Saturday, August 25, 2012

Provo MTC - week 3!!

Grazie, babbo, as always, for the wonderful email! And, grazie Courtney and John for the letters! Seriously, those were the greatest things ever. They were exactly what I needed.
Seriously, y'all's emails & letters keep me sane. It is still pretty  hard here for me, but I'm much happier about everything. I'm not as stressed. I do get stressed a little bit at a time, but overall I just figure I'll try my best, and not worry about it. So I try to smile through everything, and find the good. Occasionally, I do still have doubts, like why it's taking me so long/why it's so hard to learn the language, but I know I'm just being too hard on myself, and expecting too much from myself. I basically want to be fluent in the language right now, but I guess that's not really realistic. Haha.
Also, I dunno if I told you, but remember how I was stressing about not having a father's blessing (okay, I never told you I was stressing, but I really felt like I needed/wanted one)? Well, after I read your email last week, then went to the Temple, I wasn't worried about it, and I've taken your "wee impression" as my father's blessing. It's the greatest greatest thing ever.
Oh, Happy Birthday Ben! His birthday`s August 21, I think. Same day as President Monson`s! Also, can I please get Adam`s mailing address (question mark - my question mark`s not working). I don`t have enough time to email him, and I wrote all the family last week, except for him. So, I want to write him.
But, holy cannoli, let me get started on stuff that happened this week! Our teacher, Fratello Bulloch was out of town until two days ago. So, we've had about 8 different substitute teachers - allow me to name them (ha!): Fratello Carrington, Newton, Pesci, Bulloch, Boynton, Acerson, Hatch, and Sorella Miller. Ma, va bene (it's all good). I love them all. And, wee side note: babbo, remember how I said I wanted to apply for BYU for when I come home? Well, if I get in, then I want to apply to be a teacher at the MTC! I love all the instructors so much, and it would be an awesome way to teach, keep up with my Italian, and feel the spirit, and so so much. It just seems like the greatest thing in the world to me. Ma (but), Adam, Fratello Newton won't be my "official" teacher much longer. I think he has a lot going on with school, so he won't be teaching a lot the next few months, but he said he might still sub for us. Che sad. He's my hardest teacher, but I do still enjoy his class. He pushes us. Which is a good thing... I guess. Hahaha.
And jeez, I'm going to miss David Frey by a couple of days! I leave Oct. 2! Che sad. And it's even sadder, cause the Armenian's are in my building! Where our classroom is, there are a bunch of different other languages being taught throughout the building - French, Italian, Armenian, Greek, Hungarian (yes, Elisabeth, be jealous). And that's just on our same floor. And, they only send Europeans to Greece, so the Greek's are all German, English (from England, haha), and there's one from Switzerland (?) I think. I'm not sure about the last one. But they're fun to talk to. And I see all the Armenian's all the time, I love them.
Well, all the older Sorelle and Anziani left on Tuesday - so sad! I love them. And, one of the Sorelle told me that they thought they were going to make me the new coordinating sister (ZL for sisters, kinda - except it`s not a companionship, just one sister). Well, she told me that, then all the other sorelle all agreed that they thought it would be me. It was just super sweet that they thought I would be ready and qualified for a position like that. Haha. I`m not the new coordinating sister, but still, I appreciated the compliment :)
Oh, then on Sunday, during Music & The Spoken Word, there was this wonderful solo artist singing with MoTab, and he had a phenomenal operatic voice. Then he started to sing a song. Nella Fantasia. I had never heard it until then, but it was so so spectacular. It almost made me cry. I swear, I think my soul is Italian or something, because anything Itaian just hits home for me. It`s just like my whole heart. I dunno, it was wonderful. Then the day before, in a workshop about prayer, the teacher started out with a song. MoTab singing with Andrea Boccelli, singing ``The Lord`s Prayer``. Amazing! Seriously. I love the church. I love Italian. So, when the two are combined, my heart just explodes. Can you imagine how I`m going to be at Christmas time, in Italy, as a missionary (my question mark won`t work for some reason). I`m pretty sure my heart will explode. Haha. I`m so excited. Sunday we took pictures with ALL the Italians - the departing missionaries, and us 3 week old missionaries. It`s probably my favorite picture I have thus far. I wish I could send it to you all. We`re holding the Italian flag and all :)
Oh! Crazy time now. Then we had the Sunday night devotional. I don`t remember his name, but he`s in charge of training all the MTC teachers around the world (I think that`s who he was). Anyway, long story short, he started telling a story of how he went to a lesson with 2 missionaries in Texas one evening, and how it was the best lesson he had ever been to. The famliy was baptized, and he showed a picture of the missionaries and the family. And who was one of those missionaries (question mark) - WILLIAM PEREZ! Creeping Things, Miami! I might have freaked out a bit. Haha, it was so cool. So Will, you are now famous at the MTC :) Then that night, our Spanish roommates were packing up. So sad, I love them so much. I miss them, but it`s a lot quieter now that they`re gone. Haha, and cleaner. We vacuumed and wiped off everything when they left. It`s so clean now, I love it :)
Then Monday all the italian missionaries got together for an unofficial Italian meeting - the departing sorelle and anziani (and our teachers) were to share with us one of the most important things they`ve learned, what they wish they would have done better, then they bore their testimonies. This has become a tradition for the Italian missionaries, so when we leave, we`ll do this for the younger missionaries who come in behind us. It`s crazy to think that in 3 weeks I`ll be the OLDER missionary, and the new Italian missionares will come in, and look up to me. Crazy. But, the unofficial italian meeting was SO so good. And the day before I read a scripture, and wanted to share it with anyone and everyone, and never had a chance to share it, so I got up at the end of the meeting and shared a little spiritual thought. It was D&C 31:3-5. SO good. I love that scripture. My favorite part of it is the last (ish) line: ``The laboror is worth his hire.`` Do your work, do your best, and that is enough for the Lord. Mi piace.
Then, quickly, because I`m already over on my time - Tuesday night devotional was Elder Neil L. Anderson of the 12. And I`ll just leave it at that :) Hahaha.
Love you all! Be good!
Ciao a tutti!
Sorella Willis
PS: can y`all send me a picture of Tanner (question mark). I have a picture of the whole family at Christmas time without before he was born, so can y`all take an awesome picture of Tanner, then print it out, and send it to me, per favore (question mark).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Provo MTC - week 2!

