Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week 7: Double Rainbow Monday

Hello World,

So I don't know about the rest of Utah/the country, but it's been a crazy weather week here in P-town. (Since I don't go to BYU, these 9 weeks are the only time of my life that I'll get to call Provo P-town and I'm taking advantage of it). We've had rain and hail and blazing heat, pretty much all in the same day. It's mostly impossible to get dressed for the appropriate weather. But, on Monday morning, we had not one but two full rainbows - those ones like out of a picture book where it's a perfect half circle and it's just gorgeous. So that was my miracle of the week. (Not really my only one, but maybe my favorite.)

Anyway, life as a Russian sister in branch 110 has been fun this week. My neighbor sent me a party in a box on Tuesday (Thanks Katy!!) and I had a leftover luau box from Judy, so on Saturday night, Sister Gomm and I had a sisters party in our apartment, since we're sister training leaders and what not. It was one of the few nights that we had 16 sisters in our branch (since we got 4 on Wednesday but 4 left on Sunday) and it was seriously so fun. Everyone was wearing mustaches and leis and eating their weight in dark chocolate (again, thanks Katy!), and it was the best 20-minute party I've ever been to. I think we all needed a little bit of a break from MTC study/serious time. Plus, sisters are awesome. There's a real sense of comradarie among the Russian sisters and it was nice to be able to cultivate that a little bit more among the sisters we're in charge of. 

In other fun sister life, this week our shower drain got clogged with hair. With 4 sisters all using the shower, it was bound to happen sometime. We reported it to maintenance, but when nothing happened after a day, Sister Gomm was like "I need to shower, dangit!" So she bought a hanger, and went to work. I tried to help, but I couldn't even figure out how to get the drain open. (As we'll all recall, I'm kinda high maintenance and prissy). So, pretty much all by herself, Sister Gomm got the drain opened and fished an enormous amount of hair out of the drain. It was fairly disgusting. But the fact that my companion did it instead of me was also a miracle! Seriously, my companion is the best and I love her so much.

Speaking of my companion, on Saturday, she did a "Plan, Study, Teach" cycle with our teacher, which meant she planned, studied for, and taught a lesson with our teacher as her companion. So for 3 hours, it was me and the elders and our other (male) teacher. I've been assured that it wasn't against the rules for that to happen, since the teachers authorized it and what not, but it was SO WEIRD. It's funny how quickly one gets used to ultra-conservative missionary life. The combination of not having a companion by my side and being the only female in the room made me so incredibly uncomfortable. When we went to lunch I was like, "Sister Gomm, don't you ever leave me again." 

In other missionary-life-makes-everything-weird news, the producer of 17 Miracles came and spoke to us for Sunday devotional. He showed us a like 12-minute clip of his new movie. In it was a kissing scene. In normal life, it would not have been a big deal. But because this is the MTC, literally everyone freaked out. It was so funny. I would have paid about a thousand dollars to have been in the main campus gym where the actual devotional was (instead of West Campus where it was broadcast) to see the MTC president's face when that happened. I can only imagine the face palm that must have occurred. 

I learned that my last name sounds and will be spelled the same way as the first-person conjugation for the verb to drink. As in, the Russian translation of the sentence "I drink" sounds like "Ya Pugh." So my name tag will pretty much say "Sister I drink," because you don't always need pronouns in Russian. Anyway, hopefully people don't think I come from a long line of Russian alcoholics. Whatevs.

Also, like most other languages, Russian nouns have gender - masculine, feminine, and neuter. But this week, one of the newer missionaries called them neutered nouns. I didn't quite have it in me to correct him.

Yesterday, in devotional, the speaker said something interesting. He talked about Nephi's words "As the Lord liveth and as I live..." and he said that that's a famous Bedouin phrase used to convey commitment and covenanting. Does anyone know if that's true? Is it really a commonly used Bedouin phrase? And if so, which Bedouins? Someone out there has to know, right?

Anyway, I leave in THIRTEEN DAYS. Which, on one hand, seems like it's never going to come. But I also am getting super anxious about it. Not traveling or living in another country or trying to speak Russian all the time, but starting over again. In the past year, I've already packed all my bags, said goodbye to everyone I know and love, and set off to do something I'd never done before at a place where I didn't know anyone twice - when I went to college and when I entered the MTC. And both times, it was good and I grew a lot, but it was really hard too. And now I'm doing it again, and it sort of terrifies me. I feel like I've finally gotten in the rhythm and flow of the MTC and now I have to start over again. It's not that I can't do it - I know I can - it's just that my heart is like "Hannah, not again! Too much!" And I'm like "I know heart, but it'll be okay (I think)." Starting over is hard.

Sunday night, I watched a video of a talk that Elder Holland gave at the MTC a few years ago. We all know that I love Elder Holland an enormous amount, but here's a new favorite quote from him: "Don't try to dazzle with how brilliant you are. Dazzle with how brilliant the gospel is." It really is brilliant. I'm learning that more and more every day. I am so grateful I decided to go on a mission. Sometimes it's hard and sometimes it's not, but every single day I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. Every day, I am dazzled with this gospel in my heart and in my mind, and that is one of the best things about being a missionary. What an opportunity this is.

All the love,

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