We asked Kathleen a few questions in our last email. Here are her answers and lots more news.
We don´t have bikes in this mission. We walk or take public transportation. Sometimes when we´re lucky, we can convince someone to give us a ride somewhere. The metro here is really nice. It´s super clean and efficient. It´s maybe not as good as Paris, a little better than London, and obviously better than New York. I´m really happy with it.
1. Our president doesn't like to put more than 3 people in an apartment. As far as I´m aware there are no apartments that have more than one companionship. This one looks like an Ikea catalog which is awesome considering my last piso had mold and scary looking porcelain dolls. There are about three floors. We have a washing machine, smoke, detector, CO detector and all the comforts of home. We hang our clothes wherever there is space in our apartment. Most other people hang their clothes outside to dry. All the other missionaries are spread out in the city, and we don´t contact in our own building. It opens us up to some danger.
2. Barrio 3 is in Carabanchel (super south in Madrid) and the mission home is in Alcobendas. I don't know where that is so you´ll have to plug it into Google Maps.
3. Today we met up with Hermana Sánchez to eat kebab! (Remind me to tell you a funny story about this sometime). We mostly write emails and eat out.
4. We offer service to people, but they usually don´t want it. We cleaned out the church library once. In Segovia we did free English classes. For the most part that was it. :(
5. We went to Puerta del Sol today, and it was SUPER pretty. Forgive me because I haven´t taken a lot of pictures. My area isn't picturesque. No comments from this time forth.
This week was not way out of the ordinary. A lot of members fed us this week. For the first time in my life, I ate organ meat. One of my favorite members told me that she wanted to try her favorite soup from Ecuador. It had heart, intestines and something else that looked like macaroni at first glance... But it wasn't...
She said something to the effect of: "I know you´re American and probably won´t like this, so you don´t have to eat it," as she served me a huge bowl of it. It actually wasn´t terrible. My companion, who has spent most of her life in Spain, looked like she wanted to die. We both survived.
We went to Stake conference yesterday and I saw almost the entire branch from Segovia. I just about burst into tears. I was thrilled to see that the branch, and especially my convert were still going strong! One of the recent converts I taught received a Stake calling and received the Melchizedek priesthood! I was so happy to see them and they were super happy to see me! I got to see R, the woman who joined the church when I was there, and she seemed very happy. And just like her old self... Telling it how it is. When I went up to her to ask her how she was, the first thing to come out of her mouth was: "Well you've gotten fatter." She was quite pleased with this because I think she was worried that I was too thin in Segovia. Her sister and brother-in-law joined added their congratulations for this a few minutes later. When I asked her how her grandchildren were: "Getting fatter as usual." She is seriously one of my favorite people in the world.
Later we gave a tour of the outside of the temple to one of our investigators who attended the stake conference. She told us she came because she just happened "to be in the area," but we know she actually came because she wanted to... Although, she did try to slip away unnoticed.
During this tour, a few people asked to take a photo with her. Which, to be honest, is strange. She is a nondescript woman who lives a very normal life. My companion then revealed to me that she was on a very famous Spanish television show for a while: "La Casa Vecina." I´m teaching an actress!
This week, I got the chance to speak a little French. Two people asked if I was French, including a native French-speaker. Apparently my accent in both French and Spanish sounds very French. We had a really good lesson with an old investigator this week. Oliver is from Congo (and speaks French!), and is wonderful. He has a strong belief that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ was restored. He feels a little nervous about getting baptized, but he really wants to continue with the missionary discussions! We´re both really excited for him. :)
It´s always great to hear from you! I love you guys!