Let me start off by saying this keyboard is so confusing and I keep hitting the wrong buttons (stupid French, right) and I can't find the question mark key to save my life, so I apologize in advance!
First things first... Birthdays! I know Aunt Bonnie's was sometime this week, right (question mark). If so HEY I FOUND THE QUESTION MARK??? That's confusing, you have to press shift+6. Great, I can't even type in Canada. But HAPPY BIRTHDAY BONNIE!!!!!!!!!
And Happy Mother's Day to the best mommy in the world. Seriously, how did I get so lucky to get that babe. Mamacita, thanks for giving me food, and giving me the best 7 younger siblings in the whole world, and thanks for sending me camera chords when I get to the MTC and realize I never packed one. HEY EVERYONE I LOVE MY MOM.
Okay, since I didn't do this last P-Day, and then my P-Day got skipped last week, I have 3 quotes of the week for you:
1. Sister Starkie--at dinner in the MTC: "I wish I could actually eat! Like Sister Lewis! Sister Lewis, how do you EAT that much?!?!" (my face was seriously too stuffed full of food to answer her. Fun fact for future missionaries: there's a scale in the gym under building 2M. Do not use it, because you'll realize on the anniversary of your first week in the MTC that you gained 10 pounds in 7 days off of cafeteria 19-year-old boy food. Seriously 10 pounds. True story. Guys, this is real.)
2. Sister Falaula--in dorms, pillowtalking one night, arguing about snoring: "No, no, snoring only happens when your mouth is closed, because the snores come out your nose and ears." The rest of us: "........HAHAHAHAHA WHO TOLD YOU THAT."
3. Elder Fortier (from Quèbec, so he speaks French)--at dinner with President and Sister Leavitt: "Oh. I need to go get something from the kitchen (comes back in wearing an apron)." President Leavitt: "What's that for?" Elder Fortier: "It's to protect my skirt from my food." Sister Starkie: "Protect your what?" Elder Fortier: "My skirt." He told me he always confuses "shirt" and "skirt" in English hahaha, I've never heard Sister Starkie laugh harder, she adores the "Frenchies".
So whoever told me Canada is just like America is so full of it!!!!! I am experiencing culture shock here like crazy. I can't get used to it. Everyone speaks French all the time, when you buy food at the store it's in French (like my stinkin biscuits à la crème oatmeal... disgusting), and everyone's ENGLISH accents are weird. But I'll talk about the language in a second. Back to culture shock. One of the weirdest things is the streets and driving. Canadians here think of traffic lanes as merely "convenient". Seriously, they're nice if the streets are busy, but hey, don't use them if you don't feel like it. The drivers here are super nice (which means I have to stop being a rude Utah driver haha), and everyone drifts all over lanes in the road. It's crazy. And on my first day in Halifax, this less active we were teaching said, "It was 20 degrees, and I was outside all day, so I got sunburned." WHAT ARE YOU SAYING WHO ARE YOU YOU MEAN YOU GOT FROST BITE. Yeah, I'm having trouble converting my head to Celcius. Also I had a heart attack of excitement when on my way to Moncton, the speed limit sign said 110 and I said to Sister Hart (new comp) "WHY WON'T THEY LET US DRIVE LIKE THAT IN UTAH." Ohyeahthatsinkilometers.
Ok the guy sitting next to me in the Moncton library just flipped off his computer and now I'm scared.
Our first day in Halifax (), we got to go to the Halifax temple!!! It's not actually in Halifax, it's in a town between Halifax and Dartmouth called Cole Harbour. In fact, go Google map it--you'll see the stake center right next to it. Try to figure out which is bigger--the stake center or the temple hahaha. Seriously, it's this huge debate amongst missionaries here. No one can figure out which one is bigger! So maybe if you Google map it, you can tell from your angle:)
So I don't know if anyone outside my family knows this, but I'm in Moncton, New Brunswick!!!!! And it looks like I'll be the first French speaking Sister in the history of the mission! Right now I'm studying this MTC French book Elder Call gave me (senior missionary in my area) and reading the BOM and Bible en français. Elder Fortier gave me the French Bible as a gift. "Seesterr Lewis, I want to give to you a, umm, cadeau (I can't find the circumflex accent for that... there is one, right?). Thees ees a Bible, umm, en French, and you keep it and learn to speak, umm, French." What a sweety yo. So I've read the first part of Genesis 1 haha. It's actually really cool. Elder Fortier explained to me that already in French, he has a hard time comprehending things he reads because, as he says, "French ees umm, compleecated but when I read the umm, Bible, I understand nothing." Haha I am experiencing a similar feeling... But yeah. On the plane from Dallas to Toronto, we were seated next to each other and he gave me this giant Canadian French lesson, which messed with the French in my head, and now I'm just confused about life. But now I know some good slang words. Ugh I was just about to put an evil smiley face in here, but I can't find the right buttons, hate my life. Just kidding I don't hate my life, I'm in love with it.
