From Latin America to Little America

Iiiiiiit’s transfer season and with it comes all the devastation of leaving areas, relief of staying put, and stress of and scheduling trains for everyone in the area and trying to understand what the fast-speaking luggage delivery workers are saying.

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After interviews with the mission president last week, he asked if I was fine staying in Fujisawa, and I replied with an enthusiastic “YES!” So I was positive I’d be around. And then I got transferred to the next area over, Yamato/Zama. WHAT. I was 60% shocked and 100% devastated (the math doesn’t add up but hey, I’m not in school anymore). Luckily I’m so close that there’s still a good chance I’ll see friends and people I know at some point. My call is actually interesting and intimidating because I’m covering two areas, the Japanese/Spanish Yamato area and the American Military base in Zama. I have no idea how to teach in English so ganbarimasu (“I’ll do my best” sounds so boring). These days when I see Americans it’s a bit like “I have a name tag, why are *you* here??” So I need to be a little more open to talking to other foreigners. It’s not like I blend in anyway.

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I’m also called as the Sister Training Leader Trainer, whatever that means – I’m told it includes training the new sister training leaders, not that I have any idea what I’m doing either, I’m just shooting in the dark and acting confident.

This week was casual. I’ll just give you a day by day run down:

Monday: A woman walked into the church asking for 200Â¥ (about two dollars) for train money and we ended up teaching her a lesson. She had apparently been praying to find someone to help (rare for someone Japanese) and saw our building and came inside not knowing what it was exactly. She got more than she asked for! In other news, it’s cold.

Tuesday: Interviews with Wada Kaichou, our mission president. He told me how much he loved me like a daughter and we just both ended up crying. It’s taken a longgg time to get to this point in our relationship because I was slow to warm up and trust him and accept his love and advice. And I was proud. But now he’s like another father to me.

After that whole extravaganza we headed to Fujisawa for a personal eikaiwa lesson with a woman who had called us on the phone asking about lessons. She turned out to be adorable and wanted to take selfies with us for days. She had received a Book of Mormon as well from a member by happenstance on our birthday when we were singing Christmas carols and started reading it. We also saw people walking through a train station wearing demon masks. Apparently you throw beans at them and they go away….or something.image8

Wednesday: My companions accidentally scheduled two meal/lesson appointments with people back-to-back, so to teach them a lesson and because we didn’t have time to reschedule to another day we decided to go through with it. The first restaurant had a three-course meal and all-you-can-eat bread. Afterwards I was feeling comfortably full when we went to the second appointment. As we arrived, she said: “I hope you’re hungry, you’d better eat a lot!” We ate at an Italian place where she ordered pizzas, pastas, salads, and appetizers, and I quite literally thought I would explode afterwards. But it was so, so good.

Thursday:  We had English class and an old man who I apparently had invited to eikaiwa a few weeks ago brought me chocolate. Then my old English class student and investigator from Yamate surprised me and brought me presents too! And it wasn’t even my half-birthday or Kwanza! I was honored.

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Friday: we went on a quest to visit members from a list that the Bishop gave us. We stopped at what we thought was a house and ended up being a wood carving museum where we were beckoned inside. So that was a pleasure. Then later, while talking to a woman about how nice Japan was, a man I’m assuming was drunk stopped just ahead of us and proceeded to “water the garden”. It was a scarring experience. On a better note, I also gave a training on Japanese phrase usage and how to be a more effective teacher in Japan at our zone conference that day.

Saturday: we made banana bread with one of our friends and her children, and then had an amazing lesson applying the story of the 2000 stripling warriors to our own lives. Once again, everyone was crying (except me because I apparently only cry when it’s inconvenient).

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Sunday: I had my last Sunday and was asked to give a brief farewell talk. The same family from the day before came to church and it was perfect. All my beloved mama eikaiwa students came to visit to say goodbye and even made a scrapbook for me.

Monday: we accidentally went out to eat twice. I had a lesson with two of my mama eikaiwa students and we studied about families in English and then used the Book of Mormon picture book to teach the story of the stripling warriors again, this time relating it to them through the way the mothers taught their children to help them succeed. We talked extensively about the role of fathers, as well, in Japanese as opposed to western culture. Though it’s just beginning to change now, for a very long time in Japan mothers were expected to care completely for their children while fathers worked the entire day, and placed work as more important than family. I was able to share how grateful I was for a father that I knew loved me and supported me and sacrificed so much for me, and they each made goals to increase their unity and prioritize families.

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In the evening we had a birthday dinner for our friend at her husband’s workplace, a super suave diner with fantastic music choices. Luckily, I’m not moving far so I’ll be sure to see them again.

In the last few days it will be a flurry of packing and hopelessly trying to stuff everything into my suitcases. I haven’t moved in over four months, and that was BEFORE I got my winter clothes.

Wish me luck,
Xoxo

Kira

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