Some things I didn’t get to mention in my last email (which, by the time you get this, will have been two weeks ago. I’m a time Lord)
We watched the Tad R. Callister devotional from January and I remember seeing it at BYU. I want Melissa Balconi to see it. I don’t know why. There’s a moment when they zoom in on the choir and you can see Aaron. I yelped and my district thought I was dying, I was so excited. [link to this talk: https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2014/01/what-is-the-blueprint-of-christs-church?lang=eng]
I love my district. The first time we met, I felt like each one of them reminded me of someone I knew but I couldn’t recall who. Now I think they remind me . . . of themselves, and that I met them in a place I can’t recall. In a place before this one.
Last P-Day was lame-ish because we just went to the mall. It’s basically the same as a mall in America because I only recognize ½ the stores. I was determined, but no jeans. L
Hermana Curtis is from Texas. She likes musicals, but hasn’t seen as many as I have. Dear family: I’m so glad we watch musicals together. She’s seen Doctor Who and Sherlock and seems to like me pretty well. As another bonus, she’s the first person I met and talked to when we went to the VISA thing. (She remembered I don’t know that I did.) She really knows scripture references. I really know the words and verses. We make a really good team. She stretches me to use the language, and when we teach, we can feel the Spirit.
Elder Reading is an amazing 19 year old (2 days younger than me) with a million amazing stories. He’s pulled a 180 degree in his life and will be on a mission for more years than he’s been a member. He thinks I have a beautiful voice and bugged me to sing to him very persistently (he will be a great missionary). (Think Phantom of the Opera) We finally worked out a deal where if I sing (during a transition period, so we don’t get distracted) he has to tell me one of his stories. The most recent one included his driving Missy Franklin to get drug tested, holding a towel for Michael Phelps, and cutting in front of Ryan Lochte in the Gatorade line. He’s held 11 different jobs, been pulled over 10 times, and only ever gotten 1 ticket. I’m surrounded by amazing people.
The first week in Spain made me wish I’d taken more thought in my packing. (hindsight is 20/20, right?) I feel like I’ve had Girls Camp packing lists more complete than the mission list. And all this time I’m kicking myself for not bringing a Tide-to-go pen. But you can usually get what you need from a helpful Hermana, so all is well.
Funny story though; There’s an Elder Keen going to Barcelona. (crazy similar to our name, right?) He’s 24 and from London, but the 1st night we were here and introducing ourselves, he said, “You’re Hermana Een?” I nodded. Then he said, very matter-of-factly, “You left your jeans in the dryer.” A very interesting 1st sentence, I must say. Turns out he saw your post on the Barcelona Facebook page before he flew out.
Eliza will be happy to have those jeans. I’ll find some eventually, but I wasn’t the only one to forget them, so I don’t feel bad. We went to the mall last P-Day and I planned on getting some, but they were all skinny jeans . . . which are not allowed. :(
I love that you’ve been using Google to see Spain. It’s true what you say about the Graffiti. Sometimes It’s artful, sometimes it’s potent (a cursive phrase that waxes profound), and sometimes it’s juvenile (there’s a drawing of poop on a wall across the street, and you can see it from the Elder’s side of the building. I think it has something to do with the fact that everything is brick. Painting over a stucco wall is no big deal. Painting over brick is ick.
The trees are a brilliant red to rival that of the brick buildings surrounding them. I tried to preserve one but I’m pretty sure it’s less vibrant than when I picked it. It’s nice to see fall for once.
The MTC is a red brick building, 6 or 7 stories high and it literally couldn’t be closer to the temple. Our stairways have full-wall windows and the view of the temple—in the rain, in the sunset, in the dark, in the early morning—it’s unbeatable.
I miss doing initiatories and stuff, but we get to go to the temple every Thursday and do a session. This temple services France and Portugal as well, and sometimes hearing the echoes of other languages through so many little black headsets really throws me off.
The temple is beautiful inside and out and, as could be expected, the celestial room is no exception. There are ornate chairs and gilded mirrors, but the only painting or image in the room is a grandly framed photo of Minerva Tichert’s “Christ in a Red Robe”. Seeing that painting just made me feel at home again. Thank you for raising me in such a way that the celestial room reminds me of our living room. :)
|This is the reproduction of Minerva Tichert's "Christ in the Red" robe that we have above our piano in our living room.|
A few days after I got your letter they put in the flowers on the Spain temple grounds. Purple and white pansies. Our temples have the same flowers. :) [Explanatory Editing: When we went to the Las Vegas temple the last couple of weeks before she left they were replanting the flowerbeds. I told her they were replanted and with what flowers.]
I miss music. I love and miss you guys as well, of course, but I know that what I’m going and learning here is important.
Lots of love!
[Alayna included a PassAlong card with a picture of the Madrid temple and a pressed red leaf in the envelope.]