Monday, September 28, 2009

First Impressions at the MTC

Hey everyone! Doing laundry again. REALLY hoping that my whites get white again. Cream colored shirts and garments are no bueno. Nearly all my white clothes were essentially ruined. Bleached 'em today, hoping for good results. Adjustment to the lifestyle continues. The dorms here are still four to a room. I got three jokers here, too. All of them had girlfriends when they went out. Elder Stewart just got his Dear John and now he's trying to reverse it with a "You're a distraction" letter. Elder Warburton just had a casual girlfriend. Elder Laidler, my companion, has a hardcore girlfriend he's been dating for years. She's out on her mission, too, though, so the down time will only be about seven months between them in two years. They seem really close, really, but I am curious to see what happens when she's off and he's not.

I understand most of what they do here and why they do it that way and only have minor problems with it. I'm still a bit of a loner out here, but I'm not too worried about it. Apparently, I already command a great deal of respect. Everyone seems to be very fond of me and my tactful reserve and occasional witty outburst, including my teachers, who are aware of what a rough time I'm having out here. We had an elder go home a couple of days ago due to psychological stress problems. Meds were illegal in Panama and they weren't curbing his anxiety. The leaders here decided to send him home after counseling with some therapists and psychologists and such. Nice kid, though.

Just so you guys know, I only get to check and write e-mail on Mondays, my P-days. I'm adjusting my diet as best I can. Lots of fruit. Trying to institute vegetables more. Actually ate a whole salad. Even more, a spinach one. I think I might actually like spinach. I don't like feta cheese, though. I learned that. That aside, I think my diet is fairly balanced and I'm trying to avoid fatty foods and desserts for the most part. I did finish off all the cookies, much to the happiness of my carb-cutting companions.

Every day for gym, I've been running 2 miles. I don't know if I'll do any weight training here, unlike my roommates who are determined to be ripped when they come home. As for my testimony's growth, things here are really hard for me. Almost everyone talks about how enveloped in the Spirit they are and here I am thinking I'm numb or something. But nevertheless, I press forward, for the Lord has made a promise.

Things are getting MUCH easier for me, though. I've been writing in my journal every day. Spanish is coming along fairly alright. I've relearned 80% of what I learned in High school, minus some of the vocabulary. With time, though, I think I'll be alright. Some of the other missionaries are getting really stressed over the Spanish. I think I'll have to sit down with them one-on-one at some point to help.

I'm glad to hear that my pride and joy machine is now neatly tucked away, although I wasn't too worried about it. And despite what Dad thinks, I better still have my colored shirts tucked away, too! My companion had an ingrown toe nail. I got to accompany him to a foot doctor and watched him kill some of the root. Took pictures for him too. I'm not sure how to send you all pictures nor can I open the pictures Riss sent me on their computers. You'll have to send actual pictures. The only way I can send you guys pictures is if I have them printed. Is that what you guys want? Speaking of which, I'd appreciate it if I got a picture of you guys. My bulletin board is empty and I think my roomies need to see how brown my Dad is.

Well, I think that covers most of the week. Hoping my clothes are white again.

Your Missionary in Training
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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