As I write this, a beautiful day here in Biguaçu is drawing to its half-way point. Furthermore, the realization that once something has been established in a pattern, things go that much quickly and the mission is just going to take off in flight. In other words, there are only two more months left in this year and I will have finished the first big part of my mission. So things go.
As to questions:
I was able to see General Conference, but unfortunatel,y the ward that we went to (20 minutes by bus in a place called Casa das Acassias) did not have in English and that was that.
It appears that I am able to print emails here at this internet cafe, but I still need to check the rates.
I received Mom´s small packet with the emergency rain coat, but not the birthday greetings.
I am happier about being here. It is a nice area with some nice members. I had one occasion where, when praying at a less-active member´s home, consisting of the divorced mother, a grandmother and 5-year old son, I had no idea what to pray for as all of the things that one normally can give thanks for did not exist in that person´s home.
I hope that as I go along, I will increase in my love for the people here.
Contacting goes as such:
Houses are generally fenced or walled in, which means that you´re anywhere from 5 to 30 meters away from a house. You clap your hands 5 times signifying that you´re there (unless they have a door bell, which is about 1/30 houses.) then wait as multitudes of dogs come running from somewhere and bark at you. Then, the proprietor of the house might lean out of the window or come out of some back entrance to talk to you. Most people are busy or are not interested due to being catholic, but we were able to teach 2 lessons this last week just from people receiving us into their homes. I am trying hard not to feel like I´m not working hard, but I do feel like my companion and I could work a lot harder than we have been.
I´m wondering if one of the only resources we have is to really talk to every single person. We rarely get to return to somebody´s home, and I do think we have way too much downtime walking to and from in our area, which is quite a big area for the mission, apparently.
This last week I got blisters on both of my feet and they´ve just starting healing up now. I believe they were caused by one of the pairs of comfort socks that I have with me. Some of them work really well but others, not so much. Additionally, the slip-on shoes that Phil gave me are ever so slightly too big.
I´m starting to feel more comfortable in the language and in the circumstances here. I think I´ve figured out how to live somewhat healthily between tomatoes and carrots and apples bought from the store. For breakfast I generally just eat a ham and cheese sandwich. Lunch is with a member, which hasn´t been particularly consistent in who gives the lunches. But one thing is apparent: that the Brazilians love their carbs. Most meals lack vegetables (but might have a salad) and feature 3 to 4 different types of carbs. Dinner is non-existent, but I want to change that to not have such an unbalanced day by eating smaller snacks such as bananas throughout the afternoon.
My companion is nice. His teaching style is so very different from mine and he keeps on cutting me off in teaching. However, I was glad to discover that what I thought was contempt for me or regarding me as stupid is actually a cultural thing. I have been apparently coming across as rude due to my straight-forwardness and directness. Where I thought that my companion was treating me as stupid by adding a inquisitive/confirmative "Ne?" or an "OK?" at the end of every phrase wasn´t to indicate that I´m slow or anything; rather, it exists to be less direct and more vague.
Oh cultures. I hope to increase in love and patience.
Contacting is fine and it really doesn´t bother me anymore due to the strangeness of it all, as Christoph pointed out. In reality, what we´re doing is so unusual that I find that I just need to work on avoiding using the same words over and over again and instead have sincerity. Lessons are good but I think I need help with doling out even portions of the lessons.
I try to memorize scriptures or hymns while we walk. My studying hasn´t been as effective as it was in the MTC.
Seeing that my time is almost up and my release to the world is thus fading away, I wish you all the best, my dear friends across the seas.
Love, Elder Luschin