Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I don't care for fish very much at all. Really. And now this?

24 March 2014 Chiba, Japan

Wednesday we had a lesson with Ezaki San. Her lesson was in the morning so we had to do the same thing as the previous day and shorten studying times. Last week we were supposed to teach Ezaki San but that fell through. I know now, and I thought so before too, that it was probably because the lesson we were supposed to teach was not what we had planned. But, Heavenly Father has perfect timing. He knows each of us individually. And he knows what each of us needs, exactly when we need it. He will also never give us more than we have strength to handle.

So we go to the lesson and it's just as awkward as the one before. And because the lesson is in Nihongo, I'm just as silent as I am in all the other lessons. I have no clue what Orton Shimai is ever talking about! Then at one point I think she decided she didn't like that I was silent, so she asks me what I think...I don't know! I can't understand what you are saying or where we are in the lesson! Luckily, the Holy Ghost has my back. A short little testimony popped into my head so I said it. I think, and not in a prideful way...just based on how she looked after I spoke, the three or four simple sentences I said fit nicely into the lesson. But maybe that is just me being hopeful and trying to make myself feel better haha...not that I was feeling bad or anything...just lost.

Wednesday night I was working on eikaiwa (ed. note: English class) stuff and Orton Shimai was doing phone calls and she calls Shimura San, our lively obachan (ed. note: grandma) friend. Shimura San asks us if we can come over "ima?!" Now??? It's almost 8! Well, we decided to go over. After we get there, she announces that she has food for us, very special food.

After a while, the food is brought out; delicious rice with baby potatoes and walnuts and red beans in it and miso soup. She goes back into the kitchen and brings one last plate out for each of us. On it was some veggies, a drum stick entire fish that had been battered and fried!!! I could still see its eyeball!! But it couldn't see me....blahhh.

So I'm eating the rice and drinking the soup, trying to avoid the other plate at all costs. I figured I could eat the drumstick. I don't like eating things off the bone, but I could do it. And, I did. I think that might be my first drumstick eating experience. The meat was delicious too; really well seasoned. The fish was still there. It hadn't swum or flopped away yet...and it had all its bones still, so it was a totally plausible hope.

Shimura San came back and sat down and starts telling us about the fish. It had been soaked in who-knows-what before it was cooked. It makes the bones soft. Cuz guess what??? You eat the ENTIRE thing, bones and all! Except the fin at the end of it. Gosh, it looked gross. So Shimura San keeps egging me on, trying to get me to eat this thing...I keep looking at it and shivering, or squealing. I couldn't do it! Finally I pick it up with my chopsticks...that didn't work...the fish was too long. So I plop it back down on the plate and decapitate it. Then, I pick up its head, squeal a little bit more and put it in my mouth. It was a combination of crunch and smush all at the same time.

If it hadn't had bones it wouldn't have been that bad. But it did have bones and they kept poking me in the gums and on the top of my mouth. Finally I swallowed. Shimura San asked if I liked it. I told her it was good, but the bones were awful. She didn't believe that I really liked it. So, in order to get her to believe me, I finished it. The ribs were probably the worst part. I'm willing to bet I have tiny microscopic scratches all over my mouth from them. I'm quite worried about what will happen when they come back out! But, everyone should be so proud of me, cuz I did it! I ate an entire fish, bones, eyeballs, skin, brains and all.


So the other day we went housing...I think it was Wednesday. We did sooo many doors and I would try and speak at every kekko box. I even got comfortable enough to start changing what I was saying. And I could respond back! I felt like my nihongo significantly improved.

Thursday, we had an amazing zone meeting! We got a new zone leader and he has made a big difference. He is so spiritual! He is only on his 4th transfer and is already a zone leader. How amazing is that? And when we had eikaiwa Thursday night,  I could understand so much! I also had to do a pretend 5 minute lesson about the gospel of Christ during our zone meeting in Nihongo and I could do it! I'm really trying to speak and I am praying for the gift of tongues whenever I think of it. I think I am being blessed for it. I know I am. I can see it!

