Monday, September 30, 2013

Faith, Hope and Charity

Nick sounds like he's adjusting to life in Mexico and his Spanish is getting better each day.  

So this week...

Monday night we looked at the clock and realized we had to be home in 10 mins when it was a 30 minute walk, and we just missed the bus. So we were like shoot.. while we wait for the bus might as well buy a taco and sit. While we were doing that this guy comes up and is like, Elders!  I love you guys, let me buy you tacos. We tried to turn him down and thank him, and we went to catch the next bus but it just blew right past us.  They do that sometimes.  So he was like, it's a god-sign. Anyway, we just sat and talked with him about what we do. He said his brother was a missionary and he always talked about how hard it was sometimes so he wanted to make our day a little better. Then he also drove us home in the back of his truck. So here I am with Elder Cruz, sitting on the edge of the back of this truck, going like 40 mph down this road, looking over Queretaro, just thinking, this doesn't happen in America. Really cool experience. 
But more of the small things about the week...

I'm getting fairly decent at Spanish, so I can talk to the people sometimes. But what I suck at more than anything is the small talk in the beginning in Spanish. But then I realized, I cant even make small talk in English... so yeah.

Laundry... You were always like, "you'll thank me when you leave to go to Mexico and have to do your own laundry and stuff".... nope. We give it to this lady who I swear is a professional, and she washes, irons, and folds it all for us. I took a picture of it.  It's so nice. So there's that.  (I so hoped he wouldn't have someone to do his laundry.  Maybe in his next area. )

Singing in Mexico. Cruz loves to sing.. but he cant. Oh well

Cars.  The most popular car here is a VW beetle from like the 50's. Everyone has them. I thought that was cool.

Music. People here just blast music from their houses that you can hear from 3 streets away. It's really hard to teach a lesson and focus on Spanish when all you can hear is Gangnam Style playing.

Dance. When girls are like 15 they dance for their birthday. And it"s like a big deal. Kind of ridiculous.

So I learned that the Spanish word for cockroach is cucaracha, like the song. You know why I know that now? because one freaking attacked me while I was going to the bathroom. Scariest moment of my life, those things are so fast. I killed it with a butcher knife. (He must not remember the Palmetto bugs in Florida)

Coke. Everyone's like "Cokes different and better in Mexico". It's the same.

Dog peed on my backpack.. that was fun

Tuna is the fruit of a cactus. You eat it but while doing so you swallow like 120 seeds. and it just tastes like crappy water.

3 Liter bottles of pop. Favorite thing in the world. 

Circus, they have all these animals in cages outside. So i high-fived a sleeping brown bear, and touched a tiger. Thought it was worth reporting... but while I was walking back, the monkeys reached out of the cages and grabbed my shirt.  2nd scariest moment of my life. 

Horchata here. Tastes like candles. 

Chucharron, the death of me. This lady was like "Here I brought you this huge bowl of chucharron". It was soggy, and wrinkly, and moist. The last bite I left too long and it got cold but I still had to eat it. Started heaving at the table but it went down and she didn't see... never again. 

English classes. Every Saturday. It's so much fun.  Mexicans really can't speak English.  But, it's so hard thinking of what to teach. Cause we really don't think about English at all and how we have irregular verbs and stuff, and how it;s dumb how read and read are spelled the same but you say them different at different times. 

Anyway, other than that though this week was pretty hard. We talked to this lady that's a member.  It was our 3rd time visiting with her. Really one of my favorite people here, that has taken care of us. She told us that her husband is cheating on her. I guess that really just struck me. Here's this lady with two little kids bawling her eyes out to us, because her husband threw it all away for personal gain. I don't know, we're going to help her as much as we can.  It's just really hard to know how to, when I've never like gone through anything close to that. We saw their family later that week, they just pretend everything is alright, meanwhile it's hell on the inside. That must be so hard.. But I'm sure we'll figure something out. 

But,  I thought a lot this week about Faith, Hope and Charity. We need all three.  Faith is when you act on a belief.  We can't have faith without hope.  Charity  is when you love everyone no matter what.  I remembered what my teacher told me in the MTC.  She said its like this... Faith is when you believe in god.  Hope is when you believe in yourself.  And, Charity is when you believe in others.  I really liked that.  I know its hard to love people sometimes, but it's so important that we do anyway.  Because, we never know whats going on, on the inside in someones life. 

Nick's freshly folded laundry by his miracle worker laundry lady

A moth outside the window at 6:30 am

Nick touching a panther

Playing around on an accordian.  I'm guessing this is a members home. 

Elder Cruz

Tiny Coke

Monday, September 23, 2013

20 things I bet you didn't know about Mexico!

We got to talk to Nick on the phone last week, so there wasn't a letter.  We had to wait a whole week to hear from him.  He did have a stop in Houston on the way to Mexico, and we weren't sure he was going to be flying into Mexico with all the flooding.  His flight took off a little past schedule, but there were no problems.   He seems to love it there already.   We're happy that he has a native companion.  His language should be able to improve quickly.  

