(Emailed a week ago)
So this is the beginning of the end! Or the beginning of the beginning, I should say. We got our travel plans this week and everyone is having a little bit of trouble focusing. I really appreciated something our teacher said this week. He said "what if in the Savior's last week on earth, he lost his focus? None of us would be here." So he challenged us each to step it up, and even though Japan is getting closer everyday, to not lose our focus.
This week has been wonderful. I was really sick for a few days at the start of it, to the point where I lost my voice for a few days. It was kind of ironic actually because in our classes we had been talking about the importance of "listening" so we can know people's needs. I felt like Ariel from the little mermaid. The doctor said, "no singing, no talking, and don't do anything to make your heart rate go up". I was using JSL (Japanese Sign Language) to communicate, plus my neighbor gave me a white board and a dry erase marker so I could still communicate. Getting sick was actually a blessing. It made me see that there are so many kind people all around me.
So this week was fun with our Japanese girls. One of my roommates, Ishimura Shimai, her first name is Keiko. I was trying to tell her that there is a famous killer whale who has her same name. This is when I still had no voice, so I was doing drawings on my white board of whales. Then we launched into a discussion about Free Willy and the celebrity dolphin Flipper. Even when they don't understand me, the Japanese sisters are so kind and forgiving of my efforts.
I really wanted to introduce the Nihonjin (Japanese People) to oatmeal raisin cookies this week since they are my favorite. So I found myself taking 9 cookies from the cookie bar. I just avoided eye contact with the chef and decided I would tell them the truth, that they weren't all for me, if they thought this was suspicious. They loved the cookies and I just love them!
We had a big meeting this week for all the departing missionaries and you could just feel the excitement in the room. Some of the Elders were asking funny questions like if they needed to have 700 in cash for traveling. Our branch president was being a comedian answering all their questions. Giving them tips like "Elders, do not sit in your suit coat for 20 hours, when you arrive in Japan, YOU WILL LOOK TERRIBLE". He was even doing a role play of what to do when we meet our mission president. Rogers Shimai and I were laughing through most of it.
I've been thinking about how strange it is that I said goodbye to my family already two months ago, and now on Monday morning all of the Japanese missionaries will be splitting up all throughout Japan. My companion and me have been together for literally thousands of hours straight and now my shadow, Sister Rogers, will go to the Nagoya mission and I'll be in Tokyo. The Japanese missionaries all feel like another family to me now.
I love learning! Not just Japanese but from the scriptures. Never in my life have I had this much time devoted to learning about the Doctrine of Christ. It really is simple. Heavenly Father loves us and he wants us to have the best possible lives, and through Jesus Christ that is possible. This week Andrus Sensei pulled us aside and interviewed us to see how we are doing and if we are worried about anything. I told him how much I love the MTC and at the end of our interview he said, "Well, if you love the MTC, then Japan totally blows the MTC out of the water." I believe it. I just love the Japanese people. They are so special.
Sorry this is all over the place. This week in one word is EXCITED!
Love you all so so much. I am trying to study hard and listen to the Spirit.
This time next week will be my first day in Japan!!!