So no one told me there were 8 kinds of French in Canada! Quèbecois, Acadien, Shiaque (actually I have no clue how to spell that, I just threw in some French-looking syllables to make myself seem smart instead of spelling it "Shee-ak" like it sounds haha). But Shiaque* or whatever is the French version of Spanglish--just throwing French and English words together to create confusion and distress for semi-French-speaking Sister missionaries, who are too busy to buy good food, who have to live off of cookies and cream oatmeal:(
The Elders I work with are French-speaking (but it's their second language) and they're incredible. So I'm in Riverview, the Calls are in Moncton, and the Elders are in Dieppe. Their names are Elders Nzojibwami and Waldie, and we get to teach lessons together and work together a lot. In fact, we're all about to go to Quizno's for lunch, I bet you wish you were us!!!!! But seriously, they're incredible missionaries. Elder Nzojibwami is from Alberta and he's been out 9 months I think, and Elder Waldie's from Colorado. He's been a member for 17 months (LOOK AT HOW COOL HE IS) and he's been on his mission for a total of about 4 months (so he's not done being trained). Love working with them. We feel lucky we get to be so close to them and the Calls.
The New Brunswick accent. Is so cool. "Everywhere" is really pronounced "everrwers" with really hard Rs. Everyone sounds either Irish or Scottish. It's especially hard to understand seniors because their accents tend to be thicker. But they also pronounce "pasta" like a hick haha, which I'm trying to get used to because EVERYONE talks about pasta, all the time. And they say "aboat" and "oatsiiide". And you know our unreleased Ts in words like "right"? They pronounce it "rrauiightt" haha I don't know how you'd spell that. But it's weird. Lots (which would be pronounced "loats") of people are difficult to understand sometimes. Especially when they throw weird French vocab into the Scottish English. This place is crazy, people.
Oh! Before I forget, here's my new address:
Sister Amber Lewis
712 Coverdale Rd #108
Riverview, NB E1B 0E2
So SEND ME LETTERS, PEOPLE. I have an always-reply policy, so I swear I'll reply, even to creepy love letters from my fan club of men at home. It might take a while because there are a few mission rules regarding writing letters, but I swear I'll always respond:) So let me hear from you!!! I was so blessed in the MTC... My final tally was about 32 letters and 6 packages. I'm one lucky girl. But have I received a single letter since I got to Canada? No sir. Not one (that's what Uncle Vernon says in Sorcerer's Stone. No post). So people, write me, I'm a missionary and ah miss mah howme.
My ward is amazing. I got to meet a ton of people yesterday and I was overwhelmed with love for them ("I felt an overwhelming feeling of love..." If you get that, smile at the computer, and if you don't get that, just move on). A lot of the members have a lot of serious emotional problems, but it just makes me that much more excited to serve them. I got to speak in church yesterday and I expressed my love for them because I'm sittin over here bouncing up and down in my seat dying of love. Okay this doesn't make any sense. But we're really excited because the Elders came up with an idea to reactivate the YSA here (only about 5 of 25 are active) and this week we're starting YSA activities for them. They're all awesome! (Even creepy ones who don't treat you like a Sister missionary!)
I MISS MY FAMILY. I MISS MY FRIENDS. A lot. I miss the MTC. So a couple shout-outs here... If I have brilliant nicknames for you like Q or Am1 or Lover Boy or Pat or Reese-Reese, and especially if you're leaving on a mission this month... Y'all better e-mail me or something dang it. And good luck serving!!!!! It's the hardest thing ever, and also the best.
I miss the piano too. Someone go play songs for me, I miss it like crazy. And the violin while you're at it. Thank you.
There's a bunch more to say, but this is already 3 miles long. LOVE YOU ALL! And sorry, family, since I rambled about a lot of this stuff yesterday already:)
* Chiac. We looked it up.
** Here's a video example of some French Sister Lewis might be hearing.
** Here's a video example of some French Sister Lewis might be hearing.