Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tacos, Training Leaders and (not) Transfers

Hello everyone, good news, I did divisions last week in my area again. This time with Hermana Zaneli, the sweet Brazilian hair-mana who by now is probably eating good fruit salads with her family, as she finished her mission on Sunday. I had the honor of spending her last Thursday with her, and I made sure to present her with many of my mission-logic conundrums and paradoxical hypothetical situations. I really tested her, but she's going to law school, so she dished it back with style. She's one of the veteran missionaries that I can do this to, since most people don't actually know everything there is to know after 18-24 months of being a missionary (cut to Indiana Jones 4 scene of Cate Blanchet recieving all knowledge as her head blows up).

Well, transfers came and went, and Hermana Beecher and I are not going anywhere. We are staying right here in our little universe of Italia Centro. This means many things, one of which is that we now have a great responsibility. We already know the terrain, we know the ward, we know who is sweet and who is sarcastic, we know who we can ask about where to buy our birthday cake ingredients, so we now have zero excuse to not work very, very hard every day. 

I say birthday cake ingredients because my birthday will be this transfer, which means I'm going to spend it with THESE PEOPLE! Furthermore it is on a p-day. 

Sunday is Fun Day!

I say zero excuse not to work because we have never been as ready as we are now. That's the stupidly magical thing about the mission (and life in general)--you are always the most experienced you have ever been. 

Feeling down? Feeling like you just got sent back to square one? Well, don't worry about it; you are perfectly wrong. You are actually the most ready you have ever been. 

This week on Wednesday Hna Beecher and I went to Pirané, a 2-hour bus ride away, to go do divisions with Hnas Rodriguez and Barker. 

Hna Rod and I in one of our many long,
yet enjoyable waits at the terminal

It was a very good thing for us to do, as the people in Pirané seem to be by nature even nicer than the people in the Capital, and while the mosquitoes do indeed bite, the warm feeling in your heart is enough to make it worth your time. 

Hermana Rodriguez in Pirane, in their pension

Hermana Rodriguez taught us to make tortillas from scratch, which we very much enjoyed that day, and on Saturday when we made tacos in our pension. Due to limited resources they are only a ghost of what a taco can truly be, yet we enjoy them and will be making them more often. 

"Farewell" Tacos

We made tacos just in case one of us got the boot, but contrary to many predictions, that did not happen; I have also been promoted to Hermana Training leader 2 (Hna Beecher is still the other one), which has been changing my life. Why has it been changing my life? Because I never ever in my life thought I could learn to be a patient, laid-back, selfless person. I actually thought it was impossible. And I decided I wanted to see if it was possible to head in that direction. So I started trying to help out instead of getting frustrated and getting all quiet and creepy and excuse-producing (you all know how I get that way). And so far it's working!

As hermana leaders we are serving companionships in Circunvalación (a nearby chapel), Puerto (the stake center), and Pirané. Hermana Rodriguez got a new companion who is also from Mexico, and it is confirmed....there are now 3 Mexicans in Pirané. 3 out of the 4-or-so Mexicans in this mission. Needless to say, this transfer Hermana Beecher and I will be going to Pirané.

A thought about the weather---I used to very much make fun of people in subtropical/tropical places for saying "It's cold" whenever it's not 10000000 degrees out. I have finally learned what they mean. When your body is used to heat and all of the sudden the temperature drops, it is actually pretty cold. And it is not the nice desert cold I know and love...it is a humid, slimy, intruding cold.
So yes, we are all here sometimes wrapped up in multiple sweaters when it's probably in reality still balmy out. I really love irony; it's the same kind of irony that makes me love it when people ride around on motos and bikes when they're dressed elegantly. 

Well, my first 12 weeks here have gone by much faster than my 12 days in the MTC. By that pattern, the rest of my mission will now go by even faster than my training. ("Training" refers to your first 2 transfers, a.k.a. being dropped into the life of a poor missionary who has to withstand all your confusion and complaints and help you cope with your adjustment.) I'm done being trained wahooooooo!!!

Love and joy, 
Happy May everybody!
Hermana Tolman

Me with FRANCI, a wonderful half-Chilean very lovable gal.
A while back she served a mission in the southernmost part of Argentina.

I am SO HAPPY, mom.
I thought I would never in my life learn to be a patient and loving person while still maintaining my identity,
but it's HAPPENING.
I'm so so so happy mom, I cannot believe how much and how fast I'm changing. How fast I'm shedding all my coldness and all my bitterness. All my frustration. I am learning just exactly how to be completely happy. Independent of circumstances. Righteous desires / willingness to learn with an open mind combined with the mission environment, the gospel and the Holy Ghost = lots of progress, Super fast.
I dont know how to articulate this sort of thing, but I think you get it.
SO HAPPY, mom. So happy.
And I get to stay with my trainer, and I have come to love and trust her so much.

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