Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CCM: Week 2

Editor/Mom note:  I have tried asking Jill five questions with each letter as a way for her to tell me more details of her experiences and give her somewhere to start...like she needs the prompts...but so far that has worked well.  She answered those questions with the numbered answers at the first of her letter.  Here are the questions I asked, so her answers make more sense to everyone else:  
5 or so more questions for you:
1) What is your typical schedule each day?
2) How much time do you have to email each P-Day?
3) Do you feel the time dragging by or flying by?  How?
4) Will you get to watch General Conference in Spanish?  Will you understand enough by then to "get it"?
5) Would you like any info from friends in my letters to you?  Like the friends serving missions that I can peep in on with their blogs?  Or would you rather not?
Alright, first things first:

1. Typical schedule? We wake up at 6 and get ready for the day. We have study time at 7 until breakfast at 7:30. Then more study time afterwards. Class starts at 9 or so most days, where we have language or fundamentals or Book of Mormon or coaching. I think those are all the options. Oh, we also teach during that time. Lunch is at 12:30 for us and then right after we have gym. Usually we play volleyball but our favorite district just left and we always played with them, so who knows what's gonna happen. After wards, we get all cleaned up again (I shower because I smell worse than a dog in a washing machine) and go back to class to continue our studies. We do have two different teachers--one in the morning and one in the afternoon now. (That's recently new.) Hermano Villalobos is with us in the morning (he just got back from his mission in Enero or so....) and then Hermana Valásquez is with us in the tarde. She was also our first investigator (Enya). The both of them also act as investigators for us--we now have two investigators. Villalobos' person's name is David and Hermana V's person's name this time is Erika. Back to the schedule: we do TALL in the evening, right after dinner--it stands for Technology Assisted Language Learning. And it's exactly what it sounds like. And then we go back to our classroom for some more study, though usually without a teacher this time. We head back to our casas at 9:30 or so and then write in our journals/talk until 10:30 when lights are supposed to be out. But we aren't always to bed on time. Frankly, we aren't frequently on time to anything. Which slightly irritates me because I like to be punctual. But my hermanas like to look nice everyday, even if it makes us late. But, it's fine.
2. We are supposed to have an hour to email, but we are unsupervised so it's not an exact hour.....what we've decided to start doing is go in to the computer lab in the morning after breakfast or so and then take pictures of emails so that we can read them but not use up that hour. Then we come back later to respond. I think it's working, though the computer screen is hard to read on my camera, even when I zoom in.
3. The days drag by but the weeks zoom. I can't believe we're already ending our second week. It's crazy! The schedule is pretty draining so maybe that has to do with it. What's weird to think about is, on Sunday, as we said goodbye to our favorite district (5D), we only have one month left. Four sundays, then it'll be us saying goodbye.....oh man. And this time next week, we'll be on the downward slope of this. Santa vaca....it's insane.
4. I have no idea if we'll be watching Conferencía General en Español o en inglés. Hopefully in inglés.....but sacrament meetings are in Spanish every week....so we'll see. If it is in Spanish, I will not understand enough to get a ton out of the meeting....
5. I have no opinion on the matter.

