Hello Family and Friends,
I just got off the bus from the São Paulo Temple and it did not have air conditioning. It was way too hot, especially with the big windows that magnify the sun...I wanted to puke. Indeed, it has been a month since I have left, and although it started off pretty slow, I must say after the first week the time has flown by.
This past week seemed somewhat uneventful, but there were a few cool experiences that I had. For starters, last Friday 11 other missionaries and I were taken in a van to an undisclosed destination to teach random people on the streets. My assigned location ended up being in downtown São Paulo at the Metro station bridge where over 3 million people are supposed to pass through every day. The bridge is huge but is only for pedestrians. Vendors were there with their pirated DVDs and entertainment shows to make some money, and within seconds, everything would be bagged up and they would take off running because every 15 minutes the policia would check the bridge.
It was a crazy experience and Elder Jones and I received many different reactions. I was able to place both Books of Mormon and gave out all but 5 of my 24 pass along cards. One family that I gave a book to seemed really excited and the mother's face lit up after I shared our message with them. Once again, it was kind of nice being able to get a glimpse of what it is going to be like in the field. I have never tried harder in my life to be understood by someone. However, after only 3 weeks of formal Portuguese training, I was able to talk to people just fine and they were able to understand me. The only problem came when they decided to talk back or ask me questions. People talk Portuguese in almost a singing voice and every word in a sentence is blended together, so each person sounds different. Having never listened to anyone talk full-speed Portuguese before, it was just a little bit frustrating. Fortunately, with my expansive Spanish knowledge, I was able to understand just enough to reply.
All of our Brazilian roommates left yesterday morning for their mission. It was sad seeing them go and also a little bit frustrating since they got here after us and are leaving significantly before us. As of now, I'm still scheduled to leave the CTM in 5 weeks.
The rate at which we are learning the language and the lessons is very fast; nonetheless, I've heard from other elders that your Portuguese skills double the last week you are in the CTM. I wish I had more time and more events to talk about, but nothing too exciting has happened of late and I only have so much time to write. Thanks to everyone for emailing. It means a lot and I read every single one of them. Enjoy the pictures. They're with a few of my Brazilian friends that left this week. Elder Xisto, from Manaus, is in the red shirt and just left yesterday. Take care!
-Elder Taylor Mackay