February 12th 2015Oh my word. Its crazy that it's only been one week (and a day) here. The days have been so jam packed that it feels like its already been a month! After the first few days we've kind of settled into our set schedules for the next eight weeks. We get up at 6:30 am, our gym time is usually 6:40-7:30am. Then we have breakfast at 8, and at 9 we go to our classroom and have a 30 minute planning session with my doryo (companion) then there is an hour each of personal study, companionship study, and language study. Then lunch. Then classroom time with Teacher instruction. Our Teacher served his mission in Japan and got back about a year ago. The first two days he ONLY spoke Japanese!! He wrote words on the board with Ego (english) translations but I still could barely follow along. Since then he will sometimes speak ego to clarify what he's teaching but he still mostly teaches in Japanese. Lets just say I have learned to read hand gestures VERY well (;
But anyways, after a 3 hour class with our sensei (teacher) we have dinner, then we have another 3 hour block where each of the 6 companionships in my district teach a person who plays the role as someone interested in learning more about the church. Our first time teaching her was on Friday after we had been here 2 days!! And we teach her in Nihongo (Japanese)!!! It was pretty nervewracking and probably incoherent the first time. We teach her pretty much every day which has been challenging because we have only been studying Nihongo for 8 days now! But we are able to use our language materials to teach her. Without them, I would definitely not be able to communicate with her very well. We return to our residence at 9:30, we Have Quiet time from 10:15-10:30, Lights out at 10:30. So yeah, the normal days are FULL.
Overall the MTC is very different from what I expected it to be. I figured that we would have an instructor most of the day who would guide us through the learning process. Instead, it is very much self-directed learning. The first day, they handed us about 15 pounds of different language materials, Japanese Dictionaries, Grammar Books, How to read the Book of Mormon in Japanese, etc. Then the second day, pretty much the entire day was labeled "Additional Study Time" on our Schedules. No description about what we should study or anything. Just Study Time. And we haven't really been given much further direction. Soooo, we just study. Preach My Gospel has a lot of tips on how to study language and organize time wisely, so Ive been trying to utilize that as much as possible. It's pretty challenging though. But I'm doing the best I can!! It's funny because when I'm trying to speak Japanese, the words I don't know in Japanese come to my mind in Spanish! So the first day, my Sensei asked me a yes or no question, and I said Si! Instead of Hai! for yes in Japanese. So that's pretty fun. I've been studying the first alphabet in Japanese called Hiragana. I've got most of the characters memorized but it's difficult to recognize them when they are written by a person and not printed from a computer. Sensei expects us to know them right now, so he writes that on the board now instead of Romaji which is the english alphabet phonetic spelling of Japanese words.
My district is made up of 6 companionships so we have 12 people. 3 sets of Shimei-tachi (Sisters) and 3 sets of Choro-Tachi (Elders). I really love the Shimei-tachi I'm with. My doryo (companion) is Raines-Shimei from Lehi, UT. She and I get along really well so thats been really good. We share rooms with another companionship, Fullmer Shimei and Healey Shimei. They are great as well. The four of us do most everything together.
We get to walk to the Temple on Sundays which is really nice. The MTC campus is nice and all, but we are surrounded by buildings and always walking under overhangs, so even though we walk outside between our activities, it doesn't feel like we are OUTSIDE. So when we walk to the Temple, it's really nice to see the "outside world" haha. And we have like two hours that we can just sit there by the Temple. Sundays are nice because we have some time to reflect, we also have a devotional on Sunday evenings and Tuesday Evenings.
Well we only have an hour to email so I have to be going, but I love you all! and Please don't hesitate to write me a letter! (:
Aishitemasu (I love You)
Lowe Shimei (Sister Lowe)
My Mailing address in the MTC is:Sister Sarah Anne Lowe
2007 N 900 E Unit 29
Provo UT 84602
Remember you can write me for free through DearElder.com!