Monday, December 30, 2013

Trilingual Tripanionship

Try saying the title to this letter three times fast. Serving as a missionary in Lake Charles has only intensified my obsession with the South. I'm coming back here after my mission the quickest I can. Lake Charles is so cute and quaint; it is a completely different world over here. You just cross the border and there must be something in the water because it's overflowing with Southern hospitality on this side of the mission. I was shocked by how much of a drastic change it is from Tejas.

In place of giant Texas stars plastered over every surface, there are smartly placed fluer de lis sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods. Baton Rouge and New Orleans square in Disneyland call my name every time we drive around the city. The culture here is different, Cajun customs and traditions have a major influence here. I truly feel like I'm serving a whole nother mission.

Our companionship is a hybrid. We have three different name tags in three different languages: English, Portuguese, and Spanish. We embody the gift of tongues. I have grown so accustomed to speaking Spanish 24/7 with Hna St. John that we have this comp goal, we speak mostly Spanish, but I've also picked up the habit of speaking mostly in Portuguese. Surprise! Obviously, I'm not 
fluent, but I figure if I speak it with Sis Muñoz daily, then in 6 (or 13 however many I have) weeks I'll be fluent! (kind of) I still catch myself introducing myself as Hna Flores, and I will always be an Hna at heart. It's taken some getting used to to be a Sister. I feel guilty everytime I speak in English, I just want to speak Portuguese 24/7. & I kind of just feel like I'm on an eternal exchange...

My companions! They are so great! Sis Johnson is from Colorado Springs, CO. She's been out for about 7 months, she's tall and a gymnst/diver/circus performer. Her laugh is kind of my favorite. She also can't have gluten so we have some interesting snacks lying around the apartment. :]

Sis Muñoz is from Cypress, TX waiting on her visa for Brazil. I have now officially served with every full-bloded Latina in the mission. Sis Muñoz is serving close to home right now and has been out 5 months. She went to BYU before the mission, instant friends. Brown people that went to BYU tend to have this natural connection. :] The ward yesterday thought that we were here to start a branch and they were super excited to have two "native" Spanish speakers.

Lake Charles is such a great area, it's an old area though and the Area Books, yes there are 3.5 area books, need some major cleaning out. Guess what my project is going to be this transfer?Papa, you will laugh at this Sis Johnson calls me the "throw-awayer" because of all the junk I've been getting rid of in our apartment. I can't help that I love me some orderly and cleanliness! & maybe I'm slightly OCD. 

I felt disoriented when I first got to my area because of how unorganized things were. I think the reason for the disorder is this: Every time a companionship entered the area they would color code and organize things a certain way, but never left a key AND never threw things away so we have tons of color-coded, scribbled on ward lists that make sense to no one save the missionaries that created them. Let's just say I have my work cut out for me, but I am so excited. Line upon line, Precept upon precept. 

it's christmas! A Cajun Christmas!
Love you!
Sis (formerly Hna) Flores

Saying bye to the Mendozas. They gave me a cute stuffed cow!
The other Mendozas, branch president and his family.
Saying farewell to Tejas at the border.
First time eating Gumbo! Those are crab legs we're holding up. crab legs.
Planner from last transfer (& week one of this...)
The entire mission! stolen from my companion's memory card.


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