First, Momma, your questions. I will try to indeed answer ALL of them! Wish me luck. Here I go:
My companion and I are well. Just about all better. The cough always seems to linger but I'm fine. We do have a washing machine and a nice kitchen and two very nice bathrooms with showers and everything. We just got new pans for the kitchen yesterday. You never have to worry about the housing. I know there are a lot of stories about missionaries in foreign countries sleeping on haystacks and concrete slabs in the cold and all that but not here. Sister Aidukaitis (who is now doing well, by the way) has made absolutely sure that the Church takes care of us. Every house has to meet a certain standard and be approved by the mission, and they all have washing machines and refrigerators and fancy things like that. I would say our house is pretty nice compared to other houses in Cabeceiras.
Yesterday at zone conference I saw Elder Valentine and I asked him what he thought we were doing a year ago today in the CTM. He was pretty sure what we were doing. I would tell the stories but they are long. Maybe when I get home. All I know is I was having a good time. On the other hand, I was miserable because I felt like I was dying spiritually and had no idea why I was doing this, but then I was happy because I was with my brothers. I do remember now being kind of sick at the CTM. Not just one, but all three of the sisters in our group were nice enough to give me medicine and take care of me. I haven't written any of them but I should. Yes, Maughan's going home in a week, I can't believe it. Also unbelievable is that Presidente Aidukaitis is leaving. It's the craziest thing ever. I don't know what to expect at all with Presidente Pizzirrani. Everything could change. Or nothing. No one knows. He'll get here next Monday night and Presidente Aidukaitis leaves the very next morning. Just enough time for them to probably go out to dinner with their wives and that's it. Then Presidente will become "Elder Aidukaitis" and it's off to Buenos Aires. Like I said before I'm just glad I'll have the chance to see him speak at conference every so often, read articles of his in the Ensign, continue to learn from his counsel. And even more so when he is an Apostle.
I want to write more about the things he talked about yesterday at zone conference but I think I'll save that for next week. There's a lot. It was like no other discourse I've ever heard. Oh his, or of anyones. Sister Aidukaitis also gave us some really great insight and advice on our futures. It was a really wonderful conference. And not just because of the talks, but because we had all the zones in and around the Districto Federal together. Five zones, about 100 missionaries. Everyone in my group (Day, Barton, Valentine) and five of my six companions. Only Elder C Nunes was missing because he is 13 hours away up in the jungle. That zone will have their conference today. At the end of conference, after lunch, we took pictures and gave hugs to Presidente and Sister. I've gotten two hugs from women in the last year, one from Sister Cardon and one from Sister Aidukaitis.
We had to leave from Cabeceiras Sunday night to get to Brasilia for conference. When we got there, we waited until after midnight (because it was Sunday) and went to MCDONALDS!!!!!! I was freaking out. It as so great. We were a little scared because when we first walked up only the drive-thru was open, but then they told us we didn't need a car to go through. So we stood there in line between the cars in our suits. I got a Big Mac, large fries and Coca-cola, and a gigantic vanilla milkshake with chocolate fudge and sprinkles and all this great stuff. I was dying. It had been six months since I last ate McDonalds. Amazing.
The next day, after conference, we had to wait until 8 PM for the bus to Cabeceiras. So we went to Wal-mart in Cruzeiro. Ten minutes from the bus stop. I ate donuts. I bought cereal. I ate Brazilian food at this place inside the store called Giraffas that was amazing. I developed some pictures. Saw a Modest Mouse music video playing an a TV. I was in the States. If you're at all curious as to why I would get so phased by places like Wal-mart and McDonalds, it's because they are soooo fancy here. Upper class places. And really expensive. A can of Pringles is 8 Reais (or 4 dollars). It's kind of unfair, but it makes me proud to be American, seeing our everyday products looked at as delicacies here. It's interesting at least. Elder Maughan and DaSilva had to wait until late for their bus too so they hung out with us the whole day at Wal-mart and elsewhere. Maughan bought shoes in Brasilia.
Momma, I'm so happy for you that you got your job! I made sure to mention in my prayers that ONCE you got the job, you would do well. I had no doubt. I know you will do a great job. What kind of work did Zach do for you? I hope you paid him well. He's gonna need a lot of $$$$$'s to pay his hospital bills if he keeps wanting to be a bullrider. Not that I don't support him. You should pay him with a giant belt buckle.
So everyone in the family is going foreign, huh? I think that is terrific. Everyone should do that for a while. I got a letter from Grandma Hoon telling me about all this. She said that she and Grandpa probably ought to move to Africa or something. What is Crystal gonna do there in Germany while Jessica is playing basketball? How long will they be there? I hope long enough for me to go see a game. If you can, tell Eris that I wish her the best of luck in Germany as well. What city will she be in? I would love to go to Berlin someday.
Well keep taking care of Gma D. I think it's so funny that this was the first week she has ever been alone in her whole entire life. Poor Grandma. I think she'll get by just fine. Good to know Gpa is doing well in the nursing home now.
How is it that dogs can get stung by scorpions and freak out but cats can eat them and be just fine? Regardless, if Socks ever had a problem like Pebbs did this last week I might have to just fly right on home.
One more thing...tell the Boston Celtics I said congratulations and tell Philadelphia good luck on the new building. Looks nice. Is that Freedonm Tower in NYC coming along well? Oh, more importantly, the Burj Dubai? Has it gone into space yet? Has it fallen over yet? I might want to live there after I get home.
OK family, have a great week. I miss you and I love you.