This week will probably be a short letter because not a whole lot has happened. I´ll talk to you all a little bit about my companion and what´s been going on this past week. For the most part, we´ve been opening up this area. What it means to open an area is when basically, two missionaries are transfered out of an area and two other elders come in to fill in their place and basically have to work without knowing anything about the area. That´s basically us, because when I was with Rivera, we worked with a select few candidates for baptism and not a whole lot with members or less actives and now that we only have one for that group, we now have to expand our teaching group. It was a little frustrating because I didn´t feel much use to my new companion whenever he asked, ´´Beleza. então nós não temos um compromisso aqui. Conhece alguns membros que a gente poderia visitar?´´ and I didn´t really have anyone. In a way, it´s like I´m being trained some more, but its good though. I´m learning a lot.
Elder Costa e Silva is really a good guy. I had a stressful day early this week where for some reason or another, I got frustrated in not understanding the people and that day, we didn´t get a whole lot done. We walked considerable distance because it was enough to walk instead of waste money on a bus and we finally arrived to who we wanted to see, and she couldn´t see us. So was frustrated because we didn´t have her number and we basically wasted that time walking there. He gave me some inspiring words and we finished that night with a reasonable amount of people contacted but really any lessons. He helps me a lot with the language. Basically where we´re at right now, is through the streets, I talk Portuguese with him and in lessons too but in the house and on busses we speak English to mess with people and because Preach my Gospel says you should teach your companion English. I´ve been feeling bad lately because sometimes, he speaks English too slowly and pronunciates just a little off and he speaks Portuguese really fast and I don´t understand and sometimes I ignore him because I get frustrated. I need to get better at that because I don´t want him to think I´m mad at him. He´s a very talkative, happy, and a little bit nerdy guy so he gets really passionate when he talks and a lot of the time, I have to ask him to repeat himself. I don´t have shame in asking people to repeat anymore which is good, because now I´ll learn faster. All in all, though, I love this guy. We like to mess around on the busses where basically we speak Portu-English. You heard right. We´ll talk to each other in both languages, literally switching in the middle of sentences. You won´t believe some of the looks we get from people. One time, speaking English, there were two girls, probably 16-17ish or so, and I saw them looking at us and laughing and one leaned in closer to us to try and understand us. Classic.
My progress has been amazing. I´m getting to the point where I can subconsciously understand a little bit. For example, I´ll be reading scriptures in the morning, and the other 3 will be chatting it up, and I have a general idea about what they´re talking about. Reading ´´o Livro de Mórmon´´ has gotten real easy for me. Just vocab that I need to improve for that. I can talk considerably faster now to the point where I don´t have to go, ´´uhh..uhhhhh..´´. I´m pretty confident about messing around with some of the kids in Portuguese. My only problem is sometimes I feel ashamed to ask people to repeat themselves on the phone. Usually I give it 2 or 3 goes and I just hand the phone over because I don´t want to frustrate the other person. Other than that, that´s how its been going :) I remember those ´´Easy Street Portuguese´´ videos I watched before the mission ,and watching them and not understanding a dang thing. While here at the LAN House, I opened one up to see how things have changed for me, and I understood every word without having to read. It´s amazing.
A 70 visited Salvador the other day. Elder Moroni Torgan. Native Brazilian, but it was neat to hear him talk. I didn´t catch everything he said due to the language, but it was a cool experience nonetheless.
Last P-day, we did some street shopping in Pau da Lima. I´ve been needing a new towel and a fanny pack so I used some personal money to buy those. I´ll send you a pic of both of them sometime. They´re pretty cool! That night we ended at Zeak´s house too. We didn´t go biking, but I think we´re going to do that today, so I´m pretty excited. I love spending time with Zeak and Christine.
Oh yeah, I´ve been thinking a little bit about the food lately because I want to tell you what it´s like some more and what more I´ve noticed. As always, it´s mostly been bland. So what the people do here, is they usually have Ketchup at the table. So basically, you can add ketchup to your rice, beans, and pasta here to make it taste a little better. At first, I thought that was nasty and refused for the first while but my curiousity got the better of me, and now I love it. You´d like it too if you´ve been eating rice and beans with no spices or flavor for the past 3-4 months. Also, the hot dogs (cachorros quentes) here are awesome. They put corn, peas, french fry strings, mayo, and ketchup on them. I think they´re awesome. Desserts are good too. Some houses for dessert, we have Guava Paste with cream which is really good. I still think Acarajé is freakin´delicious too. Other things I like, I like brigadeiro, coxinha, bijú.. that´s all I can think of for now. It´ll be interesting to see how my cravings change once I get back. One things for sure, though, I won´t ever get tired of Mattas.
That´s all I really got for this week. Let me know if anyone has any questions, because i Love answering them. Love you guys!
-Elder Logan Skinner