Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Week 5: Time Warp

Hello Everyone,

So, as we can tell from the title, my life in the MTC has officially become a time warp. The schedule is pretty much the same every day weeks 2-8, and I've hit the point where I've lost track of reality. There's nothing to distinguish the days or the weeks from one another. For the first several hours of today, I thought it was Saturday, because P-day feels like Saturday. Turns out it's actually Wednesday. Who would have thought that? Because it's such a time warp, I don't have much to report on Russian. It was a typical week. However, I met some Finnish sisters (as in learning Finnish, not from Finland) and they told me something amazing. There are 16 commonly used cases in Finnish, 26 total. There are 6 cases in Russian and each one of them kicks my butt. So this week I'm grateful to be learning Russian. Like our Pugh family motto says, "it could be worse." I could be learning Finnish. 

Life on West Campus is pretty good. There's a 7'3'' elder walking around and every time I see him I gawk. He used to only be 7', but he had to have back surgery and now he's 7'3''. He's state-side though, so he'll be gone pretty soon. I think I'll miss having someone to gawk at. (Does that make me a terrible person?) Another plus of West Campus is that we got a new teacher. He got back from Mother Russia 3 months ago and is darling. At the end of class every day, we have 10-30 seconds of "smile time," where our whole district just has to smile at one another. It sounds weird, but after an hour or two of Russian grammar, your soul needs smile time to keep from crawling into a deep dark cavern and hiding there until the entire country of Ukraine learns to speak English. I love smile time. But the best thing about West Campus is that Sister Gomm and I have grown way closer. I think it's because the way things are set up we're spending more time together, but maybe it's something else. At any rate, something clicked this week and we went from 2 missionaries assigned to be together to friends who love each other. We're very different in how we see the world on a lot of things, but we love each other and I think we make good companions. It's awesome.

The biggest problem of West Campus is that the cafeteria isn't big enough to handle all the missionaries. They got 200 new missionaries when the Russians moved last week and can't quite handle it. They're coping with it by serving us smaller portions of food and it is not okay, because now we're hungry all the time! It's like fast Sunday every day! But it's kinda made up by the fact that on P-days we can walk down to Jamba Juice! They even give us an enormous discount there. Today we walked down and I was exhausted so I got a double 3G boost (aka their caffeine boost). I haven't had a real dose of caffeine in 5 weeks and I am so wound up! But I'm not tired at all for the first time in a while (like maybe 5 weeks), so it was worth it. 

This week we got to leave campus. Sister Gomm got pink eye on Monday, but the clinic was closed since it was Labor Day so we went to Instacare. It was so funny to get in the van and be like "wait the real world still exists! It kept going without me?" We drove past a group of guys running shirtless and it was so weird! Like it somehow feels like while I'm in the MTC, the rest of the world will dress like pioneers, too. Turns out they don't. Oh vel. Once we got to the doctor's office, the real world assaulted me again!  THE TV HAD NEWS ON IT AND THERE WAS A TIME MAGAZINE SITTING ON THE TABLE. It seriously took an immense amount of self-discipline to study my grammar flash cards instead of tuning into the news. It literally killed me to not watch. If it has been MSNBC instead of "Good Morning America," I don't think I would have made it. But I'm working on obedience. And also, my parents are feeding me news of the real world. Except no one has told me anything about feminism since I entered the MTC. IS FEMINISM STILL ALIVE?! 

Speaking of feminism, the MTC had a little dose of feminism this week. Not real feminism, but MTC feminism. Elder Evans came to speak yesterday (which was funny because he lives in our stake. When he first moved in, Lorin was still Stake President and I'm pretty sure he went to that ward for like 3 months straight because he always had Elder Evans stories at dinner). Anyway, Elder Evans made a point of saying how important sister missionaries are. He made a point of saying that women matter the exact same amount to the Lord as men. And he talked about the importance of Sisters learning to speak up when they're in council meetings. While that isn't something I especially struggle with, it was nice to here the head of the Missionary Department assert the importance of women's voices. 

The other thing that Elder Evans said that I really liked is "How wonderful it is to know that you're exactly where you ought to be and doing exactly what the Lord would have you do." That's something I really felt this week. For whatever reason, Sunday and Monday were really hard days for me. But it was reassuring to know that even though it's hard, I'm doing what's important and what's right for me. You know what I mean? This is one of the rare times of my life that I can have absolute certainty I shouldn't be anywhere else. And as the bumps come, I face them knowing that. I'm learning that I can't try to fix every problem that comes and learn ever lesson immediately. The things that mean the most to me are the things that took time and investment and energy to learn. I rarely learn the important things in a few hours or days or even weeks. Change and growth come slowly over periods of time. It's just the way things work. 

Anyway, that's all I've got for today. I say this every week, but I really am grateful for the support and letters and packages and emails and prayers I get. I'm a lucky missionary to have so much love in my life.

All the love,

PS. In 3 weeks and 6 days I'll be on a plane to Ukraine! (Apparently, you have to say Ukraine, because "the Ukraine" is what the Soviet's called it and it implies colonization and Ukranians hate it.)

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