Let me go through and try to answer each question in the order it was asked.
1. I was not certain that the McRib was back, although Michelle had mentioned it on the phone at Christmastime and that made me very hopeful that it would return someday soon. They don't have McRib in Brazil, but they do have McDonald's. We have one in our area as a matter of fact. We actually went there today. I had chicken nuggets. McDonald's is soooo fancy in Brazil. All the rich kids go there after they get out of school. They remind me of the black kids I saw in Chicago the first time we went there years ago who were all excited that they got to go to "MAC-donalds". Does anyone else remember that?
2. I have heard from Maxwell. He wrote me. I have yet to write him back, but I had Lex send him a facebook message. He is my good friend. I hope he wasn't weird when he went to visit. Was he? He would never speak English with me. I hope he'll come back to the States again sometime before I'm able to come back to Brasilia.
3. I was not aware that we would not be able to come back until June of next year. That's too bad. I'll need to write some people when I get home and tell them I won't be coming back anytime soon. But then again, June of next year would be the earliest we could go as a family, right? Because of Dad's station rules? If I were to go alone, I would only need to wait until I have the tourist visa? Considering how much studying I'm going to want to be doing I don't think it would even work to go alone. Actually, even June 2010 might not work because I'm kind of wanting to do 3 straight semesters at MCC (fall'09, spring '10, summer '10 and possibly the winter intercession in between). Lots of school. Maybe spring break. We'll have to see. I love Brazil. I want to come back as often as possible.
4. Going on a trip June 3rd sounds fantastic to me. As for possible impediments:
a. I don't know our financial situation but I am 100% sure we'll be just fine as long as we pay honest tithes and offerings.
b. If Grandpa's condition makes it so we can't leave I completely understand and I am willing to help with anything he needs.
c. Apparently we don't have to worry about terrorism anymore because Elder Brown and I talked to a man yesterday who "knows" that we're really spies here working for the US government. He told us where Osama bin Laden is so we can take him out.
d. I'm sure I'll be plenty wiped out but I'll have a whole week to rest before we leave.
e. I don't think any de-worming will be necessary. I haven't gotten horribly sick yet on the mission. I haven't thrown up or been bed ridden for days. Only a few colds. I do plan on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables when I get home though.
f. Jonny can come with.
g. I would LOVE to learn all of the languages spoken in EUROPE and JAPAN and CHINA and INDIA. Now if that's not a hint I don't know what is.
h. My legs are fine. The Lord has blessed me. However, I would like to see the foot doctor (Dr. Allen I think... the one in Scottsdale that I got my orthopedics from) the week I get back just to see if there are any problems going on that I'm not aware of. I certainly have walked a lot and if I have some fracture that I'm not noticing, I need to get that taken care of asap. If possible, call this week and make an appointment for me.
5. Denver Lane is nowhere near as cool as PARKER REX!! Sao Paulo is tight from what I can tell. That would be a fun mission. I'm sure he'll have a great time. Too bad he may have to go to the MTC instead of the CTM. The CTM is a wonderful place. But no need to tell him I said that.
6. Yes, I got the camera and am taking good care of it. I'm taking pictures of everything I see.
Don't worry about taking my focus off the mission. I know how to focus. Feel free to talk about whatever you want to talk about. And feel free to tell me where we're going if we're going somewhere! You know that more than anything what I'm excited for is to see family/house/animals/friends. If that's all I have (along with maybe an ipod and a few good books) this summer when I get home, that's good enough for me. One of my very favorite talks from the last conference was by L. Tom Perry called "Let Him Do It With Simplicity". It's worth reading over and over again and to reflect on. It helped me to learn more than I had before that I don't need EVERYTHING I want. You guys, my family, are without a doubt the most important thing in the world to me. Nothing separates or changes that. So that's what I'm looking forward to most about being home.
As for work when I get home... I'm try to think of what I could do. I'm fluent in Portuguese. It's natural to me at this point. I'm only working on learning more advanced vocab and figures of speech and that kind of thing. I would actually really really like to teach Portuguese to English speakers and/or teach English to natural Portuguese speakers. So I would ask if Mom and Dad could look around for a way for me to do that either in AZ or maybe New York or San Francisco or Boston or Portugal or Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil or where ever.
This week was a fun week. We are teaching a few men who are just amazing to me. The ways they are changing their lives are incredible. These are grown men. Fathers. One man has been reading the Book of Mormon for just three weeks and has already gave/threw away his entire porn collection. Another has committed to live the word of wisdom and has been. Another has gone from 2 packs of cigarettes a day to just 2 or 3 cigarettes a day. Another man named Adiel whose wife absolutely HATES us and has threatened to separate from him if he doesn't stop talking to us. He's been a rock. He reads the Book of Mormon and has committed to keep going to church even if he can't be baptized (a man can't be baptized if his wife doesn't approve). There are great people here. Anyone can say whatever they want the world over about the Gospel and about the Book of Mormon and about Joseph Smith--none of it means that the Church is no longer true. You can even doubt it all yourself, but when you see someone you love change their life because of the Gospel, there is no denying it. At least not for me.
I love you, family. I miss you.