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DJ with his new washer

DJ with his new washer
Piedra Alta, Uruguay

Ramon's Baptism

Ramon's Baptism

DJ and new Companion Elder Craynor

DJ and new Companion Elder Craynor

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Week 7

Hello family and peeps,

All is well here. This week was longer than the last few have been. I dunno why. Anyhoo, I received letters 6 and 7 and the puzzle last night (regrettably I have not had time to do said puzzle yet, let me get back to you on that) as well as 2 letters from grandma and a letter from Cy. Please feel free to let them know that I got their mail if possible. Thank you so much. It´s nice to hear from home and what´s going on. No package yet. My guess is it´s in transit.

Good luck and have fun to Patrick on Saturday at cottonball. Good times. And I hope Chris is excited for track. If he hurts anything or pulls anything, that will be sad. That is all.

Very cool on Rachel´s acceptance into BYU.

The new companion is great. We get along really well (shocker to be sure...I hardly get along with anybody). Anyways, he´s pretty much caught up to our level, but no he will not be leaving early to go to the west mission. He will spend his last 3 weeks in one of the Latino districts as review and more practice. He is from Cedar City, but lived 8 years in Virginia.

Proselyting was ok. Not anything to write home about. Well actually I am writing home about it...hm. Anyways, I´m not sick anymore, which is good. On the minus side, half of the MTC is sick (not me), so that´s kind of like rain on the whole parade thing. Anyhoo.

Yes, my vocabulary is still increasing and expanding, which is good, and I feel really comfortable teaching in Spanish. As long as I have the vocab, I feel really comfortable with it. My biggest issues are understanding spoken Spanish and vocabulary size. The first is very much related to the second because I understand less when I don´t know the words. Um, yeah. good story.

So I was going to write and tell you that we haven´t had the Green Brick of Death for 2 weeks (that large brick/cake thing of all of Argentina´s excess spinach and squash), but then we had it at lunch today, so my previous statement is no longer true. The end.

So please say hi to everybody who asks about me or who is keeping up on the blog. I´m glad they are so interested in my menial and somewhat boring routine. At least somebody is. ;)

Oh speaking of leaving. I have one more PDay here with normal schedule. However, the week after that (the 11th of March) I don´t know where I´ll be slash if that is even a pday in the field. Therefore I don´t know when you will be hearing from me that week. So don´t freak out if there is no email on the 11th because I´ll be moving between locations and settling in. And like I said, I have no idea when pday is in the field yet. K. No freaking out. bueno.

Oh, the president of the MTC is awesome. the first president I had (remember they switched about a week and a half in) was very sullen and quiet and kept to himself. This president is awesome. We see him all of the time (he and his wife). Both are extremely awesome. This is their 3rd mission together. They were mission president and wife in Neuquen Argentina, and then temple president and matron in Asuncion Paraguay and now here. So yeah, very knowledgeable and they love the missionaries and everybody loves them. They´re way fun too and speak really good Spanish. Pres George has even played frisbee with missionaries a couple of times. So yeah. Cool beans.

And cool beans about BYU and stuff. I sometimes forget the life goes on back home while I´m out here.

Oh tell Patrick congrats on his ACT. That´s way sweet, yo. And good luck to Chris in his piano competition. I knew nothing about it, but boo yah anyways.

Um, sauce.

Let´s see...I´m trying to figure out if there is anything else I want to talk about. Oh possibly that I´m excited to get out of here. I dunno if I´ve mentioned that yet. Anyways, it´s been a good experience here, but I´m ready to leave. I´m hoping times infinity that I get a good trainer.

Oh I know...would you mind putting a little something on the blog about how I really enjoy people´s mail and that I try to respond whenever possible, but I don´t know how much time I´ll have on Pdays when I move out to the field, so I am in no way, shape, or form ignoring them or hating them. It´s just that I am busy. But I seriously do love when people think of me. End transmission. Eventually if I get busy enough. I may just have to have you guys pass on messages or something. I dunno. We´ll cross that small stream when we come to it (probably by jumping), so I´ll let you know later.

Feel free to pass on the whole "I love piano and music" sentiment along to Aunt Margaret. She´ll be pleased to hear. After all, it´s partly because of her (isn´t it) that I took piano in the first place. Also, when and if you tell her that, feel free to mention that her name is now pronounced Ce-BA-shos because the double L makes a "sh" sound. Be warned that it is also quesadiSHA and tortiSHA now. :)

Mmk family and friends. Tis all that I can think of for now. Take care during this next week. If there´s anything I forgot to tell you, hopefully you will get it telepathically. :) Joy to the world.

Love always,
DJ

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Week 6

cheers

Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:30 PM

Hello again peeps.

Life is good. This last week was kind of interesting in that I got sick (stomach issues/diarrhea) for about 2 days or so, and I ended up only going proselyting for 2 hours with a different (newer) group of elders. So yeah...no interesting stories, but it was definitely still a good experience. I´m kind of excited to go back out this week and see what happens.

