Monday, March 30, 2015

Images of Mexico City

As Pres Monson would say, " Always look up..."

This is the green circle where all gather when the earthquake siren sounds.  Sister Sears had the opportunity to use this twice in her first week....

Hermanas Sears and Emerson

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Two earthquakes and a tornado

Hey friends/ fam!
What a week! The weather here is nuts. There were two earthquakes, one a 5.6 and not sure the other. Confession time. The first night we got here there was a tornado, hahaha. terrifying. It did not reach the CCM and it was small luckily. When the earthquake alarms sound we all run to the nearest green circle, seen in my pictures. Everyday is blazing hot until about 4 o clock and then every night there are crazy thunderstorms. The other night the streets were so flooded some places were up to our knees, some elders went swimming haha.
So much time is spent in the classroom. 16 hours a day. But the teachers here are so great. Their names are Sanchez, Salvador, Santiago, and Suaste. Mouthful haha. 
My four hermanas and I sang at the Tuesday night devotional for the whole CCM. We sang a child's prayer. Devotionals are kind of rough because the speakers have translator haha. And not always good ones. I thought the one tuesay was going to have a heart attack up there, and he was like 80. 
I remember a talk by Spencer W Kimball where he promised that as long as we continued to pray in our inquired language throughout our lives, we would never forget it. Challenge accepted. I love learning the language, I am so glad I am Spanish speaking, even though I feel like my head is going to explode sometimes. It can be so discouraging at times, and sometimes I catch myself thinking about how much easier it would be, how much better a missionary I could be if I were teaching in English. But speaking in a foreign language has a way of bringing out the spirit everytime you open your mouth. I will keep working hard, and I will get there. 
I am actually so stoked to be serving in the states. I cannot wait to get to Pittsburgh, so start my REAL mission. I check the weather everyday, usually a sunny 20 degrees and rainy haha. I am ready to freeze my butt off. By the way I only have one waterproof raincoat mom, so thats kind of a problem. And I left my umbrella at home.
The worst thing ever happened this week. One day after going to the bathroom, I flushed the toilet and out popped a spider that had been hiding in there. Naturally I panicked. The spider not only resisted being flushed, but JUMPED out of the toilet and ran away. Mexico has super spiders I guess. When in Mexico- ALWAYS flush before you go. 
The Elders in my district nicknamed me the "íman (magnet) or Elders. Haha they pretend to be territorial over their hermanas. Theyre the best, they keep us laughing during those long days in the classroom. A bunch of dorks, its awesome. 
Hermana Terry is my girl. She keeps a tide to go stick with her at all times for me, because I am notorious for spilling on myself at every meal. On weekends we have sleepovers in our casa. Weekends all you hear is party party party. In particular, the house on the other side of the wall from our house has Mexican raves Im pretty sure. Should I check one out next week?
It will be so cool being here fro general conference. I love the CCM. The food, the people, the spirit here, everything. 
It is hard, sometimes impossibly hard. But you push through it, make it to another Pday, and keep going. I have taught myself to push myself. My memorization skills have always been my greatest weakness. And now we have to memorize hundreds of vocabulary words, phrases, scriptures, and lessons in english first AND spanish. And somehow I manage. 
I didnt leave the most prepared missionary, the scriptorian, the doctrinal master. But I left with a purpose. I will never be the perfect missionary, but I will do my best to try perfectly. Alma 29:9 is my new missionary goal.
"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me: yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
I am nothing without the Lord. 
Hasta ver. Til we meet
Hermana Sears

Week 1- part 2

Few things. 
Gia. Please send advice/ encouragement. Miss you lots. 
Kelsie- I met Elder Mafi here at the CCM!

So... Overall this has been a really hard week. To say the least. I think about all of you at home a lot. I am trying to stay happy. You were right that if you make it to Sunday it gets better. I try to find the good in the little things. Last night that came in the form of Costco pizza, our first american food since we´ve been here hahaha. I keep reminding myself that everyone has given up a lot to be here, (in my case someone.) 
The first couple days were honestly the hardest days of my life. The first night as I sat in my casa I looked at my hermanas and asked "How are you even functioning right now?" I went straight to bed and cried myself to sleep hugging my teddy bear. (hahaha shout out to Hunter.) But that's just how it is here. It gets easier each day. Mi familia, please remember me in your prayers as I do for you. This is hard- I've never been so grateful for my family. I love you guys. And miss you like crazy. Thank you for everything you did to help get me here. Mom especially. Dad- some comic relief would be great. Haha. 
Sorry to be so heavy, but my heart is heavy. Ive never spent so much time on my knees. Sometimes I have  so much to say I never want to stand up. My knees are hardening. 

"Serve the Lord the way you want to be served on judgement day."
-´nuff said.

Dear Elder is fro PROVO, not Mexico. It takes two weeks to get here.

you can send SAME DAY LETTERS, food and packages. POR FAVOR. Its basically the Dear Elder of Mexico.

