Oí, como vai? Muito bem...e você? De onde você é? Eu sou da Califórnia. Well, since you're reading this, it's a safe bet to say that I have made it to the CTM unscathed. This is the first page in what will be a book of many tales. Sometimes the events may be a little bit embellished, but nonetheless, they will be based on true experiences.
We were greeted at the airport by a little man who couldn't have been much taller than 5 feet and couldn't speak English. He immediately took our passports along with our luggage and placed them in a van without windows, which then took off leaving us to never see our stuff again...just kidding, but we seriously thought it would be the last time we'd see our luggage.
After a dangerous van ride, we made it to the CTM, which is in the middle of a ghetto. It has high gates and Israeli security to make sure nobody else makes it inside...seriously. My companion is Elder Jones, who is from Oneonta, New York. Our hometowns are the furthest apart of any companionship, not sure how they could get much further from one another. The food here isn't too bad: rice and beans with every meal, with apples and bananas, and some shady meat/main course, which seems to surprise me every time by tasting much less appealing than it looks.
Upon arriving in São Paulo, we formed our district. There are 12 of us, with only 4 being from Utah...pretty amazing. Everyone in my district is extremely enjoyable to be with and we all seem to have the same attitude and personality except for one or two. So...I guess I can say so far so good. Everyone was excited when they found they were going to the same missions- either Ribeirao Preto or Maceio...oh wait, any one going to Manaus? No...okay. I guess I'll be odd man out. I just had to laugh at that since I figured I'd meet someone going to my mission. On that note, out of the 230+ missionaries in the CTM, I have yet to meet another individual who will be serving in Manaus.
The rooms are really nice. They look brand-new and the bathrooms are spectacular. There are 3 bunk beds to a room, but since we only have 4 missionaries in our room, one is left open. This works to our advantage since our room is crowded enough as it is. My room is on the 6th floor.
We get 3 days a week to exercise, which I guess is sufficient, but of all things, the track is only 114m. The turns, no joke, are only 8 feet wide. There is no way I'm even going to bother running the track, but basketball gets the job done.
Anyway, I already have a great story about miscommunication. I was dining and ran into an elder from Manaus. I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, he wasn't exactly in the best mood. Let's just say, as I was getting ready to go to bed, he was hanging out of his window (which happened to be directly across the atrium from mine) and said, "I gon punch you in you face!" Fortunately, it got resolved and he was shipped off to his mission only a day later.
Today we went to the Campinas Temple, which is in more of a junglish area...a pretty cool trip. It's amazing to see the poverty in other countries. They build house upon house upon house. It's a crazy sight to see. Hopefully, the message we have to bring will be a comfort to these people. Today is P-day, as you might have figured out, but it's still a busy day. I'll have pictures and more to say next week...the language learning is going well! Anyway, I hope you write back!
Eu te amo!
Elder Taylor Mackay