Eikaiwa was super fun. My favorite part was when we were explaining how to make an "R" sound and how to make an "L" sound. For “L” you put your tongue behind your teeth. Well, this little boy in our class, Ryota, has no front teeth and so he exclaims "I CANT! NO TEETH!" It was soooo cute! The entire class laughed pretty hard.

Friday the Primary children had an Easter egg hunt. We had invited a bunch of people, and one of them, a family, actually showed up. The primary president loveeeees the missionaries so she had planned all the games to include us!

After the games, all the kids went hunting for eggs. As one of the primary presidency members was explaining the egg hunt she says   "And for some reason, there are always eggs involved. And we hide them..." That cracked me up. The primary president also knows I'm allergic to garlic so she made a special batch of chicken without garlic for me!!! I thought that was the nicest thing ever. It sounds like such a little thing, but it meant so much to me.

We went home and then got ready to head out to goi. We had eikaiwa and we also had a bunch of referrals from the elders we wanted to find. So we walked like an hour to find these people and didn't catch anyone at home except for one person. But that one person ended up being worth it! We are meeting with her Monday! She and her entire family! They only speak a little nihongo though, mostly Portuguese, so Roselly is going to come with us to teach.

We had a hard time finding her house. Orton Shimai is like the stereotypical man who won't ask for directions. She refuses too. Just like a man! So I've taken up the habit of just marching up to someone and saying “Sui masen" which is excuse me. Then she has to ask them! I had to do that in order for us to find Joyce.

Eikaiwa was fun even though nothing very exciting happened. And then we went home. One of the families who attended is being taught by the elders. They come to eikaiwa in two separate cars so they can drive the elders and sisters home! Isn't that so nice?

So Saturday afternoon we taught the funniest lesson ever! It was a mixture of Spanish, Japanese and English!! And it ended up being pretty great too. So, Roselly and Roy had their brother and sister in law over. Their father was visiting from Peru and Roy's girl friend was there too. She is nihonjin. So we needed a scripture that would work for everyone and this is what I ended up doing: 1 Nephi 11:17 which is: "and I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." And then we said everyone here is in different places. We all know different things, and we don't know it all. But when we know that we are loved, it doesn't matter where we stand.

Yui chan was just baptized a few weeks ago. And Roselly and Roy are not as active as they could be. Then there was a little 3 year old boy, who wasn't really paying attention, but we included him too. After that we all translated for one another. My favorite part was when I translated from English to Spanish. Orton Shimai had said "I can't speak Spanish but..." And so I said "no Ablo espanol" and everyone bursts out laughing. It was so funny! For a change, poor Orton Shimai was completely lost. The longer we were there the more I could understand and the more I could remember how to say!

That’s all for this week.

I love you all. And remember, you are loved too!

Sister Molinari

Monday, March 17, 2014

Soccer is a Dangerous Sport!

Konbanwa minasan! 

This week was one of those weeks that felt like 3 or 4 weeks clumped together. The worst part is that I can't remember anything past..ehh..Friday maybe.. Everything else seems so long ago!

I can remember Tuesday though. 

Tuesday we had exchanges. That is when we switch companions for 24 hours. Now that there are sister training leaders in the mission, this is who we switch with. I got to be with Sister Tan. She is the cutest thing ever! She probably came to my armpit. She was tiny! And she reminded me a lot of one of my best friends (Kinzie) so I liked her instantly. She was super cool; she grew up in Utah but has been at BYU Hawaii. She knew Dopp Shimai too! That was another reason to like her. Well, we had a really awesome time studying together. It was great. She helped me make some really great nihongo Sentences and then I committed to using them that day. We also got to bear testimony to one another about the Book of Mormon. It was awesome! She had lots of really great thoughts and new ways of looking at things. 
I loved it.

