Saturday, February 26, 2011
First off I will send you a bunch of pictures since I have slacked on that. The first picture is of the snow in Alabama one of the first days I was there. The second photo is of me after just landing in Spain. We took a bus to the Spain MTC and it just happened to say my name on it. Finally, the last picture if the view out of my window from my room in the MTC! Pretty much this place is awesome.
I left Tuscaloosa around noon and even got my final pieces of mail and packages (just in time!!) and then got to the airport and checked in and all that. Funny enough, the guy right in front in me in the security line was a return missionary. He went to the Santiago Chile South mission way back in the day apparently. He was really nice and helped me pass the time in the long security line. Then, I got on the flight to Atlanta which was only like 35 minutes. It was way short. When we landed I was starving. First, though, lemme say that the Atlanta airport is huge. To get to the other terminals I had to take this underground subway. I felt pretty awesome with my suit and tie on acting like I knew what I was doing, even though I was completely lost. When I finally got to the international terminal I was way hungry and so I decided to eat at TGI Fridays, considering it would be my last meal in America. When I got to the gate they were just boarding (Great timing!) and I met the other missionaries who were also flying to Spain. We got on the plane and I ended up sitting next to one of them actually. Then, the flight started and they gave all the safety instructions in both Spanish and English, which was weird. Then we just took off like it was nothing. Right when we left the ground the missionary sitting next to me made the comment of, "Well, that is the last time we will be in America for two years." Iwas just like woah.... that just hit me. I didn´t even cherish my final few minutes on American soil.
Well, during the flight, we learned that it would be about 8 hours long. Luckily, they served both dinner and breakfast. Surpringsly, to me at least, the flight was barely even half full on a giant Boeing 767, so there was a lot of open space. So the missionary sitting next to me said he was going to find an open row, which left me with both seats by the window to myself. The dinner came (BBQ Chicken) and wasn´t too good but it was edible haha. Then the movies came on. That was the hard part. I really wanted to watch them because they were all movies that I kinda wanted to see but we were instructed to not partake. So I missed out on watching Wall Street 2 and The Social Network. Dangit! Instead, I took my two chairs, folded up the armrests, and made into a bed. I just went into a little ball and was out for a few hours. The most discouraging thing about these long flights is that I wake up hours later, and we´re not even half way there. Plus, because of the bad position I had a major backache. Anyways, I walked around the plane once and then laid back down and was in and out of conciousness for another few hours. Then the sunlight finally started breaking through the clouds and I watched out over window as we flew into Europe, over Portugal, and into Spain. This was the first time I have been to Europe since I was born here! It was cool to watch the plane fly over the cost of Portugal and see where the coastof Europe began.
Well, we had breakfast (if you could even call it that) and then finally landed. I actually was fairly energized, but the missionary in front of me met someone from BYU who happened to be on the flight and so they talked for like 6 hours straight! Everytime I woke up they were still talking. Apparently, he only got like 30 minutes sleep. Anyways, we landed, and then went through customs and everything. It was scary going up to the passport agent guy. I could only imagine if he looked at my passport and visa and said, sorry, this isn´t valid. I would just be devistated. But, luckily, it all worked out. We waited for the luggage to come, and funny enough, out of all the luggage on the plane mine was the 4th piece to come out of the plane. After leaving the secured area, the MTC President met us and talked to us a bit. He advised us to exchange some money to Euros, and then meet at the bus. It was so weird. Right now, I have Euros in my wallets instead of dollars. Quite a strange feeling, and it doesn´t fill out the wallet as well. (It is way more colorful though). I got even more Euros at the MTC when they reembursed me for my baggage fees, and they paid me back in Euros. In fact, I might have actually made money on that because of the exchange rates.
When we arrived, we were told that we need to fill out some paperwork before we can go to the mission field. So I will be staying here for about 6 days or so. I am totally fine with it though, as you can see, my view is amazing. The MTC here is totally different. They have a type of "open campus". For meals and P Day you can just go into Madrid and what not. In fact, tomorrow we are going to the park for contacting, and we are taking the subway to get there. I think normally I would be way nervous and excited to go to the park to do that, but considering I have already been in the field 3 weeks, I feel like I have done it a bunch already. But, the contacting I think is more for the other elders an sisters that are here. Currently, including me and the group that just came in there are 28 people in the MTC. Apparently, that´s actually a high number too. It´s a way small feel here but it is awesome. After my paperwork is signed they will send me off on the bullet train to Málaga. Until then, I get to go to the temple, travel around Madrid, and play soccer with real Spaniards.
The meals here I can already tell will be awesome. After a brief orientation we had lunch. It was this Spanish white bean soup, grilled salmon, and then a bunch of Spanish breads and fruit, and yogurt and sweets. It was all so so so so so so so so so good. Normally, we have the same schedule as in the field and MTC, but today is a special day. After our gym time and dinner, we get to go to bed. They are forcing us to go to bed at 7pm since we are all majorly jet lagged. I am looking forward to it though. I am so tired. This place is so amazing though. I wish I could´ve gone here for all 9 weeks. It´s okay though. I am so ready to get out to Málaga!! Wish me luck all and I will talk to you soon!!!
Elder Steven Card
Posted by Colette at 7:21 AM