Monday, August 11, 2014

First Impressions


So it's finally P-day and I get an hour to email. I took a couple photos, but these computers are weird and I haven't figured out how to upload them. So hopefully I can figure that out before I'm out of time. 

This first week has been a blur. It's been super crazy busy, but overall it's been good. On Wednesday when I arrived I had a sister meet me at the front and help carry my luggage in. We went from building to building getting supplies (I have a ton of books!). We checked into my room and went straight to "class."

My companion's name is Sister S. She is 19 and from Utah. She's really nice, and I like her a lot. It's weird to think that we only met on Wednesday, because it feels like we've known each other forever. Time is weird here. There are two other sisters in our district and we share a room with them. Sister H. and Sister Hm. Sis S and H. are going to Cambodia, but Sis Hm. is going to Tacoma Cambodian speaking! So that's pretty cool. We have 8 elders in our district. They're all nice and we'll get along well, but also they are very young. On the first day we were here we had an orientation meeting with all the new missionaries (500 of us!) and they asked everyone to stand up if they had just graduated from high school and a wall of guys stood up. So many! So, a lot of people here do seem verryy young. I'm the oldest sister in my zone by far (most everyone is 19. But usually (with the sisters at least) the age isn't very noticeable. 

The language is actually coming along much better than expected! Lo Cru Michelson is our teacher. He's really nice and funny, but he only will ever speak in Khmae with us ever since the very first day! At this point understanding him is still a lot like playing charades, but it's getting a little easier. We'll recognize a few more words here and there. At this point we are just learning the romanization. It's mostly english letters, with a couple extra ones (like backwards c for example is pronounced like "ah"). In a few more weeks we will start learning how to write in the script. 

Sis S. and I have officially taught two lessons to our investigator (pronounced like: Bong Narat). We bring in lots of notes, and the first lesson was less than 3 minutes long, but it's all in Khmae! We learned to pray in Khmae and we're supposed to say all our prayers in the language. The first few days were rough, but now I've got the basic structure and words down. 

The schedule has probably been the hardest thing for me. For the first few days my body was not happy with me. We wake up and 6:30 everyday, eat dinner at 4:30, and go to bed and 10:30. So I get really hungry at night. I'm glad I took all those snacks! I still can't sleep that well, but I'm hoping I'll eventually get adjusted, it just takes a while. The food is alright. I know I'm going to be sooo sick of it in 9 weeks, but I'm trying to pick the healthy things to eat. 

One of the hard things is staying self-motivated. At night we have 4 hours of study time in a row (personal, companion, language, and additional) and it's hard time keep focused. Lots of times we'll be in our tiny little classroom with our whole district and we'll just end up talking. 

Yesterday and today have been a really welcome break. On Sundays we have a Relief society meeting with all of the sisters. They usually invite a speaker to come and talk. A sister from the RS general board talked yesterday, and it was really great. We had sacrament meeting and a devotional at night. We also got to go on a temple walk. I got a picture of our district in front of the temple I'll send you. It was weird to be let out of the gates. It kind of feels like jail sometimes. It's so weird to think I'm in Provo. It was strange to walk outside and realize I was just a block away from my old home. From the third floor of the gym I can look out over campus as I run along the track. I can see the SWKT and it makes me a little homesick. I can't imagine serving a mission straight out of high school. I feel like all the experiences I've had in college and in Thailand living away from home has prepped me for this. Some of these little boys look like Spencer's age! It's harder than I thought it would be being cut off from the outside world. 

Overall though, it's been good so far! It's hard work, but it's good work and it's really rewarding. It's overwhelming, but I try not to think about the future and just take it one day at a time. And by the time October comes, we'll be so ready to go to Cambodia!

Also, I know I've only been out less than a week, but I get it! I'm so sorry I never wrote any missionaries! So I don't deserve mail, but I would LOVE some! Use Dear Elder!

I forgot to add that we are in the same zone as Hmong! We're with Cantonese, Thai, Lao, and Vietnamese. The Vietnamese are not going to our mission though, they're going to Anaheim and somewhere in Texas!

Love you!

Sister Lindsey Blythe Fields

Here is how to send a "dear elder"

Sister Fields with her companion.  The red dot on her name tag means it is her first day in the MTC.

Sister Fields and fellow Cambodian speaking sister missionaries.

Sister Fields and her district.

Her name tag in Khmae.

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