After lunch we went out streeting. We talked to soooo many people. Most weren't interested but there were a few good conversations. Andddd I got to practice my sentences! It was a really great exchange. Sister tan has been out for a year and she speaks so well. She doesn't use any fancy words, just what she knows and she teaches and speaks simply. I really liked that.

Wednesday....can't seem to remember anything spectacular happening....and Thursday....hmm... Oh! Thursday we had our first kids eikaiwa at the community center here in Oyumino!! We had planned for younger kids so it might have been a little simple, but I had made coloring pages and everyone ( even the parents) were more than happy with that. 
We probably could've just had a coloring party and it would've been dijobu!

Friday we did the same lesson at eikaiwa in Goi. The younger crowd ate it up! We had so much fun!

We also have this beautiful thing in our apartment. It's just a test run but the man at the door must've done a pretty good job selling it (or Orton shimai just can't say no). So it is now residing in our kitchen.
I wasn't too thrilled.

Saturday was quite the day! We went out for a lesson, which ended up falling through so we decided to visit an obachan who is a member of our ward. Orton shimai forgot the address so we just housed in the area she thought this lady might live in...well, while doing that we ended up meeting another obachan who actually wanted to talk to us! We got to share a little bit about our church and what we believe and then we was out of the Book of Mormon together. Orton shimai attempted to give her the Book of Mormon 
but the little old lady felt bad taking it. So, we invited her to eikaiwa. 

Well, turns out that the obachan that we had been looking for lived one floor up from this other obachan so when we finally found her ( which was a few hours later at a return visit) she was thrilled to hear about what we had done! Announced she needed to do more for her country 
by sharing the gospel and marched down to talk to this lady.

We headed out to Goi and couldn't wait for Sunday to hear what happened. We went out to Goi to find less actives and inactive members. Well, when nihonjin don't want to be found they can't be found. We did set up an appointment for the elders tho! We found the brother of a less active member and he gave us all the information we needed haha. 

The best part about it was that the brother we found isn't even a member of the church!

After a long day in Goi we decided to treat ourselves and get ice cream for dinner. What we call Baskin Robins in the US is called 31 by the nihonjin. I think it is easier to say. They have the coolest flavors here! I got three different ones; musk melon, peach yogurt and melon cotton candy. It was delicious! 

Why don't we have such cool flavors in the US?

Kyo (ed. note: today) was probably one of my favorite days on the mission this far....well, at least out in the field. I actually was in a really bad mood all morning. For various was zone p-day. We had to go out to toke to meet up with the rest of the zone and china zone a as well. I really wasn't too thrilled. Wit ended up being a blast!!! I spent most of the time playing soccer. It was sooo so fun. It was mostly elders and the sisters who were playing...well...they didn't really go after the ball all too much. 

But for good reason! 

The elders can be a little scary. But, that didn't faze me. I may have gotten a little too into this elder has the ball and I decide I'm going to get it, so I go to kick it away from him (which I did) but in doing so I tripped him...I'm not really sure how it happened..but he ended up sliding full force into my legs! I have no better way of describing it except that he scissored my legs. Does that make sense? And I didn't move so he got hit pretty hard...right where it least I didn't fall on him. That would have made an awkward situation even worse! Well, everyone busts out laughing! Orton shimai falls to the ground she is laughing so hard. We literally all stood/ fell there for about 5 minutes. I was laughing so hard I was crying.

Then after we were all done laughing we asked the elder if he was ok. He was. In a normal situation it really wouldn't have been that funny. But, as missionaries we really aren't suppose to have too much contact with the opposite sex. Therefore, it became ridiculously funny.

For the rest of the game all the elders made funny comments every time I would try and get a ball from an elder like "watch out she's gonna get you too" or "ATTACK" and I would start laughing and getting the ball got a lot harder. I'm pretty sure I became "one of those stories everyone here's about" at zone p-day today.

The other crowning moment of the day was during capture the flag, when an elder jumped into a bush. Yup, you read that right, he jumped into a bush.

