Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On the Downward Spiral-ish

Hello family and friends,

Can you believe it? The downward spiral has begun and there are only 3.5 weeks left to being here at the MTC and we are starting our English Teaching Training! For the next two weeks, we are going to do online training/classes at night from 7:30 - 9 PM in the computer lab to get the theory and fundamentals down, then the week following we will go the to BYU English Training Center (ETC) and actually lead a group of 15-20 adults and teach them English. It is really cool because the ETC is an actually working-lab for Masters students at BYU in order to be an English Second Language (ESL) teacher and needed for their graduation, so this is legitimate certification and I am so excited about the opportunity. Who knows what will come because of it, but I know that I am going to love every moment of it and I will be sure to take a picture of it.

My zone
Going back to last week's email, though, we DID have an apostle come to the MTC; it was Elder Rasband. Holy heck, this is the 2nd Apostle that I have seen (Elder Anderson came on Jan. 12, but I think that I forgot to write about it because that was one week into the MTC and I was EXTREMELY overwhelmed at that time) and his devotional was amazing. He had a microphone and got off the stage and walked around just asking questions and allowing us to ask him questions as well, but he would walk and basically be face-to-face with the person asking the question. My favorite part of his teachings was how every single missionary was hand-selected to go to their assigned zone and how those decisions were guided by the Spirit 'perfectly' and how we should not doubt the reason that we are being placed in our locations. I have had it witnessed to me over and over again why I am going to Mongolia, so I am not worried about it necessarily, but to have an Apostle also say this, talk about amazing!

In other news, the rest of my Zone is leaving or will be gone by 8 AM tomorrow morning, so I am now part of the oldest group on campus for having been here the longest. I had to say good-bye to my Cambodia-destined, Hmong-speaking, and Vietnamese-speaking friends and that is always a little rough. You never expect to love your Zone or think that leaving the MTC will be hard, but it is and we already have plans to meet up again and have an MTC reunion in 2017. I love them very much and these are amazing people that I am surrounded by! (One cool little tidbit of information: all difficult languages like Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Cambodian, Hmong--basically all Asian languages--are here for 9 weeks, but Mongolian is here for 10 because of the extra week for English Training practicum. So by my last week, my District will be the oldest on campus).
These are the wonderful sisters in my Zone (a mix of Cambodian, Thai, and Mongolian) and our farewell to them on Sunday night

Saying bye to the Cambos and Hmongs (blurry!)
It has also been really beautiful here lately and has been warming up to the high 40s, low 50s and there has been Spring fever in the air. Literally. On Saturday, it was so beautiful that we couldn't resist and went outside to study from the scriptures for an hour and it was beautiful, but there was this breeze that we were sitting in and I was wearing a cardigan, but not a jacket (also, I had just taken a quick shower, so my hair was damp-ish) and I felt great, until the next day. On Sunday I was feeling a little off and I kept sneezing and I just blew it off as me being paranoid about my health, so I didn't think anything of it--I know better, though, because I ONLY sneeze multiple times in a day at the onset of a cold. So yesterday happened and I woke up with this AWFUL cough, the kind where it feels like it is coming from your lungs and you cannot cough it out without slightly choking--it was BAD. I then started to take all of this medicine: Day Quill, Allergies medicine, Cold-eeze, and also Musinex. It was a very long day in my life and the medicine made me tired, so my Mongolian basically went out the window because I could barely think straight. I went to bed wishing for that soup that Momi/Leo will make (hahah, like that time that Momi dropped off some soup and rice at the Townhouse for me and Morgan came with her carrying a hot pot pad). This morning I woke up with the same cough-ish. I took medicine again (basically the same variety as above) and I am actually feeling a lot better, but I still have this cough, but my nose is fine. So, keep my health in your prayers, please, I cannot afford to miss any days of class. I am going to try to squeeze in a 30 minute nap soon, so that should help. Moral of the story: enjoy the beautiful weather, but you might want to do that with dry hair and a jacket. Oh man, at least I am sick here and not Mongolia. I am going to be sure to stock up again on the day quill/night quill before leaving.
Saying bye to the Cambos and Hmongs

One really cool thing that happened while I was sitting outside was that I was 'street contacted' by some Elders who were heading to Houston, Spanish-speaking. They were learning how to start conversations and just saw that I looked Hispanic and started talking to me, it was basic enough that I could understand everything that they were saying, so I just went with it. Lol, their opening statement to me was, 'Hola, do you know where we were before earth?' (in Spanish) and so was going to say 'I don't know' in Spanish as a reply when, instead of saying it in Spanish, it came out in Mongolian. This is the exact opposite of the problem that I had when I first got here! I had to mentally shut off the English and the Mongolian part of my brain to pull out the Spanish; I don't know if that makes sense, but I loved it. I really cannot wait to be fluent in Mongolian and then come back and pick up Spanish and whatever other language that I want. It will be wonderful!

Alright, I am running out of time, but I love you very much! This has been another great week at the Provo MTC and I love being a missionary.

With all my love
Sister Olsen

PS - I got my Mongolian badge!!! I will take a picture and send it next week, my name is crazy looking!

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