Thursday, December 3, 2009

Don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

Five months. My little brother has been gone on his mission for five months. Time has flown by, but with Thanksgiving last week, it made me wistful for when he was there to do things like help bring in all the metal church chairs or snarfing down all the extra pie.

But honestly, I think a mission is good for him. Even just from his letters, I can tell that he's started to learn what responsibility actually means (and not in the college, 'Hey Dad, I ran out of money...' type of way).

Every Wednesday (his preparation day), the family gets an email from him. I've learned a lot of things about my brother, and he's always saying them in kind of hilarious ways. Here are some of my favorite snippets:

At the MTC (in Provo)--
"This week one of the guys there actually went to my mission, sort of, he went to the puerto rico san juan misssion before it was 2 missions. so we talked to him for a while and he said that for a couple of areas in his mission, he actually carried around a machete, so I don't think I have to tell you how stoked I am for that."

At the MTC (in the Dominican Republic)--
"It's so awesome. all the workers come play basketball with us and it's mostly black people in this country so all of us gringos are getting schooled."

"...not only do I not speak very good spanish even when its slow, its really fast here. seriously, if mexicans talked in the slow, articulated drawl of morgan freeman, carribean spanish would be like how I speak english."

"k so being a district leader isn't as bad as I thought exept it is kind of weird because everyone expects you to fix their problems while you're still trying to work out your own."

"I don't know if I told you this yet but i hurt my knee again playing basketball in provo and they wanted me to go to the doctor but I didn't want to get held back from leaving, so I didn't. (don't tell mom, she'll be real mad)"
(This email was also addressed to our mother...)

"I have an excuse, half an hour a week is not enough to write all of you an entire personal letter, but you have all week, so what the deuce?*" Later in the same email... "*If Elder Snow has forgotten your email, or if you have sent regular mail that has not yet arrived, Elder Snow apologizes for his crude language. however if you haven't, he meant it."

"get on the fallen ones to write me letters, namely natalie and paulie."

"Annie: sounds like things are picking up in SLC, good luck meeting some hubbas your age"
"Natalie: thanks for the advice about my district, here's some for you: you're the parent in this situation, so you get to decide what to eat. I mean come on, if you can't keep your kid under control as a fetus, what kind of hope do you have when it can walk?"

"I am getting all right at spanish, I can hold a decent conversation with a teacher, but it's hard because I feel like I'm running a spanish port on an english OS; I think I need boot camp for my brain. (if you didn't get that anology ask dad. or mike. or natalie.)"

In Puerto Rico--
"So I have now been in Puerto Rico for a week, and I am now a legit missionary, in fact, you might say that I am too legit to quit. (I hope I never become un-legit.)"

"also, I always thought stray dogs were an urban myth, you know, like the safe full of heads in the basement. but they're not, they're all over the place here, it was kind of a shock to me to have my beliefs turned upside down, and I realized that if stray dogs were real, other things that I had previously thought to be fake could also be real and then I realized that I have never actually seen the inside of that safe. and mom does have an unnaturally loose jaw."
(Don't ask...)

"you know what I did the other night in the dark? ran for my life from a junkyard dog, not a junkyard dog in the proverbial sense, but a junkyard dog as in a huge dog that actually guards a junkyard. that's right, apparently it's not just from the sandlot."

"we actually got chased around by a mob of children yelling at us, that was kind of scary. then there was this cat following us around and it seemed pretty nice and it wasn't diseased, which is rare because most of the stray animals here have some flesh eating disease that makes half of their fur fall out and they look really gross."

"also, there's a bunch of cockroaches in our apartment and we usually just smash them but this morning we found one that had gotten tipped over and was still alive so we torched it with some WD 40 and a match, so that was fun, even though I got burned."

