Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Surprise Calling, Fireworks, and Lots of Amigos!

So que pasa everyone?! Hola from Mexico City! Can I just say that this place is great? I have so many stories to tell. I've been trying to remember all of them for when I could email home today.

This is my room.
First day in the CCM
So, on my second day here, they call all the new districts in for interviews with the Zone Presidency, one by one. I couldn't believe it after the interviews when they called me to be the District Leader!!! I couldn't believe it! Our district is District 5A. I get to lead off all the discussions and make sure all the other missionaries are doing well and comfortable and on task and such. At first, I was not super excited, thinking I was going to have to be the "mean guy" that has to tell everyone to quit goofing off, but its not really that bad. I mostly just have more responsibilities, like checking our district's mailbox, a few leadership meetings to attend on Tuesdays and Sundays, and I really like it now!!!

OK, so the food ... not the greatest ... every meal is some type of Mexican food, and it is definitely not Cafe Rio let me tell you. The worst meal so far was a breakfast where they gave us this big piece of bread with crusty refried beans and mozzarella cheese melted on top -- its meals like that where I just get a lot of fruit and the all-amazing nutella and peanut butter sandwich. The best meal so far was actually yesterday's lunch when they served us hamburgers! Oh my gosh that was sooooo good compared to everything else we've had. But don't worry, I'm surviving.

Helping to uplift my comp -- Elder Ruiz
My companion is Elder Ruiz. He is from Sacramento, California and you would think from his last name that he would speak Spanish, but he doesn't. His father is from Mexico, but Elder Ruiz never learned Spanish. So it's hilarious how many people talk to him in Spanish and expect him to understand, but he doesn't yet. LOL.

Our most excellent district. I love these guys!
So in my room, there is me and Elder Ruiz, along with Elder Hoffman (from the airport) and his companion Elder Bronson who is from Idaho Falls. Elder Bronson is seriously one of the funniest people I have ever met. We all live in a "casa" and there are 5 rooms in the casa. It's a pretty sweet set-up. All of the Elders in my district are going to the Nicaragua Managua South Mission. There are also 4 hermanas in my district, with two of them going to Nicaragua Managua South and the other two going to Chicago. They are all SO cool! It took us like three days to break the ice, but now we are all friends and really close. In my district, then, there is me and Elder Ruiz, Elder Hoffman, Elder Bronson, Elder Bradbeer (yes that is his name -- it's awesome), Elder Jensen (from the airport), and then Hermana Powell and Hermana Haws going to our mission, with Hermana DeBuck and Hermana Capps going to Chicago. They are all so cool!!!!

So I'm not going to lie. Before I got here, I was expecting the CCM to be miserable, like a boring, strict church camp, but I was very, very wrong. This place is amazing! I haven't been noticing what I don't have anymore (my phone, Call of Duty, decent food, etc.), but I'm so surprised on what we do get. There is so much fun time here, and gym is awesome. They don't let anyone dunk on the basketball rims, but I school the other Elders from the 3-point line -- ha ha. But I'm really having a great time here. The Spirit is so strong. I've never been so happy about a decision. I haven't even really felt homesick yet, but I did cry a little when I was showing my district the pictures of my family. In fact, nobody in my district has really been homesick yet -- nobody's crying at night or anything like that.

One thing that really sucks, though, is waking up at 6:30 AM ... ugg. I'm the first one to take a shower, so literally within 10 seconds of the alarm ringing, I have to be in the bathroom. (I usually have my stuff in there the night before ready to go in the morning). We have a system so all of us in our casa can get up and showered and ready to go by 7:00 AM.

My casa is on the right, and behind it is the outer wall.
If you listen carefully, you might hear the honking and the 'fireworks.'
Some of my friends from Copper Hills High School:
Elder Tucker, Elder Macy, and Elder Hirschi
Also, the rumor of the gunshots at night outside the walls are actually true! Every night we hear a handful of gunshots, or as the MTC workers say "fireworks" -- ha ha. Like, the shots are so distinct and clear. We laugh every time because its not something we are used to hearing on a regular basis. Our casa is right on the edge of the campus by one of the outer walls. On the other side of the wall is a busy road so sometimes I have a really hard time sleeping at night. If you look out or the window in our bedroom, the wall it about 15 feet away, so the combination of lots of honking (Mexicans honk their horns a lot!) and it's really hot ... I've been struggling to get enough sleep, but don't worry, I got this. I haven't been sick yet, but Elder Ruiz was yesterday and Elder Jensen was throwing up this morning. I am glad my mom sent me with some vitamins -- I started taking them so I hope I don't get sick!

So the tienda here has all sorts of candy and stuff, but it is Mexican candy. Not quite the same as American candy. I've had to get a few things already, like hangars (I forgot to pack any hangars LOL) and a Spanish hymn book. I also got a cool Mexico CCM T-shirt! The MTC gives us 100 pesos per week, plus if I need extra I have a few pesos I brought with me from home.

Elder Hartvigsen and me. He is from Alpine.
I found out that we will be flying out to Nicaragua on October 14th, but no return home date yet like my sister Erin had when she left the Provo MTC. I found a few of my friends from high school, and also my neighbor, Jordan Gustavus, while I have been here. Plus there is an Elder here from Alpine who knows my cousins there. Oh -- the Spanish!!! Uggg! Spanish is so hard right now. I am starting to get the hang of it a little bit. The FIRST day of classes (Wednesday), Elder Ruiz and I had to teach an investigator in Spanish!!! It was sooo hard ... we have to give her a lesson every day we have classes (not on P-Days or Sundays). She doesn't speak any English, and the lessons have to be for a half hour! Es muy deficil....

Elder Gustavus and me
I know I'm forgetting so many more stories to tell, but I will try to remember them and tell you more next Tuesday. I'm used to talking to all my friends and telling them the cool stuff that happens to me as soon as it happens, but now I have to remember it until the next Tuesday. Well, hopefully everyone is doing well at home. I hope you are all OK. Don't worry about me -- I am surviving, and loving it here! Thanks again for all the emails of support and encouragement.

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