Wednesday, January 30, 2013

First impressions of Spain

Hola Familia!

Ayyyy madre mia, no se donde puedo empezar. I've been in Spain for 5 days now, and I absolutely love it. It's taken so long to get here though, it's good to finally be here and settled in. Friday morning I was supposed to be at the MTC to leave with all the visa waiters at 6:00, but they had told President McCune 6:30, so when we got there everyone was gone.

Elder Cook and I waited for our visas together in Provo
He and Sister McCune ended up taking me to the airport, and that was really nice. I had asked President a month ago if he could take me to the airport instead of the MTC shuttle and he said he'd see what he could do, so Friday morning when we were on our way up there he was like, "You know Sister Munden, I don't know how you did it, but you got your wish." Hooray for that :)

I traveled with Sister Zitting and two senior couples. Sister Zitting was waiting for her visa in the Idaho Pocatello Mission and she knows the elders from my MTC district! I like her a lot. We had a 3 hour flight to Atlanta, and then an 8 hour flight to Madrid. I took a couple Advil PMs and slept for the majority of both flights. We landed in Madrid at about 8:30 Saturday morning and President and Sister Jackson came to greet us at the airport. The weather here is beauuuuuutiful! I guess it's been really cold the last couple months, but it warmed up just in time for us to get here. It's got to be at least 20 degrees warmer than Provo so I'm grateful for that.

Right now I'm serving in a place called Leganés, just south of Madrid.

Good morning from Leganes
 My companion is Hermana Miron.

Hermana Miron and me after the temple
She's from Romania (but speaks perfect English and Spanish) and goes home in just 6 weeks. Our piso (flat) is super nice. Apparently it's the biggest one in the mission. It's two stories and we live with Hermana Zitting and Miron's old companion, Hermana Coakwell. Our room is on the top floor so sometimes I climb out on the roof and write in my journal or study out there. It's super preeeeetty.

My view from the roof
Everything is so different here: there's no carpet, they don't use dryers for their clothes, the light switches are funny, and I can't find any peanut butter to save my life. I speak Latin American Spanish so nobody here can understand me and I'm hearing all these strange new words for the first time - like zumo for juice instead of jugo, coche for car instead of carro, and aseos for the bathroom instead of baño. There's a tonnnn of people here from South America though, so I like being around them because we speak the same language. Haha it's awesome. The majority of members here are from Ecuador, so we get to talk about my favorite country in the world and the time I lived in Quito.

The mission here is really different too. P-days are Wednesdays instead of Mondays, transfers are Mondays instead of Wednesdays, there are no cars, we don't eat dinner with members, and they don't ever have mission conferences. There are good differences too though! My favorite part... the schedule :) We wake up at 7 instead of 6:30 and go to bed at 11 instead of 10:30. And then from April to October, we wake up at 7:30 and go to bed at 11:30. It's the best thing in the world. Also we have mediodia for 2 hours. Which means we come home and eat lunch, sleep, do whatever while the city is basically shut down and then go back out. It's pretty neat. Also, every 5th Wednesday of the transfer (like today) we do a session at the temple with President and Sister Jackson and all the missionaries serving in the areas around Madrid. It's pretty fantastic. I like all that a lot.

When I first got here, even though I was thrilled to finally be in Spain, I was super bummed. I was missing Provo a ton and didn't feel like I fit in to this mission yet. But after being a here a few days, getting to know my companion, and teaching a few lessons, everything feels so natural. More natural than it did in Provo. It's like Heavenly Father is confirming to me that this is the mission I was called to and this is where I'm supposed to be serving right now. I'm learning to love the Spain Madrid Mission and I'm grateful I get to be here for a year.

We're teaching a lot of cool people. Again, most of them are from South America - some from Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico. We are teaching a girl named Evelyn from Bolivia. She's 14 and her parents are members, but they've been less active for a very long time. Last night she decided she wants to get baptized on February 23rd, so we have a baptism in 3 weeks! Ahh I can't wait. I've moved from the highest baptizing mission in the world to the highest baptizing mission in Europe. Missionaries here teach a lot and have a lot of success and I'm looking forward to being a part of it.

It's time to go take a quick siesta so I'm awake for tonight's lesson with Carmen and her daughters. But thanks for the millionth time for the continued support and love. I'm happy.

With love from Spain,
Hermana Munden

P.S. Remember Zach from Provo who we fasted with about baptism? Sister Cha told me he got baptized this past Saturday and he has a powerful testimony that he is a child of God :)

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