Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicharron, Baptisms and Sun Screen

Hello All!
This has been quite the week. I feel like each week moves a little faster and that p-day comes a little sooner. It makes it tricky when I sit down to write because it's hard to pick out exactly what I want to talk about in such a short time. This week has been incredible. I am learning so much right now. I think being a trainer for a new missionary is so interesting. I'm thoroughly enjoying it, and hope to have the opportunity again. I'm able to see how much I've learned in my time here in Arizona, and it's also so fun to have the energy that a new missionary brings. It also is interesting because working with a new missionary helps you cut back down to the basics. I'm re-learning so many things that I had forgotten and we have really worked hard to do everything exactly as it should be done.

It's also really interesting because I see so much of myself in Hermana Graves. Being a new missionary is frusterating and exhausting. You have so much that you have to do and take in very quickly, and you feel like you will never catch up. I remember looking at both of my trainers and wondering how I would ever be able to keep up with them, or be as comfortable teaching as they were. The language is also really tough when you first come out. Mexican is not like the Spanish you learn at school. Not even close. There are a lot of words and phrases that only Mexicans use, and as a new missionary I remember really struggling with the accents and also all of the slang. I remember coming out of lessons and looking at my companion and asking what just happened, because I had only caught maybe half of what had been said. It's cool though, because in 6 months in Arizona I feel like I've become so much more comfortable. I understand what is going on, and I'm able to keep up in the conversations and usually say things how I want to. I've still got a long ways to go, but I am certainly able to see where all the hard work has gotten me to.

Now for some of the events of the week. First, Mary's baptism! It was a really wonderful baptism, and I have loved working with her. She is an incredible example to me, and I feel like she taught me far more that I ever was able to teach her. She's had an interesting life, and has loved having the opportunity to start over. Her baptism mostly went off with out any problems, although we had a mix up about the location which resulted in her going out to a chapel that was over a half hour away. Whoops. The baptism started almost a half hour late, which really just means it started on Mexican standard time. The baptism from that point on came together beautifully, and was really lovely.
The weather has also added an interesting twist to everything as now we are over 100 degrees most days atleast for a little while. I'm expecting by the end of May to be consistantly over 100 degrees. Yikes! I've started quite the sunscreen ritual, and it's helping some, although you can see quite the tan line on my feet in the picture from Mary's baptism. The members always comment on my feet, and ask if we are out biking. We actually spend a lot of time in the car and in appointments right now, so the tan line at this point is just from the small amount of time I'm spending in the sun. I'd like to get out on bike again soon, as all this food we keep getting fed, needs some way to be worked off. And speaking of food, that brings me to the next highlight of the week.

This week we were fed chicharron. *gag*. We didn't know what it was until it was too late, and then we had to eat it. The minute it ended up on my plate I had a bad feeling. It was green and slimy and looked like something from Calvin and Hobbes. We managed to get it down, but were pretty queasy for the rest of the evening. We got home and went straight to the dictionary to find out what we had eaten. Boiled residue of hog fat. 'Nuff said. Also, Hermana Graves got her first round of what really spicy Mexican food is like on Sunday. We ate with a member who knows that I can eat like a Mexican (as far as spicy food goes) so I eat what she eats, and then she makes a more tame salsa for my companions. Hna Graves looked at the salsa and decided it couldn't be that hot. She took a sip, and right as she said "oh, it's not that bad" her eyes bugged out and she turned bright red. Whoops.

This Friday we have a big conference (sometimes I feel like all we do is go to meeting, then I remind myself that it's just that the weeks keep moving by really fast). I'm pretty excited because they've asked me to play flute. I'm on the hunt right now for one, and hoping that because I'm in a richer area that I might be able to find one that is in pretty good shape. We'll see. I'm a little scared to see where my playing is at, but I just keep reminding myself that noone who has heard what I really sound like will be there. I picked up some straws on Saturday and have been blowing through straws in the car for the last few days (much to the amusement of my companions). They've been making all sorts of comments, but I'm fairly worried I might pass out from lack of air when I play. I think my lungs have shriveled up. Oh well.

I think that's about all the excitement for one week. I'm sure there is more, but it's always hard to remember things right off when I'm e-mailing. We're happy here and loving the work. I just about fall asleep every night as I'm writing in my journal, so I guess that means we're working hard.

Love you all lots!
Hermana Okeson

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