I am with Hermana Pollock now. I have never met anyone who has such a talent to talk to people like she does. So we go around Dallas with her talking to everyone and me realizing how antisocial I am.
And we talk to everyone. We are assigned to a bilingual ward, which means we are here to teach in both English and Spanish. Praying in English still stresses me out. I keep replacing "please" with "por favor" almost every time. Switching back and forth between languages when meeting new people or talking with members at church feels a bit schizophrenic.
Morenitos. Directly translated, it would mean "little dark ones". It is used to mean black people, and from what I understand, it might be the most politically correct Spanish word I am looking for, even though it doesn't sound like it. Using the term "African Americans" would also be incorrect, because I don't think a lot of them are American citizens. We have encountered people from Nigeria, Liberia (I think. The accent was pretty strong), Zimbabwe, and Ethiopia. We delivered a Book of Mormon in Swahili to someone. We also talked to a family from Burma, but they weren't morenitos. And they spoke like no English, so it wasn't even an effective conversation.
Encuesta, also known as a survey. Hermana Pollock has an issue with straight up knocking on doors, so we use a 10 question survey that gets people talking about their basic religious beliefs and makes our encounters less awkward. She tried to make encuesta into a verb, but I don't think it works like that. We do seem to invent some Spanish, which is amusing but probably not a great idea.
Cockroaches. Our apartment here has an unexpectedly high number of them. I had never seem baby ones before, nor the red species. I guess you learn new things every day. I spent the first few days here trying to kill them before they ran back into wherever they go. Hna Pollock kept telling me "Just don't look at them. For every one you kill, there are like 20 more that you won't get." Not very reassuring. But apparently last night I finally graduated into Real Apartment Life because I was able to watch one go across the floor and not even bother with it. There was a note on our counter one day when we got back that said not to use and pesticides because the people in charge of the apartments are already taking care of it.
Our apartment smells like smoke. Not like cigarette smoke, but like the time a few weeks ago when I spilled milk on the stove at the other place and forgot to clean it up. Also, the chair I sit in at my desk is strange. It has a pin at the bottom that keeps the back in an upright position. After a while, it slips out and the chair suddenly becomes a recliner. Always a surprise when I am sitting there minding my own business studying the gospel and then I almost fall on the floor.
It is definitely strange to learn to teach with a new companion. The material is the same, but we stress different points, share time differently, and use different examples. Also, I am still trying to figure out if I feel awkward when she speaks Spanish to Hispanic people. They keep on looking at me expectantly, and I am just laughing on the inside because they don't realize that this blonde girl knows more Spanish than I do. Good times.
Christmas!! One of the three times in 18 months that I get to talk to my family. I wish people knew that before they were mean to us. Some days are tough. You never know what people are going through. But yes, I am excited for Christmas. WE bought a decent amount of junk food today to celebrate. I have no idea what else we will be up to. There was a rumor that we were allowed to watch one Disney movie each, but it was a lie. I guess we will be hanging out with some members and maybe knocking doors, feeling like there is no room in the inn. Haha
Right now, we are using the computers in the SMU library. And the public access ones don't have chairs. I think they are really just meant for a quick printing job, but we haven't gotten kicked out so far.
I think that's about it. Life is good. Miracles happen here as well as in Plano. And everywhere else too, probably. One of our investigators in getting baptized on Sunday, so that is really exciting. I have faith that there is a reason why I am here in this area, although I don't know what it is yet. Hna Pollock said it is because I need more soul food. Maybe that too.