Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brains and French, and Pink Dresses with Flowers (MTC week 5) night I lay in bed and think about how much I love this, about the things I'll get to do in France, about how I get to spend everyday meeting people and talking to people and helping people and I am overcome with joy and excitement. And so I've decided to quit my mission after the MTC. I'm imagining the day I leave France completely ripping my heart out (it would already be hard enough to leave after just these first six weeks), so I'm gonna opt out of that and just come home before all that happiness happens.

K, just kidding, I'm not coming home. But seriously, I don't know how I'm going to leave this all when the time comes in a year and a half.

On a different note, let's talk about losing one's mind for a moment. So this last week was our week of consecration, right? Where we only speak in French all week long? Yeah, so the first few days? Awesome. I was suprised at how much I could say! The rest of the week? Oh my HARD. I realized that "how much I could say!" of the first few days actually boils down to about four sentences:

I'm so hungry!

Would you like to go to the bathroom with me?

I think so.

I don't think so.

Yep. Let's talk about how the rivulets in my brain that previously held those phrases are now deep ravines for their overuse. Bleh. It's hard to love language and only be able to say four things. So I'm spending a lot of time reading the dictionary. (Not kidding. Me. At my desk. Reading the dictionary.) 

There have been a few unexpected results of this language thing:

1) It takes incredible patience, with yourself and with others, when it takes a good 30 seconds to formulate a sentence. Usually by the end of the sentence, I've forgotten what the first half of it was, and we have to start over again.

2) I have felt a lot of frustration this week...and I didn't realize why, until of course I realized it was because I couldn't communicate freely! So I'm working through the frustration and hoping it's motivating me to learn quicklier.

3) My former English-lady brain is melting into a puddle of goo. This week I spelled traumatic "tramatic" (you non-English people may not be able to understand, but this is a kinda scary...traumatic if you will...mistake for someone who studies/teaches literature to make). I also spelled "being" as "bing", said "study" as "stoody", and when talking to my companion about some Starbursts, said, "I went more of those strawberries...I mean Starbursts. Those were developed!" (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!)

We practiced loads of contacting this week. Contacting is where you share our message with strangers--like when missionaries walk around on the city streets and find people who are interested in being taught about Jesus Christ. Some days are really good, some days (like last night) I just for the life of me have no idea what to say to people. We mostly practice with the other missionaries in our class. A few nights ago, one of the sisters in my class was "contacting" with me--I was supposed to be an older lady on the metro--and she walked up to me all happy and says, "Bonjour cette homme!" 

Translation: "Hello this man!"

Hahahaha, these are the funny things of our days. We laughed for a really long time over that--she was so embarrassed, she just kept saying, "Oh, vous etes tres belle! Vous etes tres belle!" to try to make up for it. Oh man next week is going to be CRAZY.

Speaking of which, we have our travel plans! We're flying out (if all goes as planned with visas and such) on Monday morning! (So all those of you who were planning on sending me packages, postcards, curry, and love letters while it still only costs one stamp, you better do it NOW, because if it doesn't get here by Saturday morning, I won't get it. Yeah. Get sending! :)

One little lovely thing I learned this week:

"I am" in French is "Je suis."

"I follow" is "Je suis" also.

One of the missionaries in our class pointed out that it's cool because then to say "I follow Jesus Christ," you're also saying "I am being [as] Jesus Christ." In other words, that to follow him is to be like him, to become like him.

And now, a little list of funnies from the week:

1) my companion and friend dared me to steal fries off a missionary's plate who was sitting behind me. I did it. Just walked right by him, swiped one off his plate like that was a normal thing to do, kept walking. Gotta get my thrills somehow.

2) our class learned Champs-Elysees and performed it flashmob style for the other French-speaking missionaries. Imagine: a large room full of missionaries. Suddenly, someone says, "Hey, where's our teacher?" And then here he comes, waltzing through the door, snapping his fingers singing, "Je me balladais sur l'avenue..." and then one by one we all prance up to the front and join him, clapping hands, singing loud. Yeah. MTC. Welcome.

3) one of my best friends used to always say, "This is a disaster." Jokingly (I think) ...about everything. I told my district that, and now I've got everyone saying it: "Quelle desastre!" Ha. Someday I will compile a list of all the heinous crimes we are doing to the French language with our faulty translations.

4) the photo for this week has a great little story: so someone left this pink flowered dress in our residence hall, and it's been passed down through the classes, and has now fallen to us. As it's our last week, we decided that each of us girls is going to wear it to class one day this week. The dress was previously labeled the dress of shame, and whoever didn't speak enough French that week would have to wear it. We've renamed it the dress of BRAVERY. Mostly because you have to have bravery to wear it (it's a leeeettle excentric: puff sleeves, big pink flower buttons down the front, a hot pink sash that goes with it, that mega-ruffle at the bottom, etc.), and also because we're super brave girls to be speaking this language and moving across the world and stuff like that. :)

Just a little note as well, to all of you that are reading this
email/this old blog still (just fyi: my mom's posting my emails to the blog, I'm not actually doing it): Thank you from my heart for your letters and dearelders and support. At the low points of this week, I went back and read some of the things you've written me, and I took courage and had a renewed sense of self and hope that I can actually do this. So thank you thank you thank you!

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