Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Welcome to South America

When we are in class, we are supposed to be with our North American companion (Hermana Norton and Hermana Giles) and outside the classroom, we are supposed to be with out native companions. 
My native companion is Hermana Lepez. 
She is 33 years old, and is from Argentina.  Since she is from Argentina, she has a sing-song accent that I am not the biggest fan of and it is rubbing off on me.  On night, she wanted to talk about why I was on a mission and was not married.  Aye!!  I told her my story the best I could, and then she told me her story.  She had a boyfriend, who had three kids and was a major player (story of my life).  He proposed to her, and she said no and decided to come on a mission. 
To my knowledge, she is the oldest sister missionary here and probably the most mature, which is ironic because I feel like I am the most immature missionary here.  I have introduced the game Ninja to the CCM here in Peru, and that has caused quite the riot, and I have taught the other hermanas here to start a beatbox band.  They love when I willingly make a fool of myself. 
My companion loves to sleep, as do I, but I am a lot better at getting up on time, she, on the other hand, is not.... And you know how I hate waiting for people to get ready. 
I do not understand most of what she says because she uses big Spanish words, and when I tell her I did not understand anything she just said, she talks sssssssssllllllllloooooooooowwwwwwwweeeeeeerrrrrrr (slower), and I do not know how to explain to her that it does not matter how slow she talks, I still will not be able to understand her.  And when we teach, she will give me random scriptures to teach, most of which have nothing to do with the subject we are teaching.  It is kind of amusing... We will be teaching about the Word of Wisdom, and she tells me that I need to read and discuss some random Scripture in Nephi that talks about destruction.  I do not know if she is messing with me, or if she is serious.
But, despite her sleeping in and using huge Spanish words, she is the nicest person I have ever met.  She is just so kind to everyone.  She is always comforting others when I know that being here for her is hard.  She misses her family and country, but she is really strong.  She is an awesome missionary.

Yesterday, during our gym time, some Latin elders tried teaching Hermana Norton and me how to play soccer.  I will not name any names, but SOMEONE back home always said they were going to teach me how to play soccer back in my pre-mission life, but never did.  So these wonderful elders took it upon themselves to stand around and laugh at us when we attempted to kick the ball in the goal.  It was so much fun.  And even though I could never make a goal, they were impressed with how hard I could kick it. 
The elders here are really friendly, whenever we walk down the hallway, they always stop to say hi and shake our hand.  Our first day here, they tried to take pictures of us without us know it... We totally knew what they were up to... BUT, no worries, they are a lot less creepy now.

This morning, we went outside the CCM, took a bus, and found our way to the Lima Temple.  It was so wonderful!!  The drivers in Lima are like twice as bad as the drivers in Grenada.  We had to run across roads with speeding cars coming at us, and take a bus that already was too full. It was so great, though.  I love it here.  After the temple, we walked to a little Walmart-like store to buy some stuff that we needed.  All the locals just stared at us, and would gather around to tell us there names, it was a little strange.  I was not mugged or anything, though!!

The temple was tiny and beautiful, and we had to wear those little translator headphones, and we had to speak in Spanish during the whole session, which I was really stressed out about, but it all worked out.  Everyone was so nice and helpful!!

P.S.
I have taken pictures down here, and was going to download them, but I do not have one of those usb/sd card adaptors.
I was the only one who had mail when we got here, everyone hated me.
My pdays are Wednesday.
I almost decided to come home due to my hair being totally out of control, fortunately, I found an outlet that works with my hair appliances.
I have quite a few breakdowns due the the Spanish language, people probably think I am bipolar.
The food here is amazing!  The dessert is awful.  When Hermana Norton and I ate the last of our American chocolate, we almost cried.  Pathetic, I know.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I AM IN PERU!!

So, our flight landed in Peru THIS MORNING at 2:00 a.m., then we did the whole customs and immigration thing and was greeted by a few missionaries and a large bus.  They told us that we would be taking the bus to the CCM (MTC), and it was about 45 minutes to an hour drive.  As we started driving, the area right around the airport was extremely ghetto - garbage all over the streets, graffiti, and run down buildings.  It was kind of scary.  I kept thinking what did I get myself into?  But then we saw this beautiful building and Hermana Norton said I wish we were living there.  And her wish came true.  We live in a nice little complex with large fences and security guards.  They gave us our keys, told us where our rooms were, and sent us off to bed.

