Not funny! I am so so gullible.
July 5th we saw the sun! It's winter and they have bad pollution and it's humid so its grey and gross and smoggy and COLD. I’m so glad I have cardigans. Life saver. So it was a big deal to have the sun out and blue skies for the day.
July 6th was an awesome Sunday. I bore my testimony, in spanish, to our branch of about 85. :D This elder got up to bear his testimony and he looked so familiar. I was freaking out. After testimony meeting he came and shook my hand and I said, how do i know you? And he said, I’m Zach’s cousin! I had no idea he was gonna be here!??!!! Haha, it was nice to see a familiar face. He has one week left here. We watched a Provo MTC devotional from January that was by Elder Bednar. I SAW TARA KUHN it was so exciting. I cried. We also watched the Jospeh Smith movie, which was so so good.
July 7 I saw EVERY ELDER IN MY DISTRICT cry from laughter. And it was hilarious. Only one from my distract went to BYU the rest are straight out of high school. It is, Elder Kasteler, Elder Eaton, Elder Lewis, Elder Banks, Elder Hansen, Elder Hawkins, Elder Dykstra and our district leader is Elder Goff. I think he's the one grandma’s friend knows or something. He's from highland. I love all the elders.
July 8 I'm officially the worst sports player in the whole ccm. I didn't want meat for dinner because I wasn't that hungry so I got rice and they HAD WARM VBEGGIES so i kind of got half a stir fry, it was delicious!
Okay! So I was expecting it to be like EFY and it is not. hahaha. The elders are all here because they want to be and they participate in the classes and they are so spiritual and uplifting. Our schedule is ridiculously strict unlike EFY. We can't sit at the same table as the elders so I sit with the same hermanas every time. There is one other Canadian here, Elder Graham from Calgary, but I don't know who he is. He's been here 3 weeks.
I can pray, bear testimony, introduce myself, explain and hand out a BofM, teach the restoration, teach the plan of salvation, and it's really amazing. I totally feel the Lord's strength. I know that he is blessing me to stay awake throughout the day, to understand the lessons, to retain the information, to feel the spirit, to speak the language, and to stay happy. I am so so so so happy you guys! More than you even know! We were playing charades with spanish words and I got entusiasmado which is enthusiastic and I said to my teacher, I can't do this and he said just be yourself! hahahah. Then the whole class instantly knew what it was. I guess they know who I am already! But, I cried the first night. Like wednesday night, but now I’m just happy. I'm so so happy. How many times will i say it? Too many. I love it here. :)
My district: everyday we have a spiritual lesson by ourselves during study time and we all share a spiritual thought from the day and it’s my favorite part of the day. They are all so so so great! Lots of them have said that they've struggled being on their own and having this completely different lifestyle but we are all helping each other and being with each other all day is already familiar and comfortable and feels like home. We are so so happy :) EVERYONE IS HAPPY! Except… there is a sister from Australia here, born in New Zealand, and her companion is from Germany. The Aussie is not very nice. She is rude to her companion and they are never together and the german always has this sour look on her face and they back talk and it's not good.
I’m trying really hard to write this in all English. I speak hard core spanglish already. I love you all and I miss you so much but know I'm having fun and I feel the spirit every second!