I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to the action. So, this elder is being chased by 3 or 4 of my teammates and he has two choices: be caught or jump over the bush next to him. Being an elder, he chose to jump over the bush. I watched as his face went from, this is a great idea I'm getting away! To oh no, I'm not going to make it over the bush and then, I watched as he disappeared into said bush.

Just swoosh, and gone. It was such a graceful jump too. 

You would've thought he had jumped into water not a bush.

Eventually he resurfaced and a few elders pulled him out. Boy was that funny! 
My retelling doesn't even do it justice.

We came home and did some dendō. I'd say it was a good night. We told a lady we liked her plants and in return she gave us some of her plants. Then we met someone who has been feeling like she needs to learn about Jesus...hmmm.... Coincidence? I think not! I'll tell more about her next week. 
We have a lesson with her tomorrow night! Yay!

I love you all so much! Thanks for the emails and letter!

Sister Molinari

Monday, March 10, 2014

Not Creative Enough to Think of a Clever Title

9 March 2014 Chiba

It's Monday again!

Where did the week go??? I think I say this every week but...this week flew by! It was great!

I'm having a hard time remembering what happened this if this ends up being a short and unexciting email I apologize now in advance.

This week the other pair of shimai (ed: sisters) moved out. They both were transferred to other areas. Our apartment seems much bigger now...and much quieter too. Because they left we inherited all of the people they were teaching. We are excited for what this week will bring. I'm really excited to get to teach the lady from the Philippines again! I loved her!

Friday, we went to eikaiwa (ed: English class) out in Goi. Thanks to our TV advertisement we had a lot more people there! And they had brought their kids too! We had enough to finally hold a kids eikaiwa class. It was tons of fun.

All the kids were so excited and happy to be there. They were all very smart too and caught on pretty quickly! Our theme that day was body parts. We sang head, shoulders, knees and toes. We started off slow and then sped up. They thought that was really fun. Then we had them 
draw a person. They ended up looking kinda funny...

And to end we played telephone. 

The first word we did was "belly button". So each of us whispered the word into the first two children's ears and they continued down their line. By the time it got to the parents at the end of each line, the word had been changed completely. As the adults had the word whispered to them they made the funniest faces! These were the results:

I also received a package from "home" kind of. It was a skirt that didn't find me in Utah before I left there. It fits perfectly and  I love it! Thank you Mama and Papa!

Editor's notes: In the background you can see a bit of her apartment. Note the size of the doorway. She must have to watch her head continually when entering and exiting buildings and rooms. Reminds me of Alice, in Wonderland!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What Happened To February????

3 March 2014 Chiba

Hello minasan!

This week has been a blast! There was beautiful weather ALL week. This week won't be as nice, but at least it has stopped snowing! The cherry and plum blossoms are starting to come out too. I cannot wait.
Everyone talks about how beautiful they are.

We got our transfer calls today! Orton shimai and I are staying in Oyumino!!!!! The other two are leaving.
This week has been a great week for Orton shimai and I as well. We have been meeting lots of amazing people in the park. Lots of obachans. They are our favorite. Little old ladies here are SO cute! Most of them come to about my armpit. They are so little! And they all like to take hula classes. They're pretty spunky too. We met a lady in the park on Friday who wants to come to church with us next week too!

How exciting is that?

And S San, who a few lessons ago, told us her least favorite place in the whole world to go Great. Well, we talked to her on the phone a day or two ago and she decided she wants to go to church with us too! What a miracle. I can't wait for next Sunday.

We planned for our week Sunday night and it's gonna be great. We have it packed full! There are lots of people for us to visit and find. I've recommitted myself to learning nihongo too...or decided I need to be A LOT more proactive in learning it. Instead of sometimes SYLing (Speak Your Language) we are doing it all the time. I've already seen a tiny improvement in my speaking.