SO my first week in Mexico!!!  First impression... everything we know about Mexico is a lie.  It's so nice here though, I love it so much.  My companion is Elder Cruz from Pueblo Mexico. He learned English from just talking to people in the mission.  He goes home in 3 months.

So the first few days took just forever.  All day I would just look forward to the end of the day.  I could only pick out like a couple of words in Spanish so I'd just sit there lost while Elder Cruz did all the talking.  But, it got better. (Oh! by the way I'm in Queretaro, Fresno, in the city )
Anyway back to what I was saying, I was only focused on the end.  Well that's not how its supposed to be!  Life either.  We need to enjoy the moments we have, the small things with the time we have.  So here are some small things about Mexico...

1. Ice cream trucks in America, they're white and pretty and play fun music.  You know those trucks that you see at Halloween and you don't go up to cause their going to kidnap you.  Yeah those are the ice cream trucks here.
2. Stop signs. They're optional.
3. Garbage cans, they're like on a basket on a post in front of your house.
4. Doors. When you go up to someones door or gate, you knock on it with a pen and somehow they just know with their 6th sense and come out.
5. Light switches, are sideways. I don't like it.
6. Penguin guys. These guys dress up penguins and drag around coolers full of otter pops to sell.
7. Dogs. Freakin stray dogs everywhere.  They leave us alone but I still don't like them. And at the same time I must admit it's a little bit depressing. But to get rid of them, you pretend to pick up a rock and they just run.
8. Words with Elder Cruz.  Just trying to explain words like furry, or what prom is, or how being overwhelmed feels, in Spanish. Lots of charades.
9. We went to this restaurant and the refrigerator was full of dead baby pigs. So that's fun.
10. Fun food. Ate mayonnaise corn, and Chicharron,  which is fried pig skin. Same texture as dried mangoes but tastes like wet dog.
11. Waters actually clean? I use it to brush my teeth and stuff. On top of that,  no diarrhea. Actually have been a bit constipated for the past week. Life's good.
12. Got locked in the bathroom my first time, since the doorknob was somewhat broken. That was fun.
13.  Mosquitoes. Every night I get like 6 new bites.
14. We were talking to the bishops wife the 2nd night, to say take care is "cuiasay". I said "cayasay" which means shut up... luckily no one heard me.
15. Bus rides. They don't wait for anyone.  They start driving while you're looking down counting money.  It's fun though.
--( I should probably tell you about the second night now. So after  the new elder orientation, me and Elder Cruz got into a car with all our bags. Only our bags took up 2 seats alone. So my first memories with him are him sitting on my lap for a 30 min ride to the other side of Queretaro.  Get to our house, wrong keys. Ended up putting our bags in this random ladies house (who were teaching now) and had to stay in a secretarie missionarie home with no pillows or clean clothes. But it all worked out in the end)
16. Chile pepper juice in your eyes. Imagine pouring hot coals into your eyes, it's similar.
17. Singing. Mexicans can't.
18. Dinner doesn't exist in Mexico. :( It makes me sad, but we always go get late snacks.
19. Cop cars/trucks/mopeds.  Whatever they can find really, and always drive around with their lights on.
20. Sweet potato guys. I hate them. They drag around this cart with a whistle on it that produces the same sound as a 200 ton train. It hurts my ears.
Anyway thats all I can really talk about.  Other than that I have no idea what happened this week.  Everyone calls me a nuevecito which is little new kid.  And I dont really know Spanish, but I'll get there.  I do what I can, and from that I've gained a love for the people here already.  They're all awesome.  We had this guy tell us yesterday that whenever we need food or anything,  no se preocupado. Just call him up and its done.  He's also teaching me how to make tamales, eventually.(Did he forget his mother made tamales for him for his farewell?) People like that make me happy!

Nick's MTC district and teachers

Nick and his MTC companion


President and Sister Mejorada

Nick's new home away from home


Nick's shower in which he says they ignore the purple stuff in the corner and the extra hair.  Ewwww

Their beds

HIs view outside his house

Meat for the tacos

Tacos in which he said he felt them that night.  

Elder Cruz

Monday, September 9, 2013

One Week Left in the MTC!

Nick did tell us his travel plans.  He leaves in a week.  He is going straight to Mexico.  No stops.  He also was made District Leader and says he does like having personal interviews with each missionary.  He says they are different one on one.  He's ready to leave the MTC and the language will come.  His sister, Sydney left for Korea today.  

