Sunday, August 14, 2016

First p-day at CTM in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hey everyone, 
     Well I arrived in Brazil safely, but I don´t really feel like I am in Brazil yet if that makes sense. The MTC is a compound that you don´t leave. Plus my room window view is the other side of the compound. So I have survived the first 10 days by sheer perservierence. The MTC is a rigorous learning process. There is a saying here that hours feel like days, and days feel like weeks. This is oh too true. The first week was so slow that I almost died, but it is picking up momentum. Everyday I have 16 hours of my life planned for me, and 10 of those hours are spent learning the language. I didn´t think that i would be as hard as it is. However, it works, I have already learned more Portuguese in 10 days than I did in 4 years of High School Spanish. I can do basic conversation, understand most instructions, and have already taught 5 lessons in full-blown portuguese. 
     Everyday here you eat rice, beans, bread, and meat. That coupled with limited physical activity (a weirdly intense game of nonjumping, nonspiking volleyball; or nonjumping, but you can drive, basketball) means I am gaining some weight. 10 days in and 4 pounds up. I don´t like that, but my only option is to replace my intake of pure carbs with salad, and we all know that will never happen. There is a soda here called Guarana, which is heavenly. I won´t give that up either. All in all the food is really good. Except the dessert, Brazilians don´t know how to make dessert. I have had to rely on my own reses and hi-chews from home to get my sugar fix. The reses are almost gone :( You eat dinner at 5 and then get a juic box at 9. This is the normal time between meals, and the juice box just doesnt fill you up like a meal does. So you go to bed hungy most nights. 
     I am in a trio here with an Elder Ricks and an Elder Hill. Elder ricks is a fun, more outgoing person whereas Elder Hill doesn´t say anything unless directly prompted. When we do get him to talk, he has crazy stories and is funny in his own way. My district is lit though. We are constantly breaking into spontaneous song( my favorite was "I believe I can fly" while in the shower.) It is a district of only guys and I can´t believe how close we have become. I feel like I have known them for ever. 6 of us are going to Juiz de Fora, so there is a chance that we could serve together. There are two South Africans in our own district and they are sick. Elder Dube is hilarious, knows 5 languages, and is always happy. Elder Mashalaba knows 9 languages and is 22. He has  a degree in business-law, a minor in cooking, is aconvert, chose a mission over getting married, and paid for everything because his family didnt support him. His faith is insane. There are 4 soccer players, and one crazy good singer too. The MTC mixes Americans with Brazilians in the rooms to help you learn Portuguese. Elder Zichlog is fluent in both English and Portuguese so it is fantastic. 
     Today i went to the Campinas temple and it was beautiful. The views of the city from there are fantastic. The problem with the Campinas temple is that it is 2 hours away, so you don´t get much free time on p-day. Anyway random stuff now. Brazilians do this wierd flick of the wrist snapping thing that is very entertaining but painful at the same itme. I am getting good at it. All the instructors here are really young former missionaries so they are really easy to relate too. They also double as your investigators to practice teaching. THey take on the role of someone that they baptized in the field and it is a really cool experience. No pictures today because i couldnt quite figure out the wifi camera at the temple, and have no time to go to the super secret place outside the Compound.
It is cool that through exact obedience things get better. I woke up for the temple today at 5:30 and didnt even feel tired. Every morning i wake up with that sense of purpose and my fatigue is gone. A lot of people talk about hard it is here, but honestly it isnt that bad.

Elder Ethan Smith

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