What was that?? Oh hun, that’s “spoken”!
So there’s this thing that they don’t really tell you in the MTC… and it’s called spoken. Which is the equivalent of slang and just the way we speak naturally to one another… and I hate it haha. It’s already hard enough to attempt to understand “book” Finnish and now we have to understand them when they’re cutting off half of words here and there and flipping around things in their sentences. Oh man, let’s just say its rough haha. Let me paint a picture of my language skills… Finnish person – rambling in Finnish. Me – maybe caught a word in the midst of their speedy speech but mostly I just follow my companions and the Finnish person’s body language… like laugh when they do, smile when they do, pray they don’t ask me a question, serious face when I need to, think in my head “what the heck” a couple of times, pray again they don’t ask me a question, smile again, maybe interject a couple times by saying “yo” (ya/yes) and “totta” (true/filler word for Finns), smile again, say “moi moi” (bye) and then immediately turn to Sisar Lafferty and say “so fill me in on what just happened”… That’s pretty much what happens everyday! Oh but then there are those times when we have that exact same interaction and then I after we say our goodbyes I (like always) look to Sisar Lafferty and she just tells me “Oh hun, don’t look at me! That’s spoken I have NO idea what they said!”. Ha so if anything I’m getting really good at having long conversations with people and only having to use body language… and then if they do actually ask me a question I stop smiling like an idiot, get a terrified look on my face I’m sure and say “anteeks… mita??” (I’m sorry what??) ha. It’s sad. But just have to focus on the small successes right? Even though it’s hard to see progress I am making a little.
I have a lot of respect for language the more I learn about it, and especially for those who try to learn other languages. Take English for example. Someone who moves to the states can take classes and learn “English” but then they have to learn “Spoken” as well. We don’t speak the way we write/read (proper English) but generally those who learn English begin their learning from books. So when they listen to us speak we sound extra funny to them. Then don’t even get me started with the whole different dialects thing… Every area of the country speaks a little differently. It’s the same as how Utahns have a different way of speaking than those in Chicago, and those in Tennessee, and Brooklyn. It’s pretty crazy that people are able to successfully learn multiple languages when you really think about it!
Another thing that I’ve really grown a lot of respect and appreciation for are the willingness of the ward members here. I am so impressed at how helpful and willing everyone is to jump in last second and go to a lesson with us, or help us when we’re lost… I mean we had a dinner appointment every day last week! That just doesn’t usually happen with European missions. I don’t know it has just been a really cool thing for me to see just how devoted these members are! It’s like that quote from Shakespeare… “though she be little, she is fierce!”, though there aren’t many members here in Finland, they are fierce!! They’re truly willing and want to do all they can to help those around them and I really want to develop those same qualities when I come home off my mission. Definitely one of the good take-aways I’ve gotten so far from serving.
One quick thing… we had zone conference yesterday and we studied Helamen 5 for it… basically the idea of the chapter is that when the Holy Ghost testifies to you it’s through “a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper”… but it was strong, and “it did pierce even to the very soul” (verse 30). I loved this because often we are all feeling the Holy Ghost but don’t recognize it. We’ve had a few investigators lately who are trying to figure out how you feel the Holy Ghost and what it actually is… which can be the hardest thing to teach because we all experience it differently… you just have to learn how you recognize it! Sometimes it’s powerful and can “pierce even to the soul”, but other times it goes unnoticed… until you start to see just how prevalent he really is in each of our lives. I tend to think of it like when you say “like” or “um” or any other filler word when talking… you never really realize just how much you use those words, but once you do catch yourself using them or someone points it out to you, you can’t help but notice just how much you do! Kinda funny to think about really…
Oh yeah! Final thing that happened this week! We went and visited the Turku Castle!!! Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but it was such a great day. We went with an investigator and her good friend who used to be a tour guide and really wanted to take us out for the day and show us around Turku. She was such a doll and we had the best time. She kept on referring to us as her girls! She spoiled us all day long and it was a blast to just chat and get the inside scoop on the castle and this cute little historical village we also went to!
Love you all! Hope you have an incredible week and that you’re enjoying the Fall weather and changing leaves. I do miss that about Utah. The leaves don’t really change here. Everything is still mostly green and apparently they usually stay that way till they fall off… but who knows! Maybe we’ll get a day or two of bright orange and yellow trees!