We carried our luggage up to the second floor and found our room, (my companions and I are in the same room) we were hoping that no one was in there since it was four in the morning and we did not want to wake anyone up, but we were not that lucky.  We opened the door and we saw three people in the bunk beds wake up and look at us.  So we left our luggage in the hallway, changed, brushed our teeth, and tried to climb onto our top bunks quietly.  But, again, we were not that lucky.  The beds are so loud!!  It was ridiculous how squeaky they were.  All I could do was laugh to myself that this is my life for the next 18 months.  The beds had a stack of sheets on it, but I did not want to keep moving around, so I just laid down and fell asleep.

In the morning, I was awaken to the Spanish language. Our three new companions were getting up and talking to each other.  I sat up, half asleep and said hola, and all the nice-to-meet-you stuff I know, then they started getting into the complicated Spanish that I did not understand, so I awkwardly laid back down and fell asleep.  They woke us up a little while later telling us to come with them, but it was only seven in the morning, and we were so tired.  So we told them no, and that our schedule said that we could sleep until nine.  And then they left, and we fell back asleep.  (But that was after we met our new companions. My new companion is Hermana Lepez from Argentina I think.)

A short while later, they came back and brought us breakfast in bed!....  Breakfast in bed included a hot dog and an apple with a part cut off of it.  It was so sweet of them, but I had to laugh.  You know how I feel about hot dogs, and how it weirds me out when people give me half eaten fruit.  Then they told us to get ready and come with them.  We showered quickly, got dressed, and ran off with them to do some paperwork stuff.

After the paperwork, they told us we could email our families, but our Latina companions wanted us to sit in a circle with them and read the Book of Mormon, so we did.  But we did not read.  We just sat around talking to each other the best we could.  It was so fun, we were all laughing and understanding most of what each other was saying.  AND GUESS WHAT!!  A nice, outgoing local taught me how to roll my RRs.  I am basically Latin now.  Kristen would be so proud.
And I guess that brings us to right now, I am just emailing.  And trying not to fall asleep.

Right now, it is perfect outside, there is a mist in the air that makes it feel like it is raining, and my hair is going wild, but I just love it.  I am wearing short sleeves, and all the locals keep asking me if I am cold.  All the South Americans are dressed in sweaters and us silly Americans are wearing our summer clothes. 
The buildings we are living in are like the buildings CeCe lives in down in Grenada, tile all over the place, BUT warm showers without having to turn on a water warmer.  The lights still flicker for a little while before coming all the way one.  They told us we can drink all the water here at the CCM, but not out of the gardening hose.  Dang it.  So far, I have only had part of an apple and a bite of a hot dog, so I am not sure how the rest of the food is, people in the airplane kept saying how great the food in Peru is though.

Someone just told me I am writing too much, so I better go!
So far, everything is great!!

Love you all,

Hermana Stacia Ellis

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Family,
     In Sacrament Meeting, our zone gets together and two lucky missionaires get to get up and give a talk in Spanish for 3 to 5 minutes... and these missionaries don't know who is giving the talks until the Branch President announces it after th partaking of the Sacrament.
     Today, I prayed TWICE that I wouldn't have to give a talk.  I tried to look as pathetic and sad as possible all day and guess what!!  I was one of the lucky missionaires!  My heart was racing when they said my name.  They asked me to go first, so I went up there and started out the worst talk of my entire life with, "Como se dice (how do you say) I KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!"  And I faintly remember pounding the pulpit as I said it.  Everyone laughed at my pain, happy they weren't in my position.  Then I started saying all the Spanish words I had wrote down on a piece of paper (I coped it out of Preach My Gospel.)  Halfway through what I had prepared, I had enough.  So I stopped.  Looked up.  And finished with my Spanish testimony.  And ran off the stage, and while doing so, I tripped!!!  Okay, just kidding!  I did not trip.  My fellow missionaries were wonderful and gave me loads of compliments.  I am glad I was asked to do it, but it terrified me in the moment.
     Today we went on a temple walk and stupid Elder MaCrae (my zone leader) stole my camera and took tons of pictures of himself.  He is constantly telling me to stop being so flirty.  Thanks, Chey!
     Today my companions and I gave a lesson in English to our district.  It was nice, it reminded me of Gospel Doctrine and I missed it.  Spanish kills me.  I am getting better though!  I can actually share somethings about the gospel.  It is cool.
     When you get this, I will probably be on my way to Peru!  My goodness, where did these past 3 weeks go?
     Tell CeCe that I am sorry I have not sent her a letter, but I will send postcards when I get to South America!  South America - can you believe it?!

Okay, talk to you later!

