-At least every other day we take the bus to get to one area or another. As you get on, scan your card, and head to the seats, the driver starts going again and it feels like you’re walking ‘warp speed”. I LOVE it. Only none of my companions have seen Star Trek, so they don’t get it.
-One day I saw someone rolling an R2D2 carry-on and just about died (too bad they’re probably not mission appropriate, otherwise I would be sorely tempted).
-The metro (subway) stop for the church is called “Aragon” as in LOTR, which always makes me smile. (Another reason I’m always glad to go to church.)
-I have legitimately contacted people just because of the book they were reading. One—my most awkward-contact ever was a girl with a Mockingjay necklace reading “The Hunger Games”. I said “Este libro . . . me gusta.” Stopped awkwardly, dropped a pass-along card in her gook, and got off at the next metro stop. Another was reading “El Juego de Ender” and we had a nice chat about the book, the movie, and the differences between them.
-On the way back to Valencia from getting my residency I spent an entire 3 hour train ride passionately geeking out with Hermana O’Neill. I explained the Weeping Angels, the Doctor-River plotline, the differences between the old series and the new series and how it’s gone on for 50 years. She mentioned “Once Upon A Time” and I explained how and why I’d only watched the first season. I raged about “Agents of SHIELD” and correctly guessed her other favorite “Nerd” show
—“Merlin”. We commiserated over the ending. It was a total geek fest. And I loved it.
-There was a little stand (Comic-con style) of Geek Stuff in the mall and I found it physically difficult not to go in. There was a Harry Potter T-shirt at Primark that made me supremely happy (I would have gotten it if it had been for Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor)
-Pretty much every spare moment with Hna. Stilson was a geek fest. She loves Harry Potter more than I do (a near-impossible feat) and we spent hours contacting/doing a deep character analysis of Snape, Neville, and Sirius.
These are my most recent nerdy moments, though I’m sure there will be more. I’m still a nerd.
After all this time?
<3 Hermana Een
The not-at-all annual Alayna health Update! 23/2/15 (European Style)
(I know you’re excited)
At the close of another transfer, you guys should know that I’m still alive and kicking. I no longer go running in the mornings (that was a rare tripanionship--speared by New Years resolutions and a dying missionary’s desires to not be fat—that has gone the way of most New Years Resolutions at this point). Hermana Lamerouax—the Sister Training Leader here, and our piso-mate AND she just happens to be IN the picture from the Deseret News Article you sent (so that’s funny)—loves running and was on her college track team so although I went with her once, I don’t have the stamina to make that a frequent occurrence.
My current exercise regime is to turn on “The Best Two Years” soundtrack (Thank you Elder Matheson) and do sit ups for the first song, bicycles for the second, planking/push-ups for the third, wall sit/read a Spanish dictionary, awkward dog kicks, and then collapse and enjoy the other 3 songs I like on the sound track. But hey, it’s better than nothing.
I’m eating well-ish. There’s still that never-ending chocolate hunger which is just part of being a sister missionary. The members feed us well and when they remember to pass around the list our days are FULL. There was a week (full of member eating citas) where the only “grocery shopping” I did was to buy milk, yogurt, and cookies. (I have my priorities straight.)
I found out that Valencia is famous in the mission for two reasons. 1) BAPTISMS, AWESOME members and miracles, and I can testify to all three of those. 2) For making missionaries gain weight L.
I haven’t stepped on a scale for a while (both because we don’t have one, and I don’t WANT to) but I can feel a little “Mother Gothel” “Plus, I admit you’re getting kind-of chubby.” But we also found out that the metro stops are a lot closer than we thought so we’ll be walking a lot more. If I stay.
I’ve only cried . . . 5 times on the mission. And most of that is more “tearing up” then actual crying, but this past week especially has been emotionally difficult for me. But I’ve also had a lot of things bring me joy. So we come out even. I don’t think I’m a very good trainer and Hermana Manotas is much better in some ways and still struggling in others. Although I sincerely want to stay here and it makes sense that I will, I’m trying to be prepared for any eventuality.
4/3/15 (European date)
And one more for good measure . . .
Transfer calls have come and gone, I spent one very potentially awkward evening being a tripanionship (a word that’s catching on in the mission) with Hermana Manotas and Hermana Terrazas. We left the piso and met up with two Elders in our district (half of which were different because of transfers) to give a blessing of comfort to Genoveva (who’s brother died on Sunday). ELDER KEEN IS IN MY DISTRICT NOW! This is cool for many reasons: 1) He’s a 24-year-old sarcastic British male and a 1-year convert to boot. I can’t help but enjoy his company 2) He was in my same MTC group so although no one is in my “same boat” (training with only 6 weeks in the mission kind-of isolates you that way), he’s pretty darn close. And that’s downright comforting (especially since I’m losing Hermana O’Neill to Lleida). 3) Our names are strikingly similar, which is just fun.
This morning we went to the training meeting and HERMANA STILSON WAS THERE! She’s going to train a girl from Tennessee (Hetrmana Ingram) which is perfect because she loves faking southern accents. It was just SO good to see her again, reminisce on good old times in the tripanionship. Man, I need to email her more.
The training meeting is exactly the same as it was last time. And the time before that. Hermana Manotas is going to Bilboa with Hermana Vance—a seasoned missionary whose Spanish is very good, who was also “Born” in Valencia, and who has received council from President on what specifically Hna. Manotas needs and struggles with. I had expected to feel like a little bit of a failure if we were separated in this transfer (even though I sort-of suggested it in my letter to President) but I honestly feel like it’s all for the best. And, seeing how I’m still training, I know that it’s no fault of mine.
Hermana Terrazas is 20, the 8th of 8 children, and very sweet. From the little comments she‘s made about her mission experience so far I can tell that her trainer let her down in many aspects. In his response to my letter President said “Hna. Terrazas has great desires to do the work and needs your help and guidance. Once again, you are the answer.”—not like that’s intimidating or anything.
And it hit me who she reminds me of. Eliza, she’s the SPITTING IMAGE of Harriet Smith from “Emma Approved”. It’s a perfect comparison in all aspects. And I’m her Emma. (Hopefully with a bit more wisdom).
<3Hermana Alayna Emma Een