Friday, May 1, 2009

2nd Email from the CCM

Ok, I'll start by answering all your questions:

Yes, I know two Elders who are still stuck in Provo without their visas. However, talking with them I heard that they really waited to put their paperwork in. I think I got mine on time because we were so on top of it. I don't remember exact numbers... there was one Hermana and one Elder from my district who were coming to Madrid with me, but the Elder got delayed. Our travel group had 8, all of us going to Madrid. There were others in our district going to Guatemala, Chile, and Anahiem. The composition is basically all American, over half of those are Utahn, and then we have two British Elders, Elder Phillips and Elder Siddiqui. Elder Siddiqui is a convert from the Muslim faith: extremely rare.

The language is coming great! I feel blessed that I can understand pretty much everything that is said to me and respond back naturally in 75% of cases.

My arm is doing well. It fluctuates, but lately it's almost totally disappeared, so we'll see what happens.

I've been able to attend the temple twice since I got here. It is beautiful. Absolutely wonderful! And it's right next door too. It has the most beautiful celestial room I have ever seen.

My teachers are both native Spaniards. Hermana Martinez and Hermano Lopez. They are both amazing teachers. Hermana Martinez says the most amazing and profound things in English, even though I don't think she knows it because she's still working on her English skills. Hermano Lopez really gets down to business and teaches fast, but he knows how to make it fun and interesting for us too. Both of them are helping me a lot.

Our district is composed of three Elders, and four Hermanas. It makes it really nice because the Hermanas are much better behaved than most Elders so I have the easiest time managing the class. Oh, did I mention they called me to be district leader? Yeah. It's been a new experience but the Lord's helping me out. I just hope I don't mess up or anything.

We get double the email time here in Madrid but we have to take it in two groups of 30. I'm almost out of my first 30 and the window will shut on me, so I'm going to close this email and then immediately send another.

Ok, so here's the second email.

Yes, I have been having a great time here. The food is really good, maybe even too good, because I've put on 7 pounds since arriving a week and two days ago. I've decided to be a little more careful with my portion sizes and such so as to not outgrow my clothing. Speaking of clothing, it drizzled a little today so I wore my Calvin Klein jacket and it works really well, and also looks extremely nice.

I left my shampoo at the Provo MTC cause it was too big and heavy, and I needed more breathmints, spray and wash, sunscreen, q-tips and pez for the way awesome pez dispenser that Kristen sent me, so I went shopping yesterday during our gym time instead of playing futbol or basketball like I usually do. We went to this ghetto looking indoor mall where the air was 50% smoke, 50% real air (remind anyone of our Europe trip?) and found a supermarket where I was able to buy everything I needed for about 20 euro. It was the sunscreen that really killed me: 12 euro!!! Anyway, it was a fun experience. People stare at me a lot when I wear this nametag.

We play futbol at this little coloseum down the street that we affectionately call THE PIT. It's basically a concrete pit with steps on one side, where there probably isn't a 5 foot by 5 foot square of un-graffitied concrete. It's fun though because there's a couple goals in there and there's usually four or five natives there who will play against us. We always have a really fun time! It's always a humbling experience playing the native Spaniards in futbol, but we actually beat them the last time we played because we got an Elder who used to play soccer in High School. He rolled his ankle though and now we're too afraid to play them again without him. I made one of those head-goals last time. You know, when a teammate kicks it up in the air and you knock it into the goal with your head? Yeah, I did that. I felt pretty cool. :)

Every Sabado [Saturday], we all go to this huge park that's closer to the city center and practice our street contacting. It's probably the most terrifying thing I've ever done in my life: just approaching a random stranger who only knows Espanol and striking up a conversation with them about Dios y Jesucristo. We'll be going again tomorrow and I'm way excited. Last time we actually gave out two copies of the Book of Mormon. It was awesome!

Oh, the reason that this email is so late is because el 1 de Mayo is an international Labor Day in Spain and most of Europe. No one works, including the CCM personel, so they decided to move our p-day to today to coordinate with that. It's nice, I can get some laundry done and write letters. We also went to the Plaza de Espana today and also went to this Ancient Egyptian temple that they have here. I don't know why it's here, and I think our temple is better, but yeah, I got some sweet pictures anyway. We rode the metro to get there. It totally reminded me of the Europe trip.

My companion is Elder Langston. He's one of the quietest people I've ever met, and he is generally faster than me at just about everything. It's kind of a flip-flop from my last companionship. He's really committed to the work and I'm learning a lot from him. We also have Elder Silva, who's kind of our pseudo-companion. He speaks almost nothing but Portuguese and broken English. He'll be serving in Lisbon. It's really fun to try and communicate with him, but we somehow manage. It helps that Portuguese and Spanish have a lot of words in common.

Well, my time is almost up! I miss you all, but I'm sure you're doing fine and I'm kept very busy here so don't worry about me! Send more mail!!! It doesn't even matter if you have anything to say, just send mail! Getting a letter makes my day easily.

I love you! Bye!
-Elder Knorr