As far as other mail goes, it works a little bit differently now...we get mail on Wednesday nights for the whole previous week. So, just fyi. I figure it doesn´t matter to you guys. Anyways, I got the Valentine´s Day card, #5, Dad´s letter, Grandma´s letter, and aunt Margaret´s letter. Thanks so much. I was so happy last night. It was giggle heaven.

Um, ankles are doing well. Two weeks ago, I managed to sprain my right ankle again. The right one was the one I sprained really badly last summer, it was the left one I sprained the day before I left. Anyways, they´re both doing great. I can walk just fine. I just stepped in some soft dirt when I went to jump (we were throwing the frisbee around) and I slipped. I guess I´m supposed to be learning something from all this, I just hope I learn it fast because I´m tired of spraining them. But please don´t worry about them. They´re great, and they´re not keeping me from anything I might otherwise be doing.

Oh, before I forget, I leave here the 9th of March at some ungodly hour (like 5 am or something). Just fyi, if mail gets to the MTC after I leave, they´ll just forward to the mission, I believe.

The noobs got here today. Fun times. It´s so weird to think that I´ve already been here a full transfer and that I´m part of the oldest group. Bizarreness x4. And yes, my friend from my ward is here. It´s good to see him again. Fun times.

So, I´ve developed a new found appreciation for piano and music and iggity-biggity like that. It´s fun times. I´m pretty much the only person here who feels comfortable playing a majority of the hymns, so yeah. Sauce. Anyways, my companion is a music major and big into singing, playing, and arranging music, so we´re attempting to arrange a special music number for sacrament meeting sometime. The thought right now is to arrange The Spirit of God with Praise to the Man. That´s the plan anyways, we´ll see how it works out in practice, but I´ll keep you posted.

By the way, if you want to send a few pictures here and there, I would be cool with that.


Mom asked about Spanish. It´s going pretty well actually, especially with gospel topics. My vocabulary isn´t very big yet, but it´s growing, so especially with things outside of the gospel, it´s often very hard to talk about them with any sense of coherency. But I´m getting to the point where I either can translate very quickly in my head before spitting out something or I don´t need to translate at all (depending on what I say) Anyways, I´m pleased. I´d be comfortable going out into the field right now to teach, and with 3 weeks more practice, I´ll definitely be ready. We knew more 2 weeks ago then the people from Provo do when they leave the MTC after 2 months. This place is awesome for that. I think that Mother´s Day will be ok (as in my English will still be mostly coherent), but I´m excited to see how Christmas time will turn out. :D woo!

It´s amazing how much stuff you have to memorize here. It´s crazy beans. Aside from the daily vocab and lessons and stuff, we have to have memorized D&C 4, the first vision, the lessons, principles, and commitments, our purpose, and the baptismal interview questions (all in Spanish) before we leave. Fun times. In addition to all that, I´m also memorizing good scriptures to know in Spanish. It´s a lot, but it´s also very fun. I´m kind of getting tired of the MTC, well I guess more eager to get out there, but yeah, whatev.

Have a great week. And don´t forget to watch out for flying plates of small children and puppies. ;)

Love Always,
DJ



forgot

Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:33 PM



oops, I forgot to answer one of mom´s questions

Lots of veggies (especially squash and spinach unfortunately). I eat most of them, but they like to make cakes out of spinach and squash which is disgusting. we have endearingly termed those meals as Green Bricks of Death. Anyhoo, I´ve definitely eaten a load more spinach here than I ever have in my life, but I can eat it in moderation. And some fish too, but that´s not too bad. And I´m sure I´ve probably eaten the majority of a cow. I just don´t know for sure. Hope that makes sense.

Cheers

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Week 5

ooglie booglie

Thursday, February 11, 2010 6:39 PM

Hello family,

Another week gone by. Things are going well here. There have been some major changes here since the last time we "chatted." Last Friday, our little companionship of 3 was broken up. One of the elders who came 3 weeks after us was moved up into our district because he knows a lot of Spanish and is way ahead of the rest of the elders in his (old) district. I´m now his companion. He´s a good guy, but I never expected to be a trainer 4 weeks into my mission. Anyways, it´s a good experience. He doesn´t know the lessons or the teaching skills at all, so it is very frustrating to try and teach with him. With the other companionship, we were really molding well together and we were getting better everyday at being more unified and teaching lessons. Now it´s back to the drawing board. So anyways, I have been trying to help him. I talked to my evening teacher about it (she´s so awesome, definitely the best teacher ever...I´ve never met a teacher who is quite so effective at teaching so much material well in such a short amount of time. We have so much fun with her too. Unfortunately she is leaving to go on vacation on Friday so we´ll have somebody new for the last 3 weeks.), anyways, I talked to her about it, and she is trying to help make things go smoother.

