Hello friends and family! I`ve survived almost a week!
I apologize if the formatting of this email is a little funky ~ the keyboard is set in Japanese and I can`t figure out how to switch it to English... because it`s written in Japanese. My life is definitely an adventure right now! I`ve been entirely immersed in Japanese. All of the signs are Japanese, the people are all speaking Japanese all of the time, including my companion. It`s kind of crazy and occasionally frustrating, but most of the time it`s fun because it`s like a giant game or something.
So much has happened and so much is different and my brain is so full of all sorts of different things that I don't even know where to start. But I think I am starting to get kind of settled in. The first night we had splits so I worked with Etchuu Shimai in the Atsubetsu area, and then since then Masuda Shimai and I have just been trying to contact people on the street and doing some housing (going door to door talking to people who are home). So far only a couple of people have talked to us, but if we find just one person it would totally be worth it. It`s good. We had stake conference this Sunday, which was actually a lot of fun even though I couldn't understand the talks. The people were super nice and friendly. Masuda Shimai came home with tons of food and presents from people who were in the wards she served in before. Everyone loves her! Me included.
The language is actually going better than I thought. I can't say much at all, and when we talk to people on the street it's pretty hard to be sure what I think they are saying is what they are actually saying, but I can understand my companion like 90% of the time (I think, haha), so I'm counting that as really good. I have only been here for a week, so I can't really expect to be fluent yet. Although I would love that so very very much! Even just so that I could read the labels of the stuff in our kitchen so I could cook something... I can't cook anything here! I feel so bad! I'm like a baby bird that just stands there and follows the big bird (my companion) around until they're fed.
Oh, but our big trip for this p-day was... going to Costco! Haha seriously. One of the ward members took us, which was awesome. So we spent the first half of today just eating samples and stuff. And I bought a block of cheese, because I like cheese. And now at least I can make a grilled cheese sandwich! Even though I don't think Masuda Shimai knows what it is. It'll still be good. But it was apparently a big deal because the Atsubetsu Elders who came with us had never been while on their mission, and Masuda Shimai has only been once with the mission presidents. It was pretty fun. And funny because it really is exactly the same as the ones in America -- the same brands and everything! The first day when we had training at the mission home everything was in Japanese, and then right next our chairs were -- Kirkland water bottles. It was like I hadn't gone anywhere!
The Elders (there are two sisters and four elders in Atsubetsu) are here waiting for the computers, so I better finish up. But I love you all!
Last note: the food here is absolutely delicious.