Stacia Ellis

Here at the MTC, we have the opportunity to take 'Attribute Assessment' tests to see what we are strong in, and what we can work on - I have three thing I need to work on.  Would you like to take any guesses?  Charity, patience and humility.  I'm sure you are all shocked.
     Monday, after teaching Spanish t our teacher who was pretending to be a fake investigator, he gave us a little missionary coaching.  He was super nice, and asked if it would be possible for us to combine the principle of teaching with the principle of not being awkward.  He went on to say he could feel us building a wall of awkwardness with our eyes.  I have no idea where he comes up with these things.
     The next day, Tuesday, the most amazing thing happened.  We were teaching another lesson and I COULD SPEAK SPANISH!!  I was actually forming sentences and getting my point across.  I was also able to help my companion when she was unable to figure out how to finish a thought she started.  Everyone was amazed, especially considering how hard Spanish has been for me.  I felt like it was just a miracle.  But, as quick as it came, my Spanish skills left.  Wednesday's lesson was miserable and I could barely understand anything or say anything.

Emails 5/17/12

Well, I need the black sweaters, but I also am hating ALL my shirts, and an elder makes fun of me because I wear strips constantly.  But I just don't know what else I have at home.  I can email multiple times a day as long as it is under 30 minutes.  I don't have Sandy's email with me...

I talked to a lady at the temple today who was about mid-20's and she went to my mission.  She told us a lot of stuff about the weather.  And I will be sending my boots and most my sweaters at home.

I need hangers!  I didn't bring any to the mtc, but they had some leftover ones here.  I dont' know if they will have them in Peru.

Also, i don't have a blanket.  Do you think the peru mtc will have one?  I just am not sure.... I don't really want to pack one, but I just dont' know...

Later that day

Okay, I need the two black sweaters.  And maybe a few cute shirts that I wore a lot if you can find any in my room.  I need like a dozen hangers.  And if you send a blanket, send a THIN one.  They have blankets here at the mtc we use.  They are are thin, and sometimes I get too hot wearing them.  So I don't know...

Some treats.  I am not going to get breakfast the morning I leave, and I don't want to spend my money.
Guess what!  I have lost FOUR pounds.  That is awesome considering all the food I am eating!  One of my companions gained weight.

All the emails today are boring, sorry.
When I went to the temple, I did not see any sidewalk chalk.  And that is against the rules.... So if Andrew did do that, they probably would have cleaned it off.
If you want to come to the airport, that is against the rules too, but I do not care if you break that rule.

I don't remember what questions you asked.... Sorry.
I hate having timed computer time... It makes me all awkward and I cannot focus.

OH!  I need desperately some undershirts from shade/downeast.  The ones that have lower neck lines and cap sleeps.  You know what I am talking about?  I need them for undershirts.  Black and white.  They usually sell them in the bookstore here, but they don't have any.  If you have time, could you pick a black one and a white one?  I don't even know where you would find those.

Story time:  The other day, I told an elder in my frustration I was going to draw on his face.  My sweet companion corrected my rude words into "She is going to draw a picture of your face."  So that night, I asked Hermana Giles to draw Elder Heaps' face.  She started drawing him, and had a camera with a recent picture we all took together zoomed up on his face when the wife of a member of our branch presidency came to visit us. And Hemana Giles just kept drawing.  The branch president was about to leave, but wanted to get a closer look, so she did, and said, "Oh, are you drawing your boyfriend?  Oh!... That is one of our elders!"  It just got so awkward as Hermana Norton and I tried to explain the situation.
The next day, we gave him the picture.  A few hours later, he awkwardly walked into our classroom, looked at me, held up a piece of paper, walked towards me, gave me the piece of paper, said, "Don't open it until I leave the room."  And walked away.  One the folded paper, it said, "To: Hermana Ellis".  And inside he had sketched a picture of my face and wrote me a little note.  Haha the drawing was horrible!!  I just started laughing and then looked up to see him standing in the doorway with an amused face.  It was hilarious.  His name is Elder Heaps and he is my age and is going on his mission to Mexico and leaves the day before I leave for the Peru mtc.  He is a cool kid.

I am sending home a memory card before I leave for Peru.  Tell Dad not to judge me or the elders in the videos/pictures.  Missionaries just want to have fun!!
Okay, I have to go!!

