Friday, December 11, 2009

Mmm menundo...

Hello hello!

Guess what, I’m teaching a piano class for anyone that wants to come (which is like everyone) and I’m teaching it in SPANISH. Tonight is the first time I’m doing it so wish me luck. Everyone is way excited about it but I’m so nervous! It should be interesting. I never realized what a privilege it is to play an instrument. I’m the only pianist like I said before. So I’m also playing for the stake Christmas program. Ahh!

A couple thoughts on Pasadena: This is a city of strange smells. Mostly a vague, rotten egg/ old garbage smell that wafts our way from the lovely refinery that belches poisonous clouds day and night into our Pasadena air. Also, we’re a city of many cats. Homeless cats. And dogs (one tried attacking me and my companion on our morning run yesterday- you laugh about it now but that was one shot of pure adrenaline I’ll tell you!) and roosters. Yes. Roosters. They walk around on people’s lawns. Another interesting Pasadena fact is that lots of the people here speak mostly Spanish, but since they live in the U.S. they pick up some English so there’s often an interesting mix and you’d think I’d be used to it but it still never fails to surprise and delight me when I’m focusing all my energy on what someone is saying and then out of nowhere I hear a word like “microwave” but it’s in a thick Spanish accent. It’s really funny. And strange the way they can move in and out like they don’t even notice they’re switching languages sometimes. I think this whole learning a new language experience is fascinating. I never realized how much I love English. I take it for granted that I can use it so easily. And I never realized that a Language Barrier is a REAL thing. In a physical way. Even when I use correct Spanish and when I understand what someone says, it doesn’t hit me the same way English does. I can read a scripture in Spanish and then in English and understand them both, but the English carries emotion with it. I think that’s why it’s so important that we teach people in their own language, even if they understand English. Communication is SO much more than mere comprehension.

ANWAYS…English major, sorry. This week, the highlight of the week (or lowlight, depending on how you look at it) was eating menudo for the first time! I’d heard the word a lot and knew it was a food but started to wonder what was up when my companion wanted to take my picture before we started eating. She said I had to have it on record. I looked down into my bowl and in a red broth I saw large grey chunks of meat that had a weird texture to them… kindof like looking at a tongue. But the other side was completely smooth. Anyone guess what it was yet? Cow Stomach. That’s right. I put another creature’s stomach into my own. And it was in BIG chunks. Like bigger than my tongue. And it was all slimy and impossible to bite through. You just had to kinda rubber it down. Probably one of the worst experiences of my life. It tasted like warm blood. And to top it off, there were bones in the soup and slices of bread that you scrape out the marrow and put on the bread. Mmmmmm. I don’t know…I’m thinking of taking back everything I said before about the food here being so great. I thought eating pig skin was bad but this was WAY WAY WAY worse. I think it’s funny now but there was a moment at the table where I experienced pure desperation. I was wondering if it would be more polite to leave food in my bowl or finish it and throw up all over her table! I ate as much as I could and then snuck to her kitchen while she wasn’t looking and threw the last bit away. But I couldn’t get that taste out of my mouth all day and I wanted to separate myself from my own stomach because the thought of it in there was grossing me out. Haha. Sick.

Okay You said you wanted to hear about investigators and I don’t know if you really do or not but I”ll tell you about Horacio. Background: my companion gets really REALLY nervous to contact people, but one day she was getting out of the car and she saw this guy coming past the car on her side and she started thinking she should contact him but then she thought “no, I’m still gathering my stuff, plus he looks way catholic…” and stuff like that. But then she just went for it anyways and it was a really awkward contact because she had to kinda chase him down but he was way interested and she ended up teaching him the first lesson right there in the street. (this was right before I got out) So we’ve been teaching him ever since. He’s about forty five, grey hair, half of one of his front teeth is missing (in a vertical way), and he is very animated. He’s so funny. He always tells these crazy stories and he asks questions about EVERYTHING. But he has been to church a bunch of times and he got mad at us last Sunday for not telling him about the Christmas Devotional, so he came to that too. Last night, we went to teach him and he told us he’s in 2nd Nephi and then he started going back and reading scriptures that he liked and basically started teaching US. Haha. But I looked over at his Book of Mormon and it was all marked up! That was really cool to see. He is nervous to get baptized because he’s a really deliberate person and it’s only been a few weeks but we set the 19th of dec. as a goal (brooke’s wedding day!) so we’ll see how it goes. He’s fun to take to church because he always makes funny comments. I like teaching him too because he talks to me a lot. Lots of people we teach kinda ignore me because hna flores is native, but he really connected with me. He teases me too- he said he wants to hear a concert because he loves classical music. Haha.

Another family I’ve really connected with is Hna. Ponce. She feeds us every Wednesday night and she’s an amazing cook. The problem is, she loves to see us eat so we always leave stuffed sick. Seriously though, I’ve never had pain like that from eating so much. I couldn’t sleep last week so tonight I’m going to try to cut back. She is a recently reactivated member and she gives great hugs. She and her daughter Issa (37 ish) are the ones we interact with the most. But they just took me in…I dunno how to explain it. She always smells good and her house is CLEAN. I just feel comfortable there, which is rare in Pasadena – so many of the houses are just…not clean.

Anways, there’s a taste of who I’m seeing every day. I’ll save the rest for some other e-mails. You didn’t send me any questions this week but hopefully that fills you in a little. Oh one other thing, I LOVE my companion but I think it’s a terrible thing to put a dying missionary with a greenie! She’s going home in a week and half and it’s so hard to hear and think about that all the time. Start praying for me though, because this next transfer is going to be a big one. We lose five of ten hermanas and we get five new!

Thanks so much for all your love and support. I love hearing from you guys. Sorry I can’t write back as much as I’d like to. But I like to think about you guys on Briarcreek Drive (and solar circle, callm down sarah) doing all your usual christmasy things. It’s a happy thought. I’m there with you in spirit! And I’m having fun here listening to mo-tab Christmas music. We’re getting Handel’s Messiah down pretty well by now. I can sing pretty high when I sacrifice quality. Haha Take care! I love you all! And in a cheesy missionary way, I’m so glad we’re going to be together longer than just this life – I’m so glad we all are fighting for that, because some people don’t care enough to fight for it. But I CARE. I love you guys! Miss you

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