Monday, March 17, 2014

J'apprends le Francais en Mexico! Increible!

Mexicans are awesome. I am so happy the Lord called me to serve my mission here in Mexico.  There are things I can learn only here with these great people.  My Spanish has also developed to the point that I have two brains inside and hopefully within a year or two three idiomas with French. That's the reason I went to Mexico. If I'm a businessman or a diplomat I'm on my way.  I still actually have no idea what I will do for a career, but those two options are on the table.  When I'm back at BYU I think I'll take French classes to master it and then possibly Arabic classes my last few semesters. Or whatever language comes next...

Anyway! I forgot to mention that with my French books I also received some brownies, beef jerky, and whole lot of Fun Dip. Fun Dip is an excellent package snack because it weighs nothing, therefore you can pack a lot of it, so it lasts a very long time. I thank thee kindly for sending me packages. Not only do they remind me of a family at home that loves me, but also that my family is real. The mission has reached a point that I am perceiving it as very far out of my reality sphere so those packages help me a lot. A request! If you could send the Chariots of Fire CD amongst the next package I might get motivated to do excersise in the morning. Probably not because I do excersise walking these crazy hills all day, but I still miss hearing that wondrous 80s synth with the piano roaring the ocean waves in the background.

J'apprends le francais en Mexico! Increible!  For week one it's gone pretty well. So far I see the rules as you told me - that the French use "to have" OR "to be" for the compound tenses and the past compound tense (/or whatever it's called) is used instead of past simple tense, which is actually really silly and fun. Like ''we we are sat'' is we sat down or ''we we are washed''  (or have washed) is we got washed.

Learning a language is like learning the gospel. You just trust what the master says, be humble and recognize we all make mistakes and that's the only way we learn. I think the last mistake I made in Spanish was saying 'a comer' for a snack after a family home evening. A youth told me ''no, se dice 'a cenar' porque es la noche.' Ah, of course. The word doesn't depend on the amount of food but when you eat it. Got it. I see a lot of people struggling with Spanish because they just want to keep thinking the English way. Language isn't just another set of words - it is rather an entirely different mindset and culture. Hence also my desire to learn French because I realized how much more expanded my mind can become by learning another language. Languages are fun.

So that was a random tangent there. Alas! My week was wonderful. My companion is such a little ball of fun. He says he would greatly appreciate the English books, by the way. The mission does give books but in my view they're not very helpful because it's all practices and there's practically no explanation as to how to do them. Elder L likes working hard but he also understands that we are human beings with a sociological need to just sit down and rest for a couple minutes every once in a while to maintain not only a good but also a great friendship. (this is also what the ''adaptarse a la vida misional'' book says) He's quite a joker and we get great laughs. 

Until next week!  Thanks for the French books and language lessons.  Je vais etudier.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A new companion

I believe this is a picture of me with Elder L justo después del anuncio de nuestro compañerismo.

This is my physically exhausted victory face, I think. I just scored a winning goal for the first time in my life. That makes two goals for the mission and one happy nerd.

When I went to Xalapa this week to pick up my new companion, I found the ''lost package'' of French books. Turns out it was just damaged in shipping and the label got ripped off so they couldn't identify whose it was. Thank goodness I decided to check the mail room!  Now I can get to work studying French.

When I was in Xalapa I asked again about my going home date and that's still in doubt as to whether it will be March 20, Aril 3, or April 27, but it's one of the three. For now I'm just going as if it were April 27.

Let me just start by saying - training rocks. This week was very unique. On Monday Elder C packed up all his stuff to go to Tuxpan the next day so I didn't work, on Tuesday at 6:00 am my bus left for Xalapa and I spent all day with Elder D and Elder S (so I didn't work), on Wednesday I spent all day with Elder D and Elder S, met my ''son'' and at night took my son back to Papantla, (so I didn't work). Then there was a whole bunch of confusion as to where we would be living and which area we would work in and finding a new house for the sisters and moving houses for 3 companionships and a whole load of random bojambo and I basically didn't work any day this week. Despite all of that, we did bring 4 new people to Church on Sunday! One is a friend of Joaquín and he's really looking forward to getting baptized, so hopefully we'll send you a picture at the beginning of April.

Amidst the movings of house, I also had to cambiar de casa. That's because now I'll be working in the South side of the city where it's dark at night because there's no streetlight anywhere and where the Narcos have their colony in the Papantla uno neighborhood. So! My new house doesn't look as nice as the other one, but it's still pretty big and cozy. I also managed to snag an extra fan in the move so that's a good deal.

As to my new companion - say hello to Elder L from Guatemala, Guatemala! Aquí todos le dicen que ''Ya te fuiste de Guatemala... a ¡Guata Peor!'' That joke was funny the first time but after like 30 times my comp beats them to telling it. Anywho! Elder L it awesome. He is also an incredible amount of fun. He said his last day in the MTC he prayed for a companion who would be calm, not use his stuff, know the scriptures really well, and be able to teach him English. He said he was super surprised because his prayer was answered in the full extent, which he was hoping for but almost not expecting. Hurray for asking with faith!
I am so excited to be staying in Papantla with Elder L for at least 6 more weeks.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'm staying in Papantla

Tell Aubs I'm super glad she's being a musical rockstar and I can't wait to hear her songs in less than 14 months. I'm glad the cello still reminds you of me... I think in about 10 years I might pick it up again a little bit. Also, penny pinching has become more than a form of thought recently - it's my way of being. I feel really bad when I spend even a few bucks on your credit card even though I know that's what it's for. Totally random thought there but there you have it.

For the first time in my mission history, I guessed a transfer correctly - I will be staying in my area and training. Who my comp is, from where he is, what languages he speaks I don't know and I won't know until Wednesday. The exciting part is that all day tomorrow I don't do anything; I just travel in a bus to Xalapa and hang out waiting for my 'son'. I shall train him and we shall definitely have a lot of fun.

A few favors: There is a song called 'el juego de las vocales' that a Spaniard wrote. The lyrics consist of several verses using only the vowel A, the vowel E, the vowel O, and the vowel I. If you could send me the letra that would be greatly appreciated. If you could also scan and send the music to the Rachmaninoff prelude in C# minor I played I would love that.

This week was a wonderful learning experience. I love looking at life with the perspective that sometimes we think things change when they really don't. One little event can totally throw off a whole lot of people's emotions and therefore decisions and attitude, but I have learned to stay strong being cool headed and making smart decisions. That one little event that many people would get depressed about really doesn't change my world all that much, does it? Because this work is about the people we are serving and not about us it's alright.

Next Monday I'll let you know how my training is coming along... until then!