March 14, 2013 2:17 PM Semana Dos (week 2)
Hello, my beloved Boren Bunch!
I must begin by expressing my gratitude for your incredible BYU package. I giggled with giddiness from the moment I saw it wrapped up in BYU paper, labled with Mom's perfect handwriting. Thank you thank you thank you for your beautifully written notes, masterful pictures, yummy chewing gum and mints, tights, my horse blankie, and my mended shirt (you're the best, Mama!). I was overcome with happiness and love from home from all you have sent me. I'm doing my best to reply to your thoughtful notes!
Also, a shout out to so many friends who have so thoughtfully sent me letters and packages. Mail time is one of the happiest moments of the day! We aren't supposed to open our mail til we return to our residence halls, so it fills me with excitement and things to look forward to to have your penned notes sit inside my desk until it's time to retire from the classroom for the day. Thank you for your time, and thank all of you--family and friends--for your prayers. I feel them. I have never felt more bolstered and empowered by the people I love!
This week has been a fun one to say the least! We've continued to immerse ourself in Spanish in the classroom ( it literally is our home. The 9 of us in my district are there for 10+ hours a day, if not more). Verb conjugations are coming more easily, and I'm drowning in vocabulary (particularly church words), but I've never been happier to learn. The MTC is incredible because grades are out of the question. our studies are not about competition because we are all learning this language for one united purpose, to serve the Lord and bring the gospel to the people in Argentina. It is frustrating, to be sure. There is little break from our tasks of learning two languages: Spanish, and the language of the Spirit. But the warmth I feel in my heart as I study is indescribable.
I wish I could explain to you the change I've seen in myself in these past two weeks. I can already see that I am not the same, and I am changed for the better! Austin, you'll be proud to know I have been on time to almost everything (including breakfast!). From one day to the next I suprise myself at the amount of Spanish I can not only understand, but Speak! It truly is amazing. I'm developing a tremendous love for Spanish, which my teacher, Hermano Magallanes, calls 'the celestial language.' The way Spanish is spoken is like a song--you know when you listen to the folks at Cafe Rio, and it feels like they're talking in a run-on sentence? It's because they don't pause between words. Each word flows into the next word in a phrase. You know "Adios, amigos?" I took it to mean 'see you later, pals.' In truth it means, 'A Dios,' or 'to God,' meaning when you say goodbye to someone, you're wishing them to return to God/for God to watch over them. How incredible is that? Next week I'll have to include some fun colloquial phrases for you to practice. There's some pretty goofy ones I've written in my study notebook, but I left it in my classroom :(
Also, I already catch myself writing in Spanish in my journal at night. Truly, I'm falling in love with Espanol.
You'd have been proud of me this week, Dad. The prankster in me came out at an unexpected moment in class last week. We were discussing Stress Management for Missionaries, and how to handle the MTC. To give us an object lesson for this subject and a break from our desks, our teacher implemented a game. He had my district stand at the top of our 5 story stair case at the east side of the building (keep in mind that there is ALSO a west staircase down the LONG hallway). and split the Elders and Sisters into teams. Hermano Vargas instructed us that our teams were to hold hands in one long chain, race to the 3rd floor, and then race back up--never breaking our chain of elders or chain of sisters. I was at the front of the sister's line, the leader of our team. Once we began, it was clear that the Elders had the advantage with their long legs and competitive natures as we barreled down the staircase. I had to do something! We reached the 3rd floor around the same time, and just as the Elders turned around to race back up, I shouted after them "elders! Wait! We're supposed to race to the west staircase and then back up to the 5th floor!" They completely bought it, and booked it down the hallway. I led the sisters down the halls a small ways so the Elder's would keep with my bluff, and then immediately turned the sister's line around. We were in fits of giggles as we easily reached the 5th floor from the east staircase. It took a little under a minute for them to arrive, holding hands, diving down the hallway. When they saw us standing there, even breathed and smiling, the Elders all burst out at once "HERMANA BOREN!!! YOU TRICKED US!!!" And soon everyone was cracking up and holding on to the staircase rails to keep from falling to the floor. It was choice! Hermano Vargas had no clue what just happened, and we were so out of breath that we couldn't explain for a good couple minutes. It was grand.
Despite this experience, the Elders and Sisters still seem to love me, and have developed lots of nicknames for me. Elder Higginson likes to call me "Hermana Tigress," apparently I remind him of the Tiger in Kung Fu Panda because of my eyes. My roomates and companeras think I belong in Pride and Prejudice, Tangled, or an Elf from Lord Of The Rings (but raised by hobbits, because I'm happy). They are kind, generous, and loving people and I couldn't be blessed with a better group of fellow missionaries.
I have seen Hermana McKenna Miller a great deal since she arrived Wednesday :) She is doing well, and I love seeing a dear friend from home.
There are some hard things about the MTC--mostly for me, sleeping. i've had a bout of amsomnia lately :( But all will be okay! I've been able to stay awake and active in class!
My time is up. Know that I love you, my sweet family. Know that God lives, and that he is watching over not just me on my mission, but all of you. Boys, READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. I have never thirsted for the scriptures so much in my entire life. An hour and a half of study leaves me wanting more. I love you, Austin, Tyler, Jordan, Corey. Please, I want to challenge all of you to read this book while I'm away, like Grandma and Grandpa challenge us to :) Please, start reading it now, and send me letters and share your insights to the incredible people in this book!!
Love you Mom and Dad.
Perseverar en la fe,
Love, love love,
P.s. Scripture of the week I have come to LOVE: Jeremiah 29:12-14. God is there, if we will but seek him. A celestial game of Hide and seek.