So what's the big news in my vida you might ask? Well, last Wednesday, my companion, Hermana Schillemat, and I were getting ready to close out our day after our evening family prayer (when all the missinonaries pray together in our big meeting room and we get a normal American goodie), when Sister Glazier, the Mission President's wife, summons all the Hermanas over to her. We then find out our perfect companionships are about to be torn apart. You would think I didn't realize this is what is going to be happening to me for the next year and a half, but still... Well, she told Hermana Schillemat and I that we would stay together, so we were pretty excited. Then she moved some other Hermanas around, and then we found out that... dun dun DUN! We were about to receive the curse of the trio! I was not at all happy. I thought I was going to avoid being in a trio while at the MTC. It's hard enough to put one person's need before your own and being with them ALL THE TIME but then to have another person on top of that? I almost blew three gaskets. And I even already knew the Hermana who would be our new comp and I really liked her. I just was all sorts of disgruntled nonetheless. But I have to say, almost a week later I'm pretty pleased with our new companionship. Hermana Eteaki is Tongan and she adds a certain... something. Last night, which was Tuesday the 13th of September, she did my hair in crown braids or cornrows or something, but only on the left side of my head. It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. We also enjoy pretending to shoot and otherwise maime each other during class and at other super appropriate times (my family is very familiar with my love of fake weaponry). And another cool fact: her boyfriend of four years is from the bay, so we've been to all the same haunts in San Fransisco before. I don't know why, but there's just something super cool about being far away from home and having someone who knows your territory. But I have to say, her biggest contribution to the companionship might have been last night when she informed Hermana Schillemat and me how to say OKOU FKLELE, or, "I have diarrhea." Which after eating nothing but rice and beans for weeks, is pretty accurate. It's also known as the fury around here. And by here, I mean the MTC. Who knows what cute name they have for it in the D.R. But I've already sort of resigned myself to getting a tapeworm. That's why I tell all the Hermanas who are freaking out about gaining weight that we NEED to pack it on so the worm has something to work with. I'm not trying to lose all my girlish figure to some nasty, intestine-dwelling creature.
Anywho, I feel like it's story time. Ready? Ok! So, once upon a time, we have this teacher named Hermano Rubio (which I think translates as 'Brother Blond' which is how I prefer to think of him) and he is true blue Dominican. Actually, he's black, and not blue at all, but I digress. I usually like him pretty well, but he has this weird thing about us not chewing on pens. "Esta cenando?" he'll ask, which means "are you eating dinner?" No, I'm obviously chewing on a pen because it is my habit, so leave me to it! But he's never actually caught me doing it, thus all my caps are completely good and chewed. He only ever catches the Elders doing it. He also seems to be confused by the fist bump. Elder Bateman, this small, adorable elder who's like another younger brother, and I enjoy participating in said fist bump. Hermano Rubio gives us the strangest look and says "Que es eso?" or "what the heck is that?" (I'm translating facial and spoken expressions here). I told him it meant orgullo, which is pride and he got all sorts of flustered and kept threatening us with scriptures about pride. He's joking (I think), but now I just like to say that that's what the fist bump means because when I really stop and think about it, I don't know what it means. It's just what two people do to signify that they appreciate the each other's particular brand of strange. Just one of those cultural things that doesn't translate and that I probably won't be doing much of in the field.
But none of that was the actual story. It was a decoy. The real story happened the day before our twosome became three. It was Wednesday night, and Hermano Rubio had told us to prepare to talk about The Plan of Salvation. So my Comp. Hermana Schillemat and I get down to business and decide to focus on the atonement. But when it was our turn to teach, Hermano Rubio in all his glory comes up to us and we said, "oh, como esta usted?" to which he replied "estoy muy mal," or I am not well. That caught me off guard, but I plunged ahead anyway and ask, "oh, well, why is that?" And in straight deadpan, with plenty of emotion he says, "porque no me gusta mi vida." I just stared at him with my mouth twitching before the flood came. I laughed so hard I couldn't stop, and then Hermana S. joined in. First of all, he just straight up tells us he doesn't like his life, but it's a thousand times more amusing in Spanish. And secondly, we'd prepared something super specific so we weren't prepared for his question. Well, it got to the point that he just moved on to another group because we'd obviously blown the moment. Ah well. As long as that doesn't happen when I'm talking to a real investigator, I'll be fine.
And the last thing I should probably share with the class is that last week on Thursday, our district got to go out on the town and see some amazing sites around the city. We eventually made it into the walls of the where original buildings from the 16th century still stand. Christopher Columbus, who "discovered" this area around that time, is a pretty big deal here, and we got to go inside his son, Diego Columbus's house, which is now a museum. There was all sorts of amazing 16th century weaponry and pottery and portraits and I'm a big history and art buff, so I was enjoying myself immensely. We also got to see the ocean that we can't go into (woot!) but I was disappointed to hear that waste is constantly being dumped into it, at least in this area, so no one really swims there anyway. Except for sharks, who apparently enjoy human waste. Who knew? But is still looked super pretty to me.
We also got to see the first chapel built in the western hemisphere and go inside the first cathedral built on this side of the world. Once again, humanities major on the loose! I studied cathedrals for about four years, so it was great to be in one. Some other notable things we got to see was a stray dog (there are lots of them here) with an ear dyed purple, the peacock wandering around Diego Columbus's backyard, and The Hard Rock Cafe. Yeah, the U.S. couldn't help itself. But all in all, it was an amazing day and I realized I am super excited to be here and get to be out in this culture all the time. Well, in two weeks and counting. Can't even start to think about that. Too soon!
Well, that's all the time we have for now folks. I have to go make my teachers blush by accidentally saying awkward things in Spanish. They refuse to tell me what I'm REALLY saying. Maybe I don't really want to know... but here's something I can say for sure: Adios, y hasta luego!
UPDATE: Ok, so the reason this blog didn't get out on time is because on the night of my P-day B-day, we were all woken up at 2:30 in the morning to the sound of Zeus having a field day. There was a crazy storm and it knocked the Internet out. On my bday. REALLY?! But esta bien. It was still a great day, and as a good friend of mine once said... "Let her eat cake!" So I did.