Okay, on to business. I'm gonna try to work forwards from last week. Maybe. First off, some stories on my elderes:
1. Elder Bronson is a class clown if ever there was one. He says the greatest comments at just the right moments. He makes everyone smile, no matter what. One great moment, from yesterday actually, happened at dinner. {First you need to know that he is probably the whitest ginger American of all time. He has a terrible greenie accent and doesn't conjugate verbs....he's a treasure and we love him. But one of his favorite words in spanish is "apuñular", which means to stab. It's become a joke for our district and we say it all the time, at the top of our lungs. It's actually quite applicable to many situations, surprisingly.} (He's from Idaho, this is important.) So they were actually serving mashed potatoes during dinner and then Hma Capps and I found some potato chunks with cheese stuff (sounds gross now that I say it but it was delicious) and so he wanted some of those too. (Idaho. Potatoes. You know...) And then he and Hma Powell were having a competition of sorts to see who could eat the most with just a knife. So here he is stabbing these potato cubes with a knife and then eating them. So he starts saying, in a sing-song voice, "Apuñular some papas, put 'em in your vaca". He meant to say "boca", meaning mouth, but instead he said "cow". Oh man, we were dying.....so fun.
2. Elder Olsen is our district leader. Turns out he went to Copper Hills high school and did pole vault with Tay-Tay. That was kind of a weird coincidence. But anyway, he's six foot three or something and quite the gangly, skinny kid. (You may have noticed from my pictures.) But he started saying "¡sí se puede!" for some reason--or someone started saying it--which is from a movie called Kick it Up or something like that. It means "Yes you can!" But when Olsen says it, he does this fake cheerleading move and jumps up, kicking his feet together to the side and acting like he has tiny arms and pom-poms. It's straight up adorable. I wish you could see the recording of it.... Oh my. So that's become our district's motto: ¡Sí se puede!
3. Elder Jensen. Oh man. This kid. He has got the sass of a middle-aged black woman. He reminds me so much of Cameron, actually. Though I think Jensen is actually more sassy, if that's possible. (Sassy en español = atrevido). And this kid is the definition of sassy. But, story time: he was eating this weird donut thing and Hma Powell saw and said it looked like a crocodile (which is apparently a type of donut....though I've never heard of it. And I know my donuts...) But Jensen either didn't get it or didn't hear (and we're trying to speak solamente español at cena) so his response is "¡¿Qué hora es?!" Oh man....so now, anytime we feel incredulous or confused, we say that. That may not sound funny, but it is. Pinky promise. Also, at dinner when we're trying to speak only spanish, if we can't say something in spanish we say "¿Cómo se dice _____?" One evening, Elder Jensen turns to us and goes, "I think we use 'cómo se dice' like hashtag..." And he makes a valid point. Because that's exactly how we use it. So that's turned into a district joke as well.

Last week was Hermano Villalobos' birthday. But he didn't tell us. Hermana Arnaud told us. So we made him a birthday card and then sang to him--two days late. I wish I had a picture of the card. It was pretty good. Hermana Arnaud also told us that Hno Villalobos told her that he loves us. Which made us happy. Also, weird enough, it turns out that in his last district he had three elderes/hermanas going to Chicago West. So that was pretty sweet.
We had a stress management class on Sabado. I think I'm doing fine in the stress department, though I do seem to have made myself sick. Not happy about that. I've got a fantastic head cold, not to mention the alternating diarrhea/constipation. You know, CCM life. 
Also, FUNNY stories that illustrate how perfect my compañera is for me: one day we were trying to write our lesson but our district was being obnoxiously talkative so we went into the hallway for some quiet and ended up taking "fat pictures". Oh man. We are....adorable. Then, she also has a tiny bladder and has to pee as frequently as me. And when we go, we have stalls that we use every time. The one time we went in and our were taken, I was tempted to wait..... then, we were talking about how the food here is upsetting our digestive systems, and then ended up quoting Nacho Libre. So, from now on, we refer to diarrhea as Easters. This is a companionship at it's finest, if I do say so myself. "Easters is back/coming." It's great.
Here's a quote from a video we watched: "Your first day [in the MTC] is like trying to get a drink from a fire hose--you get a little bit of water in your mouth, but mostly it just hurts your face."
One day, the elderes asked Hno Villalobos if he drives a motorcycle (they're trying to get him dates.....how they'll accomplish that I have no idea) and he said no. They told him he should because then he'd be like James Bond. But he'd be: Lobos. Villalobos. (He told us later that James Bond in Spanish is Santiago Rubio. I was like, "James Blonde?!" He said yes.)
Elder Olsen also has developed a small fascination with one of the hermanas here, who goes to BYU (where he'll be going after the mish) and the elderes have nicknamed her Isabel, referencing Alma 39:3. Too good.....I think he blushed when they made him read that verse.