Love you,
Stacia



Sunday, May 12, 2012

     Today is Mother's Day.  It is about 8:00am and I am laying in bed rather than sitting in my classroom studying because I feel like I am near death.  The stress from the language (plus the herbs not quite helping me out) was more than I could bare this morning.  I feel like I am being punished - not only can my mind not comprehend the fundamentals of Spanish, but now my body is refusing to cope with all the pressure I am putting on myself.  Yesterday, I would have burst into tears multiple times if it hadn't been for Elder Daniels sitting right next to me, telling me jokes throughout classes / study times.
     Last night / this morning, I have hit an absolute rock bottom.  I don't think I have ever been this emotionally distraught in my entire life.  And this morning I feel guilty that I could not attend my meetings, and I am making one of my companions miss Sunday meetings because I cannot be left alone.
     But then I started reading and studying my patriarchal blessing, the scriptures, past conference talks; and I realized that even though I only know simple phrases in Spanish, that's okay.  God's elite, the people who are ready and waiting for me specifically will not need complex testimony bearing / arguments to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that his church has been restored again in it's fullness though Joseph Smith.  They will recognize the truth through the small and simple testimonies that I am able to share with them.  And I am promised in my time of need all that is needful, even when needed, the words I should speak.  And right now, the words I should speak are simple.
    I am thankful that I am able to be serving a mission right now.  I feel so much more love and compassion towards others right now than I have ever felt in my entire life.  I am starting to find so much goodness in my companions and all the other sisters & elders that I meet.
     I am overwhelmingly thankful to the Lord for the love, support and calling he has given me.  I am thankful for the reminder in the Book of Mormon when Nephi says, "The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)
     I am grateful that the Lord shows so much love to me, especially during trials.  I was reading Elder Holland's pas General Conference talk, and his word of, "Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it, " really hit me.  How wonderful that we are loved so deeply by the creator of the universe!  How amazing is it that we have the support and confidence of the Most High Being?  I have come to the conclusion that even though life seems very difficult and occasionally lonely right now, this is the best time to be alive, we are blessed to be on the earth with the Gospel restored to it's fullness.  The Lord is concerned for us, He loves us and if we follow the example of Christ, we will be able to return to His glory.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to share this message with the people of Ecuador.

I love you all,
Stacia

It is now 11:00 am and I am feeling much better.  I have a feeling that I was meant to stay in bed this morning.  I have felt more personal inspiration than I have since I came to the MTC, and Hermana Giles really opened up to me and told me all about her family and I realized I judged her too quickly.
All is well at the MTC.

Hermana Ellis

It is now almost 2:00 pm, and I feel a lot better but the Coordinating Sister in my zone told e to rest and not go to any meetings until the Sunday Night Devotional.  I feel stupid when I feel sick.
     Do you want to hear something weird / awkward?  There is an Elder here in my zone (my class is a district and my zone is made up of a few districts / classes that are learning Spanish.  We have Sacrament meeting together.)  This Elder is a little bit quiet, and we always make awkward eye contact.  Yesterday I found out he was my age and also, yesterday as my companions and I were walking back to our dorms, he yelled to us.  I was the only one of us to turn around, and he said, "I need a picture with you!"  Which, I mean, doesn't surprise me - my companions and I get along well with all the Elders.... But then I started thinking... whenever we made the awkward eye contact, he was always looking at me first.  And now I am just way awkwarded out.  This is probably just because I am now super paranoid since Hermana Norton told me that she thinks Elder Daniels flirts with me.  And I also don't want these elders to think I'm flirting with them.  Oh, listen to me - I am so childish.... I guess that means I am all better.

Love you,
Stacia

I have more to say....
     When I finally was able to go up and study in the room, the elders asked me if I wanted a blessing.  I said yes.  And they told me I had to pick who I wanted to give the blessing, and whoever I picked it meant that I liked him the most.  I think my district leader wanted me to ask him, he was already standing by me, and I adore him, Elder Magill, but I decided to ask an Elder Harris to give me a blessing - he is awesome and reminds me of people back at home.  It was an amazing blessing about how much Heavenly Father loves me and called me to Ecuador for a reason which is funny because just hours earlier I was certain that Heavenly Father hated me and wanted me to go home.  Another elder wrote me a little note saying, "Hermana Ellis!  You need to get well soon!  Your smiling face always brings joy when you're around!  I'm praying for you to feel better.  Your friend in the work, Elder Austin Howarth."  Being here at the MTC is wonderful.
     Today I was wondering why I was experiencing so much hardship here, because, I mean, I don't feel like I am a horrible person.  I actually feel like I am ready for a mission - or I felt I was ready.  I came to the conclusion I'm being prepared for something great, like the Lord is preparing me to speak to congregations of the righteous. 
     Okay, enough about me....  let's talk about what YOU can send me.
-wheat thins
-gummy worms
-my black sweaters
     Guess what!  I have not had one headache here.  Amazing, huh?  Also, I do not crave chocolate here.  The only candy I eat is fruity candy, and I can only stand a little bit of that at a time so that is great.