So, there were takusan (many) funny...some even hilarious moments this week. Here are some of our favorites:

On our way back home from Shibuya we had quite the experience. True to Orton- Molinari shimai form we got on the wrong train and traveled at least 20 minutes the WRONG way. After we corrected our course, we rode the hour and 40 minutes back to Oyumino. On one of our trains we were sitting, completely exhausted from the day, when the very old man next to us said something in nihongo. I turned, not sure if he was talking to us and he burst into laughter! I jabbed Orton shimai a couple of
times and told her to say something. So she starts speaking in Nihongo and he responds in beautiful English. He explains that his wife asked him what he wanted for dinner. The problem: he didn't know what he wanted. For some reason he found that ridiculously funny as well. Not wanting to be rude we continued talking to him. He asked where we were from. When Orton shimai told him Michigan, he made a stink face and spent the next 15 minutes or so bashing Michigan...and laughing. We later found out he had been entertaining someone for work. While entertaining this person I think he may have a few too many drinks himself. Boy was he funny though..and he thought so too!

Then, at our last station before getting home we almost get on the wrong train again! Luckily we discovered we were on the wrong train BEFORE it left the station. We run to the other side of the station
and hop onto our train. There is barely enough room for us and then these old men decide to cram themselves in too! We are squashed! Orton shimai is basically on top of this other guy, and there is nowhere to move too. So the train goes and all is going well until the track curves  and everyone goes flying to the right. Up against the wall is one of the old men who decided to force his way in despite the lack of room. He was this tiny little man. As we all shift to the right he gets squashed against the door and makes one of the most un-nihonjin noises I've heard yet. And that noise was soooooo funny! Orton Shimai and I started snickering not so quietly. Then, after a few dirty looks from the other nihonjin men we stop laughing. Demo (ed. Note: but), Orton shimai is still snickering silently and gets to the point where she just can't hold it in any longer and snorts really loudly! The best part about her snort...or maybe the worst was that she sprayed spit!!!! And it landed on a man’s jacket!!!! And all the control I had just gained was lost and I burst into laughter again. The laughter continues until we got off the train. Luckily we probably won't see those men again...

And it's a good thing his jacket was water proof...

Later this week we had another run in with a drunk. He was in pretty bad shape. He kept bowing to us. Over...and over...and over... And apologizing for his drunkness. I kept nodding my head back and telling
him it was fine. I think that May have been why he kept bowing..ha ha He felt obligated to. Well, long story short, we gave him a word of wisdom pamphlet. And... He loved it!! Ha ha ha.

I rode my bike for the first time this week. Our 35 minute walk to the station got cut in half! Demo, I haven't ridden a bike in years so my thighs were really feeling it. I thought I would wake up sore the next
day but I woke up with no pain. Mission blessing! Orton shimai and I also have a slight problem- my bike goes MUCH faster than her little mamachati. Going up hills behind her doesn't work. I catch up and then
lose all my momentum! And then...I have to walk. But I learned my lesson quick and that won't be happening again!

Noodle Tying
So super funny story. I tied this piece of pasta and stuck it in my mouth, and I was gonna pull it out to impress sister Orton. But, I needed to make it look like I really tied it hahaha and when I pulled it out there were two knots!!!!

We went on companion exchanges on Saturday. I was with Requilman shimai. We had a good time. And we got to teach a lesson. We taught this super sweet lady from the Philippines. She has the cutest
children too!! Twins and a baby! We taught about temples and the blessing that come from going to the temple. I taught about all the things we could do I'm the temple. My favorite was telling her about temple marriages. When we get married in the temple we are sealed for time and all eternity. That means, even after we die we will still be with our husband and children! As I told her about it she lit up. It was a really nice lesson. I loved it. And I think she loved hearing about the temple too.

Well, that's all for this week. I love being a missionary! And I love this church. The best part is that I get a front row seat to watching it bless so many peoples’ lives. I don't know where I'd be without it.

Love you all!

Sister Molinari