New year, new companion, new area! It’s been a busy week, that’s for certain. I’m companions with Hermana Jennifer Findlay who went to Cottonwood High School, graduated in 2012, is one transfer ahead of me, super sweet, lives right near us and knows a ton of the same people I know. She was hired by Joni Hansen, she knows Hannah Call…. I mean things like that. It’s been kind of fun today to just talk with her and figure this all out.
Vic is pretty north. Our area extends all the way to France… no big deal. It’s SUPER weird to think that it takes 2 hours to get to the furthest point of our area where in Barcelona it took 20 minutes. Also to go from the biggest chapel in Europe to a tiny little branch… I don’t know much about the area since I’ve only been in it for like 40 minutes but it’s pretty out here. It’s colder for sure. My heart hurts a lot. I miss my district, I miss my zone. I miss my ward and my recent converts and my investigators and my less actives and my companion and piso mates. I miss Barcelona…. I miss it a lot. It’s okay though. I am here because I need to learn new things and meet new people. Like I said in my testimony on Sunday, God knows where I need to go better than I do. I said it in Spanish though… of course. Oh but man it totally sucks. I just love people too much and then I have to leave them and then that sucks hard core. Ouch.
Kofi got baptized on the 4th and was confirmed on the 5th for my birthday! What a miracle! He was so ready and he’s so amazing. He brought a friend to his baptism. It was really cool to have a baptism completely in English… weird, but cool. It was a miracle! I am so blessed to have seen 3 baptisms in my last area. Spain is ready for this work.
So yeah… my birthday was this Sunday. Love the fast sunday birthdays! Combined with the transfer calls the night before… made for a real winner this year. Actually it was very great. My companion made my bed and put treats on it and decorated the room, Elder Ferrer (from Argentina) wrote me a really sweet letter, I got to bear my testimony and say goodbye to the ward in a fell swoop, Carolina fed us tasty Peruvian food for lunch, then Liseth and Cecilia invited us over for a little cake and treats. Hermana Tuttle and I walk in and HOW PRECIOUS! It was all decorated and the cake said Happy Birthday Hermana Duran, We love you! (In Spanish of course and no… they can’t usually spell my name correctly) and they had candies and soda and it was great. Liseth asked if I liked surprises and I was like… Well… not really unless it’s a complete surprise. She then said that she had a surprise and four of the craziest Elders jumped out from the room with bananas and tambourines and horns. It was a little surprise party just for me to say Happy Birthday and Goodbye! It was so sweet! I was definitely well cared for.
January 6th is a holiday here in Spain… it’s THE holiday here in Spain. Three Kings Day. You get a cake/bread thing, you celebrate, you party, you give gifts. It’s quite fun. We went over to Carmen and Cesar’s house to celebrate with the Elders (we are ALWAYS with them…). Carmen had made me a cake and they sung happy birthday to me. Then they convinced me to take a bite out of the corner because it was a Spanish tradition. I ain’t no dummy. I asked to hold the cake myself and then, real shocker here, Elder Ferrer (from Spain) went to push the cake in my face, I was able to avoid a big mess with my ninja reflexes and hold the cake down. Still got a little messy, totally knew it would happen. Mean Spaniards! Elder Bascopé told me that in Bolivia it’s waaaaaay worse. My question is… if people know this happens, who are the dummies still falling for this? Why are they still falling for this? Anyway, the cutest little girls sang and danced for us then got us to play all sorts of silly games. Mostly the Elders. They’ll be great dads one day, bless them for being such good sports. I have learned a much cooler way to play rock, paper, scissors. It involves pinching and slapping. Sweet, right? Juan Carlos was sad to see me go. He let me make some churros, gave me candies for my birthday and texted us this morning to say he missed me already. Oh churro boy. I miss you too!
Hermana Scoville gets all the credit in the world for single-handedly packing my bags. I was sitting on the floor, practically in tears, looking at all my stuff and the two bags it needed to go in. She is amazing! She got it all in and was even surprised that I didn’t have more stuff. She nailed it. I told her that she needs to be with me all the time because I don’t know how I’m going to get this stuff to the next place when I have even MORE stuff. It’ll all work out, right? I might need to mail some stuff home… Everyone was super sweet and super helpful. The Elders asked me a million times if I was okay and they told me I’d be fine and I’d love it and I’d do great things. I have had a lot of love and support. Elder Bascopé reminded me that I will see them all for Specialized Training because the Badalona Zone meets WITH the Barcelona Zone. AAAAAHHHHH! YAY! And I’m in the same Stake so I can see everyone again in the upcoming Stake Conference. The Lord knows I needed baby steps with change. This was a blessing for sure.
Yep so… I’m in Vic. It’s pretty, it’s cold, it’s new, it’s cute. I’m excited for this new adventure. It’s hard, but it’ll be good. I know that I will love this place just as much as Barcelona. And this transfer is the transfer to really nail Spanish because Hermana Findlay has 7 months here and I have 5. And contacting. It’s a newish area so we’ll need to get really good at contacting which is another fault of ours. This will be great! I knew right when I got the call that I’d be transferred and WHY I was being sent there. I know I need this area and this experience… so as much as it sucks, I’m excited. I know that I can have the power to do anything with faith in Christ (Moroni 7:33) and that we’re here to have joy (2nd Nefi… Nephi 2:25) and all that good stuff. I’m happy here. I can feel the time zipping by so fast and I am sad to see it go. Almost a third in. Boom…. just like that. I CAN’T believe it. This year is the year of my mission and after this, I’m practically home. I have to make every moment count.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes, all the Christmas and New Years wishes and everything. I’m so excited! I am looking forward to this year. Thank you for all the love and support and prayers! Les quiero un monton! Stay classy!
Hermana “I’m-so-old-now” Durham.