Things here are going really well! This will be my first time seeing how easy it is to budget my CTM email time, so I’ll try not to say too little or too much!
The first week has been pretty crazy. We started portuguese immediately, and on the second day we gave an entire lesson in a language we didn’t know! There was a lot of reading what we had written down haha. But now we’re giving 35-minute lessons just using a few notes! It’s not exactly fast-paced conversation, but the rate at which we’re learning is amazing. And the Spanish I learned is helping me a lot! And confusing me a lot haha. (Which reminds me, Scott, that Irmão Costa wants me to say hi for him! I guess he taught you a little bit too. He’s the one who’s always correcting me from “pero” to “mas”.) But I think overall I’m loving the language more than I thought! Although occasionally I get overwhelmed by how much I need to learn still, so I just try not to think about it haha.
Well every day is pretty similar, but still exciting! We get up at 6:15 with our Brasilian roomates Elders Villanova and Oliveira. The other 4 of us are American, and the 2 remaining American elders in my district live a few dorors down. We have an hour of personal study from 7 to 8, then breakfast (I’m liking the food here so far! For the most part), then TALL time, which is when we study Portuguese with a computer program. After that we have atividade fisica, which usually means another elder and I run a few miles on the (tiny) track and then we all play volleyball with the Brasileiros. It’s a lot of fun! Then we have companionship study, which is when we plan our lessons for the day–we teach a 30-35 minute lesson in Port. every night, which is sometimes stressful but a really good learning experience. After lunch we have a lesson with our instructor, Irma Da Silva or Irmao Brito (who was, in disguise, our first investigator). They speak to us only in Portuguese, so there are sometimes a lot of blank faces among the 10 of us missionaries haha. But we usually piece it together! Then with a break for dinner and personal language study, we spend the evening teaching our lesson, doing final prep for it, and evaluating it afterwards (sometimes a proud time, sometimes a more eye-opening one haha) and then we have a snack at 21:00 and plan the next day! When we get back to our rooms around 9:45, we still have 45 minutes before bed when we chat with our roommates and the other Brasileiros on our floor. We’re really lucky because Elder Villanova speaks English really well so he translates when we need it. But usually with a mix of sign-language and simple words we can communicate!
We’re making some fun friends around the MTC as well. Sister Lauralee Cook is here! She’s actually leaving on Tuesday, but it was fun to catch up for a few days. I had no idea she was here until she came over to say hi at lunch on the first day! There are a few brasileiros who we usually eat with, too. Some of them speak some english, some don’t even try, and some know random phrases like “He-Man” and “Linkin Park.”
The americans here are fun too! Actually a district of them just left for the mission field, but on their last night they barged into our companionship study, wearing blanket-robes, beating drums on 2-liter Guarana bottles and chanting like crazy people. Then to our delight, we found out that it was a big ceremony to give our district a marker! Only the teachers have markers, but they’re really helpful for us, so they told us to use it only in time of need and never let a teacher accidentally take it. So that was kind of fun! haha.
The MTC is probably 40% Hispanics, 40% Brazilians, and 20% Americans. Quite the mix! I’ve met people from all over the Americas.
This morning we got to go to the Sao Paulo temple! It’s a really, really beautiful temple inside, and it was an awesome experience to go through with a bunch of other missionaries. We took a bus through the city to get there, and it was great! I think they’re going to send you an email with a picture.
Well I don’t have much else to say! I hope that gives you a good idea of what life here is like. We’re about to go into the city surrounding the MTC to walk around. Have a safe week and thank you for your letters!