Na Manumanuvuka Totoka.

Bula Vinaka!

From this point on, the titles of my messages are just going to be my favorite random phrase for the week.

Still learning Fijian.  Unfortunately, not fluent yet, but I feel confident considering that it’s only been two weeks or some.  I love the language.  It’s not like English, not dependent on literary tradition, so the definition of what is considered “proper” Fijian is flexible.  If I make too many mistakes, I could just say it was a difference in style.  The vocabulary comes very quickly for me, and I can understand the majority of what people say to me.  I can’t respond yet, but I’ll get there.  There are a ton of vowels in every word, so when people speak Fijian, it sounds lovely.

I met a few people this week.  During devotional, I met a sister from Fiji.  She’s super cute and friendly, but has a notoriously sassy streak.  She wanted to chat with someone in her native language, Fijian, so I told her that my teachers are both very good at it.  When she heard that, she got a great big smile on her face and her eyes lit up.  I hope she get to talk to them.  I also met Elder Ranger from somewhere around Snowflake.  He’s going to the Paris, France, Mission.  We mostly became friends because we found out that we were both from Arizona, but he’s also really nice.  He’s leaving Monday and we took a picture together.  We got new Sister Training Leaders after the Tongan district left, Sister Fetalaiga and Sister Clark.  They’re wonderful.  I already wrote a bit about Fetalaiga, but we probably shouldn’t be allowed around each other.  The combination of British and New Zealand humor has to be the funniest thing that ever happened to the MTC, at least we think so.  Sister Clark and I have also shared some great moments.  We both couldn’t stop giggling during branch prayer, but we didn’t know why we were giggling in the first place.  We got a new district worth of Tongan sisters that morning, so they thought we were a little crazy.  After they’re here for a few weeks, they’ll probably be laughing all the time too.  We work together, gym together, foursquare victories together.  Sometimes, I try to play basketball by myself during gym time, but it never works.  One of the island sisters always makes sure I have a friend.

When I try and think about my MTC experience logically, it makes no sense.  I teach lessons almost every day in a language I’ve never heard before.  I spend all of my time studying and actually enjoy it.  I’ve become best friends with people from all over the world, and I’m never alone.  Pretty soon, I’ll be somewhere out in the South Pacific teaching the gospel.  Thankfully, the gospel is simple and beautiful, and my primary job is to help the Fijian people find it and feel the peace and joy that comes with it.  We sang farewell to the Tongan District, and I felt a great deal of love for the Fijian people even though I haven’t met them yet.  We sang hymns in Fijian, Tongan, Samoan, and Kiribati, and I sang different harmonies than I ever had before.  The culture, as far as I can tell, is centered around unity and working together.  I knew that when I sang, and I knew that after working with the Polynesian sisters.  They’ve loved and served me since day one, and they know the main melody isn’t the only thing that’s important.  We all sing different parts, but they blend beautifully.

Quick thoughts: I’ve been here almost three weeks.  Want to be in Fiji.  Provo is absolutely gorgeous in the summer.  Winter, not so much.  One thing I have memorized for sure?  Meal times. I’m sort of learning Marshallese.  More on that later?  We celebrated our teacher’s birthday by sneaking him snack lunch doughnuts.  I once found vendies with hummus in them, and that was probably the best day of my life here.  We’re supposed to be singing on Sunday with the Tongan brothers, but one of them just got his wisdom teeth out.  We’ll see what happens.  He’s walking around and acting mostly fine.  Just a little out of it, but he’s trying to act as tough as possible.  Also, can you send me Georgia Brown’s address?

Au lomani Kemundou!

Sister Hawkins

Islands Branch Guarantee:  Life is always a party.  A really spiritual party.  The kind that strengthens your testimony, teaches you gospel principles, and gives you something to smile about.

Anna and Elder Ranger from Arizona
Anna and Elder Ranger from Arizona
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Anna Hamblin Hawkins in front of the building named after her third great grandfather.

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