Okay, so, this week. Officially. Hermana Peréz left us for another district...that was disappointing. But she hugged us before leaving and said she'd see us again, so I suppose it's alright. That after noon we were finding out who our new teacher was and when it turned out to be Enay/Hermana Valásquez, we thought Jensen would have a heart attack. He told her no more surprises. I am so glad we have her though. She keeps us on task, whereas Hno Villalobos is usually too shy to tell us to shut up and get on task. It's great. (Our district is not very good at focusing....at all.)
Also, here's how regular Sundays work: the week leading up to it, everybody writes a talk. And then we get to sacrament meeting, and after the ordinance, the branch president gets up and says who will be giving talks. So, it's all up in the air until it comes crashing down. I got called on to give the opening prayer so that was a little nerve-wracking, but then I knew I wouldn't have to talk so that was a bit of a relief. It's also completely in Spanish, so that was intimidating the first week. But I can already tell that I'm understanding more. So I'm happy about that. We also have Sociedad Soccuro/Priesthood meeting before sacrament meeting, but that's in english. We also have district meeting in between the two meetings. Then, later, we have a devotional and sunday school with the MTC presidency. This week Presidente Tenorio (used to be of the 70) taught and he started out talking about celestial marriage....we were all pretty confused. But he told how he proposed to his wife and whatnot so it was cute. Then, at the devotional, the MTC director spoke about staying on target. The whole theme of the day was kinda "leave what's at home, at home, and focus on here and now". Then we watch a video later in the day (this time it was The Testaments) and then we watch a video of all the pictures of the districts leaving in the next couple of days and sing the spanish version of God Be With You Til We Meet Again, which is beautiful.

Yesterday was our Mexican Night, as it was Independence day for México. We got to watch some of the natives do a bunch of dances and one chica sang two songs. It was amazing. Mexicans have so much more culture than us American swines. Also, they are SO patriotic. I thought we were, but when you compare what they do with what we do....it honestly really doesn't compare. So good. We also watched a video highlighting some of the things that are distinctly Mexican, as well as some people that are distinctly Mexican (that I didn't really recognize....so I think that was the point...but I'm not entirely sure.) Oh man. It was spectacular. Loved it. So now I wish I was Mexicana. Desperately.....ah well. Speaking of ethnicities. Elder Jensen one day, randomly said, "You know, if you had told me you were of Asian background, I would have believed you." So, I guess I really do have Asian eyes...And I told my hermana that I'm like a mash up of all the ethnicities, with Asian eyes, muy blanco skin, and black woman lips. And she agreed. haha If only I were Latina.....

Unfortunately I don't believe we are allowed to access Dropbox here in the CCM otherwise I would definitely do that. But....nope. So, sorry for all the emails. I'm gonna try to get two in one. If only I could compress the files or something......but I dunno how to do that. In this email I'll just include my darling compañera and I. I did end up taking approximately 150 photos from Mexican night, but I won't send all of those....maybe just a couple.

Oh, I will send some pictures of people you won't recognize because they're from district 5D. They gave us their soft chairs last night since they're all leaving soon. Plus, the hermanas from that district gave us Paco. A rain coat. Of tradition. I don't have a picture at the moment, but I'll send one sometime. It's kind of really sweet.

But, I think that's about it..... I'm just gonna apologize right now to anyone who doesn't get a direct response from me: Sorry. I still love you.

Anyway, I think that is really about it. So I look forward to hearing from you all next week. Also, will you please somehow coerce Cameron into writing to me. I want to hear from him too....
Love you!

Con Mucho Amor,
Hermana DeBuck

This is the decor in the comedor. (I can't remember if I've sent this picture or not.) We are really hoping that they don't take these down. The squares almost all say "VIVA MEXICO". So sweet.

And then this is our casa, where we live. There are four or five rooms that each hold four people. Though it's not totally full at the moment, it might fill up tomorrow. 