"Don't ask what the smell is, It's Mexico City"

get ready for a long one. 
¡Hola! ¡Vive en Mexico!
Arriving in Mexico City was crazy. I got to sit by Hermana Emerson and Hermana Christianson on the plane, they moved us together in first class.
Blooper of the week, When we went through customs, the first thing the man at the desk asked was "are you a member of the Klu Klux Klan?" He pointed to where I accidentally wrote "caucasian" rather than "American." He was actually pretty offended. Hahaha woops, didnt help I was wearing an all white dress. My bad. 
The drive through the city to the CCM (MTC) was intense. I think it is polite to cut people off here. Imagine 1-15 during rush hour traffic, bumper cars style. Mexicans love to use their horns. Men with machine guns lined every street corner to welcome us to the city. 
I love the "mountains," or hills here. The encircle the CCM on every side. Tiny, neon colored cement houses cover every square inch of the mountain, and at night they light up like a christmas tree. Takes place of the stars, there are no stars here because of the city and pollution. The city is .... very ghetto. Haha. People everywhere, graffiti covering everything. Stray dogs and cats..
And then... you reach the white pearly gates of the CCM. It is set up here like a little community. We each have our own houses. We are casa 26. The grounds are perfectly maintained, always. Every street is lined in bright purple Jacaranda trees. So beautiful. The Truman show is the perfect description of the CCM haha. People probably look down into our little bubble and wonder what kind of a cult we are running in here. 
Putting my nametag on for the first time was so cool. Mi primera companero is Hermana Pua-nana-la Ribucan. She is from Maui. I love her, shes the cutest. We have a room to ourselves, its so nice. 
Every night we go to sleep to the sound of music and parties just outside the 15 foot barbed-wired walls, never-ending sirens, dogs barking/ fighting, and the occasional gunshot. Despite it all, there is no safer place than the CCM. My distric, (5 hermanas, 6 elders) is the smallest distric in CCM history to come and go. 
I love the hermanas in my district. We will be friends for life. Were really like a 5 way companionship, always together. Two of them have boyfriends so I have someone to cry with and hug my teddy bear with at night hahaha. 
Sleep is all you look forward to here. And food. Youre so exhausted all the time. Emerson shared her melatonin supply with me... bless her heart haha. The food is so good. Authentic. Dad- the best mangos and papaya every, so ripe you peel them. Every meal consists of beans and rice basically. Even for breakfast. Tamales, enchiladas, etc. I stick to fruit and nutella haha every morning. Thank goodness for nutella.I wonder how many pounds of nutella the CCM goes through every week. This morning as I was getting the juice I drink every day, Jamaíca juice, an elder ran up and said "Hermana, you dont drink the Jamaíca juice! Youll pee for days." It all made sense. We had all been peeing at least once every hour for days. Lesson learned. 
Every day during gym time we play volleyball with the zone. Elder LaToushe nicknamed me the Snyper when they figured out I could hit. Haha. Love it. We have a dream team going here. Dad, youd be proud. 
Theres an Elder here from Pittsburgh, Elder Fergusen, I call ASAP Ferg, haha- hes my Pittsburgh expert. 
Bad news- I made my first MTC joke today. I knew the day would come. RIP my sense of humor.
My district leader is the epitome of cheesy. I call him Elder Idaho. Today I asked if I should get chicken or pork and his real answer was "hermana, what do you feel is right?" So yeah.
My spanish is really coming along. I think in a Spanish accent already. Turns out it was hiding somewhere in my head all this time. I know the most in my district haha. i am literally a walking dictionary, and translator for everyone. 
It can also be very discouraging. You think you know it all until you are in a room with your investigator. It can be so discouraging. They say to learn a new language it takes at least 600-1000 hours of instruction. We will have a total of 100 hours here during the next 6 weeks.. so its really up to us. We pray for the Gift of Tongues every day. And it is real. SO real. I have learned more spanish in the first week here than I did during my four years in high school. It is very humbling trying to learn the language. Basically- it sucks. Hahaha my brain hurts. 
What everyone says about forgetting English is true. Its been one week and I am forgetting words and spelling. SPelling was always my strongsuit. 
Some good news- I dont mis my phone at all. Yeah I would love to pick up a phone and call or text, (a certain special somone in particular,) but I am proud to say my addiction has been broken. Haha

Here are some tips for surviving the CCM: 
Dont ask what the smell is- its Mexico city. 
Dont ask what the meat is
The toilets flush like gas pedals, germaphobe heaven. 
Dont wear all white in the airport
Dont look at pictures from home if you dont want to cry
The elders will harrass you about your boyfriend
Dont drink the Jamaíca juice

Call the SLC airport and see if they found my SD card por favor. 
Send more pictures
Send picture of plaque in church
USE MISSIONARYPACKAGEMX.COM rather than dear elder. Dear elder doesnt work here
Post mision email and address on ssearsco mission account
Text Hunter and see how hes doing

Your Missionary's mailing address is:
Hermana Sears
[April 20] [13-B]
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

The estimated departure date for your missionary is [April 20]. The use of the
above address on all correspondence will greatly faciliate delivery to your missionary
at the MTC. Please don't send packages.

!Hola familia¡ 
I made it! I`am dying to tell you all about it here but I only get five minutes today. My P-days are on Thursdays, however I will not be able to email again til next thursday. It is amazing here. Bittersweet day. Also typing on a spanish keyboard is not easy. I love you guys so much, these next few weeks are going to be very tough. Please write me as often as you can. A dear elder a day makes the sad go away.