Love you,

Stacia

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

First Email from Provo MTC

So it is finally my Prep Day, and I get to use my email!!

Guess what!!  I got my TRAVEL ITINERARY!!  So I am leaving the Provo MTC May 22, 2012 and saying hello to Peru.  I am really excited about that.  I love it here, but I just will be happy to get out. My companions are on a different flight than I am to Atlanta, so I get to travel with two awesome elders in my district, Elder Clinger and Elder Pierce, and then meet back up with them for our flight to Peru.
I have two companions, Sister Giles and Sister Norton. They are both amazing, and I love them a lot. Sister Norton and I can tell what the other is thinking just by looking at each other, it seems like we have been friends for a long time - she is so hilarious! And Sister Giles (the one from my single's stake) is really sweet - she laughs more than anyone I have ever met in my life!!

So, you may have gathered from my letter home that I was having a little bit of trouble loving others, because, let's face it, I am kind of a jerk.  Well, just so you know, I am working on it.  I have had a really good talk with one of my companions that made me realize why she is the way she is.  And I realized I just need to be more compassionate.

The elders in my district and zone are the best!!  So funny.  Last night, my companions and I just sat around in a computer lab with some elders from our zone laughing about all the Spanish mistakes we have made here at the MTC.  Last week, I was "teaching" an elder to pray in Spanish, I tried telling him he had to "bow his head and close his eyes", but instead of saying EYES, I said the Spanish word for EGGS which, apparently, is slang for something else... It was so awkward.  He just busted up laughing, and I pretty sure I just turned bright red and gave up on Spanish for the day.

Oh, and I think you might have misunderstood my letter. I taught a lesson, or rather TRIED to teach a lesson in Spanish my first Friday in the MTC. So, about two days into it, they were expecting us to speak full sentences. And that was pretty depressing. After my second lesson on Saturday, I just burst into tears. I was so discouraged and frustrated. And I just wanted to go somewhere English speaking. But, since then, my Spanish has not gotten any better, but I decided that I will just keep practicing.

So, good news - a young man named Scott in my single's ward sent me a box of doughnuts.  It was completely unexpected, but my district, roommates, and were happy about it, we ate them before and after Fast Sunday.   Scott joined the church when he was 22, and pretty much told the best jokes in my Sunday School class.  I was walking up the stairs with my companions right after the doughnuts were deliver, and Erik had written me a letter on the same day, so in the echoing stairwell, my companion, Sister Norton, yelled, "HERMANA ELLIS HAS FIVE BOYFRIENDS WRITING HER!!!"  Usually I would have been kind of embarrassed, but then I realized that I don't even know these people, and I'll probably never see them again.  Whenever I get a letter from you, mom, I tell them it is another random boy.  They have stopped believing me.

P.S. I leave the MTC at 6:00 a.m. on May 22 and my flights are as follows:
Delta Airlines 1500 - Leaving SLC @ 9:40 a.m. arriving in Atlanta, GA @ 3:30 p.m.
Delta Airlines 151 - Leaving Atlanta, GA at 5:20 p.m. arriving in Lima, Peru @ 11:05 p.m.

I have a lot that I want to send home, so if you send the stuff I mentioned in the letter in a good sized, medium box, I would be thankful!!  Mostly just the sweats, toms, and blue scriptures.  And maybe even some small treats for the trip to Peru.  And the lindt chocolate!

May 10, 2012

Dad, Mom and Family,

So guess what!  I am stupid and lost those stamps you gave me.  I hope I didn't mail them to someone.  They are probably somewhere in my stuff.

I have made it a whole week of long days without a nap, and I feel pretty good.  I didn't even take a nap on my P-day, though one of my companions did.

Here at the MTC, all the days just blend together - it is kind of ridiculous.

5/11/12
Today, my district planned a 'NO ENGLISH' day or 'ENGLISH IS A SIN' day.  And it is horrible.  Since I don't speak Spanish, I am just sitting around listening to people trying to put random words into sentences.  We played volleyball this morning for gym and since no one talked, the game was all over the place.

