I need to find out how to do the upside down exclamation point. I can do a ¿, but not the other yet.
MTC!!! Or as we call it here, the CCM! When I got to the terminal in SLC, I found lots of other missionaries. LOTS. The plane was half-full of missionaries, which was really cool. (An Elder Taylor Bo [Bow? Bough? I don't know] says hi to Claire). I sat next to an elder who went to Bingham, and he'd flown a lot, which was nice. We landed in Dallas, which is the flattest place I have ever, ever been to (really. It is so incredibly flat) and ate lunch, and then was lost for a while because that airport is ginormous, and all of the missionaries I'd talked to were going to . BUT I found my way to the Miami flight and there found Elders Boggess and McGary, and we chatted for a while. Later, Elder Burton arrived, and we left for Miami! HUMIDITY. As soon as we got off the plane. But the inside of the airport was nice. There we were joined by Elder Colson, Elder Aiono, Elder Vake (Vah-keh), and Hermana Human, so I finally had someone to be my companion! We got to the Dominican Republic around 10, and there we were picked up by someone who didn't speak English but had a maroon van with flames on the sides, so that was cool. The MTC was about 40 minutes away. There was another sister there, Hermana Jorden, and Hermana Oborn, Elder Bracken, and Elder Stewart arrived in the dead of night. Hermana Halling's flights kept getting canceled, so she didn't get here until Saturday!!!
We 13 missionaries are the only missionaries here. There are only two districts. My district leader is Elder Boggess (companion to Elder Vake) and the other companionship (who are the APs) is Elder Burton and Elder McGary. My companion is Hermana Human, and we've gotten along great. Elder Boggess is about as tall as Dylan and probably weighs half as much, but he is 18 even though he looks about 14. Elder Vake is Tongan, and is the only one of our district not going to Puerto Rico. Elder McGary is from a little town by Ogden, and he seems like one of those really cool people that everybody wants to be friends with, and he is friends with everybody. Elder Burton went to West Jordan, I think? He's definitely from Salt Lake.
My Spanish has come along so well! I remember things I'm not even sure I remember learning. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my Spanish teachers throughout the years. I feel I am a few levels above everyone else here. I was talking to two native elders visiting the MTC, and I said something like, "Yo no puedo hablar español" and they laughed and said, "Usted puede!" That was flattering. I feel pretty competent in my language, and sometimes I have to resist taking over a lesson when Hermana Human and I are teaching. I mostly need to work on getting my grammar right when I speak (irregular verbs and pronouns are hard), and I need to learn more gospel vocabulary, but I feel prepared.
It is so incredibly humid. I sweat more just standing outside than during my hardest cross country workouts. And the plants are so crazy! There this fan tree on the grounds. I can't even describe it except that it looks like a giant fan. The MTC is on the fourth floor of a building on the temple grounds. From our room we can see the temple AND THE OCEAN. We're like maybe a mile away.
The food is delicious. We eat primarily Dominican food, which is a lot of rice, beans, and fried chicken. We learned the hard way the first day that they leave the bones in their meat when an Elder accidentally swallowed a bone, it got stuck in his throat, and he just kept vomiting while his body tried to get it out! He was fine. We only have dessert on Sundays, except when they serve brownies at breakfast (???) but the mangoes are so good that's all you need. For weird food I've eaten: today at lunch I had papaya, which tastes a little like weird cantaloupe, and we had this beef stew with yucca and plantains instead of carrots and potatoes. For those who don't know (which was me before today) plantains look like bananas but taste like potatoes. They're very good.
Mom, I haven't seen any bugs yet, but one of our teachers (Hermano Nuñez) told us a story about killing a spider on his mission in Santo Domingo the size of his hand. I think he was joking.
A scripture I really liked this week was 2 Nephi. I used it when we were teaching our "progressing investigator" the Plan of Salvation. It explains the need for the fall really well.
I love it here! My companion and I are in charge of the music. Our district is awesome, the other district is awesome, our teachers are awesome, and the President and his wife are awesome. I am so happy to be here!