As Dora the Explorer and her friend Boots would sing “we did it”! We managed to be organized and ready to leave home to fly out early last Saturday morning. It was with some apprehension that we walked down the ramp onto the plane in Adelaide for our new adventure.
We were particularly concerned about the short connection times in both Melbourne and Los Angeles, but managed to negotiate both. We arrived in Salt Lake City safe and sound, but minus one suitcase and a booking for an onward shuttle to Provo. After some haggling with airport staff we were on our way to Provo hoping our bag would find us - which it did the following morning. We celebrated the Fourth of July by sitting outside the Stadium of Fire (the BYU football stadium) with a huge fireworks display topped off by a concert by one of Craig’s favourite bands - Journey. We felt like teenagers again.
We spent the last week undergoing “immersion” in Spanish. That really means we were thrown in the deep end and made to swim. We found it an incredible organisation, staffed and run mainly by amazing young adults including language tutors, coaches, and volunteers. All of these young people have served volunteer missions for the Church and now give of their time and language ability to help senior missionary couples from all over the world in numerous different languages. We had one on one hourly sessions from 8 am to 5 pm every day. We were also joined by another couple Benjamin and Rita Hart from Las Vegas who are learning Portuguese and going to Brazil as the Area Medical Advisor and nurse. They are waiting for visas still.
Combined with jet lag the intense language study had our heads reeling at times. It was an interesting process being the students rather than the teachers, which would be the role we are both quite comfortable with. It was topped off today (Sunday) with us venturing to a Spanish speaking ward at church. We managed to follow a bit and were even able to introduce ourselves in Spanish. We might just survive!
We had a few American experiences…..dodging cars driving on the “wrong” side of the road; waffles with icecream, strawberries, and raspberries; the biggest bread sticks we have ever seen (all the food is big); having to explain Australianisms; and translate our accents at times.
We now move to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) for a week to learn how to be “senior” missionaries. We will meet up with Penny and Neville Rochow there as they prepare to head to Europe.
We are very grateful for everyone’s help this past week. A humbling experience…..
1. Sunrise at 30,000 feet 2. Happy 4th of July 3. Huge breadsticks 4. Our tutor Marlow and wife