Oh my goodness gracious!! NATE! VENTURA!? MAY 7TH!?? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Sounds like this month is going to be insane. You can do it. What a blessing though; you'll be back in time for Fall semester 2014, right? That will be nice. Holy Cow! You'll be in the field before I will! You're not going into the MTC right? If you are, we can totes party it up at lunch.
Oh man. I was all collected when I came in here and then I printed out your letters to read later (we don't have lots of time for email) but I read bits and pieces and now I'm just all over the place with excitement! That is so wonderful.
Ok. Where to start? This place is cool. There really is a spirit of faith and comfort here. One of my favorite things about it is how much we focus. We study, we pray, we learn Portuguese, we read PMG, we teach fake investigators. We focus. No music, no phones, no movies or anything. I thought that would be hard but it's actually just refreshing. You can think. You can focus. You can learn words like "paralelipipedo" (probably spelled wrong. It means "cobblestone" in Portuguese.) Don't get me wrong -- we goof off plenty. Put 6 Elders between 18 and 19 in a tiny classroom and you get lots of joking and energy. But it's fun. I like the Elders and overall have been impressed at their maturity. PEOPLE, man. It was such a relief for me when I got here and remembered that the thing that makes life cool is PEOPLE and you get to meet lots of cool, interesting, good people here.
I wish you guys could just meet my district. I know it's boring when missionaries email and tell you about the people they love and you don't even know them, but I'm going to do it anyway. Here are a few snatches of the people in my life. Our district is 6 Elders, 6 Sisters.
Elder Frasure is learning Portuguese quickly and clears my tray for me at basically every meal. His companion, 18-yr-old Elder Beckstrand, is our District Leader and cries every time he talks about his little sister. He's always making up fake Portuguese words and basically everything he says is funny.
Elder Garcia is a sweetheart. I imagine Wayne being a little bit like him in the MTC, I don't know why. I told him that one of my favorite General Conference talks ever is "Love Her Mother" by Elaine S. Dalton (remember that one? She talked to fathers about how one of the best things they can do for their kids is love and respect their wife a lot. It's beautiful. That lady is a rockstar. Sad she got released.) and he was super interested in reading it and asked if I thought he could buy a copy of it at the MTC bookstore.
Elder Passmore is this skinny, goofy Idahoan whose chin has become legendary in our district. (In his words: "who else has a chin you can hold on to?") The Elders call him "The Crimson Chin". He doesn't have any pictures of his family or friends or anything, so when people are showing each other pictures he pulls out these little pieces of notebook paper on which he has drawn cartoons of his family, his nonexistent girlfriend, etc. In the one of his family, his brother is hefting a bull over his shoulder. So funny!! And I wish you guys could hear the way he speaks Portuguese. It's priceless.
Oh man. I'm running out of time.
Sister Duke, my comp, is the best ever. She loves running and we run at the same pace. We loooove gym time. She's quiet but SUPER funny.
Me: "My nose is so itchy!"
Elder Frasure: "Mine too! Someone must be thinking about us."
Sister Duke, dead-pan: "It's me."
Last night she whispered something up to me on the top bunk that was sooo funny. We both started laughing and actually had to leave the room to not keep the other 4 girls up. I thought to myself, "THIS is what it feels like to have a sister." It was a sweet moment.
I love Portuguese.
Ok. Good luck with finals and everything. Thank you for the mail. Makes my day. I'll write you guys paper letters time permitting.
Remember that I love your guts. All of them.
Love Love love love LOVE love love love LOVE,
PS. I'm trying to figure out how to upload pictures but it's not going to happen today. Sorry!