Wednesday, January 2, 2013
My Christmas was fantastic. After talking on skype with a few of you, Elder Reynolds and I went to Juanitas house to celebrate. There we had some good food and laughed for a long time with Juanita and her equally old roommate, Regina. They are my favorite old ladies. They always tell lots of old people jokes that wouldn't make me laugh unless the jokes had come from Regina and Juanita. And I laugh soo hard when I am with them; to tears. They gave Elder Reynolds and I shaving cream (for sensitive skin, I don't know how they knew I have sensitive skin) and after shave. I have never used after shave in my life, so we will see how it goes. After shave just makes me think of Home Alone when little Macaulay Culkin slaps some burning after shave on his face and screams. I am hoping that my first time after shave experience is a little better. But, the point is that Juanita and Regina are great, and they helped make my Christmas perfect. Hopefully I helped them have a brighter Christmas too.
This week was pretty funny and different. I don't know why I always end up talking about the shower in these emails, but it always just seems to pop up. Our shower is the best I have had thus far in my mission, but the water heater has the sneaky habit of turning off if there is even a little bit of wind outside. I jumped into the shower on Friday morning without really testing the temperature of the water beforehand. The water was so freezing, but I am kind of a pro in taking cold showers lately, so I didn't turn it off. I just shouted to Elder Reynolds and asked him if he could light up the water heater again. I didn't hear an answer, so i just assumed that he had been busy with something and couldn't light the heater again. I just finished my cold shower. When I walked out of the shower, I just saw that Elder Reynolds was laid out on the bed and his face was all pink with hints of black. Apparently Elder Reynolds had gone out to light the water heater, stuck in a match to light the pilot light, and light a pocket of gas or something that caused an explosion to come out of the hole and burn his face. He was in kind of a lot of pain in his eyes, so we called the mission doctor. The mission doctor told us that he probably had a flash burn on his cornea and that we just had to buy some special eye drops and stay on bed rest. In the end, Elder Reynolds was totally fine, but we were obedient to the doctor and stayed in the apartment for the rest of the day. So, I spent another day counting bricks and drawing dragons. Sweet. Elder Reynolds is fine now. It seems like we have weird accidents every week.
In between leadership meetings, burned corneas, and holidays, we did not have as much time as we would have liked. But I did have a lot of time to think. As I was thinking, I realized that most of my thoughts were directed towards home, friends, family, school, girls, future jobs, pretty much everything that is happening outside of my missionary life. That realization made me kind of sad. My mind was more in the United States than it was in Argentina where it needed it be (with my body). I opened up a book Mom and Dad sent me with a bunch of good quotes in it. After a little bit of flipping through, I found a quote that was perfect for my situation and motivated me a lot. It was something along the lines of this, *ahem* "Every dog, when you put it behind a fence, will cry and bark and squeal to be let out. And most dogs, upon being let out or digging out of the fence will simply lay down next to the fence that had previously enclosed them. The dog was focused on getting out of the fence, but hadn't thought about what it would do once it got out." I don't share this quote to say that dogs are stupid or anything, I share it because I think we humans are exactly the same. Too many times we think, "I will be fine once I finish school", or "I will be happy once I am out of this relationship", or "Everything will be fine once I get this job". Or in my case, "Everything will be sweet once I am done with my mission, area, companion, etc." When we resort to such thinking we are making our happiness conditional and robbing ourselves from the joy that could be garnished from the moment we are in presently. If we make such thinking a habit, we will find that we have run through so many good experiences without learning the lessons or reaping the happiness. It's so very hard and so very important that we learn to be present. I feel like the happiest people, the people that everyone wants to be around, the successful people are the ones who have learned to never leave the moment, but to take it for all it is worth. There is a word in Spanish that doesn't really exist in English. it is aprovechar, or pretty much take advantage of something and use it for all it is worth. I want to do that. I want to aprovechar every moment I have left in the mission, and in broader scope, my life. I don't want to look back and see a path of missed opportunities. I promise to do my best to aprochevar the next six weeks. I invite everyone else who reads this email to do the same. Aprovechar every moment. Be Present.
All is well. Life is good.
I am running late and I have to get inside pretty soon. On Christmas eve, pretty much everyone just gets really drunk and shoots fireworks everywhere, so the streets are pretty dangerous and we have to get back to the apartment pretty early. But, I will share the few highlights of my week.
1. Confirmation of Macarena-Real good. She was shining.
2. We were helping a lady paint the inside of her house on Wednesday. First we had to clean the walls that were covered in mold. As I was cleaning the mold, it kind of turned into a dust and I breathed a lot of it in. I started to have a really intense allergic reaction and my throat closed up almost all the way and I couldn't really breathe or talk at all. Luckily Reynolds was at my side and calmed me down. We were about to go to the hospital, but we got a hold of some liquid benadryl and that fixed me up pretty well. I'm totally fine now, it was just a funny moment.
3. The Christmas party for the mission was today in the mission home. It was super good and chill. It is the hottest day this year today and everyone was sweating and dying. Pres. Stapelys face was so so red and everyone was making fun of him. I love the mission and have made a lot of good friends here.