SO... He seems to have recovered somewhat, though only Heavenly Father knows what ailed him. Please feel free to write him a letter or quick note. I know he'd love to hear from ya'll. His address is found on the right-hand side of this blog.
Sorry it's been a while. I'm alive! I'm happy.
I said goodbye to Espaillat and said hello to Los Solares. We have the best empanada shack this side of the Rio Ozama and life's good.
Los Solares is different. There's less concrete and more cows. It's so much calmer. We no longer have to avoid dark streets, so that's nice. We have church in a garage, so that's a bit of a downgrade, but the house makes up for it. It's very open, and we can do things like play baseball with bottle caps and brooms. And soccer. And. Cough. icehockeyWAITWHAT? Also, we still have a cockroach problem, but we're a little bit better at managing it here. In Espaillat, we used shoes. Here, every missionary is issued a pump bottle of mosquito repellent. Of FLAMMABLE mosquito repellent. It's the moment. Ten PM. Pretty quiet. All of a sudden, we hear a yell, "CUCARACHA!!!" In two seconds flat, you have a stampede of missionaries rampaging about in their underwear, striking matches and whooping like a band of eighteenth century Comanche riders. Haha we go to TOWN.
My new companion is Elder Zetina. He's Mexican. We both crack each other up and the work is a blast. His English isn't amazing, but I'm working on it with him. I'm teaching him how to speak with a Utah accent (a positively essential skill) and it gets me every time. We were walking one time, not really talking, when all of a sudden, his face lit up and he said with a heavy Mexican accent, "Hey, I'm La'in. Oh! Excoose me. Eet's jost my ahccent from Jutah." He's a good cook, but apparently he missed the day in school when they taught us that while we eat many parts of a pig, we don't eat their ears. (pics below) Naw, but I love the kid. Although I found out the other day that he's a Pepsi man. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
The other day, I had one of those Oh moments. We were walking. It was hot. I had a popsicle. However, we must've done something to upset the missionary dryness Gods or something because one second it was sunny and the next, I tell you what, the heavens opened up and dumped half the Carribean on our heads. We were fairly soaked. My companion stopped below a little overhang to call an investigator to ask if he was home. There wasn't much room outside, so I just stood there, enjoying my popsicle. Then, behind me, I heard giggling. I looked back and saw two little Dominican girls covering their mouths. I looked around, searching for what was so funny. And then it hit me. It's not every day you see a short, squat Mexican and a big old babyfaced gringo in a tie and nametag standing in the middle of a busy intersection in the freezing rain, so wet there are literally little streams of water flowing down their faces. Eating a popsicle. Oh.
We were walking through the street a few days ago when Elder Zetina suddenly stopped next to a plant I'd never seen before. He picked off a tiny little red seed looking thing and said, "Hey, Johnson, try this." I looked at it skeptically. "Go on," he encouraged, "It's muy bien!" So I popped it. I chewed thoughtfully. And then Satan himself punched me right in the mouth. I said something. I don't rightly recollect exactly what it was. I think it was something to the effect of "AAAAUGGHRUGHGUXXUIEJAOE!!!!!" He'd given me a Carribean pepper. It's the size of a fingernail shaving. And for the next hour and a half, the very flames of Hell scoured my tongue. Zetina, that heartless scumbag, laughed until he cried. After I finally got it out, he kept laughing. "Ai mi madre! Creo que no hay mas placer in ésta vida que ver un gringo con picante!"
TRANSLATION: "Ai my mother! I think there is little more pleasure in this life than to see a gringo with a spicy pepper in his mouth!"
He laughed about it the next day. And the next. In fact, he's reading this over my shoulder and laughing about it right now.
So that's me! Thanks to everyone for everything you all do! Life's good here and I hope it's all good back in Utah too.