Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 2 - Leaving the MTC

Holy cow. SO last week I had no emails, and this week I had 38. So shout out to everyone 'cause you guys rock and I definitely don't have to time to reply to everyone but I will write you back eventually!! So this computer's enter button doesn't work and it's super annoying.

Anyway, last Thursday we went to the Hamilton temple. It was about a 2 hour drive and it's out in the middle of the country. I think Hamilton is all country so that's gonna be cool. Sorry Megan, I haven't seen any sheep yet but I have seen lots of cows and bulls. The temple is super small but really simple and pretty and it's on a huge hill, so that's cool. I was so happy to go because it was a break from class and the prison that is the MTC. But, the Spirit is so strong in the temple!!
I'm writing today because we leave tomorrow morning early and yesterday we had a day long workshop. FUN FACT: My teacher, Brother Armstrong, who served in Carlsbad, actually served in Sierra Hansen's ward for the last part of his mission and so knows her family super well. Small world! I love him as a teacher because he pushes us so hard and really makes us think. Who knew that a question as simple as "what is a need?" could stump seven missionaries for four whole days. Seriously ridiculous. By the way, a need is something someone is lacking that they ABSOLUTELY DESIRE. I guess a need really IS a want, Mom. ;) 

So funny story time: there was root beer in the vending machine and my comp is from NewZealand but they don't like it here, I guess. She'd never tried it, so I bought it and let her have some and she spat it out all over our room and said it tasted like mouthwash. What the heck?? She is misguided. Blair, the ketchup here is not ketchup, it's "tomato sauce" and it tastes sweet. So pretty much it's the most disappointing thing ever. Update on the food, I've become friends with the cook and he only gives me the foods that don't make me gag, so that's progress, and the ice cream here is actually amazing. My comp says the ice cream in New Zealand is all like that so I'm super excited to eat tons of that, and that's how I'll be okay with getting fat. 

So I had to go out into the real world to get my flu shot with two other missionaries and our driver. It was this hole in the wall "hospital" that was super unsanitary and had posters advertising the support for mothers to breastfeed in public without shame. Yeah. The lady who gave me the shot never washed her hands, didn't have gloves, didn't sanitize my arm, and there was no lid on the needle. So pretty much I might die. I love you all. JK. But really, the real world was a little bit of a shock - haha. 

Another funny story: On Sunday we had a fireside and one of the Samoan sisters went up to speak. (Background: when we are all together the Samoan missionaries have headsets for translation
because they aren't learning English.) So she starts her talk speaking in Samoan and the translator (one of my teachers, brother Poutoa aka The Man) gets out of the trans booth and gets a microphone to start translating in English. It takes about five minutes to get that all set up and the sister just waits patiently at the podium. Then she tells us her name and where she's from in Samoan and the translator says it in English. Then she just starts speaking perfect English like it's not even a big deal and the translator just throws his hands up and everyone starts laughing. It doesn't sound that funny when I write it out, but let me tell you, I was cracking up through her whole talk, flaring nostrils and all. That sister is just hilarious though. Then she whistled a cat call to herself as she walked back to her seat because apparently she thought she killed it! It wasn't spiritual at all, but just funny. 

Anyway, I have to get off now but I'll reply to everyone next week! Oh my comp is going to Melbourne Australia, Mom, and she sings like an angel. Honestly, she sounds like Adele and is probably the best singer I've heard in a normal nonceleb person. But the constant singing is still not my fav. But I really love her and I'm going to miss her!! Gotta go! The church is true and the Spirit is so strong here! I loved the MTC but I'm so excited to get out in the field!!!
Sister Machen        

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week 1 - MTC

{Note from Carolyn: We were in Flaming Gorge and had no cell service, let alone internet. When we came down from the mountains and got a signal, she'd already written. I felt awful that she got nothing from us that first week!}

Well hey guys, I received no emails this week. Nice of you all. My email day at the MTC is Monday but that's Sunday for you guys. I only have one more Monday here so just email me before church on Sunday and you should be good! Yesterday we were able to write letters home so I sent you all one but it probably won't get there until I'm out of here so you don't have to reply to that, just email me!
First, my companion is Sister Nepia, she is from Rotorua, NZ and has a pretty good accent. SO I've already found myself slipping into speaking like her. I'm defs gonna come home with an accent. So the Americans that I flew with are the only Americans here; the rest are mostly Samoan so very loud - haha. There are just a few missionaries from NZ and Australia, and then a couple from Vanuatu and some other islands. And then somehow we have two German Elders.
The food is so weird and meal times are a struggle. There is a strict rule about eating everything on your plate, SIster Gibson stands by the "rubbish bin" and makes you go back and eat everything if you try to throw anything away. So that's terrible. We had fish and chips one day and believe it or not I was thankful for fish that looked normal. Mostly we have strange sausages and pork cooked in the weirdest ways. Last night they fed us chicken but it was like they took the chicken and cut it into four pieces through the bone and gave us a quarter of a chicken, bones and all. SO weird. My comp can pound food though and I'm seriously so blessed to have her because anything I can't finish she takes it upon herself to eat and saves me from the wrath of Sister Gibson. It's amazing. One of the first things she said to me was when I asked her if she likes sports and she said, "no I'm too fat for sport." Hahaha. I didn't know what to say.
SO in the mornings we have to wake up at 6 and I like to do my sit ups and pushups in the morning to wake up better but the first morning Sis Nepia looked at me so weird and got all uncomfortable, so now I have to do them while she's in the shower so she won't see.
The very first night we had devotional I got asked to play the piano... It was a struggle 'cause I haven't really practiced in like a year, but somehow I killed it. It was definitely the spirit helping me. Also, the very first fireside we had, I was asked to give a talk. They picked on all the Americans for some reason but whatever, at least that's all over. Like I said, there are only 60 missionaries total here so it's super small and the MTC presidency knows me by name and everything super well already. This Thursday we get to go to the Hamilton Temple and some people here have never been so we had a prep class yesterday and that was good going over everything again. But I'm super excited for that cause it'll be relaxing and I don't have to teach any fake investigators. I think I'll be much happier to teach real people because I won't feel like my teacher is judging my teaching techniques.
OH. Our physical activity time everyday is intense. There's one basketball court but there's a volleyball net on it too, so everyone has to share and play around each other. The first day I was like yeah let's play volleyball and kill it, but SIKE. All the Samoans are WAYYYY too intense and they can all play. Like even the larger ones can spike it even if they can't get up haha. So I did that they first day but they all speak in Samoan to each other and talk to me like I have no idea what I'm doing so I played soccer on the field instead and that is straight mud. Oh well, probably better exercise anyway. One of my Sister Training Leaders (kind of like zone leaders) got super intense playing soccer though and is honestly just crazy in general. I have to pray to love her everyday cause she drives me insane. Definitely learning patience here.
Well I can't really think of anything else. Shout out to Baylor cause my favorite teacher here served in Carlsbad and said it's the best mission ever. I beg to differ.
Love you all. WRITE ME.
Sister Machen

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Arrival in New Zealand