(One of my favorites) "so all the houses here are made out of cement, and all the roofs are flat, a lot of people actually park on top of their house. but that's not the story, roof's here get pretty gross and slimy because they're not sloped very well and the water just sits on top most of the time. so people have to go up on top and clean them with a pressure washer. and there's this member in our area who has a really bad back and he's taking some medication for cholesterol or something that makes him really weak so he can't do it, so we were over there cleaning his roof one day and he speaks a little english so we asked him what the word for roof is, and he told us "techo" but we both heard "pecho" so we're out contacting one day and sometimes we offer service to people, so we say, in effect "hey do you guys need any help with anything?" and they say, "like what?" and we say "whatever you want, we could help you paint your house, or clean your 'pecho'" and we're saying this to men and women and getting some weird looks, but we always get weird looks so we don't even really notice and then we were in ward council meeting on sunday and we were telling the bishop about that guy and how we were cleaning his roof and they all look really confused, and our district leader, who is mexican but is fluent in english leans over to me and says "pecho means chest." yeah. so basicallywhat we were saying to random women on the street for a week was, "hey, do you need any help cleaning your chest?" welcome to puerto rico, I guess. I'm still laughing."

"I don't know if I'll still be here because transfers are next wednesday... wendsday? why does english never make sense? anyway, transfers are on Miercoles. "

In Dominica--
"...they don't have dirt here, just plants everywhere so that's cool, it smells like weed all the time here because technically it's illegal but if you get caught with it you just have to give some to the cop."

"every one here is black, two days ago I saw another white person and it about scared the crap out of me."

"you all said I would be craving peanut butter once I couldn't have it and I didn't believe you. but now 6 oz of peanut butter costs about 12 EC, or about 5 dollars, and it's not even really peanut butter, it's just weird. so I shall now eat my words of doubt and ask for peanut butter. please."

"I miss pie."

"I figure that since I left the MTC 3 months ago, I've probably walked about 700 miles. so for those of you who want to lose weight, I have a diet/exercise plan for you. eat only what 200 dollars a month will buy in a country where everything is imported and walk 10-12 miles a day. Its already working for me, we don't have a scale but I weighed myself at zone conference and I've lost 15 pounds, which means I weigh less than I have since I was a sophomore. don't worry mom, I know right now you're already thinking up an angry letter to write to my mission president about how I'm starving, but don't."

"sounds like you guys had a pretty boring thanksgiving. you didn't even go see a movie? five months after I leave and family traditions that have stood for centuries are crumbling. apparently this family just cannot stand without the prodigal son. who knows? maybe by the time I get home we won't even play the colors game to decide who has to wash, and then where would we be?"

And the latest, yesterday's email:
"Hey annie, another one of these random questions:The guy who plays harvey dent / two face on The Dark Knight (think his name is aaron eckhart) we have heard rumors that he is mormon, served a mission, went to byu... etc. etc. and we found a picture of what we think is him in a conference issue of an ensign. if you could confirm or deny this rumor that would be great. you have ten minutes. your [insert adjective here]-est brother"

Man, I miss that kid. (Refusing to cry...refusing to cry...)


Blogger Lisa said...

I still can't believe he's old enough to be on a mission. I still think of him as that boy who would cry during Pit because no one would trade with him.

December 3, 2009 at 8:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little brother's are great huh? Yours sounds really funny, I bet he's a great missionary and will connect with a lot of people.

December 3, 2009 at 11:04 PM

Blogger Lindsay said...

You are so lucky to have a brother who writes about actual experiences. My poor parents have had one missionary who practically wrote novels home (me) and another one who wrote in such vague terms that he could have been serving with Chewbacca and we wouldn't have known it. I'm really excited for the good work he will do. In response to his last entry, yes Aaron Eckhart did serve a mission, it was in Belgium.

December 4, 2009 at 12:09 AM

Blogger Erika said...

Aaron Eckhart really did serve a mission???!!!

Oh my gosh, turns out your brother is HILARIOUS!!! So funny. Kenny is so quiet we're all wondering what his letters are gonna say. Hearing him give his farewell speech was just plain weird, you know, so many words all at once. No he's a sweet kid and I miss him already. But they're where they need to be, right?

December 7, 2009 at 1:14 AM

Blogger KPackard said...

HELLLLOOOOOO, Annie dear! That was so fun to read! I remember you and Paulie telling me how he would answer the phone in a mumbled, trying-to-go-for-low voice while playing video games...sounds like he's grown a lot since then!

I miss you and reading your blog is like hanging out and hearing your awesome stories again!

December 10, 2009 at 12:46 AM


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