One day we had this giant rainstorm. And I convinced Elder Olsen to pose for me. Isn't he adorable? Plus, look at all the puddles! Oh man. SO MUCH WATER.
Same day as the previous picture. All of us were wet, but the elderes were sopping. Dripping, even. But, I would like to say that their mothers raised them right: we were eating in the comedor with them but then they left us and we thought, oh well, they're lame. But then they came back from the classroom with umbrellas for us. So sweet. I would've hugged them if I could.
 Hermana Capps and I, all matchy-matchy for Mexican Independence Day. Neither of us had any green, so were were just in red and white.....and I believe you can see Elder Jensen photobombing in the background. He is one smooth puppy.
 Us hermanas with Hermana Soliz, from Distrito 5D. She's going, with Elder Gonzalez, to Washington Federal Way. Though I suppose she may already be there by now. Unfortunately, her compañera, Hermana Bown, left at 2 am Monday morning, so we didn't get a picture with her....it was terribly sad to say goodbye to these two.
 These are our zone leaders. Though I guess they WERE are zone leaders, and no longer are.....which is sad. They were probably the most perfect companionship of all time. Elder Dahl, on the right in this picture, was always super peppy and just happy and optimistic. Oh man, so great. And Elder Johansen was always a bit of a downer, but it wasn't really negative...that makes no sense. Anyway, they were pretty much opposites and were perfect. They're both going to San Diego California, and left this morning with Elder Gonzalez and Hermana Soliz. We'll miss them so much....

 This is our district (cinco ah) and their district (cindo de). I will try to name everyone from left to right, top to bottom:
Back row: Elder Hoffmann, Elder Knight, Elder Johansen, Elder Bronson, Elder Dahl, Elder Olsen, Hermana Haws
Awkward middle row: Elder Wasden, Elder Wilkerson, Elder Ruiz, Elder Jensen
Front row: Elder Black, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Macdonald, Elder Bradbeer, me, Hermana Capps, Hermana Powell, Hermana Soliz

I honestly don't know what we'll do without these guys...already miss them. They also gave us their American flag decoration for our door. What sweethearts....they said we were their favorite district, and they were definitely ours..
Okay, also, just remembered: I found out from Hermana Jones that Josh didn't make it here to el CCM because his Visa didn't go through so he's at Provo. You probably knew this already but didn't say anything in your email so I figured I'd check. I ended up just buying a slip from la Tienda. I did find out that we can exchange American dollars for pesos so I'll be just fine. I'm planning on getting a scripture case from the temple/visitors center when we go, so I'll just exchange some money before then.
I am wishing I would have brought more notebook/paper....my one notebook is already practically full and I only have on regular spiral notebook that I'm beginning, plus my little study journal....I can get notebooks at la tienda though so I should be okay. Did I tell you I got a CCM t-shirt? Oh man, it's sick. We're planning on getting a district photo one day when we all have them. Then you'll see what I'm talking about.
Lastly, if you would make a dropbox or something and then just email me the link, I can upload pictures to that instead of emailing. I just don't want to take the time to create the folder and whatnot... If not, no worries. You'll just have loads of emails.... Plus, I have been told that we get locked out if we try to send more than 30 emails, so that would be no fun. If you do create a Dropbox folder for me, I'll upload all my photos from last night's fiesta. I'm just gonna send two of the dancers and then one of Presidente Pratt with the flag, just before we sang the national anthem (their's has eight whole verses!)
Anyway, now I'm really done.
Love you lots momma. You mean the world to me.
Love, Su Hija, Hermana DeBuck

They men all worse masks and carried canes, acting like old men. This was by far the funniest part of the night. For some reason, it just reminded me of Cameron. Maybe because he too has acted like an old man on more than one occasion...


This is one of the photos that turned out the most clear. It was the first dance of the evening. I just love their dresses. They look so fun. Plus, they danced beautifully. All in all, it was just a fantastic night.

Okay, one last (maybe) picture. I take it back, I have two more. This, I think, accurately describes our companionship....

 And then this accurately describes Elder Dahl. It's just so perfect...

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