Um, other than that, there´s not a whole lot of new stuff going on. Oh, let me tell you about proselyting last week a bit. It was way weird because I was with my new companion. We were also in a new area, and it seemed like nobody was too keen on even saying hi to us. Not fun. We didn´t manage to talk to a lot of people, and it was kind of discouraging, but we did have one really good experience. It was about 3 in the afternoon and we hadn´t had a contact for about 3 hours or so. We had just been walking around and it was boring, but we ran into a couple of other elders and they had just had the crowning experience of their MTC time here. They had just finished an amazing contact. So we talked for a bit and told them how we had been having little success. They told us that we still had an hour and a half and that we would find somebody. So we parted ways. About a block down we said a little prayer and then not 2 blocks after that, we found this younger man just standing on the side of the road doing nothing in particular except eating a bowl of ice cream. We went up and talked to him, and he was really interested in our message. We talked for about 15 minutes or so and ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and a couple of pamphlets. It was so awesome the Spirit that we felt during that. Anyways, we´re pretty sure God just put him there because when we were done, he just left (as if he had absolutely no business there except to talk to us). So cool, and it made the day worth it. So yeah. To Dad: the weather was hot obviously, but there was some cloud cover that helped and it absolutely poured (like harder than I´ve ever seen) on Friday and Sunday so we were blessed.

Spanish is coming along fine. I feel really comfortable with teaching the gospel, it´s in normal conversation where I´m still lacking a bunch. It´ll come with time, I suppose.

Ok, about the MTC: all of the North Americans going to the two Uruguay missions come here. All of the Latino missionaries going to any 1 of 14 missions in Argentina, Uruguay, or Paraguay come here as well. The next group comes in next Thursday (including my friend from my ward last Fall)

Speaking of a new group, I´m really sad about the guys leaving this Tuesday. I´ve only known them for about 6 weeks, but I feel like we all grew up as brothers and they are all going to the West mission so I won´t see them for a long while. There is a possibility of being on the return home flight with them, but otherwise we´ll have to catch up afterwards. It´s really difficult to be sure.

On Sundays, there is English group and Spanish group. All of the 9 weekers meet together for meetings (in individual districts for Sunday school), and all of the 3 weekers meet together. We have completely different schedules so we just basically see them in the hallways and stuff.

Have a great week. Watch out for flying cows and random saucepans full of frisbees.

Love Always,
DJ

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Week 4

again...too fast

Thursday, February 4, 2010 6:32 PM

¡Hola All!

Another week come and gone. Just like that. Wow. Craziness. Things are going well here, but extremely fast. See above sentence for clarification.

Um, first of all, I have received shampoo (it may have exploded or something...it felt slimy and I need to check it out) as well as envelopes\pens. Thank you so much. :) I also got letter 2 and 3, so I got the stamps in there. Much thanks.

In response to Dad´s email. I have evidently not received your letter yet (see above paragraph). Yes we contact as 3 and it is awesome. We work really well together. We´re actually only 3 on the streets. Otherwise, we are 4. In class and practices and stuff, we practice the 3 of us along with the Hermana in our district. She has a "companion" who is in a complete other district and on a completely different schedule. So she practices and teaches with us and stuff. It´s really fun actually, and it´s great preparation for when we only have to work with one person. As far as Sundays, we sing, pray, and give our talks in Spanish, but the President and Hermana George speak in English.

That´s great to here about Travis. Is his mission pouch? I want to know. If it is, I can just zip him letters for free. Calvin too...is he pouch?

Please let Grandma know I got her letter yesterday and am replying, but she won´t get it for a couple of weeks probably

I got a haircut today by this bizarre haircutter...he comes to the MTC and cuts everybody´s hair, but bizarrely. He buzzes the side and then just cuts the top, but he brandishes and snips the scissors like he a maniac. Haircuts are weird. Oh well.

Ok. proselyting. Last Saturday was a good experience and we found some interested people. I really enjoyed just being able to go outside and see parts of the culture. We were driven about 20 minutes from the MTC. Also, I very much enjoy just listening to people speak. I don´t understand too much, but it´s nice to see what I can pick out. I don´t have any particular stories this week (I don´t think) so yeah....

Um, we are doing an English fast this week...basically no English. Yeah, easier said than done...we speak a lot of English still because we don´t know enough to comprehend our classes if they were in all Spanish. Monday was the worst I think. I exerted my brain so hard that day, that I literally gave myself a headache. I was working so hard to try to comprehend and speak Spanish that my brain leaked out of my face into a puddle on the floor. It was bad. Anyways, it´s been fun, and a good experience. I think I figured out that I´m learning\reviewing about 100-125 words a day on our computer program here...and that´s not counting all the other Spanish we do. So yeah, it´s a lot.

Let´s see...what else. Oh yeah, I think you said the addresses were in the mail. That´s good. Thank you. I want to write Aunt Margaret and Cy, and Kyle. Holly sent me a letter the other day, I got it yesterday actually, but I was really happy. She sent those pictures, you know the one when we were like 4 and then one very recent one. I was giggly inside. More or less.

Tell Cy I say hi and that I hope he´s doing well with school and all. Say hi to everybody for me.

Oh, I know! Please ask Cy what type of Spanish he speaks. I´m curious. Mostly I just want to know the double l sound he uses and if he knows the name great. Possibly Lyndsay Thompson too, if Patrick wishes to ask. I´m just curious to know. Anyhoo, the little red flashing timer of death indicates to me that my life is about to expire. I´ll sign out now and be back in a week, which will seem like a day. Crazy.

Love you all,

DJ