Thursday, February 21, 2013

Week one

Howdy y´all. I have a lot of random things to say and not a lot of time so sorry if it sounds like a stream of thoughts from the week, cause thats exactly what it is.

- they cut lawns here with weed whackers, even it they´re like pretty big
- traffic laws are like weak suggestions and if people decide they need to stop their car, they just stop in the middle of the street like nbd
- the CCM takes your cameras, passports, and snacks when you arrive, but not if you are the only north american to arrive and you arrive in the middle of the night. (they got them from me later though, but its just for safe-keeping)
- reading the scriptures in spanish is really hard and time consuming, but its exciting
- as a missionary, they want everything you do to be formal, so you basically never use the "tú" form of any verbs ("tú" is the informal way to say "you"). basically every phrase you learn in high school spanish uses the tú form of verbs, soooooooo i currently have a crazy amount of awful habits in my subconscious
- spanish computers are laid out a bit differently than those in north america, so some of the not-letter keys are in different places and its like super confusing
- the CCM and its classes and stuff can be kinda confining since youre always in the same room in the same fenced-off building, but
- Elder Donaldson, my companion (he´s from Mesa, AZ), was talking to a lady on the street who said she didnt believe in God and he wanted to tell her that when he sees the beautiful world and stuff he knows God exists, but on of the phrases he used to describe this thought was "mi cuerpo perfecto" (my perfect body)
- the other elders in my district (aka the only other north americans here) are named Elder Cutler, from Gilbert, AZ and Elder Pearson, from Orem, UT. Cutler really likes to work on cars and is really cool. We have similar brains and its fun to talk to him. Elder Pearson is a CS major (hollaaaa) and is super smart. the three of them have been here two more weeks than me
- I live for puns
- at dinner one day, we were eating pears and I asked why pears were the shape they were. Elder Cutler said is was probably from "pear-pressure" (get it, like peer preassure) and i laughed for an unconventional amount of time
- the verb for "to joke" is "bromear" which sounds like bro and makes me laugh
- latin american teenagers rreeeeeeeeeally like spray deo
- sometimes, when people use spray deo right by your face it makes you think you are going to stop breathing
- in colombia, they pronouce the "y" sound, such as in "New York" kinda like a "schz". so you would like like "New SCHZork" which is different than I learned in HS and is therefore exciting and hard
- the best thing about playing volleyball with latin people is that they use their head and feet almost as effectively (and definitely as readily) as their arms and hands
- Aaaaaaand our CCM president said that there is a huge group of guys coming in soon and it might be too crowded and they might send us out next week. maybe. which is scary. but exciting. I feel like i could be ready by then.
- many of the latin guys wanna learn english so we spent a good amount of time the other day exchanging tongue twisters with them in our respective native languages, which was out of control hard but fun.

Hopefully I´ll get more time to write sometime, but for now, this will have to do. I am learning the language, learning how to teach people, and getting ready to serve. Keep me in your prayers!

With sweet Latin love,
Elder Pratt

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First day!!

First email from Elder Pratt:
I am here in the MTC. The flights were pretty good (the start of the Atlanta to Bogota flight was really really turbulent and I seriously thought I might die. I figured that'd be a pretty good place to go though, I'd def get props in heaven for dying on the way to a mission). I got here last night at about 11  and grabbed a few hours of nervous sleep mostly consisting of me just thinking "whaaaaa this is crazyyyyyyyyy". Today have played sports, failed to understand spanish, been in a class ot two, failed to understand more spanish, and started to maybe understand spanish. It is kinda crazy and hard when people are speaking full speed at you, so I am pretty bad at communicating with the latin missionaries, but there are 4 North Americans here and boy am I glad to have them! We are all in a district together since we are the only ones, but they are great. They've been here for 2 weeks already so I have a lot of catching up to do, but so far all of my teachers have been really impressed with my spanish. I think the high school spanish is coming back to me. The teachers talk really slow and don't pressure me to answer quickly so I have time to think and it's not too bad. But when other regular people speak to me in spanish, they just talk too fast and everything sounds like one word and it is basically the most stressful thing in my life. I feel so bad cause I want to understand them but I just can't haha. One of my teachers just told me to be patient and stuff because I'm doing well for my first day.  It already feels like I've been here for a week with how much we've done. Also the other kids in my district are heading out in 4 weeks, but I am set to be here 6 but a few teachers so far have said that they won't keep me that long. Happy, scared, scared, happy. Here are some things that I've learned in my day of travel and first half day in the CCM (MTC for cool people in Colombia):
- I think my hair heard that I was going to be a missionary because my hairline has never been as far back as it has when I cut my hair for the CCM.
- The Barber's Theorem is real, and it's awful. (for those who don't know, the Barber's Theorem is an idea I developed a few years ago that when I cut my hair short, my ears actually physically push out farther from my head and stick out even more)
- If old people speak to you in spanish and they don't sound like they're asking a question, a simple smile and nod is really effective to pretend to understand and gain respect.
- I have really weak arms. Lifting luggage in high places is not a strength of mine. Don't worry though, it's going to be an official goal to fix this.
- When people talk to me in spanish really fast, I have this super power I like to call "Cry on the inside and turn of ears to avoid getting disappointed when you don't understand." I have a feeling that this will not be considered a super power for much longer.
- ain't nothing wrong with a little spanglish.
I'll get more time to write next week and I'll bring notes and stuff so maybe I'll have some fun things to tell. So far, this place is beautful, the people are nice, and maybe someday I'll know what they're saying.
I love you all!
- Elder Pratt