Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week 2 Email

Editors’ note: Eric must be thinking in Portuguese- we’ve noticed a decline in his English skills. We’ve cleaned up his spelling and grammar.

Hello again,

So I guess Mom, Dad and Erynn are on Trek. Hope that’s going well and the weather is nice and all of that. I appreciate all the letters you guys sent. I got all of them yesterday (4). The MissionTies one that you sent on the 6th arrived to me on the 7th. I’m not sure if they will all get to me in 1 day, but I was pleasantly surprised. It definitely goes faster than snail mail though. Another Elder and I are having a little competition to see who gets more letters, now I’m winning. Thanks. I’ll try to answer all the questions you guys asked, but if I forget something, just ask me again.

The food was more plentiful and good before the CTM needed to "cut back”. They took away a lot of the food and we got the shaft for a week. They took away the cereal, dished out portions (usually of smaller value than we would take), and it kinda sucked! But luckily, they are bringing some of it back (sometimes even cereal, which makes me really happy...) You asked how many people are in the CTM. I think there are 200-250 with a quarter of them being Brazilians. We actually now have Brazilian roommates. They moved us around so that we could room with them. They are pretty cool. One speaks decent English and the other doesn’t speak any, so to try to talk with them we need to try our Portuguese. The other question was if there are people here from other countries. A guy in our district is from Canada, but that’s pretty much as foreign as I have seen, and everyone is going to Brazil that I have met. Actually, one Brazilian is going to some island between here and Africa. I only talked to him for a second.

This week went by a lot faster than the last. We went to the temple again today, and one of our teachers came with us. Irmão Ramón. He’s our teacher that returned a month ago from a mission to Manaus. He’s going to email the mission president before I get there to tell him that I’m coming and he taught me. That should be cool. I found out my other teacher, Irmão Nunes, plays guitar and listens to American music. Sometimes we talk about music and stuff. Honestly, I miss listening to music. But another guy in my district also likes listening to music so sometimes one of us will randomly start singing a song and the other one will join in. It’s pretty fun.

It’s fun to talk to the Brazilians and tell them where I’m going. When I tell them I’m going to Manaus, they usually have 2 responses. The first is "mui quenche!"- meaning very hot. The other response I get is "Oh!! Macacas!"- meaning I’m pretty stoked. I’ve only heard one story of Elders that actually had to eat macaca though...I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t seem like they would taste good...but whatever. I hear I’m going to eat a lot of peixe, or fish.

The language is still coming well. I’m not having any problems, and I’ve been helping out some other guys in my district. We've learned how to do street contacts in Portuguese and have been practicing those. In 3 weeks, they will let us go out and place a Book of Mormon in some park around here. That will be cool, if I can understand what the people are saying. Brazilians talk fast.

It sounds like you guys had a good 4th of July. It was pretty fun here. I woke up at 6:00 to the sound of people singing/yelling the national anthem. At breakfast, someone held up a little flag and we all sang. Dinner that night was cheeseburgers and fries (which both honestly were terrible. You wouldn’t think anyone could mess up a burger and fries, but they did...they weren’t normal) but we were happy to have American(ish) food. We also got ice cream sundaes with tons of toppings in a waffle bowl. It made me SO happy to see you have no idea...

So last week there was a big soccer game, and it was crazy. You could tell whenever someone scored because the city would light up with fireworks and people would go nuts. There was a guy living in the apartments straight across from our window that would yell "GOOOOOAAALL!!!!" at the top of his lungs over and over anytime the Corinthians scored. It was nuts! When Brazilians ask what my favorite team is, I tell them Manchester United. I don’t want to pick a Brazilian team. If you support a wrong team, some people won’t talk to you. It was fun to just watch the city explode with fireworks.

But overall it’s been a good week. The time is going by a lot faster than the first week, and that’s way nice. The first week was the hardest so far. But I’m enjoying being here and I like my district (well most of them...) Oh and you said that the Crowley’s nephew was on my flight over and wondered if I know him. And I do. That would be Elder Higgins, my comp (Megan his first name is Craig, I’m not sure if I should tell you but whatever). We click with a lot of different things. Like he can do the same eye trick I can. Once I sat down at a piano and started playing the bass line to Linus and Lucy and he came in over the top. The rest of our district was impressed. Sometimes he reminds me of my friend, Brian, so that’s cool.

HERE IS MY SHOUTOUT TO ERYNN. I hope you are happy.

Well, I’m going to get off now. I’ve got stuff to do (like buy legit frosted flakes at the store. It’s my comfort food for when I can’t take any more rice and beans!) I will email next week and I look forward to hearing from you. Hit me up with a hard letter sometime, Elder Thomas (the guy that I’m having the competition with) is catching up. I can’t respond until P-day, but getting mail here is like you just won a million dollars or something. No joke. Anyways, hope all is well, love you, and paz fora (peace out)

-Elder Eric Stapley

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