Cultural Note- Here in the Dominican Republic, the shopping bag is a must. If you buy something, you get a bag with it. If you buy a can of soda, you get a bag. If you buy one pen, you get a bag.If you buy a chair or a table, they will literally tie a shopping bag around one of the legs. I saw someone buy a cat. From a street vendor. And yes. They got it in a bag.
The other night, we helped a lady crack peas open. She was preparing for her New Year's Eve feast. We taught her the Plan of Salvation, and it was pretty cool. But she did also comment that I made pretty short work of those pea pods. I felt very flattered, and I don't mean to brag, but it turns out that I'm kind of the shiz at cracking peas. So hey, if my dreams of being a doctor, professional writer, or afternoon shift fry cook at Sonic fall through, I can always take my new fallback option and become a professional peacracker.
So it's 2015. Two things stick out to me about that fact. First, how bafflingly different my life has become between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. At the start of this year, I was working at Sonic and living in an apartment of four people making up roughly one and a half active members. I'd just hit 240 pounds, and my diet consisted roughly of Sonic, Hamburger Helper, Hot Pockets, Cups of Noodles, and Taco Bell. I didn't really bother much with being social or going to church or anything productive like that. I just sort of lived because I had nothing better to do. Which brings us to December 31st. I'm still living in an apartment, but my roommates are all very active in the gospel. I'm roughly bilingual. I'm a full-time missionary, and I finish my training in less than three weeks. My diet consists almost entirely of cereal, rice, beans, and chicken. Okay, and Coke. I'm under 200 pounds for the first time since I was fourteen years old. I'm out all day every day and I'm constantly working to be social and connect with people. And I feel good. What a year it's been. Thanks to Jake, Andrew, Natalie, Danee, J-Dawg, Nicole, Claire, Jaque, Quinton, Aaron, Lizzie Bean, Blount, Durrant, my mom, my dad, all you camp people, everyone in my family, all the mission folk, and all the other people that I should have thought about and written down before I started mentioning people by name and ran the risk of offending everyone I forgot. Y'all made it possible.
The other thing is how fast it's gone by. It's flown. Even though looking back, I had tons of adventures including three major lifestyle changes between E202, camp, and the mission, and I could tell stories for hours, it went by so fast. Ridiculously fast. It's not even fair. I'm starting to appreciate the phrase, "Don't blink." Cause it's true. Don't get distracted and forget to live life. Don't blink. You just might miss it.
Hoping all's well,