Monday, October 7, 2013

My life in Albanian

What a week?!

I got my mini missionary!!! She is a fun little companion! She doesn't know English. So my days with subtitles in Albania are over...straight up shqip all the time. But we have a lot of fun together. She was worth the wait! Instead of the 8 cow woman from Johnny Lingo I have the 3 week mini from Albania! Ahh, I don't even know where to start! I got her on Wednesday and it was late by the time we made it back to Lushnjë but we went out for a couple hours to try to meet with people. As we were walking I started beat boxing, she starts beat boxing too!...but wait it gets better. I start trying to rap in Shqip to her beat boxing but it sounds.. not that great. So I start beat boxing again and she starts rapping about how we're 2 sister missionaries teaching people and inviting them to church..whaaat?! Fluent! I wish I had recorded it. But we were off to a good start.

 Next day. We go to a fshat (small village) to teach some recent convert families and turns out she is related to all of them! They were estatic! It was great! (spoiler alert: they all came to chruch on sunday for the first time in awhile!) So that was good. Then we come back for lunch and decide to cook pasta. I start to put water on to boil and she was like no, no,no. She dumps the water and puts oil in the pan and browns the pasta a little before adding the water. She then proceeds to put every kind of seasoning we have into this pot of boiling water and pasta. I had finished the sauce and went to stir the pasta...she had placed a metal spoon on the pan and that is what I picked up. I burned my fingers. It hurt. I was thinking, "silly albanian, why did you put a metal spoon on a hot metal pot?" and she was probably thinking, "silly american, why did you touch a hot spoon on a metal pot?". Either way, she was super nice and finished everything. Side note: it tasted delicious. My fingers were still in a lot of pain after eating and she kept saying this word of what to put on my finger that I didn't understand. So we went to a Farmaci (Pharmacy) and we got this cream thing so put on my fingers. It was magical. My fingers felt so much better and healed faster. Then I had a cold for a few days. She was always trying to help me with everything. She is super nice. Side note: she loves using the word "super".

Communication is probably the hardest thing still. Some little comment will sometimes take 5 minutes of charades, pointing and using different words for us to understand each other. But she is way patient with me and never gives up trying to help me understand. Before Motra Wait left we set some serious language goals and one of them was to have solid consecration weeks of SYL (speaking only Albanian). I remember in the MTC our group was so bad at SYLing we always seemed to break or forget. I don't think we made it one day until consecration week (we were really good for that week). Well, I am happy to report that Motra Genta Guri and I are way good at SYLing, we almost never break haha. Its funny, I think we both feel very responsible for this companionship. I feel responsible because I'm Senior/Trainer(ish) companion and have the missionary experience. She feels responsible because she is the one that knows Albanian and feels the need to do the communication betweeen us and Albanians (everyone) haha. I just have push to talk anyways. Shes does really try to help me understand when I look to her to help. I'm really grateful for her. I've been teaching her English too. We are both learning a lot.

What I love about Motra Guri is that she is fearless! She takes talking to everyone to a whole new level for me. Its like on District 2 "I'm not training Motra Guri, she came pre-trained!". But seriously, I just tell her what we do as missionaries (and she knew some stuff already too) and she is all for it. We went to an appointment and they weren't home and while I was trying to think of who else we could visit she was like, hey, lets knock on all these doors. She loves tracking! Then the next day we had a lady knock on our door, she cleans the stairways and elevator and collects $2 every month. I went to get the money and when I came back she was talking to the lady about how we are missionaries and asking if she wants to meet with us in her house to learn more. What the awesome! What is that even?!! Reverse tracking? I don't know but I love it! She seriously talks to everyone. She is going to be such a fantastic missionary. I'm learning more from her than just the language.

There are many perks to having a native companion 
 -She understands what everyone says
 -They understand what she says
 -Shes get the culture (better than me)
 - People love her
 - She cooks Albanian food
 - edhe një qind

Conference this week! Usually in the past the missionaries have watched General Conference in English together and then get the translated version later. But this is the first time that they broadcasted conference translated in Albanian live. Super exciting to see the progress that is happening here! But it also meant that I didn't understand everything. At the end when President Monson talked about what a great conference this has been I just remember thinking "Ahh, this has been the best conference and I didn't even understand half of it!" But mos frikë I'll watch in English during lunch breaks and stuff this week. I'm super excited!

Basically this week has been awesome and I love my little Motra Guri! Its going to be a fun month or so with her! Its been neat to hear her testimony (she is a convert of a 1 1/2 years...not that long). The work here is going forth. One of the elder's investigators invited a co-worker to chruch and she came up to us after and wanted to meet with us! The Zhamë families came to church! There are tender mercies and miracles happening everywhere! Love it! I love being a part of missionary work! The chruch is true!

Paqe dhe bekime!
Motra Curtis

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