Sunday, March 24, 2013

Oy com os caes ja! (Oy with the poodles already!) -GG


Speaking of....ONE MONTH DOWN!!! We only have to do it 17 more times!! We got this fam. We got this. Also--I've been one month without shopping or baking. So, let's all write this one down for the books. 
Okay, this week. Let's see. So much happens, and yet nothing at all, but I AM SO HAPPY!!! I am just so happy to be here and to be learning and growing and I cannot wait to go and serve the people of Portugal. It's hard to really be able to express love here, because then it's considered as like boy/girl flirting and things of that nature, but I can't wait to be able to tell everyone how much I love them again. Seriously. Who knew? Me? Never. I think I say, " I have a heart full of love" about twelve hundred times a day. But seriously, God is SO good. And we are all His children and he just loves us so much and it makes me so happy and I am such a sister missionary. YIKES. 
Sister Jackson and I may or may not have discovered that we've been assigned to the same area this week!!! We did that really dramatic grab each other's hands and fan our faces as we almost cry thing that girls do. But we are actually SO excited. She said she'd take the bullet for all my future companions and just stick with me forever so no one else has to put up with me. I mean..I'm fine with that. Okay, no but really, I am SO excited! I hope we're roommates at least! I'm not on the coast, but that's okay, I'm sure I will be. And I'm in the heart of Lisbon, so I can't complain. Sister Jackson and I may have discovered that we are the same person this week. So, after we found out about the Veronica Mars movie, we quickly started scheming our post-mission VM marathon. Then we got scared that they're going to make the movie and ruin it because they have these ideas in their head, but no one likes Piz and we all know Veronica and Logan need to end up together--ANYWAYS. She said, "The problem is, they think of their characters as real people, I think of them as my friends." HAHAH YES. See mom, I'm not alone. Other people think of tv show characters as their friends too. THEN, someone was talking about their cat when it needs attention, and she goes, "Yeah, sometimes I nuzzle people when I need attention or affection too." NUZZLE!! I AM NOT ALONE! And you all thought I was crazy. Nuggling is a real thing! :)
Mom, remember how you said Jessica had to prepare a talk every Sunday? Well, yeah...we do too. And this Sunday, when they called Sister Brooks from the pulpit, I about had a heart attack. Good thing I'd written something, but a 5 minute talk in Portuguese? Yikes. I think it went surprisingly well, but only because the majority of our zone is new and couldn't understand half of what I was saying. So....that was fun. On the upside, I don't have to plan for any more. Check that one off the list. 

On Tuesday, a group of Russians left, and apparently they do this thing called knock-out in the cafeteria before a big group of any of them leave. Well, basically they get all of the "Russians" to eat all of the cereal out of all of the bins before they leave. The line was wrapped all around the cafeteria and out the door and all the boys had bowls on bowls on bowls of cereal on their trays. Apparently they've only ever finished 6 and so they had a goal to finish 8 and the most bowls ever eaten were 14 or something absurd. It was the funniest (proving how much even the slightest change can bring such joy into our lives.) SIster Jackson and I just kept shouting "Das Vidaaaayna!" and "Saw hello to Gran-Mama!" in true Anastasia fashion, since...yeah that's all I know about Russia. They finished 9. So, that was the gossip around these parts for a few hours.
Speaking of gossip, I like to spread rumors that the prophet is coming. But I mean, anything's possible. Plus, it's almost Easter. Last week in choir, we heard that there was a special person coming, and since there are 12 million people here now (actually it's crazy how I've seen it explode just since I've been here) and there are only so many seats for choir, we were told to get there early. Well, people were lined up on the steps waiting for hours to be let in. Not the prophet. BUT. We were filmed for some in between conference special thing, so...look for me? What can I say? The camera loves me. Brincas. 
We hosted this week too! It was so fun/a super nice change of pace from our all day studying sessions. And I got to be with Sister Stewart and Sister Taylor for longer! It was SO nice to be able to see how far I've come and to be able to say that I've already been here for a month. A whole month! Suckersss. Just kidding. Kind of. Is that bad? Oops. 

