Hola, Everyone!

I´ve officially graduated from training!! Well, of sorts. Hermana Schmutz, my trainer got transferred and will bake all summer in Formosa, and I am still here in Ituzaingó. Its weird being without her… But I guess I knew this day would come. Here, turning everything I learned about how to do missionary work on its head is Hermana Camila Alejandra Araya Casanova from La Serena, Chile.

They say that Hermana Araya is my Madastra, or stepmother, because she is the companion I have directly after my trainer, or my mission mother. I am her 12th companion, third stepdaughter (yes… that’s a lot of companions for a Hermana) and probably her last, as she goes back home to her friends and family in the Chilean coast. If we stay together this transfer and the next, then, as they say, I will kill her. (not really… it just means that after me, she won´t be a missionary anymore.)

She is sooo awesome though. She is the queen of getting references from people and getting prople to come with us to lessons. Two days ago, we had an almuerzo with Familia Rodriguez and she got 4 references and 4 lessons with member scheduled in a matter of 10 minutes! That’s more than Hermana Schmutz and I would get in a week! She is also very knowledgeable about the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and I feel lucky to have her as my companion and the chance to learn from her more.

She´s also loca.

Her favorite pastimes include, eating, making fun of people´s accents in Spanish, Singing the English hymns (but she can´t pronounce the words, and she knows it, so she just makes them up), and teaching me Chilena. She also likes to infuse English slang into her Spanish words. Its kind of funny because she sometimes uses them incorrectly. She also likes breaking out into random songs in the middle of conversations. Yes, my companion has a soundtrack…

She refuses to teach me Castellano, the type of Spanish they speak here, but everyone says that as I learn Chilena, the type of Spanish they speak in Chile, that my Castellano has improved by leaps and bounds.

I am also helping her with her English. I am still teaching English Classes, even though Hermana Schmutz is not here anymore, and my companion is one of the students. She is constantly asking me the English words for things, and when we read Manual Misional (Missionary Handbook) together, she reads in English and I read in Spanish.

I rarely speak English now, or at least, not nearly as much as I did with Hermana Schmutz. Nearly my whole day is in Castellano, and I even surprise myself in how much I have learned and can understand of the people when they speak.

A few days ago, we were having lunch in a restaurant, and overheard a conversation where it was mostly Spanish, but every so often, I would hear the same thing repeated in English, and knew that they were tourists. As we were leaving, I said, ``Enjoy your time here!´´ In English and his head jolted and he was so relieved that someone spoke English. He was from Canada, and I couldn´t believe it! I COULD NOT HAVE A CONVERSATION COMPLETELY IN ENGLISH!

My mind and my words drifted in and out of Spanish like it was nothing! I told them that I had learned Spanish here and had only been speaking for five months and the woman, who was from Ituzaingó and his wife said, ``Bob, I have been trying to get you to learn Spanish for 15 years and she speaks well after 5 months!!´´ Needless to say, I was feeling fairly confident in myself after that.

I am still anxious that I don´t know my area well enough, but I am working on it, and I haven´t found myself too terribly lost yet. I can feel that Hermana Araya and I will have much success together, and I will have a riot of a time learning much from Hermana Araya.

I miss you all so much, and Zack… its going to be okay… you are going to love the MTC. Just remember to check every so often that you are breathing normal until you get to the MTC. And just think! Every Wednesday and Sunday there is Ice Cream sundaes with ice cream from the BYU creamery. So when in doubt, drown your sorrows in the creamy goodness.

Also, When I was at the MTC, I was on the 4th floor of 18m. On the same floor of those who are ASL missionaries. So, when the cabin fever gets really bad about the 5th or 6th week in, remember that Jared and I were there… pacing the same halls… feeling the same way. And don’t forget to email me… I KNOW YOU CAN.

Hermana Sarah Tritsch

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