Hipsters, Tongans, and a Little Asian Man!

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March 1, 2013 by jennaljackson

Hello hello from the MTC! My first P-day (sweet sweet p-day) and the end of noob week. For any future missionaries out there it is not really called noob week as a thing it’s just me who does it. Wouldn’t want you to feel stupid.
First of all, thanks a million to everyone who has written me so far and thanks in advance for those who have not written me yet but who undoubtedly will soon. Never really understood why missionaries love mail so much until I became one. It really is the greatest. Now for the downlow on my life:
The MTC is like spirit prison. Aka it is a prison full of the spirit. And full of prisoners who are full of the spirit. You have to go where they tell you to go when they want you to go but it’s fine because the spirit. No really the spirit here is definitely special and I’m enjoying it more and more every day. It’s been 9 days but basically I feel like I’ve been here for months. There are few things greater than being able to harass new missionaries with their little orange dots and think ah yes, to be young and naive. Your first day is the weirdest thing ever. Everyone just talks to you in whatever language they’re learning when they pass you and they all laugh at things that aren’t funny and it’s like this #welcometothemtc. But now I tell people “obrigada” when they open the door for me and my sense of humor has descended into the depths of shame and I will laugh at anything and I have been indoctrinated.
I’m in a trio. A threesome but we try not to call it that. A triumvirate if you will (that’s another thing that’s not a thing and is just me. People thought I was joking that I wanted to call it that but I wasn’t joking though) and both my compainions are great! Sister Brooks I knew a little before from being in the same ward at Lanai. She’s from Georgia. She’s hilarious. She says “literally” a lot and I’m trying not to catch it but it’s not working that well. Sister Mullen is from Canada and she’s great too. She says “fehmily” and I know there is no way I’m going to catch that. We got way lucky in our companionship especially for a trio. No crazies!
Our district has become like a little family. Love them all. There are 12 of us, 3 sisters and the rest elders. Two are going to Angola and one to Mozambique and the rest to Portugal. We’re a pretty diverse group. Got two New Zealanders and a few east coasters and a Texan and a Californian and a few from good old Utah. Wish I could write you character sketches of everyone because they’re all hilarious. Such as the New Zealander who is a convert but speaks so well about the gospel and clearly is so excited for everything, and also wears zip-off pants and a non-ironic wolf tee to gym time. Or the 18 year old from Provo who had to graduate high school early to come on a mission and idolizes Jef Holm and said he got so giddy whenever Jef would write Emily love letters and loves his girlfriend and used to cry about missing his family in class the first week and no, he doesn’t have any sisters all brothers. I asked. Or the 24 year old northern cal hipster who I feel like we understand each other because we can shoot each other the “smh” look whenever the little boys are being ridiculous and also he laughs at my jokes so we cool.
The language is going quite well and I’m SO glad that I’ve already studied it some. It does make it complicated because you don’t want to say everything you know and be a douche about it but you also don’t want to sit there and pretend you don’t know things. So I play it by ear. And there are definitely things that I don’t know. For example during a lesson with our progressing investigator I accidentally told him that through the atonement of Christ he could be free from his fishings (instead of his sins). He is now my teacher. I want to ask him how the fishings are coming and if he is still fettered by their grasp. But I don’t. Let me tell ya though, for people that have never studied a language before, the MTC is a tough experience. I think it helps an amazing amount to just be able to process that there are ways to communicate that are not English. Never let your kids skip out on high school Spanish. It’s amazing how much it helps. The gift of tongues is for sure real though. I felt a little bit jealous because everyones like IM PROGRESSING SO FAST #GIFTOFTONGUES and I’m like but I don’t need it for ser and estar 😦 so I prayed to recognize it and during a lesson with our investigator I was trying to say the word “thoughts” and in my brain I’m like oh shiz there is no way I am ever gonna remember this. But the next second it popped into my head miraculously and I gave a little mental wink smile and thx to the big man upstairs for answering my prayers. It was a cool experience, if a small one.
One of the greatest things about the MTC is gym time. Mom, cause you asked, it changes every day. Twice a week we have it in the morning and the rest of the time its just in the middle of the day but it’s not bad at all, kinda breaks up the class time. I love it because I get to run around the track 10x to a mile and try and mentally translate rap songs into portuguese. That’s productive right? It’s nice to be by yourself in gym. Sometimes I go to the bathroom just to have this little gratification like I’m in the bathroom AND NO ONE EVEN KNOWS AND NO ONE IS WAITING FOR ME HEHE. It’s the little things. The other greatest thing about gym is the Tongans. They walk around the weight machines upstairs in their skin tight tees and they sit down at the machine and laugh at the weight level like this “lol #whitepeople” and then put the weight level all the way to the bottom and grunt as they lift and when they’re done they let the weights clank down as loudly as possible and say things like AAAA HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To each other and it’s incredible. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
Regardless of the many talks we have had about elder/sister relations I have also snagged myself an MTC boyfriend. I do not know his name or his mission and we have never talked. But he’s a small asian man with the biggest glasses I have ever seen, literally stick a quarter inch out of the frames, and his hair is always ALWAYS incredibly messy and he looks constantly suprised at whatever is happening and we have the same schedule and I’m literally (literally. see what’s happening to me?) in love with his existence. Right now I am watching him from across the laundry room sitting cross legged on a chair looking awkward and emailing his family in Korea or wherever. Maybe someday we’ll speak. I can only hope.
We met the Ambassador to Portugal on Wednesday which was pretty neat. He came in and we introduced ourselves and asked him lots of questions and we took a pic and then he left. I think we all can get our visas because he did not appear incredibly offended at everything we said. Score!
Well I only have 30 minutes to write and I haven’t figured out the MTC tips and tricks about how to get around that yet so for now, I love you all, keep the dear elders coming, and I’ll be back next friday.
Peace in our time
Love much
Sister Jackson
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