Okay, okay, I just want you all to know that I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH!! I pray for you all everyday. You all mean the world to me, and I feel so SO blessed to have you in my life. I know that God loves us all so much, and He knows each of us individually. I know He wants us to be happy, and I know He knows our trials and our struggles, but He can comfort us if we just turn to Him and rely on Him and His timing. Mosiah 2:41. That's my scripture for the week. Ee! God is SO good, and we are sooo blessed! 

I don't feel like running away anymore, but thank you for the helicopter option Dad :) And plus, I'm running away to Portugal in 10 days, SO...try and stop me. Actually, don't. I am SO excited! I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO SO SO MUCH!! YOU'RE THE BEST FAMILY AND FRIENDS ANYONE COULD EVER HAVE!
Sister Brooks

Okay, so....last week, I got really sad because it's been a WHOLE month since I've done any baking. So...I took my crumbles of cookie left from the chocolate chips I'd eaten out of it, smashed them together, and made little cookie dough balls on my tray and pretended like it was my baking sheet. Desperate times call for desperate measures. In the words of Sister Jackson, "Today, I shared a cookie with my tray." I think it's the funniest thing I've ever done. bahahahah

Cleaning duty--glade run. Yes, run through the halls spraying glade. Best service job EVER.

Us JRU kids just taking over the world - Korea, Canada, and Portugal.

Sister O'Connor left for Rome on Tuesday! So did Sister McCann! AH

Selfie Sunday!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed but can you ever just be whelmed?

I am seriously the luckiest. I have the best friends and family ever and I've never felt so blessed.
Hm...let's see. Since being here, I've realized that I never ever ever want to go to Prison. Being stuck in the same place day after day is rough. My companion likes to refer to this place as Spirit Prison. Or Azkaban. My other companion actually had a dream that Harry Potter came in the window at night and rescued her/helped her escape on his broomstick. So...yeah. Jail break. On the plus side, it has been BEAUTIFUL here this week, so we've been going outside to study and enjoy the sunshine. Vitamin D is so good for my soul. I shout "Ha sol em minha alma hoje!" pretty much every time we walk outside. Not mad about it. Although, my companions might be, because then that song is stuck in our head literally forever. 

Funny story, so we do service every week--aka clean the MTC for free--and this week, after gym, I was wrapped in my towel and walked in the bathrooms to find a bunch of girls cleaning the showers. Not unusual. Then, Lu (Sister Taylor) turns the corner in her goggles and hose in hand and we both just start dying laughing. For the rest of my shower, I just kept thinking..."Welp. You saw me naked so...." 

Side note. I learned how to say crushed it in Portuguese this week--esmagei-lo. No worries, I'm learning the necessities. Haha, okay, but real life. Portuguese is coming REALLY easily for me, which is SUPER nice and I feel so so blessed because I decided to take Spanish last semester and that I learn languages so easily, but I just want to know all of Portuguese right now. And it's hard because I feel like I already know what they are teaching us in class, so I'm trying to teach myself more and then I ask questions about it and they're like, it's okay, we'll get to it. But I need to know it. And in 3 weeks I'm gonna be dropped in Portugal and it's going to be the only way I can communicate, so...I need to know it. And I need to know the basics. Like food and body parts and directions and...things you don't learn in the MTC. But you want to hear the first few lessons? Got those down. But it's good, and it will come, and I am doing really, really well comparatively, helps me feel less stressed. Ugh, the perfectionist in me is dying.

Also, so is the English major in me. Seriously, I've decided no one can learn the languages they need to, because no one knows actually English. "What's the past tense?" I'm sorry...what? I don't think it helps that there are large signs everywhere that say "fire hazzard" NO. Hazard actually has one z. It hurts. It's fine. I'll survive. Speaking of the English major in me, I just started reading some scriptures in Isaiah, and I LOVE IT. What? Who loves Isaiah? Read Isaiah 55:11-12. It's the closest thing to Poetry I'll get for a while I suppose.
This week, Sister Jackson said, "I would cuddle with a turtle right now." So...that's about where we're at with the starved for love and affection part of the mish. 
On Tuesday night, we had a devotional from Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy, and it was so good! The perfect reminder for why we are aligning our will with the Lord's. Ether 12:27. As long as we are humble and do what we are asked and have faith, we will be blessed. When we do his will, He will strengthen us, He will help us, He will perfect us. God is so good, and Jesus Christ's atonement is infinite and eternal and powerful enough for us to become new creatures in Christ. What a dream! Seriously, God is so good. 
It's funny how the days are so dramatically different. One day, I'm in full-fledged missionary mode ready to run to Portugal, and others I feel overwhelmed and not ready and secretly wishing to run away. But I think that's part of the experience. And I think when you have the highest highs, you also have to experience the lowest lows. Opposition in all things. I am super happy though! Don't worry about me! I know this is where I am supposed to be, and I know that this is where the Lord wants me to be. And I know that God is good always, and that I have been so incredibly blessed that I can't even begin to express my gratitude. On the upside, it seems as though on my hardest days, they have Graham Canyon for us! Or I get a package FULL of zucchini bread! Oh my heart is SO full! Brooks Bakes is the world's greatest. And so are you Sissy-ter!! SO glad you are keeping the business running!! Answers to my prayers.

