I'm alive and writing an email! But no pictures. I tried to attach it but it's totally and completely impossible! They only let you type, and you can't put pictures on the computer because there is no desktop. So I'll just have to mail them old school style.
Um, I don't know where to start! So much has been happened even though it's only been like three days. I guess I'll start from the beginning. That's generally a good place, right? First, let me introduce you to my companion, which is the person I get to spend all of my time with. Her name is Northrop Shimai (shimai means sister in Japanese), and she's from Vancouver, Washington! Small world, right? She's really cool, and actually knows a lot of Japanese because she did immersion school growing up so I feel like we will be a great partnership. She definitely knows a lot more than me, but that just means she can help me get better faster. And I've been remembering a lot of what I learned in school, but we'll get to that in a sec. I have two other roommates who are also really awesome. My friend Stephanie, Abraham Shimai, is one of them! She lived across the hall from me last year at Hampstead and is just a wonderful person. We don't have classes with each other even though she's learning Japanese too (she's going to Kobe), but we still see each other all of the time. And her companion is really cool too. Her name is Lewis Shimai and she's from Montana. I sleep on a top bunk, which is kind of cool because then I get to use to top of the closet as a shelf.
Next, I'm sure you want to know how the Japanese is going! It's kind of crazy. But good and fun. Right after dad dropped me off I just got to drop off my bags in my room (the schedule here is so packed that they never actually gave us time to unpack, we just had to use the time we had to get ready for bed to do it), pick up my name badge and then report directly to the classroom where they only spoke Japanese. Luckily I could generally understand what they were saying and follow instructions as they told us what to do with computers and such since I took classes before, but I have no idea how the people who had never heard the language before did it! That would be stressful. It was kind of stressful anyways! After that they sent us to a bunch of classes about how to be a missionary where they would do things like have an investigator come in for the class to ask questions and it was kind of overwhelming because I had no idea what should be said. But I'm feeling more confident. We actually taught our first "investigator" yesterday (they don't tell us if the people who come in are actual investigators or just volunteers, but I'm kind of feeling this guy isn't real.) Wouldn't it be a bad idea to send investigators to people who have only two days worth of language? I think it went pretty well even though neither me or my companion really knows any religious words so we read pretty much straight out of the book. But I think the conversational bit in the beginning went really well and I did understand everything he said except a couple of words. When most of the Elders (guys) came back from teaching him they were just laughing about how they had no idea what just happened. We have to teach him again today though, and I'm running out of questions we could ask to make the lesson last longer before we just read out of the book... I have to admit I would be perfectly happy if he just talked about himself the whole time and we didn't have to say a single word. But I guess that probably wouldn't help us learn the language as much. Darn it.
Well, I guess I should share the computer with the other missionaries. Just know that things are going well and that even though the days can be long I'm surviving! We get an 50 minutes of gym time every day though and it's pretty much the best thing ever. I just run around the track and it helps me clear my mind and wake up some more. I hope you have an awesome New Year's Eve for me tonight. I'll probably be asleep since we're supposed to go to bed at 10:30.
Love you all so much! aishte iru.
Natalie getting dropped off at the MTC.