Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First Week in Recife

January 21, 2013

Hello all who are reading!

I arrived in Recife on last Tuesday. It was so intense. The plane ride was like 4 hours. I had my CTM companion by my side so I felt pretty comfortable with the situation. At the airport I tried to call the family but the payphones were completely Brazilian. I tried! We landed in Recife and were met by the President and the Zone leaders/secretaries. They all started saying things in Portuguese that I couldn’t understand. Oh well, I’m trying to get used to that. I feel like an idiot, always. I must seem antisocial for our lunch appointments because I don’t say anything. I try to chime in whenever there’s something I know how to say but it usually ends up being a complete fail. Whatever, I’m learning.

My companion is Brazilian and speaks like 2 words of English. I guess that’s the best way to learn the language. I feel like he gets frustrated with me. The first few days have been pretty rough trying to adapt to the Brazilian culture. All of my roommates are Brazilians too so I’m the only North American for miles. It’s soooooo frustrating when I’m trying to express myself. I have zero real life vocabulary. I think I’m learning fast, though. My companion always takes about a week to answer me when I ask him anything about Portuguese. He must think I’m an idiot.

I’ve just been reading the scriptures, books from my missionary library and studying Portuguese. I just recently finished reading Our Search for Happiness. It was awesome. It covers virtually everything about Mormonism and what we are all about. It should be a prerequisite for nonmembers before they read the Book of Mormon.

People here love Bruno Mars, Coldplay and Adele. It’s awesome. When walking in the streets all you hear is Latino music everywhere you go. When I first got here it was a complete culture shock. I was in complete awe. We took the bus to our area and it was completely packed and I felt completely out of place. I was sweating my face off and we had to wheel both my huge bags (suitcases) through the city in the dark. I thought the wheels were going break off because the streets here aren’t exactly smooth. Everywhere I walk people stare at me and it’s not just because I’m wearing a shirt and tie because they don’t stare at my companion. It’s like they’ve never seen a blonde man before. All the little girls at the houses we visit want to touch my hair. It’s pretty funny. I try to wear sunscreen every time I go out. It’s super hot here and the sun is very intense because it’s only 8 degrees away from the equator. I just want to let dad know that the shoes he sent me are perfect. There’s nothing wrong with them at all. They’re just perfect for my abnormally wide feet.

The food here is all the same, beans, rice, noodles and usually fried chicken. There was this one time we had this meat called Figado and it was quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. It was like gristly beef. Hopefully I will never eat that again. Usually the food is pretty good even though it’s pretty much the same thing every time. They change it up enough to where it’s not getting old yet. Every house you go to gives you Suco(sp?) It’s freaking bomb. I think it’s just ground up fruit in water although I’m not quite sure because whenever they try to tell me what it is, I don’t ever understand them. Try to make it mom.

The apartment we live in is pretty nice for being here. It’s filthy and there are bugs and stuff but I’m used to it. I like to sweep the floor every day just to keep myself sane. We have hot water and a toilet so that’s good. We can still use
missionties.com. I don’t want the family to use it though. I’d rather get emails from you all once a week instead of waiting for mail for forever, unless you want to send a package or something. The poverty here is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. Totally shocking! Everyone lives in small 2 room houses with cement floors, no air conditioning and bugs all over the place. They always find a way to give you something to eat, though. It’s going take some getting used to for me. Just don’t ever take advantage of the fact that you live in America and that you have pretty much everything you could possibly want!

I never knew how much I liked talking until I couldn’t talk. I feel like a mute. I do try to speak Portuguese but my vocabulary is so limited that if I want to say something but don’t know how I just keep my mouth shut. I’m not going lie, I feel pretty useless during lessons. I want to say stuff but I can’t. I have the gospel vocabulary but I can’t understand what people are saying so I don’t really know what they need. It’s the hardest, must frustrating thing ever but I know I’m here for a noble purpose and that the Lord will bless me if I just work and have faith in him. During lessons sometimes my body just wants to sleep so bad because I can’t understand anything. My mind just goes into idle mode and by body follows suit. I really do try to listen. It’s frustrating when the 3 year old in the room knows more Portuguese than you. Oh well, it will come. The two Americans in my district say it takes about 4 to 6 months to start being semi-fluent and understanding the majority of what people are saying. I’m getting there... I’m in it for the long haul. This first week has definitely been a very humbling experience for me. I’ve had to fall on my knees many times praying for comfort. I know it will be worth it. I’ve been reading so much that whenever I can speak to people I feel like I will just explode with knowledge and the people just won’t be able to handle it.

I’m very grateful to be here and I know it’s where I’m supposed to be even though it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s harder than any race or audition and any trial up to this point. I have a firm faith in Christ, that through him I can get to the light at the end of the tunnel and become a good missionary. I love you all and I can’t wait to hear from EVERYONE. I’m excited for the wedding even though I won’t be there. Glad to hear everything is just falling into place with the wedding plans. I want to hear all about it!

Things I need:

*Those scripture pictures that mom got me for Christmas so I can put them in my Portuguese scriptures and know what I’m talking about.

*Clearasil pads

*CD player with all sorts of church music. I’m sure Landon would have fun making me some cds: Eclipse, Motab, EFY, Acoustic hymns, the works!

I love you all. I hope everything is going as well as it sounds! Keep me updated on everything and I will do the same. I miss you all… Ate mais!

PS: I’m not being held captive in Mexico for drug trafficking. IDK what that’s all about but I hope the scumbags who did that will get caught and thrown in jail. You don’t mess with the Elders and their families!!!

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