Despite coming up on my halfway point on my mission this next week, (Thanks mom and friends for reminding me so cruelly) this was a week of firsts!
1. First Quesadilla
This week I ate my first quesadilla in Japan. It wasn't easy neither! I had to make the tortillas from scratch because there literally aren't any outside of Costco and Peruvian markets. It was so good! I nearly cried. But I nearly cry for anything.
2. First Assumption
As my companion and I were sitting in a public place, some high school girls started talking about us, assuming we didn't speak any Japanese. This is the story you've all heard before! This is the experience I've been waiting my whole mission for. At one point, one of them said as I flipped my hair: "I want to touch it." So I spun around and said back in Japanese: "My hair? Go for it, friend!" The looks on their faces! It was everything I had imagined and more.
3. First Spanish Book of Mormon
I gave a Spanish Book of Mormon away! To a kid from Mexico here in Japan for a foreign exchange! But this story needs some build up. We actually surprised this kid by coordinating with his teachers and showing up at his school during his farewell party at lunch. This requires walking through a high school during class. It was raining that day (typical, now) and so there were something like eighty high school boys all in soccer uniforms between us and our destination. My companion and I were sandwiched between two teachers, but that did not stop these boys from breakin' their necks to get a look at us. These boys were stretching; they were in awkward positions, but they still made the humble effort to stare, drool a little, and bow their heads at us. It was the most hilarious thing I've ever seen. Every single one of them did the same thing, repeated down a long hallway of weirdness. I laughed so hard! One teacher apologized. But yes, our friend from Mexico took the Book of Mormon and asked us if our church is in Mexico! Brilliant!
4. First Gym Experience
Yes, you read that right. Sister Goldsberry who has never been to a gym outside my high school and the MTC went to a public gym in a foreign country. It was how I expected it: loads of familiar machines I hadn't seen in ages, people staring, and men approaching asking me if I need help working some muscle. BUT your prayers are working family. The employees are really great people and could turn into investigators one day and have become our friends. I was working out and there was a man staring me down pretty hard. He was too far away for me to accurately throw my shoe at him as my Brazilian companion would do but close enough to make me uncomfortable. Then, like an angel from God, one of our employee buddies walked over to him. She said something I couldn't hear but I imagine it was something along the lines of: "Aren't you gonna work out?" and he walked away all huffy. It was beautiful! I felt so loved!
5. First Spider Bite
Yeah I've had two get me on the same leg in the night and they're pretty gross. They explode like a big old zit and then pop and this clear liquid comes flowin' out. The next stage is the most painful as it reddens and the skin around it starts to peel like it's sunburned. Sometimes I'd wake up in the morning and feel so much pain as I flexed my calf I felt like I couldn't put weight on it. Then they flatten out, turn purple and stay on my leg as a scar. Gorgeous, really.
6. First Kazakhstanian
Am I spelling that right? Kazakhstan is a country below Russia. At a local high school they held a small party to welcome a bunch of new students from Kazakhstan. They all spoke perfect English and looked Japanese. I could have sworn on my pinky toe I had never heard of this country before but after watching their country's presentation and dancing along with them as if I was a Kazakhstanian myself, I want to travel their with my family.
7. First Time Someone Mistook Me for my Actual Ethnitcity
Yeah that was it. Some guy thought I only spoke Spanish and I was like : WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER. He's like the only one to get it right out of all the hundreds of people who've asked me.
8. First Time Teaching Primary
Okay so I did teach Primary last year but I had Sister G. and she was great with kids and Japanese (obviously). So I kept quiet. This week we flew solo, Sister M. and I. We just talked real slow and asked a lot of questions. At one point, I took off my tag and passed it around. After church, a little girl from before waved me down. She pointed at her own chest, where she had her own missionary tag. She was so happy and proud. Picture included.
9. First Full Length Mirror
I should have included this with my gym story but at this gym, in the locker rooms there are full length mirrors. Missionary apartments are lucky to have a full length mirror here in Japan. As I was getting dressed I was able to see my whole body at once and it mildly astonished me. Family I do not look the same as when I left! I've lost weight no doubt. We may not have a full length mirror in Chiba but we sure have a scale! But what I saw in the mirror was beyond description. It wasn't me! It was someone else for sure! I have a tiny sliver of new space between my thighs. My calves have elongated into a foreign shape. It was strange.
10. First Call from the New Mission President
I don't care how close you are with your mission president, you always worry when he calls. Then he asked the question of all questions:
"Sister Goldsberry, how good is your Spanish?"
After assuring him that my Spanish is miles ahead of my Japanese, I hung up and rejoiced. I have accepted this as a sign from God that I will be sent to Oizumi, the Portuguese/Spanish branch of the mission. I'm so excited! I love Chiba and Sister M, but this has been my dream since before I came to Japan!
11. First Reactivation
A beautiful family in the Ward is a host to all- kinds of foster kids. She hadn't been to church for a year before I came! But we came in, kicked her door down and started loving her and she came to church enough times to consider her reactivated! Woo! The best part? This family is currently adopting a new daughter, who came to church for the first time yesterday.
I had a lot more firsts this week but I love you all and I will see you soon!