With the next package - all the stuff isn't urgent, but could you please send me a few pencils and 2 spiral notebooks - college rule?  The notebooks I have are not working out for me.  I have not had a chance to pick up the package you sent yesterday.  The package that someone sent earlier to me was just some doughnuts.  Oh, and could you send me like five large ziplock bags?  And I think that's all I left out from the email.

Thank You!

I have to go.  Tell Dad and Mike I love them.

Love you,

Stacia

May 4, 2012

I get the most mail out of my district, so thank you!
Erik has sent me a DearElder everyday too.  (My companions hate me.)
So, I am only suppose to write on P-days, which is Thursday - I didn't have one this past week though.  And no Mother's Day call.
So, finally
-my P day is Thursday
-write me
-send me the stuff I listed, please... I got a card that said I had a package today
-I leave the Provo MTC May 22
-and I do love it here, I just wish I was going to somewhere that speaks English.

I love you all,
Hermana Ellis

May 3, 2012

I just read all the letters sent to me (we just got the first and only mail delivery so far).   I had a lot from Mom, Andrew and surprisingly Erik.  What was in the letter from Erik?  Oh, just a lovely promise ring.  Just kidding Dad, stop getting red in the face.

My biggest struggle here is feeling so stupid when it comes to Spanish - the rest is bueno (good).  But tonight, I met with one of my District Presidency members and he said, "Spanish?  Don't worry about it - the Holy Ghost speaks all languages."  Even though I feel so slow, I know the Holy Ghost wouldn't leave me in a time of need, and the Lord loves me too much to let me fail.

So, my first night at the MTC... I definitely cried, but only for 2 minutes, in my dark room before I feel asleep.  While I really like it here, I feel so alone.  And Spanish is frustrating.  It is really strange - while I do feel very alone, I feel a lot of love and support which keeps me together.

I might end up punching someone in the face, so, who know, I might come home early.

Guess who I just saw - Vai (from high school student gov).  It was great seeing someone I know here.  Oh, and guess who is Senior Companion, no not Hermana Norton or Giles - yes, me!  Actually, when they were assigning seniors I was saying "Please not me, please not me," in my head.  Then he asked me if I'd be the Senior Comp.  Personally, I don't care, but I think both my companions were disappointed.  Then he tells us he went off the alphabet, not inspiration, so no one should be offended or get a big head.

Today, we were talking to some Elders who are learning Portugese (uh... I can't spell) and some Spanish Elders told us that wasn't allowed since Spanish is better.  I hate boys.

First Letter Home

May 2, 2012
Hola Familia!
Let me take you on my emotional road trip of today.
Base reading.  Up one point to arrive at the MTC.  Down two points to walk into Spanish class.  Down one point to realize I don't know Spanish.  Down one more point to realize I have to learn Spanish.  Up two point to ate some ice cream.
If I wasn't learning a new language, I would be in Heaven!  Spanish is so horrible for my mind!  I can understan what people are saying most of the time, but I'm hopeless when it comes to trying to say it.
I have two companions, we are all going to the same mission.  One, Sister Giles, from my Singles Ward Stake started a sentence with, "My Stake President warned me about getting along with my companions, and I was like, come on, I'm the easiest person to...."  Then she stopped when she glanced my direction at that point.  I hope I wasn't making an 'are you freaking kidding me' face.  My other companion, Sister Norton, is awesome, and the best part about her is that she keeps introducing herself as "Elder Norton."  I literally fell to the ground laughing the second time she did it.  She is just this cute little blonde that is really friendly.  So it is hilarious when she introduces herself as a man.  Both of my companions are from Utah.  Sister Giles is 23 and Sister Norton is 21.  We are rooming with two Sisters (Parker and Evans) who have been here for a week and we going to Tiawan (or however you spell it.)
I have so much I want to ship home!  I way over packed.  And I have stuff I want.  Namely, my sweats (gray), my white, brown and red TOMs, and that's probably it, but I'll let you know I guess.  Well, and my water bottle.
I like it here.  I mean, I love the gospel - learning about it, talking about it, sharing it.... the only trial I am having is that ridiculous language.  I used to be comforted thinking about the future, six months down the road, thinking Ill be in Ecuador with one companion, sharing the gospel, speaking Spanish.... but I don't know, Spanish isn't my forte, and it depresses me.  I guess it is only the first day, so whatever.
I am going to sleep now, but I am okay - I actually really like it here.
I love you all,
Stacia, ooops, (awkward)
Hermana Ellis
PS  My departure date from this MTC is May 22nd.  Also, it is weird because both my companion's departure dates are like June 6th.  Strange.  And my estimated mission completion date is November 19m 2013.