Grazie mille for the email! True story: you almost made me cry. The MTC has totally destroyed me. I cry/am on the verge of tears basically every day. Haha. But, I absolutely needed what you said.
Let me try to remember what I can, then I'll try to respond to whatever I can. Babbo, did you get my email/letter? I don't remember what I asked, but I asked a few questions (about returning some Italian books, because I have extras now. So, to return them to the bookstore, or send them home. Non so. Just let me know.)

But, before I forget: Miami family! I was walking around yesterday (Wednesday, when all the new missionaries come in), and I companionship stopped my colega and myself, to ask directions. I looked at him for a second, and I was just thinking "You look so familiar, where do I know you from?!" Then, I might have interrupted him mid sentence, and exploded, "You're from Miami!". Elder Fabiano! (?) He didn't remember me, but I didn't really expect him to. Ha, I just barely recognized who he was. But, I just thought it was awesome! 
Okay, let's see. Well, thank you Josue, babbo, Courtney, and the wonderful Chelsea Wiser for the letters (I might shout out to everyone who ever writes me... maybe. Haha). Mail really is so so wonderful. We went to the Temple last week. First of all, my colega's Temple recommend was cancelled because someone assigned another temple recommend under her number. So, we have to get that fixed, still. And then, as we walked into the Temple, a guy stopped and talked to us, and turns out he served in South Carolina. After talking to him, it turns out that he was companions with the Elder who baptized Anziano Hurlburt! (Anziano Hurlburt is the kid we met in SC. He's a convert of 1 1/2 years!) Small world!

Courtney, that's crazy that King served with Fratello Bulloch! I can't wait to talk to Bulloch about it - he's visiting family right now, and won't be back until Monday, but still, that's awesome!
And, Adam, yep! Fratello Newton is one of my teachers! ...I think. We've had about 7-8 different subs, but I think Fratelli Bulloch and Newton are our "official" teachers. But, there are so many awesome Italian teachers here. True story, I think Fratello Newton is my hardest teacher. The first day he taught, he made me cry. Ha, not really; HE didn't make me cry, but he asked me to teach something in Italian, and I just broke down, cause I didn't think I could do it. And he always speaks in Italian. So, I'm frustrated half the class, because I can't understand everything. I know he does it to push us, and to help us learn. And, he tells me all the time that he knows I can do it. He's super encouraging, I'm just super hard on myself. I'm pretty sure I'm his hardest student, because I'm so hard on myself. I'm sure he's tired of me telling him how frustrated I am. Ha, ma, va bene.
Dad, I LOVED the story you sent about Abby! That's so funny. I want to frame it! Haha. I love it.
Oh! And, on Sunday, Sister Wixon (General Primary President) spoke in Relief Society. It was SO good! Like, one of the best talks/devotionals I've heard since I've been at the  MTC.
Oh, and Kelsey! #1: There's an Anziano in my zone who reminds me of Evan Branson. ...true story, just as I wrote that, he walked right past me. Hahaha. #2, I sang in the choir the other day, and the chorister made an Abbot and Castillo reference! He was talking about mana, and how it means "What is it?", and he went on from there. I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was super funny. I was one of the few who laughed at the Abbot and Castillo reference. So, thank you my darling Kelsey! :)
So, basically we for gym everyday we go outside, and play sand volleyball. And we do it with all of our Italians. It's so much fun. It makes me think of Institute! Except, I think I like sand better... I can really go for the ball without worrying if I'm gonna hit the ground super hard.
OH my goodness! Okay, funny story time. The other day one of my Anziani, Anziano Dowling (our DL) was saying how he wanted to get his named enscribed onto his Italian scriptures, but he didn't know what to put. "Should I just put Anziano Dowling, or should I put Anziano [first name] Dowling?", and I told him that I have my full name with my title, but he had just said "Dowling", so that was in my mind as I started talking. So, I said, "Yeah, I have Sorella [my first name] Dowling! ....." Hahaha, it was so funny. My district exploded, as 19 year old boys would. Ha, but it's good. I love them.
I swanny, there's so much that I know I'm forgetting to write! 
Babbo, grazie for the pictures :) I love my Hermanas (the Sisters speaking Spanish who are our roommates), and they leave on Monday! So sad :( They're so funny. I'm gonna miss them. And now I'm super curious who else they're going to put in our room! Because, we still have just over 6 weeks left! So, we'll see. I think that's all that I have for now. I'm going to write letters today, anche, so if there's anything that I forget I'll try to include it.
Ciao a tutti, e vi voglio bene!
Sorella Willis

