Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The "Celestial Kingdom of Mexico City"

My CCM! (Missionary Training Center in Mexico City)

Dearest Darlingest Family Members and Friends,

Mom wins both the prize for longest email, AND the prize for almost making me cry! 

I`m sorry you apparently didn´t receive my email on Wednesday, but I have arrived safely at the CCM!  (pronounced "say-say-emmay).  My companion is Hermana Glauser, and my district is awesome.  There are only 6 of us (Elders Hodgson [leader], McVicker (you should hear the Latinos pronounce that one), Porter, and Nelson)  The CCM is gorgeous and is seriously referred to as the "Celestial Kingdom of Mexico City"  My generation (the group that came on the 24th is one of the largest they´ve had in a while (75ish), and you should have seen us all waiting outside of the gate for our plane, standing out clearly in our suits and dresses.  Customs took forever, and we didn´t get to the CC

Woops!  (Weird keyboards)  We didn´t get to the CCM until 5:30, and it was pouring when we arrived.  Fun fact about the weather here: it is perfect all day (60´s and 70´s) and then the thunderstorms hit around 3-5 each day.  It's very different, but I love it. Also, the CCM is one of the safest places in Mexico City, and it´s surrounded by a 15ish foot wall and barbed wire fence on top.  But it doesn´t feel like a compound!  We stay in adorable little houses, and our classrooms are spacious and beautiful.  There is SO much to learn and study here.  We are preparing, eating, teaching, or studying from 6:30 to 10:30.  We taught our first investigators IN SPANISH on Friday, and we´ve taught him two more times since then (his name is JorgĂ©, and he is actually just a teacher acting, but he never goes out of character, so it feels real.  So I guess you could say the Spanish is coming.  I´ve already learned SO much Spanish.  We are grouped primarily with people who speak our native language (so I´m with Americanos), but there are some Latina sisters living in my house, and there are lots of other Latinas on campus.  The food is great, the grass is green, the buildings are beautiful, the people are wonderful, the weather is perfect, and the gospel is true.  I know how to bear my testimony, say a prayer, and teach about the Restoration and the Bookof Mormon.  Also, our "Branches" are our zones.  We have about 18 people in our zone, and we have to write a 5 minute talk in Spanish each week in case we get called on to speak (they call during the meeting).  But my Branch President and his counselors are wonderful and kind, and they even speak English (mostly).  My teacher is Hermano Soto, and he just teaches our 6-person district.  It is way too much fun.  He can´t pronounce Elder McVicker´s name very well, so yesterday when he called on him he stood there and said something that sounded like "my finger?" as we all stared on, not comprehending what he was trying to say.  When we realized he was saying "McVicker" it was hilarious.  He speaks to us in Spanish most of the time, but helps out with words we don´t understand.

In other news, my companion and I did squats and lunges for gym yesterday and I am in pain.  Allison (former swim coach) would be proud.  Hermana Glauser and I get along pretty well.  She is from Brigham City, and she and one of our roommates (Hermana Gantz) are both going to Mexico City East with me (yay!).  Learning and studying here at the CCM is one of the hardest things I´ve ever done, and the first day or two was REALLY hard.  However, the spirit is here (BTW, Sundays are the BEST), and it´s the right place to be right now.  I miss you all, but I know you´re all having fun without me, so I´m not worried too much!

Last but not least, thanks for sending me the report on the Family Reunion and Wedding, it looked like a LOT of fun.  I´m so glad to hear that everything worked out, and that you were so sneaky to get Uncle Time AND a niece in the getaway vehicle.  I´m also so glad to hear that you could sing some hymns and cut fruit, it sounds like it was the highlight for a lot of people.

FYI My P-Days are Tuesdays, and I will probably email around 11 my time.  I leave on August 3rd for the field (40 minutes away...), and it´s better to send mail via Dear Elder because otherwise it takes about 2 weeks for things to find their way here.  So send any hand-written mail to the mission office once late July hits.

I love you all MUCHO MUCHO MUCHO!  

Hermana Houghton

P.S. Last night after dinner, my district was trying to do language study (we do ALL of our studying in the classroom, but most of the time the teacher isn´t there) and the Elders were bouncing off the walls with excitement for P Day, so we played jeopardy with Spanish words for "FHE".  The Hermanas won by a LOT, and it was a hilarious gathering :)  (But we still learned stuff!)

And if you're wondering what Hermana Houghton will be doing for the next 18 months, here is an article that describes mission life!

So there a bunch of these circles around campus and our teacher told us they are gathering places during Earthquakes.  I asked how often those happen and he said "not often, once a month maybe"

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