Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Introduction to the Colombian MTC and Tanner's Daily Schedule

The CCM, or Colombian MTC. It is really, really small. There are only 51 missionaries in the CCM. 13 gringos, 3 Brazilians, and the rest Latinos. I am in district Amulek with 7 other missionaries. My companions name is Elder Flamm. He is from Utah, really nice, and he is a great comp overall. Many of the 13 gringos are really, really young. A lot of them are right out of high school. A lot look nervous and scared most of the time. I feel bad for them. In my opinion, one year at college is super helpful, but that is just me. I really like all of the gringos though. They are nice, sporty, and fun to be around. I would tell you about all of them but I just don't have enough time. Sorry.

As I said, the CCM is really small. Food is prepared by 2 people and is pretty good. There is A LOT of rice, rolls, and rice again. I don’t mind the food, but literally EVERYONE that is American has had diarrhea in the last 9 days. I do not know why, but everyone has so much gas. Garrett would die.

I will note two things about the food in particular. First is Granadia which is a weird looking fruit that you break open and slurp out the fish egg looking things that are inside. You don’t chew it, you just slurp. Not my favorite, but really interesting. And yes mom, I did try it. Then there is Colombiana which is a fantastic pop that tastes like bubblegum and Mountain Dew mixed. Sounds disgusting, but it is amazing. It rivals Mountain Dew.

During gym time, all we play is volleyball. There is a full sized basketball count inside the CCM, but Latinos don’t play basketball. Plus, both backboards are broken. The CCM is kind of a bit run down. There is a lot of construction going on right now. It never stops. It is fine though.

I don’t know if I mentioned this already, but my entire district lives in a very small room. 4 bunk beds and very little space. Mom, I know you told me not to, but I will inevitably be living out of my suitcase for the entire 6 weeks. There is just not enough space.

Literally, Bogota is paradise. It is maybe 70 to 75 F during the day and 50 to 55 F at night. It is super nice. I honestly feel cold more than I feel hot. It rains every day, but it is an extremely light rain. Not bad at all. It maybe lasts 30 mins. Bogota is usually cloudy, which I like. So we are good with the weather.  Also, so far there has been no bugs issues.

Bogota traffic is insane. Imagine NYC on Friday rush hour, but ten times worse. There are more motos than cars by far. No rules, no cops, no care is given to others. I am honestly surprised we did not see anyone killed on our way to the immigration office and temple. Speaking of which, the first day here, the other Elders staying in Colombia and me went to the immigration office. We sat in line for 4 hours. Miserable. Especially when the World Cup was on right in front of us. 

We went to the temple on Wednesday. It is surrounded by a big gate and guards, but it’s really, really beautiful. The session was in Spanish, so not as spiritual as I would have liked, but nice nonetheless. The celestial room was amazing though. 

Spanish is coming along pretty well. We literally taught a 25 minute lesson the 2nd day here!!! It was rough, don’t get me

wrong, but we did do it. The Gift of Tongues is real. No doubt in my mind. We are farther in 8 days than what I did in 3 years at Ridgefield High School. Understanding is hardest for me. Being around Latinos 24/7 is really hard, but it is helping. The CCM believes in complete Spanish immersion from the instant you get here. Only President and Sister Dyer (CCM President) can speak real English. Everyone else is really bad; even our teachers. Overall though, we are progressing, despite not know what is being said to me 98 percent of the time. Without Elder Slack, who is really good at Spanish, we would be in deep, deep trouble.

Our teachers are great though. They are excited, loving, and fun. They do their best to explain concepts in an interesting and understandable way. They are all returned missionaries from around Colombia. They are really, really great people.

Every day is somewhat different, but a somewhat typical schedule

Wake up at 6:30. 6:55 through 7:50 is Book of Mormon study in the chapel. 8:00 through 8:45 is breakfast. 8:45 through 10:00 is language study with a teacher. 10:00 through 11:00 is TALL (technology assisted language learning). 11:00 through 11:45 is personal study. 11:45 through 12:30 is study with your companion. 12:30 through 1:15 is lunch. By the way, lunch is the biggest meal of the day, by far. Dinner is very small in comparison to lunch. Anyways, 1:15 through 2:30 is grammar study with teacher. 2:30 through 3:30 is gym. 3:30 through 4:00 is get showered. 4:00 through 5:30 is Investigator Prep and teaching Pablo. 5:30 through 6:15 is dinner. 6:15 through 7:00 is doctrine class, in Spanish. 7:00 through 8:00 is more grammar study. 8:00 through 9:00 is more Spanish study with teacher. 9:00 through 9:30 is planning. 9:30 through 10:30 is get ready for bed and write in journal. 10:30 lights out. 

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