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Provo MTC - week 1! Ciao a tutti!

It's finally p-day! We got here last Wednesday, and we didn't get a p-day until the following Thursday! Thank goodness I brought plenty of... everything! Haha. Well, let's see what I can remember for 1 week & 1 day.
Monday started off great, my colega (companion) is Sorella Hanson, she's awesome. The complete opposite of me - talkative, loud, and outgoing. (And she's from the Florida, in the Orlando area! My district is great. And, the guy I met in IOP, SC about a month ago, who is going to Rome, is in my district (Daniel Hurlburt!). He's such a character, he's fun. My teacher is awesome, his name is Fratello (brother) Bulloch. He's so super awesome. We got an "investigator" our second day here, and we taught him, ALL IN ITALIAN, on our third day here. Che crazy! And we've taught him every day since. I'm slowly getting better. I think. I feel like a robot, cause I can't speak the language yet, so I'm reading off my lessons to him. Ma (but), it's all good. I'm learning.
I know how to pray and to bear my testimony in Italian! Very simply, of course, but I do. And, now it's weird for me to pray in English. Because we're supposed to "speak your language" all the time, I pray in Italian basically every time I pray (vocally or to myself), and the other day my colega and myself were going to pray, and we were determining whether we wanted to pray in English (to more fully express ourselves), or Italian (to practice). Well, I was praying, and I decided I wanted to do it in English, but then I started... and it sounded weird. So I went back to Italian. It's crazy, I'm not going to be able to speak English when I come home! It just sounds wrong praying in English, now. Haha.
Oh, also, mom you were right. Thanks for secretly buying the index cards. I'm using them to practice my Italian, and they're very helpful. So, grazie!
I love gym time! Knock-out in the basketball gym inside, and calcio (soccer) with my Sorelle, or volleyball outside. Mi piace (I like it)!
The other days were good - just the same schedule. Then Sunday was awesome! It was fast Sunday, so we had Mission Conference. So good! Our MTC Presidency, and their wives, spoke. It was so good. Then we had sacrament/testimony meeting. I bore my testimony. In Italian. It was super simple, but I did it. Then we had a a "not" Relief Society meeting. It wasn't Relief Society, but it was all the women, and our Branch President and his wife. Just to talk for a bit. It was nice. Then we had our Sunday walk, and went and chilled around the Temple. I took a couple of pictures, but we're not allowed to send pictures through emails anymore (this is a brand new rule, like within the past month or two), so I dunno when you'll get pictures. We can't print them off here, either. So I'll try to figure something out. Ha.
I think I've already mentioned, but my roommates (besides my colega) are Spanish speaking! Three of them are native Spanish speakers, and one's this awesome biancha gringa (named Sarah Wilson! Che funny, so similar to my name), who's in advanced Spanish with them. I love them, they're so much fun.
Then, the other day during our service activity, guess who I saw? Trevon Albertson! Or, Elder Albertson. Remember, he served in our ward? He's awesome. When I saw him, I went through like 10 names in my head, cause I wasn't sure what to call him; "Albertson, Trevon, Elder, Fratello Albertson...", I eventually decided on Brother Albertson. Weird. Haha. But, it was good to see him.
But, I think that's all that I have for a recap of my week here. It's been awesome. Thank you everyone who wrote me a Dear Elder (Josue, babbo, Courtney, and Katharine), and thank you to the Jolley family for sending me those cookies! My roommates love them, and my district wants me to bring them to class tomorrow. Hahaha. And thanks, babbo, for the cinnamon/fruit role things. Mi piace.
I'm trying to think of anything else I might want to talk about. My district made a goal to have 1 contact a day, and bear our testimony in Italian, so we've been doing that, and getting practice. 
Also, the remember how everyone says the food is... not so easy on the stomach? Well, it was like that for the first few days (remember, when y'all dropped me off, my stomach wasn't feeling well, at all? Yeah.), but now I really enjoy the food. It's delish. Maybe I'll change my mind later, I dunno. Hahaha, that's a silly thing to include in my email.
Vi voglio bene! Ciao!
Sorella Willis