Dec 27, 2011

Trent's email 12/21/11

Hey mom.  I just got to my area this morning (although I experienced it a little yesterday, long story).  I check my email once a week when I write letters.  Wednesdays, now. It´s SO exciting.  Its weird, cuz I don´t have a grasp on the fact that I´m in a completely new place with a complete stranger, nothing is familiar except the gospel.  But, the great thing is, that´s all I need.  It´ll take a few days to feel like I really have a handle on what´s going on, but for now I can totally trust my companion.  Well, at least he seems like a really good guy, and I haven´t been led astray yet.  It´s sweet.  I agree with the sentiment, ¨Some days it seems like you just left and other days it seems like you have been gone forever." I often feel both of those.

It´s amazing how far a simple lesson goes, when you really focus on the important parts, and not the cutsie things.  I´ve learned that SO well with Preach My Gospel.  All we do is focus on the nitty gritty needs of the people.  One girl didn´t think she´d ever see her father again.  We talked about how that´s the PLAN of this WORLD, man!  Of COURSE you´re gonna see him again.  She was so happy.  I think she believed us anyway.  Really, truly, an inspired lesson.  My companion´s a stud.

Espero que uds. sepan, estoy entiendo mucho el Español.  Fácil.  Todavia no estoy flúido, y mucho del Dominicano no hay una manera en lo cual puedo entender, pero español de los Norteños y a veces de latinos entiendo bueno.  Puedo contrubir mucho a una lección.  Estoy tan feliz con todo mi experiencia en el idioma.  Dad, please translate :)

I bought lots of stuff today, I hope you guys are still watching my funds.  I´m not carrying any cash with me anymore, cuz people get robbed here sometimes.  Just as easy to use my mission fund card.  I also payed like $130 for really nice custom-made leather scripture cases and a convenient little bag... you´ll probably think I´m ridiculous, but it´s one of the only practical souveneirs we can buy here and they´re fantastic. 
Interesting, isn´t it mom?  All these guys talking about really different subjects, but really all giving the same message?  That´s so much clearer when you´re a missionary, if you understand the basics, everything falls into place.  And, you study the basics every day so you understand them better ;)
Oh, I thought the mashed pringles were a joke!  Mashed potatoes, you know?  I was impressed with the creative touch, figured Becca insisted.  No big deal.

Well, then, I guess I´m glad ambition is one of my strengths.  I like my ambition :)

Yeah, grandpa probably writes me more than dad ;)  Just kidding, it´s about the same.  Zoe hasn´t written back for two weeks, I´m very upset with her.  But, it´s fun talking to her because she´s got the same sense of humor as I do, while very few other people do...

So I´m glad Nicole´s getting settled.  What about you guys, any word on if you´re going to move any time soon? 

It´s good to hear that Becca´s self-motivated!  I didn´t think that would EVER happen.  I hope she´s enjoying it a little bit these days.  Poor Kenji, I feel like getting fixed isn´t a very fun experience.  I imagine Becca´s having a hay day, though, watching him stumble around the house.  Bueno.

Oh, my apartment is small, laid out alright, and is pretty disastrous.  I have a lot of cleaning to do... I can´t live like this.  It´s okay.  I actually had to buy some sheets and I´m still looking for a good blanket.  We´ll see what happens. 
And Christmas, I don´t know what´s happening.  I think we´ll be able to Skype you guys, there are some rich members around, and President already approved some Skype chats.  Tonight, we´re going to a ward Christmas party and Elder Frómeta (my trainer, from NJ, parents are Dominican and Cuban) said he´ll ask around to borrow some computers.  Oh, I´m in Santiago South, so the city.  Way cleaner than Santo Domingo.  So many cool missionaries.  Things are pretty easy to buy and stuff, so don´t worry about me having anything I need.  We bought a ton of fruits and veggies today, so we´ll eat healthy.  Elder Frometa said he´s gonna show me some tricks, especially with Chinola (passionfruit).  And, we have lots of rice.  I will not go hungry.  I got the Christmas package when I got here!  Maybe I wasn´t supposed to open it yet, but I did.  It had some delicious things!!!!!!! Thank you SO MUCH!!! Elder Frometa was also very appreciative of everything you sent.  I´ve been super spoiled up to this point, having my food (in good proportions) made for me, eating really well, air conditioning, hot showers.  Now, all that´s changing.  (Well, after the Ward Christmas party tonight, and the members who invited us over to eat tomorrow night :D  I´m super spoiled, but i´m gonna take it as a reward from the ward because I was so diligent in studying and obeying in the MTC :)  But, as long as I keep things organized and get familliar with the area more or less, everything will be okay for me, at least mentally and emotionally.  Physically, I might get hit by a car.  They´re merciless here, man.  When I have to run across a busy street, I think of Dad, and shoot the gap bravely.  That´s what he would do.  And we might be walking 100 miles every week.  WOO! I have a hard time not dancing when music plays, and music plays here ALWAYS.  I got in a tiny little taxi with seven people in it yesterday.  It was fun.  The sooner that camera gets to me, the sooner pictures will get to you.

I don´t know if it helps or hurts, but there´s not much of a Christmas atmosphere around here, so I don´t really feel like I´m missing out on anything.  All the snow, the Christmas songs, the smells, reds and greens everywhere, pretty nonexistent around here.  A tree here and there.  Spanish Christmas songs on the Radio (I heard Feliz Navidad at the grocery story today, and my new favorite from the taxi yesterday was a pop song that´s like, ´"Navidad sin ti... hace dos meses yoiupzoixnadw."  I didn´t understand anything else, but it was pretty funny.  Romance in English gets to me sometimes.  Romance in Spanish still amuses me, probably because I don´t understand very well.  Anyway, I hope y´all know i´m praying for you, and things truly are going well, and I can´t wait to start really teaching.  Becca, your due date is still tonight at midnight.  Dad, thanks for emailing me.  I love you!  And I definitely appreciate your advice.  I´ve really been working on loving diligently everyone I meet, and finding the good things about them and loving them for that, and trying to learn from them.  It´s been good.

Anyway, Stay safe, love you all!
Elder Trent Taylor.

Okay, so packages get here alright to the DR address.  I think it´s pretty inconsistent-could take two weeks, could take four.  But they get here.  Florida´s much more consistent, as far as I can tell.  However, please tell everyone on my blog, and facebook, that FLORIDA is the only place that´s really worth sending letters.  They get here WAY faster.  Thank you!

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