Monday, December 1, 2014

"Thanks, But No Thanks"

Mom: Don´t worry about printing the picture of Rivera and I with Santa. I sent a letter to you guys this week, and it has a little something, something in it. :) As far as packages go, Rivera told me to wait so I don´t just blow a bunch of money to try and panic send something to you guys. But know that I´m going to send some good stuff soon! Sure! you could send the rings if you want. I´ve given out a few stickers to a kid here already and he seemed to like them. As far as anything else, not much. Just food! Some American things here are either really expensive or non-existent here. Some of my favorites I´d want is peanut butter for sure. mmmm. Cereal would be awesome too. The more peanutbutter and cereal, that better. Mac and cheese, candy, anything like that. I´ve kind of realized that I hate the rain as a missionary. It´s harder to have the motivation to do much and it makes it harder for people to be interested in talking to you walking around the streets. If I wasn´t proselyting, I´d actually like it. The music sucks too. Whenever we try to be spiritual with people on the street, some joker flies around the corner booming freakin´samba music. Rivera and I swear it´s Satan doing that. it´s frustrating. You thought my music was loud, I´m surprised these people still have ears attached to their skulls. Oh, yay! I´m so glad to hear that. You have no idea how excited I am to Skype you guys. I´ll be praying for your work to come easy. Its just like for me, I have to ask Rivera questions all the time. love you, Mom!

Karli: No, that´s really cool! I´m glad you guys had lots of fun at Black Friday shopping. It´s funny, I thought the Salvador mision looked a lot like Virginia from far away. As far as English goes, almost everyone here knows little words but definitely not enough to have a conversation. Its actually a good way to get people intrigued by you. Rivera and I will just talk English n the streets occasionally and people try and listen and they´re like ´´oh oh! What are they saying? One of them is talking like this and the other is talking like this!´´ to which we turn around and speak Portuguese. Well I try to anyway. Love you, Karli!

Tommy: Good to hear our Warriors are kicking butt! Root extra hard for me! what is the "McDonald's" here, so to speak? Just like any other one as far as I can tell. We have one at the mall here. Same stuff, but the prices look double because a Brazilian Real is roughly worth half an American dollar. So a Big Mac is like 6 reais. hahaha. Hope everything is going well for you, Troll No.1. Love you lots, bro!

I´m glad to hear you had lots of fun at Thanksgiving. I literally chuckled out loud hearing your experiences with Chan-man and everyone else. Can´t wait till the next time Im there with you guys. Glad to hear all is well with you. School still going alright? Love you, Maddy!

Dad: Oh, heck yeah!! I can´t wait to see that when I get back! I loved Beverly Hills Cop and the time we spent together watching that. it was really fun. I´m also sad to hear that the Devils lost. Darn. Anyway, Christmas is booming up here in Salvador. I can´t wait to Skype you guys and I´m so excited to hear about your guys´experiences as well. The mission is getting better. I´ve finally realized that I´m going to be here a while so I´ve started enjoying the little things instead of freaking out about dumb things. It´s definitely helped a lot. Love you a ton, Dad, and I think about you guys a lot. 

Onto the letter!

A few more things to say about Salvador. The people here are kind of funny. They work hard all week from monday morning until Friday night and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they buy a bunch of booze and party. The favelas and the streets come alive on those days. Funny thing is, they don´t do anything. They just sit there, laugh, drink, and listen to ridiculously loud Bahian music booming on their car stereos in the middle of the street. The way it works around here, we don´t technically knock on doors because 9 times out of 10, their houses are fenced off. So we basically stand outside and clap our hands real loud. You think they wouldn´t hear you, but they usually do because they respond ´´Quem é?´´ and depending on who it is, we´d respond ´´os missionários´´ (random people) or ´´os Mórmons´´ if they´re members. The people here are generally very nice. When you stand up to leave a house, you shake their hand, walk toward their door, shake their hand again, stand outside their door, and talk for a while, and shake their hand one last time and leave. It´s almost rude if you dn´t do that. People here are always willing to talk, like you walk by people and they´ll almost always say ´´boa tarde´´ or ´´boa noite´´. You can enter into the house of a recent investigator, teach them, and a lot of the time, they´ll offer food or a snack and say ´´Fique vontade!´´ which means ´´make yourself at home´´ basically. Sometimes they´re almost too nice. Like if we find somebody and they say they´re interested to hear more, we´ll ask what day and time and they´ll say any day, any time, which is basically code word for ´´thanks, but no thanks´´. So of course, we stop by anyway and they make up an excuse as to why they can´t meet with us or they never answer. Like really?

Saturday, we went to an Elder´s Quorum ´´Churrasco´´ (barbecue). Because our ward is small, it was only a quorum of 20 elders or so, but its cool because everyone appears to be super good friends. The barbecues here are a little different. Basically, its just rice, a little salad, and lots of steak and sausage, fresh and naturally seasoned. We only had one little grill so basically when a certain meat is done, it gets devoured quickly. Afterwards, we played a random trivia game, 1v1, where we all took turns. Whoever lost got a plate of whipped cream stuffed in their face. When it was my turn, I had to recite 1 Nephi 3:7. They let me try in English with Rivera to verify, but because I was used to reading scriptures in Portuguese, it sounded weird and I blanked out and lost. So another Elder that lives with us, Elder Medina (Argentina), who I was up against, made sure to get me good. 

Funny side note, but like I mentioned before, Brazilians here love American music, despite not being able to understand it. At the churrasco, they had different songs playing from artists like Bruno Mars. Our ward mission leader came up to us and basically said that nobody here but Rivera and I understood the lyrics and said that if one of the songs is bad, we should tell him. If that isn´t evident enough, our Bishop´s ringtone is ´´wrecking ball´´ by Miley Cyrus. I´m not kidding. Two less actives that we´re teaching like to use me to help them pronunciate words in English too. Rodrigo and Gabrielle are their names. They´re brother and sister, 15 and 14 years old respectively. I was helping Rodrigo sing ´´counting stars´´ by oneRepublic. It was hard for him to do. Kind of made me grateful to already be fluent in English.

Pday last week was awesome. We went to that elevator place we saw in those pictures. That area is called ´´Pelourinho´´ I think, and its a beeeeautiful part of town. Very touristy. I felt like we were in the colonial age of Brazil. Cobblestone roads, lightly colored buildings, catholic cathedrals, statues, water fountains, open sea, it was really awesome. We met two sister missionaries from the Salvador South Mission. Rivera commented that our p-day turned into a double-date, hahaha.

Food wise, i´ve tried coconut water sipped straight out of a green coconut. it was okay. It was very diluted with little flavor and didn´t taste very much like traditional coconut flavor. Plus it wasnt chilled. I also tried ´´pipoca doce´´ (sweet popcorn or caramel corn). it was amaaaaaaaaazing. microwaveable popcorn doesn´t exist here, so basically they put it in a pot with butter or oil or something. There´s no way it can be good for you, but it sure tasted awesome. Lunches are still the same, but I still haven´t gotten tired of it. If anything, I look forward to it, hahaha. Thursday, Rivera and I busted out some canned ham, bought bread and Coke, and had our own cheap little Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn´t quite the same with you guys, but it still was kind of nice.

Not much else to report. Been a fast week and I try and survive P-day to p-day here because I miss you guys a bunch but it´ll get better. Love you all!!

-Elder Skinner

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