I haven’t updated in a long time, largely because not enough people read this, and those who do wouldn’t be pleased by most things I’d have to say as of late. They still wouldn’t, but, life goes on. Maybe I’ll make new friends, maybe I won’t.
I’m not quite ready to post the more controversial stuff, so for now, we’ll just go over the acceptable (to my audience) stuff that happened in Texas.
I was torn over whether I really wanted to go to Texas. Could I really survive a whole week with the missionaries without some sort of drugs? Was it really going to be that warm? (I’ve heard Texas gets cold and icy, even though there’s no snow.) Would I have enough of my own space?
These were just some of the things weighing on my mind. However, it was too late to sign up for the NL (let the reader understand) trip to Florida, and if I didn’t go to Texas, I was scared that I would literally be alone with nothing to do over break. The thought terrified me; I wanted to spend spring break in a warm location surrounded by friends.
Ultimately what tipped the scales was finding out where the missionaries were going: Rice University, Houston, TX. Hey, I thought, there’s a doll store in Texas… is it in Houston, or Dalls? A quick check of the website told me that both answers were correct. When I saw that AG Houston was only 15 minutes from Rice University, I thought, that’s it. I’m going.
Even if the missionaries didn’t take me, I was going. Last year that was actually my biggest regret: not going to see the dolphins on my own. I could have, too. Last year I didn’t really do much. The very last day, I did nothing. It would’ve been very easy to slip away for the 4 hours required and not have even been noticed. Certainly I wouldn’t have been needed.
Unfortunately for me, this mission trip was a bit more structured. I say unfortunately because that didn’t really give me much time to actually have a relaxing break. We were staying in the homes of church members, and I knew then that any sort of privacy I’d need would likely be out. Last year I’d managed to have my own room complete with private bathroom. (I camped out in the baptistry while the rest of the girls camped out in one big room.)
When we arrived, I discovered there was one big room in which we’d be staying, but also a smaller guest room with a double bed. I immediately claimed it and decided that anyone staying in there with me would need to be someone who wouldn’t get up stupidly early (or at least not bother me if they did) or go to bed stupidly late. I then crawled into my sleeping bag (it was late) and decided that the missionary who wanted me to stay up later could shove it; I was going to bed. Whoever would join me, could, if they had to.
Marina ended up joining me. Well, I guess it’s better than sharing a room with one of these strangers we picked up on our way out of Michigan.
I didn’t actually mind having Marina as a room mate. It wouldn’t work out long term, but she’s stayed the night/shared a bed with me before, so it wasn’t one more new experience to get through. The only thing I truly minded about it was that it meant I couldn’t cry into my pillow if needed.
I wanted to do a lot of crying on that trip. It was necessary to hold off, though, and in doing so, I found I was unable to get it out. Even now I wish I could cry. I think if I could, I would feel a zillion times better.
So I ended up having a place to go when I needed space… sort of and sometimes, if Marina wasn’t there. We did a fair bit of arguing on that trip, so I needed space more often than not. The first few days were so filled with fear and anxiety it was ridiculous. I felt I had no one to listen to me, because when I started opening up, they would start arguing with me. “Oh, things aren’t REALLY like that” or “you don’t REALLY feel that way.” Eventually I gave up trying. It just ended up deteriorating into an argument anyway. I think Miriam is the only person where it didn’t turn into a full blown argument that made me raging mad. Miriam’s pretty chill. I like that about her.
Last year’s mission trip was more loosely structured. We still had a schedule we tried to stick to, but it was more flexible. There was time to sit down and do homework, or relax. This trip everything was packed in so tightly I could hardly breathe, and I wasn’t even following the official schedule. They wanted everyone to have their personal devotions at 6, exercise at 7, and be ready for the day by 8. They also wanted to have evening devotions even though most of us were getting back at 11pm. This, coupled with the time change (we moved an hour behind, time changes are never kind to my body) was torture. I was allowed to skip exercise, but not evening devotions. So, when I was tired and all I wanted to do was sleep, I had to sit through worship. It made me extra tired and cranky. How can these people do it? How can they go to sleep late and get up early and not morph into Bitchy McBitcherson? It wasn’t until the last few nights that I developed the trick of slipping away to sleep after evening worship started. Hey, they want me to be good, they can’t have it both ways.
In the morning, we had one hour of free time after morning worship. At first the missionaries just strongly emphasized that we should use that time to be productive. Then they insisted on filling the time with group bible studies. These were optional, but highly encouraged. I never went. Usually at that point all I wanted was a nap, but I had to start out by reading. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep.
Also, those first two days, Miriam said that if we got all our work done in advance, we could go to the doll store on Wed. This was run past Prince first, who said it was ok. The getting our work done in advance didn’t actually happen, because the missionaries kept on having missionary meetings. However, since Miriam and I would be excused from outreach on Wed, we decided to work on it then, and go to the doll store in the morning. We would’ve switched things around, but Miriam didn’t want to deal with rush hour traffic, which I can’t blame her for. Anyway, she would’ve just ended up being called to a meeting anyway. As it was, the missionaries called her in on our way to the doll store. Miriam was in traffic and didn’t want to talk and drive at the same time, so she hung up on them at one point.
After going to the doll store, I felt a lot of relief. Now, whatever happened, happened. Now that I had gotten what I’d came for, I was just a piece of luggage along for the ride, as far as I was concerned.
Except for the fact that I had to help Miriam give a seminar, not just once, like most everyone else, but twice. I was super chill about it though, because of my “along for the ride” attitude. Normally I’d be nervous as heck. I still sweated through 4 layers of washcloths on each arm, but it went well.
I will write more about these things in detail in future posts, I promise, as well as my one outreach experience. Right now I’m just giving the overview of what was going on at the time so you have a better background.
I only went on outreach once, actually. I was supposed to go more often, but the first day Marina wanted my help with a project, so I stayed to help her. Bamji didn’t seem too happy about it, but I told him I was at least being productive. I should’ve also told him I was “helping my neighbor.”
Originally the missionaries wanted to split us up into two teams: one team would do outreach, and the other team would be doing the doctrinal class with Bamji, and then the next day they’d switch, lather, rinse, repeat. However, after Monday, this plan was scrapped. I’m still a bit fuzzy on the why, but it didn’t really matter.
I had to look in my diary to find out that the one day I went on outreach was Tuesday. That will be next week’s post. Wed Miriam and I were excused from everything but working on our seminar, but I wouldn’t have had to do outreach then, because it was doctrinal class that day. Thursday I was supposed to do outreach, but we didn’t factor in the extra bad traffic, so our timing was off. More about that in a later post.
Actually, I should just like, do one post per day. Wish I’d done it on the mission trip. Oh well.
Friday was our fun day, the day we didn’t do outreach at all. I thought we’d be doing some on sabbath, but was grateful for the chance to find a private room with a nice comfy couch, curl up with my kindle, and read and doze all day.
Then we spent the rest of saturday and all of sunday driving. We didn’t get back until very late on sunday, and then I was supposed to start school on Monday, the key word being, “supposed” to…