One thing I really love about the MTC is all the muziek! Zuster Robbins and I always sing in the MTC choir, which is an uplifting experience! Music is also a great way to learn the language. Zuster Robbins and I have been working on memorizing hymns together. It's great because we both love music, she harmonizes perfectly and our voices blend amazingly. So I like to think that our incessant singing isn't too annoying to the rest of the MTC! There's one particularly wonderful song, "Zullen Wij Elkaar Ontmoeten" that we enjoy singing. It's technically a funeral song, but it's very uplifting- "will we meet again, on the other side of the lake? Yes, I shall!"
Dutch is such a unique language. There's this weird rolling "r" sound that you have to do at the back of your throat that I have yet to master... It's basically like the Perry the Platypus sound from Phineas and Ferb. Also, when the Dutch are tired, instead of sighing as we do- kind of "ahhhh" they say "heh-heh." We think that's awesome. I'm excited to see those cultural idiosyncrasies when we get there! Some other fun silly Dutch things- the word for unicorn is "eenhorn" literally, "one horn." Also, we learned their Happy Birthday song, and it's hilarious, exciting... I wish I could sing it for all of you.
Hilarious story time. There's an Elder who just arrived at the MTC who's actually from the Netherlands, called to speak Dutch in Suriname. A couple other Dutch sisters ran into him, and of course all of us were excited to meet him, so when they pointed him out in the dining hall we got up to go say hi, except that he walked out, so we were sort of creepily following him since he hadn't seen us... The Surinamese elders were especially excited to talk to him, since they'll be serving with him. He went into the bathroom, and one of the Elders, who we love but who shall not be named, got impatient after a couple of minutes and went in after him. He walked in and saw a few elders standing around, no one he could see actually using the restroom, so he said, "Who here is from the Netherlands?" They just looked at him. "Okay, I know someone here is from the Netherlands!" Then came a voice from the farthest stall... "I am..." Oh, talk about awkward, but so hilarious! Eventually they came out and we got to talk to the Dutch Elder. He was really cool, but his native Dutch was difficult to understand, since he spoke faster and smoother than we were prepared for... Nevertheless, he was very nice and great to talk to, it's just too bad that we tracked him down with such awkwardness... We love telling that story though. I shall remember it forever.
|Hard at work in the classroom|
Here's another fun story. I lost a gray sweater on one of my last P-days, I'm not sure where. However, that very next day I found in the giveaway bin a beautiful bright blue shirt, my size, with the tags still on... I call that a good exchange! Especially since I have two other gray dress sweaters. So I thought that was cool.
We have so much study time here- 6 hours a day of class, three for study- personal, companion, and language study. I find that I'm both happier and more effective if I plan and use my study time effectively, in a self disciplined way. technically all that time is supposed to be in the classroom, but fortunately we're allowed to study outside some of the time!
|An Elder friend of Zuster Robbins. I needed to be in the picture to prevent an MTC "dating" incident (a Sister and Elder may not take a picture alone together)|
We also had our investigator ask us a deep question, of sorts- why does God make us one way, then give us commandments that we must deny our natural inclinations in order to obey? We had a great class discussion and came up with some answers; Ether 12:27, we are given weakness to help us become humble, which brings us closer to Christ (and I decided that a weakness is anything that prevents us from being like/coming closer to God). Also, God will never give us commandments that we can't obey (1 Nephi 3:7). So it's always possible, and we each have our own unique challenges and weaknesses to overcome, but I think that's part of the essential molding process, making us better. I strive to have righteous desires, but I know I'll never in this life have my will perfectly aligned with the commandments. I'm not a robot, and my Heavenly Father doesn't want me to be one! What do you think? Why do you think we are made with personalities that make following the commandments difficult for us?
Okay, back out of deep waters- I love it here. I love my hilarious, sometimes (actually often) sassy teachers who have so much knowledge to impart and can teach us the language and how to be good missionaries in creative, clever ways. I love my fellow missionaries and how much we all help and support each other in accomplishing our many, sometimes difficult goals here. We are people, and I'm so grateful for that! We don't need to be cookie-cutter perfect all the time, although of course I'm trying my hardest to be perfectly obedient and to always give 100%!
So today we have more than 30 new missionaries joining our zone! The majority of whom are actually sisters, which is wonderful. So Zuster Robbins and I have been called as Sister Training Leaders supervising especially the new Swedish missionaries, and all the other Dutch sisters have been called as Sister Training Leaders too! So we'll all work together in welcoming and guiding the new missionaries, which I am so excited to do. It's cool to have a leadership calling, it gives me new motivation and direction in my work.
One last cool thing that we get to do here: we have TRC, which stands for Teaching Resource C..? I don't know. But basically, local members who are from the Netherlands come in and we get to talk to them, hear them, and they can teach us little things. It's a great opportunity to hear native speakers speak, and plus they're the sweetest old people and are very matter of fact, who will correct our mistakes and encourage our successes. I think that's something really cool that the MTC does. Next week I think we get to skype members who are actually in the Netherlands!
And with that sappy-sounding parting line, I bid you adieu.