My favorite part of every week is, without fail, going to the temple on Tuesday mornings. Today was especially beautiful, spiritual experience and I wanted to burst from being so happy and full of love!
Driving to and from the temple in a bus the size of the Titanic is always exciting too. Sometimes I feel like I'm n a Disney park as I look around at all the terracotta-shingled houses, random piles of rubble, and thick, exotic foliage and the bus is jostling around like the jeep in the Indiana Jones ride. Then I look at the little cardboard make-shift huts that people actually live in under the freeway on-ramps and it hits me hard that this is home for so many people. I can't even imagine being so poor. I'm very sheltered from all that in the CTM, but I know that once I get to Bahia, it's going to hit me like a tone of bricks how real everything is. Irmao Ricardo, my teacher who doesn't speak a word of English, told Sister Oliver and I yesterday that we're going to have a hard time with people in Bahia believing that we know anything about life because we're spoiled, white Americans.
And how's the language coming you might ask? I only have two weeks left here before I'm thrown out to the mission field (I leave the CTM on November 6th). I'm happy to report that I understand almost 100% of what Irmao Ricardo says when he's talking slowly and about 60% when he's talking at normal speed. sometimes I forget he's speaking Portuguese at all! But ... when it comes to other Brazilians ... I understand more like 20%. I think I've just gotten used to how Irmao Ricardo speaks. AS for my OWN speaking of the language ... I understand way more than I can communicate. I never used to understand when people would say, "I understand Spanish, I just can't speak it." Well, now I understand completely. When I try to speak Portuguese, it comes out in an ugly smattering of unorganized nouns, direct objects, and unconjugated verbs that I hope the Brazilians will be able to make sense of. Most of the time, they don't get it. I'm trying to understand how to structure sentences properly and trying to get these millions of verb conjugations down! My teachers tell me that the only way I'll learn how to structure sentences is if I speak with Brazilians as often as possible, stop worrying about how silly I sound, and let them correct me over and over and over again. I'm working on that. AS for the verb conjugations, we were all given a handy-dandy little yellow card with the most common verbs and their conjugations on it and I cling to that thing like a frightened nun clings to her Rosary. I'm jealous of the pockets the Elders have.
Skirts with pockets are GENIUS! I'm loving my skirt from Down East Basics with the pockets. I wish I had ten more like it. One of the sisters who left a week ago gave me a skirt she didn't want anymore. It's big and ugly, but it has POCKETS! It is now one of my favorite articles of clothing. Yay for free stuff!
I just have to say how much I love being here. Any of you girls who are thinking about going on a mission, DO IT! You don't have to have God open up the Heavens and tell you to go for it to be the right thing for you. D&C 4:3 "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work." I'm not trying to tell you what to do. I'm just trying to make you feel guilty if you don't do what I think you should
In the words of Porky Pig, "Dee blee de dee, that's all folks!"