Oi família e amigos!!
Tudo bem? Tudo está bem aqui no CTM! I finally made it to Brasil!!! The trip was long, but it made me all the more excited to finally be here! Tuesday I left the MTC at 4:30 AM, left the Salt Lake Airport at 11, arrived in Georgia at 5, left for São Paulo at 9, and arrived in Brasil at 8:00 Wednesday morning. We finally made it to the CTM around 10:30, bringing my total travel time to over 26 hours! Not as bad as it could be, but definitely not my favorite way to spend a day.
So yeah, the Brasil MTC is great in many ways, and different in many others. For starters, it's tiny. I guess not tiny, because there are way smaller MTCs out there, but there are like less than 200 people here, so coming from Provo with over 4,000... Yeah. Pretty small. The food though! Ah... Muito bem! Delicioso! I eat rice and beans and meat for two meals a day, and I totally love it. :) Another different thing is that we're not allowed to take pictures here, except on P-day, and we can't send any pictures. That's a bit of a bummer. But an awesome difference between here and Provo is that we're allowed to wander the streets around the CTM on P-day and go to stores and buy stuff and talk to people! It's awesome! We just got back from doing that, and I bought a churro from a street vendor that was to die for. Made my day. I wasn't supposed to have my P-day until next Thursday, because that's when my district has their one and only P-day, but they gave me today off so that I could go to the São Paulo temple (beautiful!) and email and wander the streets of Brasil since I'm American and I'm only here for 12 days and I came from the Provo MTC so it's been a little longer for me since I've had a P-day. Also I think they took mercy on me because it was apparent that I was super exhausted yesterday during my second orientation.
The reason for the exhaustion and for the two orientations is that the CTM President wasn't aware that I had come from the Provo MTC with 10 weeks of training already. Because of that, I was supposed to stay in a district with the Americans I arrived with, so the first day we all did orientation together. Then that night, they decided to switch me to a new district that would arrive the next day and leave for the mission field the same day as me, because they're ALL BRASILIAN AND NO ONE SPEAKS ENGLISH!! So yep, my companion is Brasilian, she speaks no english. The people in my district are Brasilian, they don't speak english. My teachers are Brasilian and if they did speak english, they probably wouldn't tell me. It's a pretty intense situation. So yeah, yesterday I did orientation all over again, only this time it was all in Portuguese, so by the end of the day I was waaaay exhausted!
My companion is so nice though! Her name is Sister Tomaz da Silva, she's from Recife, and she's the nicest little Brasilian companion I could have asked for! She is so patient with me and so helpful! It took us a little while the first day of our companionship, but she has figured out how to talk to me using vocabulary that I know so I understand. She even helps me understand what other people are saying! If someone asks me a question and I'm totally lost, I look at her with a "I'm totally lost!" look on my face, and she rephrases it in a way I can comprehend. It's wonderful. :) As for my district... I'm just hoping they'll get the hang of it soon, or that I will! Sister Tomaz da Silva and I have a lot of fun though. We can communcate enough that we can joke a little bit with each other, and tell funny stories. We had a lot of fun yesterday morning while we were waiting for our district to get here. I wanted to label things in my room using sticky notes, so I would point to things in the room and say "Como se chama isto?" and she would tell me, then I'd ask "Como se escreve?" and she would spell it for me. Generally I got it right, because I learned how to say the names of letters in Spanish, and it's pretty much the same in Portugês. Although there was one time where I was trying to write makeup (maquiagem) and it turned out looking something like MAKUGM. When my companion saw it, she laughed pretty hard, which made me laugh pretty hard. I then said "Como se chama ISTO?" as I held up the trash can with my failure inside.
Pretty much, life right now is really hard, but really awesome! I can see myself growing already! It's starting to become easier to understand my companion when she speaks quickly, and today I had a 40 minute conversation with an elder from Argentina who has been learning Porgugês for four weeks on the way to the temple, and then again on the way back! It felt awesome to be able to communicate what I wanted to say (most of the time).
I love you all muito!!! Talk to you next Thursday!