Saturday, March 2, 2013

After a week of Archives

 The Temple the night we went...

1 March 2013

We finally got the Internet hooked up.  It is good.  We are now up and running , and Elder Nelson is doing our taxes as we speak.

I am not sure where I left off.  I think I wrote about our second Sunday in our Branch.  It was so wonderful.  I am so excited about this calling.  The MTC called me on Tuesday of this week, and ask a bunch of questions.  I answered.  They are going to work with me to become an “Independent Spanish learner”.  I understand that means I will learn the way I learn things the best.  They are going to have a language specialist meet me (on Skype) once a week, and then a tutor once a week.  I will have about an hour of homework a night, and I should commit to 4 hours daily of working in the language.  Four hours is a lot with the hours we put into the Archives each day, but I can study on the bus going and coming, and when I am better and can understand better I can listen to Spanish on my phone while I am working at the Archives.  I  then had to submit my goals…what I want to accomplish in learning Spanish.  I set some pretty high goals, but I think it can happen because I want this gift so very, very much.  They will be getting back in touch with me with a schedule.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to learn Spanish!

Now, at the Archives….It is such a wonderful place.  The first day, Monday, we got our temp. badges and set in motion the background investigation.  So some of you will get a call or visit from someone from the FBI about us.  I hope you say good things????  J   Then our Supervisor, Jackie, took us on a tour of the Archives.  It was so fascinating!  The records of our Nation that they have there is totally amazing.  And while we are there we can do research with “original” documents!  Jackie told us we can copy what we want and she will stamp it so we can get it out of the building.  Oh Man….am I in Heaven?
Now it is just budgeting the time.  Anyway, the tour took all the rest of the day.  The Archives are right on Pennsylvania Ave in downtown DC.  Amazing!
On Tuesday, we started “shadowing” Rob and Brenda Dickey.  They are the couple we will be replacing.  We cannot touch the documents yet until we go through “document handling training” next week.  So we watched their routine of unfolding the documents, capturing them on camera, and the refolding of the documents.  One or the other captures the picture while the other unfolds or refolds.  It is quite a dance.  The missionaries are allowed to listen to books on audio with headphones or whatever.  It is really quiet in there.  There are no windows and the temperature and humidity is set at a perfect setting for the documents.  It isn’t real cold, but a bit cool in the room.  In the room is two camera setups and two worktables.  Two couples are working on this project of the Homestead Act of 1862.  They are coming to the end of Nebraska.  However, the work will slow down as the other couple in the room is being released next month.  So the camera will be still. 

Anyone even thinking of a mission….do it…there is so much to do and you are so very needed!

The project in the other room in the Civil War widows Pension Records.  There are two cameras for that project and only one is manned by a couple.  So that project needs a couple also so more work can be done.  The couple working on that project is the Andersons.  They live in the same building that we do, so we are going to car pool with them to the bus.

We leave about 7:15 a.m. and get to the Archives II about 7:40 depending on traffic.  Then the shuttle bus that takes us downtown leaves at 8:05 a.m. and we get to the Archives downtown about 8:45 or so.  At the Archives II building, there is a beautiful trail around the building of about 2/3 of a mile up and down.  We have been trying to do that each morning.  It is good to get the fresh air.  It will be very beautiful as spring emerges.  The birds are singing already.

We work on the top floor which is the 18th.  But that is a little deceiving.  When they built the Archive building, originally there was to be a park inside that would be surrounded by the building.  But then they realized that they need that space to store documents, they built a connecting tower in the middle of the building.  And actually the floors in this tower are shorter than a regular floor…It is hard to explain.  Anyway that is where we work.  I have been trying to take as many stairs as I can going up.  I get to the 9th or 10th floor so far, and then I have to take the elevator the rest of the way.  My goal is to be able to go up all the stairs eventually.  We will take the stairs down most of the time.  We eat at a little café’ inside the towers.

We shadowed the Dickeys for the week.  Yesterday at lunch the Dickeys took us out to the Old Post Office just down the street to have lunch.  They took their lunch and so did we, however, we needed the microwave…which wasn’t there…so we got a sandwich.  There are a lot of little shops inside.  I understand that Donald Trump has leased the building and is going to make it a hotel.  It will be a very beautiful hotel.  The National Park Service operates the elevator that take you up to the bell tower.  It is very high.  The bells in the tower are used on special occasions.  They have a group that comes and practices ringing the bells on Thursdays.  It was a neat experience and we will probably visit again when we have more time.

Elder Nelson and I were able to take some time and get our researchers card so we can research at the Archives.  I am not sure when we will get the time…but maybe things will settle down as we get into a routine.

We have noticed that food doesn’t keep as well here, so we are going to have to do a little shopping for fresh things each week.  So far we are doing very well in making our lunches and making dinner when we get home.

I will add some pictures here also.  I guess that about catches us up on things.  Tonight we have been invited to the Dickey’s to play some games and meet another missionary couple.  Tomorrow the missionaries in our Branch have set up a “study hour” for us to study Spanish with them on Saturday mornings, so we will do that.  And then the Branch is having a seminar on teaching.  We will stay for a couple of hours of that also.

Well, my laundry is done, so I will close and get back to Elder Nelson and see how the taxes are doing.

This is Saturday:  We went to the Church this morning to have a Spanish lesson with the Elders.  It was so wonderful!  Elder Branning and Elder Guerria taught me because I am so green.  Elder Anderson and Elder Gleed worked with Elder Nelson.  I learned how to say a prayer!  I have a little "cheat" sheet, But I can do it.  Elder Nelson and I are to say all our prayers in Spanish.  I can use my cheat sheet on for a little while.  I am going to learn to do my testimony.  In fact, Elder Branning challenged me to write my testimony and give it at Church tomorrow!  Oh Boy!  I am going to do it!  I feel the Lord blessing me in my desire to learn Spanish.  It is amazing how I feel.

So now all up to date!

This is the building that we work in.

This is the door we go in.  The guards are so nice.   When you come out you have to step in this monitor and if it says a green check, you can go on through.  However, if it turns red X, they have to go through you bags.  Well, for two days in a row mine turned red X...I teased the guard that he was saving all the red Xs for me....

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