Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Colorado Fort Collins Mission
Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This week was no bueno...

September 16, 2014

Hey everyone! This is super long, so don't feel like you need to read it all. I'll put bullets at the bottom for a quick sum up. I hope your week went better than mine! But seriously, this week was no bueno (see how good my Spanish is getting?). I'll get to that part a little later though. I'd love to get some letters or emails from you all! delivers me a letter that you email them for only $1, and email is of course free (but I can only read them on Tuesday), so if you can spare the time, I would love you forever. Also, apparently does care packages and maybe letters, but if it's as ridiculously priced to send me a package as the other site, don't bother.

So I didn't tell you guys very much about my companion. His name is Mario Roberto Gaspar de Alba, he's from Vegas, and though he has a Spanish name, he doesn't really speak it. If I had to describe him in one word, it would be goofball. He has so far ripped two pairs of pants, one while trying to return a hard shot in ping pong (shout out to Elders Abo and Hall, serving in Japan) and one while throwing his umbrella up in the air, stepping in a crack between the sidewalk and cobblestone, and slowly, ungracefully faceplanting. His first words were "I think I ripped my pants", and he did. Very much so.

He also has gone I think a record 2 meals in a row without spilling something on his shirt. Spilling on his shirt or tie is a daily, mealy, and sometimes multimealy occurrence. More about him... I'm usually a solo guy, and so is he, plus he doesn't like me very much because I tell him to go to bed at 10:30 like our roommates and he just refuses to, or when we try to plan a lesson he writes it in English and trades a massage for someone else to translate yeah. And his obedience to the rules Not like I'm a good example at all. Waking up at 6:30 is pretty nigh impossible, and I never call someone "elder" whatever, but nonetheless, his disobedience to some stuff is pretty blatant. I think the Lord is trying to teach me patience, and that's a lesson I really hate but oh so need.

We (our district) came up with an analogy the other day about coming to the CCM and I guess the mission in general. We are all born again. As in we all become babies or toddlers. We draw on things when we're born, we are trying to learn a language, we are able to speak but a few simple words, we occasionally throw tantrums, we can never be alone, we have to wear a helmet when we ride a bike, we sing all of the time (seriously, come thou fount basically echoes these halls 24/7. It's awesome), we are always in need of a nap, we all desperately miss our dear mothers, and we have little to no control over our bowels (at least in this MTC). Maybe this is what Christ meant when he said we need to become as a child?

About this week being no bueno, I've been sick since Thursday. I basically had a smorgasbord of symptoms. The first day I was achy, the second was having an entirely new bathroom experience (which I am still having problems with. "I almost spend more time in the bathroom than out.  It's horrible. And the toilet paper is like in high school, the sandpaper you can see through when you hold it up to a light. All I want in a care package is some wipes), then I had a headache. I'm basically on a forced fast right now. But like I said, I guess the Lord is teaching me patience. I've still been able to go to class, which I am truly grateful for. 

When I first got here, there was like 1 or 2 attractive girls, but those missionary goggles are really kicking in. I probably have a 2 or 3 point curve going right now. About the highest level of flirting allowed here is "hey, can you hand me that ping pong ball? Thanks" "Dude, we totally held hands for like, I swear, 3 seconds". That or giving out your missionary email. I don't know, it sucks, but I guess it's only 2 years, right? Because of the no flirting, I would say 90% of our free time is spent talking about our bathroom experiences and schedules. Again, becoming like a child, don't judge. But think about it, we can't talk about girls, sports, classes, or music, so that's really all we have left. I feel bad for the Hermanas, but at the same time I don't care. The things we have to have fun are getting ridiculous and desperate. We do rock paper scissors over who takes the trays. One elder is 9 and 1, and one went 0 for 7. Making bets on stupid stuff like that is now our expression of fun. 

Today is Independence Day for Mexico, so sleeping last night was rough. I think their firework regulation rules are strictly "none", so that's fun listening to mortars and cannons go off all last night. I loved how in sacrament meeting we could hear fireworks and police sirens going off every 2 and 20 minutes during testimonies. Good thing today is P-Day. Also, it's my mom's birthday, so wish her a happy birthday if you can. Can I just say I didn't think I would miss my mom as much as I do? I keep thinking back to the last hug and wishing I made it last longer and more meaningful. Love you mom.
(Below is a 5 second clip of his district singing happy birthday to me in Spanish.  PRICELESS!)

On 9/11, we sang our national anthem. For the first time, I'm glad I'm going stateside. I'm so grateful that I get to eat american food (The Chick-fil-A and cafe rio cravings have been absolutely unreal), to be in a place that is so well off, to have electricity and clean water, and just to know that I'm safe and free. No more police sirens every 20 minutes. 

Sundays are the best. They remind me why I'm here. I basically hate the week until Sundays and Tuesday, and then I'm good for another week. The devotionals are incredible, and church is so spiritual. My friend Kendelle said that during my talk it felt like "a bowling ball landed on her chest", and that's how it has been for me on Sundays. I'm calling it, Shawn Cates will be an apostle in 40 years. He's the director of operations here, and his talk was unbelievable. I'm talking almost Elder Holland level. I love being the only one, out of the guys and the two sisters, who cries. That's always masculine. Speaking of which, I have been called one of the girls here. Just like college. All because I told one hermana her hair looked nice, because it did because she curled it all cool, and because I'm always cold in class, and because I mentioned I wanted to get married. Whatever, I've never gotten along well with guys anyway. 

One last note. The weather is always the same. Not too hot or cold, humid, and there is a thunderstorm almost every day. For once, I haven't been too scared by the lightning/thunder (yeah, sad, I know). There are times when there will be a low rumble of thunder for a straight 30 seconds without any ground lightning. It's so cool. Anyway, I hope you are all doing well! Again, I would love to get letters or emails! for only $1. Love you all, and stay strong!

Bullet points for you lazy, lazy people:
My companion is a goofball and we don't get along as well as we could.
Spanish is hard, and I don't speak it well at all, but I'll get there
I've been really sick this week, but still able to go to class.
Those missionary goggles are kicking in, and finding things to talk about and have fun is pretty hard now. My creativity is improving a lot though, on the bright side. 
I miss America, and today is Mexico's Independence day.
Sundays are the best. Ever. After P-Day.
The weather here is awesome. Lots of thunderstorms and not too warm or cold, humid days.
Love you all!

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