Friday, January 17, 2014

Week 1 in Sao Paulo

So I´m in Brasil at an Internet Cafe and I am finding out their keyboards are different. We get 1.5 hours for email.

I know you are all wondering about Christmas in 2 days. We do have Skype for 40 minutes at a members home. We are going to try to call around 7pm our time. I think that is 4pm your time. It is almost 5pm here.

So we arrived at the airport and waited for all the other missionaries to arrive which took about 2 hours.  They had missionaries going to all different parts of Brasil.  The missionaries kept asking us how long we have been out in the field.  I say ´´about 12 hours´´ whereas they have been at their re-assignments for months. They couldn´t believe we were fresh out of the MTC.  We got our bags and then went to eat lunch with our Mission President. We felt like we were at the kids table during Christmas. No one really talked to us 'cause we couldn´t talk back.  We then went to the Chapel to receive our assigned companions.  Elder Castilla is from Colombia.  He speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish and quite a bit of English.  He has been out for about 13 weeks.  He just finished being trained and is now training me.  We went straight to our apartment that first night and went out and taught some people.  I don´t remember talking much.   Irma Ines (member) pretended she was Catholic and tried to give me a hard time; thankfully I figured it our pretty quick.  She is awesome cause she gives us lots of food!

The food here is great!  Definitely my favorite part of the day.  They pretty much just have one big meal during lunch.  Beans and rice! And usually some chicken or beef and some dessert.  I have to learn that when I am offered seconds to say ´´a little more´´.  If I don't they give me more than I had the first time.  I eat all I can 'cause I don´t know when my next meal will be.  I sometimes I feel like I´m going to burst. Chocotonni is also really popular here during Christmas time.  I think we have 8 of them in our apartment.  I also need to teach my companion how to cook. It seems like in every missionary's apartment, it´s pop, plain bread and chocotonni.  This is part of the reason I love eating at members' homes.

The mission field is definitely different than the MTC.  Instead of sitting all day, you're walking all day, and walking and walking and walking.  The first day was very difficult.  Lack of sleep, walk all day, hungry, thirsty and cannot understand anyone.  You can go on Google Streetview and see what my life is like.  I´ve never been to San Francisco but that´s what the walking feels like.  Lots of steep hills.  I also wear my suit a lot more than I thought I would.  We wear it for all meetings, but we had a lot this week because of Christmas.  Now that I´m here I have a lot of stuff I don´t need. We don´t really need P-day clothes at all so once I know how to mail stuff in Portuguese I might try to send some stuff home so I don´t have to haul it around for 2 years.

We had our first baptism on Saturday too.  Elder Castilla already had everything lined up when I got here.  I gave a short spiritual thought and Elder Castilla performed the baptism.

Went to church yesterday.  The members were very patient with my Portuguese.  It is getting better and I can understand quite a bit when they talk slowly.  The churches here are huge.  Ours has the classrooms on the first floor and the chapel on the 2nd floor.

Apparently our Mission has a facebook page:
São Paulo Oeste

As for culture shock, it is a little different here.  Lots of cars, LOTS of motorcycles.  The sidewalks and roads could use some maintainance.  The houses here are very humble.  We taught in one where the house was just made up of wooden planks and blankets along with the smell of sewage.  Btw, those of you worried about me in the favelas, we rarely teach there.  The people that live there will listen to our message but they never commit to things.  The streets are not very clean and you do get an erie feeling when you walk past a burning pile of garbage at night.  Oh and LOTS of graffiti.  Also, on Sunday nights, they have a party called ´´Inferno´´ which translates to ´´hell´´ so everyone makes as much noise as they can with their stereos and motorcycles.

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