I wish I had more to tell you, or I had more time, or could actually call you, less than 3 weeks, I'll be calling you from the airport!! CRAY-ZAY. Can NOT wait to hear your voices again. Time is flying, and standing still. I wish I could explain it. Also Mom, what the you're on twitter? What do you tweet? It better be funny to keep up with the Brooks Twitter rep. Did you guys read about the Abu Dahbi Stake Center? Rad. Obviously my love for the middle east just keeps growing and growing.
Okay, I must leave, but I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO SO VERY MUCH! Thank you for your love and updates and everything. ALSO VERONICA MARS MOVIE WHAT?!? MISSION BLESSINGS. Maybe they'll film in Portugal? One can only hope... I pray for you all every night, and I hope everything is going perfectly and I hope you are taking advantage of all my mission blessings. You guys are the best and I love you more than you know.
Sister Brooks

I'm posing a very important philosophical question this week: "If we're all going to be perfected, what happens to Beyonce?" -Sister Jackson

**Kristan edit: after finding out Mom had no idea about Sam's "kimye" reference from the email a couple of weeks ago, I feel it necessary to note that Sam references the movie Pitch Perfect about a hundred times (in this and previous emails). So if you're confused by something (like "Welp. You saw me naked . . .") just assume it's a movie/TV/song quote.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Okay, to start off. GOD IS SO SO SO GOOD. This morning, we were walking to the Temple, and whenever we make a jail break, I send all my telepathic signals down the road in hopes that my friends will pick them up and come run into me. Well today, I said a little prayer on the way to the temple that I would see someone that I know. And then I said, preferably a really close friend, and I know that's selfish, but just only if you want it to happen. AND IT HAPPENED!!! We were walking back from the Temple and we were about to cross the street to enter back into MTC grounds, and I heard a honk, only to turn around and see KENA AND RACH!!! OH I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY IN MY WHOLE LIFE!! GOD IS SO GOOD! He answers prayers. That was literally JUST what I needed. My heart is whole again.
AND, apparently we're only allowed to write on P-Day, so...the letters will be coming much slower and probably a bit shorter too, but know that I love you all SO very much, and I wish I could write you all day, errday. But they say obedience brings blessings and exact obedience brings miracles, and if what happened this morning isn't a testament of that, then I don't know what is.'s really hard--waiting til 9:30 every night to open your letters and waiting an entire week to respond to you all, but... I need all the miracles I can get.
I was referred to as the "tan girl in the other district" TWICE this week! OH HAPPY DAY! I have never been so happy to hear that. I feel so pale, but apparently the trips to Florida are still paying off. #notmadaboutit I may or may not be praying for sunshine on the regular. Oops. It's coming, so I'm happy for the 3 and a half seconds I'm outside everyday.
There's this Elder in our district from Provo, and day one he told us that he missed his ferrets....I'm sorry, what? (He also confessed his love for the Bachelor day two, so...everything you think he is, he is.) But then this week, while talking about his beloved ferrets, he called one of them Riggins. WHOOP THERE IT IS. I DIED. "I'm sorry, as in TIM Riggins?!" "YEAH! And my other one's named Leila!" OH. MY. NO HE DIDN'T. Fine. He's allowed to love his ferrets. I love his ferrets. Oh, FNL.
I have no idea what to update you on, because my life is literally the same every single day. Gym is still the funniest. I live for the Tongans shouting random phrases in their precious little accents. Or the maybe I've watched the Brandon Flowers "I'm a Mormon" video a few too many times so I can hear real music. I've actually turned and into my own personal google. I just type in the search box my friend's names and hope something comes up. If you guys want to create profiles or have secret new era articles about you, let me know. They brighten my day during TALL (langauge study) time.
One time this week, I was talking to Lucy and Meliss in the cafeteria, and I came back and sat down and all of the Elders in my district were laughing about something. "...Yes?" "You and your friends THE EXACT SAME PERSON. It's like the took you, cloned you, and then died their hair."

