Wow! The MTC is quite the place!! I got here on Wednesday and they immediately put us in a classroom to start learning. No rest for the righteous! I actually have two companions, Sister Suzanne Tutt from Mesa AZ who is also going to Rome and Sister Rachel Ryan fromwho is going to Milan ( , Sister Ryan is the sister we talked to outside of Sis mall so you got to see who she is, yay!). They are wonderful! They are both upbeat and kind and so enthusiastic to be here! There are two other sisters going to Rome who arrived on Wednesday, one of them I know from BYU because she worked in the same lab as me. All of them are very friendly and funny.
Our district is our companionship and 5 more Elders who are going to Rome or Milan. We have two incredible teachers (seriously, incredible) and we spend about 6 hours with them (one at a time) each day. So far we have been focusing on learning to discern the needs of other people and teach accordingly rather than the language but our teachers are so filled with the Spirit when they teach, it is wonderful. Even the Elders in our district seem to be pretty mature so far (wohoo!) and they teach very well and have great comments. I am very impressed with the quality of people who enter the MTC, particularly the 24 new missionaries who entered with me on Wednesday and are going to Italy. They are all great and the elders and extremely courteous to the sisters. Of course, all the teachers tell them to be, but they always open doors, let us cut in line, take our trays in the lunchroom for us, even stand when we sit down at lunch!! Who would have thought that 19 year old boys could act so well? :)
We have a few hours a day for personal study, companionship study, and "MDT" (missionary directed time). We have gym every day and the sisters in my room like to wake up at 5:45 to go to a special workout class for sisters. And of course, if they go, I go, because we always have to be with our companions. So far we have learned to pray and bear our testimony in Italian and our district is catching on the Italian pretty fast. I had an interview with one of our teachers in Italian and he said I spoke well but that one other sister a few months ago was fluent and she decided to still stay the full 9 weeks so I probably will as well.
I am running out of time so I want to finish with one of the things I learned this first week. I want to testify of the power of the atonement. The first fews days were quite a rollercoaster of emotion and when I got to the point where I literally did not think I could do it anymore, I felt that burden lifted from me completely and ever since then I have been so much happier and filled with the Spirit. Love you everyone, please write me using dearelder.com!