Oh my goodness, it feels like just last week I was with all of you! Oh wait, that was last week..So much has happened here at the MTC in just one week. First, I better tell you the story from the subject. So last Friday I think it was, we were in study time in our classroom, and our teacher had challenged us to memorize the Notre Objectif (our purpose). She wanted it memorized in French. So during that study time I decided that I was going to memorize the entire thing in French. So I repeated the notre objectif about a million times. No joke. I'm pretty sure I annoyed the other people in the room, but I got the notre objectif memorized, so score one for Elder Hamilton.
Oh, I forgot to tell you the first part of the story. On the 1st or 2nd night, I warned the other Elders that I may or may not sleep talk. So they had their warning. So back to the story. After I said it a million times, we finished the study time, and went back to our room to get ready for bed, write in journals, etc. Then SURPRISE, we went to sleep. The End. Okay, not really. The next morning we went back to the classroom for more study. (I'll say more about that later.) And about half way through study time, Elder Manwaring looks up and says, "Elder Hamilton, did you know that you were sleep talking last night?" Of course that didn't surprise me, so I asked what I said. Usually when I ask that, no one ever knows, but he understood me! He said I was basically yelling the Notre Objectif..Yeah, so I've learned so much French, that I am now sleep talking in French..Or maybe that's because I said it about a million times. Anyways, we all had a good laugh about that.
So now I'll tell you basically what went down after you all dropped me off on that curb last wednesday. I was shuffled into a building, with rope things leading me to where I was supposed to go. Thats where I ran into Sister Anderson, where she told me that she would email mom about seeing me, and I'm glad to hear that she did! She directed me into a big room where I stood in a line to receive my little package of nametags, cards, and other papers. Then, because Sister Saunders had requested me beforehand, she was able to find me and put my tags on. My usher then took me to my room where we dropped my bags and left.
At that point, I had no clue where we were going. As I followed this usher around, apparantly its tradition here at the MTC for every missionary that has been here for at least a week to welcome every single new missionary. So as I followed him around, I had about a million Elders all saying, "Welcome to the MTC" Well I sure felt welcomed. I only got tired of it about the 777th time. And the only way they knew that we were new was the small little orange sticker on my nametag. Let's just say I was happy to get that off that night. So back to the 1st day. I was taken into another building, where my usher took me to a room, said, go in and goodbye! So I then walked into the room, still shocked at what had just happened, to find this lady trying to talk to me..in French. My thoughts were, WHAT???? I was so lost the first few minutes. Then I finally found out she was trying to take me to do an online orientation. Once finished, I walked back to the classroom and still just listened to our teacher try her hardest to communicate. My companion showed up a little while later and the first words that came out of his mouth were, "What language was that?" Haha. Turns out he was just as lost and thought that he had gone into the wrong classroom because the language didn't sound like French! You'll be glad to hear that the language has gotten better. I'm to a point where I can understand a lot of what someone is trying to say to me, but it's super hard to formulate a response. I do already feel like my language has improved 10 fold since high school. I mean, on Friday of last week, I taught my first lesson to an investigator. IN FRENCH! I don't know if I can even believe that.
Since then, we've taught 2 more lessons to our investigator. His name is Sebastian. Now papa may not believe this, but in the lessons, I am actually the one doing most of the talking, because I can understand what Sebastian is saying! My companion still struggles sometimes to fully comprehend what is completely going on, so I have to use the little French that I know to try my best to come up with a response for Sebastian. He speaks English too obviously, but he pretends not to. So if I slip some english into my French (Frenglish) then he'll understand what I'm trying to say. A typical day here at the MTC goes as follows. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, study, eat lunch, study, eat dinner, study, gym time, sleep, repeat. That's basically all that happens. Now there might be some district or zone lessons thrown in here and there, but that's still studying. I don't think I've ever studied so much in my entire life for anything. If you add up all the hours I studied in my life, it would be less than how many hours I studied in the last week. It is quite exhausting. Last week, everyone kept telling us, just make it to sunday!
Now I understand why. Because sunday is wonderful. We had sacrament, which is fun because there's only about 50 people that go. It's one zone of the French speaking missionaries. We learned that we have to prepare a 3-5 minute talk every week, in French! And if you're lucky, you'll get called up to speak in Sacrament..(No sarcasm there... ;) ) We also get to walk to the temple on sundays and take pictures and stuff, which is also fun, because it felt like we hadn't seen the outside world in 10 years. So that was a nice change. It really feels like we've been here a super long time, but its only been a week. But if you think about it, we've already been here a week! The days are long, but this week has flown by. It's a weird sensation. There are 6 elders in my room, who all came in last week, and all are going to my same mission. We've all grown really close this past week, but I guess that'll happen to people when all you do is sleep, study, eat, and shower with these people. Our district consists of the six of us, plus two seours. We are pretty close with them two, because we spend about 11 hours in our classroom studying with them. The elders are moi, my companion from Logan, Elder Pratt, Elder Sherron from Texas who's super nerdy but hilarious, Elder Empey from St. George who's a super cool dude, Elder Blackham from somewhere in utah..and Elder Manwaring also from utah. All the guys are nice and cool.
The food here tastes pretty good, but it doesn't agree with most people's insides..Enough said. Wow, this is long. Sorry to those who don't have a lot of time, but I have one more story. So today we were called into the nurse's place as a district. There she told us some things about our visas. She said Belgium has some interesting requirements..including a blood test, which wasn't bad, and a stool sample. For those who don't know what that is, trust me when I say don't look it up. Probably one of the grossest things I've ever done. But at least its over, and Belgium better be happy. Well I think that's the majority of what has happened this last week. Oh, and I heard we aren't allowed to use dropbox at the MTC, so I'll see if I can just send an email with a few photos attached..or just a couple emails with just photos. I've taken 87.. Thank you to all that sent me emails and letters. I loved hearing from you and getting letters! It's always exciting to get mail! Thank you for everything! Until next week, au revoir!
Lots of love,