#HANNAHANDMILEY4EVER Speaking of...I refuse to believe the wedding's been called off. Not possible. Liam and Miley can make it through anything.
SHOUT OUT TO THE SHALLOWFORD WARD PORTUGUESE SPEAKERS!!! SO, SO EXCITED for Tess and MarLeice and Tyler!!!!! Portuguese is the greatest!!! I keep looking out for Sawyer, but I haven't found him yet. He should be in my building, so I'll keep checking.
Line of the week--from the Mexican while trying trail mix for the first time.
"Hm......I love tacos." Because they're totally the same thing? #mexicans
EVERYONE find a way to read/watch The Character of Christ by Elder Bednar! Oh my goodness gracious. SO good. That man is brilliant. (ERIN---read it. You'll love it.) Try and find a way to watch it, but if you can't, just read it. It's so, so good though and reminds you of our purpose here on earth. It helps you remember to forget yourself and focus on others and embrace the true charity of Christ. We need to turn out in love, compassion, and kindness, whenever everyone else would turn in and think of themselves. Seriously, read it. It's SO good. And take the challenge at the end. I've already started with my first question, and I am learning SO much! I am finally so happy to be here! It takes some getting used to, but I'm not here for myself, and as I continue to rely on the Lord and be as obedient as possible, I find more and more miracles in my life everyday. It's all about serving the Lord, and I just need to get over myself, and all will be well. I feel SO blessed to be surrounded by such amazing companions. Seriously, they are the greatest and the funniest and the nicest and so patient and loving, and I just feel so, so lucky. I thank them everyday. This is where I am supposed to be, and I am so happy I am here, but that doesn't mean I don't miss you all every. single. day. Because I do. The days are starting to fly by and it's all about keeping a positive attitude and remembering our purpose.

I LOVE YOU ALL!! YOU ARE THE GREATEST FRIENDS AND FAMILY I COULD EVER ASK FOR!!! Keep the tweets and life updates coming. I've never felt so sheltered from the real world. I refuse to believe US Weekly, so I need more reliable sources. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the packages and letters and uplifting thoughts! Each of your letters have been an answer to my prayers. You all know EXACTLY what to say at exactly the right time. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!!! I MISS YOU MORE THAN YOU KNOW!!
Sister Brooks

Me & Lucy Lu enjoying the sunshine. 

Meliss & I LOVING the Milk Bar and puppy chow.

The best blessing I've gotten all week! I ran into Kena & Rach coming home from the temple when we were walking back from the temple!
Best Day Ever!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

1st MTC Letter: March 1, 2013

HI HI HI!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO MUCH! First off, I only have 30 minutes to write and it's timed and it's like the worlds most stressful thing on these super old computers, but it's fine. All is well. I've made it ten days! And that's more than I'll ever have to go without a p-day again! Hallelujah.

The first few days were kinda suuuuper long, but it's getting SO much better! And so much faster! It's a miracle. Kinda like how my hair is just drying pretty much perfectly straight right out of the shower--mission blessings! (Good thing too, because we literally have 30 minutes to get ready every day. WHAT?) Okay, I'll give you a break down of what my life looks like. Wake up at 6:30. Be ready for the day by 7. Breakfast til 7:30. Then class/study til 11:30. Then lunch. Then gym and get ready and be back in class by like 1:30. Then class/language study til 4:30 then dinner. Then class/study/study/try not to fall asleep/study some more til 9:30. Then back to the room and one hour til we're in bed by 10:30. So...yeah. It's a dream.

I like to compare this place to the dorms. Except without the dance parties and the late night stair chats. But they've got the vendies and a swipey swipey and those nasty showers and 6 people to a room instead of 2! Oh the joys!