But this week. The 2nd to last one!   I'm almost out. I feel like the past month has just flown by, its unreal. With only 23 months left, I don't want to go home and have to go to college and stuff. But spanish, I feel like I haven't made that much progress this week. I learned preterit and imperfect, but I'm just like not at that point where I can use it casually in lessons and stuff where I don't have to think about it as much. So I don't know, it'll eventually come. I'm not worried about it. 
      I guess I'll tell you about Elder C..... He's the guy I've been having the hardest time to like  during my stay here. Just a loud obnoxious kid, obsessed with sports, talks himself up and just lies all the time, stubborn too. Just gets under my skin everyday. Anyway,  yesterday we were talking to him, just about life and things and he told us his story. He talked about his life back home and how seriously messed up it was with everything. His dad beats his mom, and they argue non stop. Hes unemployed, and now they're separated. Of course his mom refuses to see the bad in him, so she just justifies it with other means. It just makes me feel like a crappy person, you know. We take so many things for granted in life, and we just automatically think people have grown up in the same conditions.  But,  that's not true at all, nor is it fair.   I just feel a little ungrateful, not for like dumb stuff like laundry, thats not that big of a deal, and frankly is a mom job.  Just  kidding. But just the fact that I have a good family, that's strong together. Couldn't ask for anything better in life. 
     Que mas. This week was kind of dry. The older district left so we were in charge of everything. Its weird. There's no way I'm ready for Mexico either. But I'm excited.  I just wish I could get to that point where I'm not a scrub at speaking in Spanish, and being a new missionary.  Can't wait to be fluent and fit in with the people.  Last week when the old district left they mentioned that it was their last day in America for 2 years. Thats so weird to think about. I'm sure I'll get used to it, its just I don't know. 
    I'll have to look in my journal for what else happened. BIt was a pretty normal week. I saw Syd last Monday and Tuesday.  We said  goodbye and everything. She'll do well, just has to avoid being nuked by North Korea.  (you gotta love brothers, such compassion.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Are we ready to help everyone?

Nick answered a few questions before he started his letter today.  He told us a little about his companion.  He said, he's like a quiet version of his friend, Matt.  Sorry Matt, I can't imagine a quiet version of you.  He still can't roll his r's.  He's working on it.  He also has written a talk in Spanish every week but hasn't had to speak on Sunday yet.  He can pray and bear his testimony in Spanish but it still sounds very foreign to him.  Um....that's because it is, Nick.  Silly.

First off, Thank you Grandma and Grandpa so much for the hymn book. I got it last Tuesday, so I had to wait a whole week to say thank you for it. It means a lot to me and I use it everyday. 

So this week I went to go get my visa, I think?  All the days blend together.  But, that was an interesting experience.  I talked to everyone I could, and if not at least said hello.  Of course, mostly, people just blow you off and walk right by but that's alright.  I went with a bunch of missionaries I didn't really know, while everyone in my district went to Vegas on various days. So we talked to this one guy who asked if I had 50 cents.  I felt bad I didn't even have that. But, we just talked to him for a little bit, asked him how his day was, and what he was doing.  He said he needed money to buy toilet paper and when we said goodbye I shook his hand. So, that's kinda gross but, hands are washable I guess.  Yeah, it took 5 hours to go all the way down to Salt Lake(up Nick, Salt Lake is up), say 2 sentences to some Mexican lady, and then go all the way back. So it just felt like kind of a waste of time.  I just thought about the Korean consulate where they probably eat rice, and its like a 40 foot skyscraper.   Instead, this was old cars with chrome rims outside, and smelled like tacos a little bit. But those are my people, and I love them. 

 I thought a lot this week about that.  People are always like moving and busy and don't have time to just stop everything and just relax for a little bit.  Most people aren't going to give missionaries any time in their busy schedules and lives and I feel like if I wasn't one I'd  be exactly the same kind of person.  Its just always nice when people take the time to just say hello. And even if they don't  and just are repulsed by everything, you still love them. You still care about them  and you still want them to be happy. 

That's another thing we talked about this week, who are the most prejudice kind of people. A lot of the time it's white Christians.  Granted, they do a lot of good in the world, and its not everyone, no doubt. But are we ready to really help everyone?, just something to ask yourself. Of course they'll go out of their way to help people in their same religion, or congregation.   But, when they see people who really need help, like really need help, someone who has thrown their life away for drugs, or is living off the street, would we feel the same about helping them?  I know I wouldn't... but I'm working on it. 

I guess the final thing I had to talk about was that the district above us left last night.(He means the district who has been there a little longer than his district) It was really hard to see them go, they practically raised us.  I have pictures that I can actually send now, so I'll  do that right after. But, I'm really going to miss them, they were all like the type of people I'd  hang out with back home.  And it just felt like I had known them my entire life. Our president said something last week that I guess stuck with me. He said "Heaven wouldn't be heaven without all of you" in Spanish it"d be like "Cielo no esta mismo sin todos los Ustedes" ,something to that extent.  But I feel that towards all of you as well.  And well that's just it.

All of these pictures are of the district that just left, except for the one of Nick's companion.  Some of them are large and buff elders.  

Not sure what he's holding but he's very happy about it.  

Nick's companion, Elder M

This is Elder B, who was a starting quarterback for the University of Utah

This is Elder G, who had his appendix out.