Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where Black Meets White -- January 4, 2016

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 was a grand one. My mission is the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission, 2014-2016. Folks. It's. 2016. . . Yep so that happened.

I think the hairy legs and the kilts
speak for themselves.
Last week was transfers. In a blaze of hairy-legged Celtic glory, Elder Leiter peaced out to El Seibo, and I received a real block of a missionary. Haha his name is Elder Cuadra (Cuadra means block) and he's a Nicaraguan who is three months of age.

Consuelo ushered in the New Year very quietly. Despite surprisingly little noise on New Year's Eve, turns out that the grand majority of the townspeople decided to start the year off right by getting smashed and wiping out all memory of
having started the year off right. We found our [fifty-year old bushy-bearded] colmado owner sitting on a cinderblock, smiling at a fence post. When we asked him how he was doing, he looked at us, squinted confusedly and began twerking. He was happy, I guess. Haha I'd say that in all, of the 38,000 Consuelans, roughly 37,960 were hungover. The other forty were the Mormons.
This tie is our family tie. I was trained by Elder Miller who was trained by Elder Burningham who was trained by Elder Robertson and back and back.
My name is finally ON THE TIE.
Ai, but here we are in 2016! What an adventure we face. I remember that last year, I wrote this big old four page entry in my journal about all the changes I'd gone through in 2014 and then at their request, 
read it to the house. 
"The House", Elders Miller, Barlow,
Areas, and Johnson
Brother Barlow (that's so weird to think about it. Ew ew ew. I don't care if he's a civilian now. It's Elder Barlow) Elder Barlow just sorta looked at me and was like, "I did that too. This year. Well. I was in the mission."

Well, me too. But for all that the days blend together, I changed anyway (Elder Barlow did too, it was just a literary decision in juxtaposition, not a criticism, dang it).

Looking at that 2014 pic. Haha.
Almost couldn't stomach sending this. 

That is all.
This time last year, I was a monolingual trainee trying to figure out how to be the smartest missionary alive. I wanted to grow my hair back out. I didn't need the nutrition facts to count calories in hardly anything anymore. I occasionally said naughty words when I encountered cockroaches and I wrote quite a bit about cockroaches. And I wanted to know how on earth I was gonna survive my mission.

Today, I've been a trainer. I ain't no pro translator but my
173 lbs. and holding
Spanish is only half bad. I no longer want to grow my hair out (although if I can get rid of my ruddy empty beard patches in the next eleven months and get a girlfriend before winter, I'm doing No-Shave November). I no longer count calories because I can eat absolutely anything and stay at a solid 173 pounds. Turns out my metabolism works just fine, I was just a slug haha. I never even want to say anything stronger than "BLAST!" or an occasional "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!" I learned that wanting to be the smartest missionary alive is actually garbage, the point is that we should try to not rely on our intelligence; we're supposed to rely on God, if you can believe it. And these days, the mission is not a survival situation. If someone called me and told me a third year was in order, I would not be miffed in the slightest.

Yes, I'm so grateful for 2015. It's been one of the craziest, slowest, fastest, gut-wrenching, smooth-sailing, terrible, greatest years of my life. It's hard to compare with any other year because it's just been so bizarrely different. There's been no apparent life progression, no crazy romantic stories, no 4.0 gpas, no new first days of school, very few crazy spontaneous moments. It's been a lot of walking, a lot of boring, run-of-the-mill lessons, SO MUCH CHICKEN AND RICE AND BEANS, and frankly, my mission would be a terrible TV show. But then, there have been quite a few special moments. It'd probably be a decent movie. I digress.

2015 was incredible. I can't explain what being a missionary is like to anyone who hasn't actually done it. I wish I could, but there are some things that words can't convey. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't trade this experience for anything else. 

The serial killer looking fellow there
is our branch president. 
Now, I don't know what 2016 will hold. I don't know how the final months of my mission are going to go. I don't know if I'll be able to stomach watching the 2016-2017 Chargers play (that's a joke, I'm going to watch them even if it means breaking out the paper bag as early as September). Heaven only knows if I'll ever be able to recover from awkward-R.M.-initis. But I'm excited to find out.

So what's that they saying on the street? 2016's coming at me?

Come at me then. Brah.


With love,
Elder Dallin Johnson

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