Portuguese is coming along reallyyy well. I seriously feel so, so blessed. It's A LOT like Spanish, so when I don't know the word in Portuguese, I just say it in Spanish and hope it's right and most of the time it is! Also, one of my companions took a couple semesters of it at BYU, so that's reallyyy helpful too. Speaking of, I AM SO BLESSED. I got the coolest companions. And I have two! I think God knew I couldn't handle being with just one girl by my side 24/7, so He's trying to ease me into it. One of my companions is Sister Jackson. She's a doll and hilarious. I swear we laugh all day long. She lived in Lanai with me, but she had a boyfriend, so....we didn't really know each other. But she's from Virginia, so we share East Coast pride. The other one, Sister Mullen, is from Canada. No, like she is literally from Canada--Calgary. Cray. She's a sweetheart and super into it, which helps me be better. Exact obedience over here! They're the best, and they're both 21 and I just love them so much.

Also, the little 18 year old boys, I die. So young. So foolish. So right out of their first semester of college. So in love with their girlfriends. Ah, brings such wisdom. JOKES. I know nothing. But we're a diverse bunch. New Zealanders, a Mexican, some Utah folk. And I love them all so much. Except we keep getting lectured about keeping our distance and not flirting and blah blah blah. I know, I know, it's important. Pretty sure I broke some boy in our zone's heart when he found out I was 21. It's hard.

Gym time is the funniest, because I just ellipticize for 40 minutes and look out to 900E longingly. The first couple days, I was planning my jail break to Lanai, but now I just like the watch the folk dressed in normal clothes walk by and imagine what their day is like. No music. It's hard. Sometimes I count how many cars go by too. And then I start singing "watching the cars go byyyy."

I get to see Hil and Maddie and Court and Luc and Mere and Meliss and everyone all the time. I'm constantly keeping an eye out for teachers and random Provo folk that I know too. It's SO nice seeing familiar faces. There is really NO time to like stop and chat, but it's still just good to see them. I live for devotionals/choir on Sunday and Tuesday, because I get to sit next to Meliss and I feel like all is right in the world.

Don't worry mom. I'm surviving. No hummus, but the food could be worse. And my companions have already learned about the chocolate chip thing. I maybe get a chocolate chip cookie everyday, but the cookie is GROSS, so I just pick the chocolate chips out and eat those, because you can't mess up chocolate chips. (Actually, speaking of, would you send me some of the individual dove chocolate things? There's not enough decent chocolate/dessert in this place.)

On Wednesday, the embassador of Portugal came to visit our class! SO cool! He was super nice and his wife was way funny, and they just talked to us all about the culture and what not over there. Apparently it very rarely happens that they come, so we had to be looking our best. One of the Elders said we were "looking fresh to death," so I assume the ambassador approved too. And Elder Hinckley came too. So cool.

This place is the funniest. Just tons of 18-20something year olds running around speaking in a million different languages. 55 actually. It's ridic. Day one, I made fun of all of them. Now I'm that girl. Not mad. Anywho, time is running out. AHH

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE LOVE/LETTERS/PACKAGES!! The Elder in my district who is in charge of getting mail has starting referring to mail time as "going to pick up Sister Brooks' mail" time. NOT MAD. KEEP IT COMING. No but for reals, shout out to the Ludlows for the greatest cookie ever and to Caisa for saving my life with enough bread and DC to get me through the MTC (Jessica left me her leftovers before she left too--those angels, they really do walk the halls here.) Sorry I'm needy, but really, I live for you all's letters.

In other news: I'M SO EXCITED TO HAVE A NEICE!! Shout out to kimye. I hope they name her after me.

Seriously though, I am so so happy here! It is so good! I'm reading the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and loving it! And we taught an investigator in Portuguese starting last Friday and everyday since then. It's hard, but it's so rewarding. And we've already had Sister Mary Cook and M. Russell Ballard come talk! What the coolest! They are such awesome examples, and the Spirit just fills up the room when they walk in. It's the coolest. I love it. In our devotional Sunday, Stephen B. Allen said the coolest thing, "Christ's sufferings were the worst of anyone on this earth. To be a part of his army, some of that suffering must be upon us." It really helps me remember why I'm really here, and it gives "taking upon His cross" a whole new meaning. But I'm stoked to be here and to be learning and growing like never before. YOU ARE ALL THE BEST I LOVE YOU SO MUCH GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

Sister Brooks