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My New Area (and Mexico Genealogical Records Celebration)

Sorry for not writing a group email for a while. I hope that Dad’s having fun hanging out together with the high priests and that all of you are doing good with your ministering assignments. I wish I could hear Mom perform her soprano solo. I heard Inigo’s gaining weight. Make sure to play with him so he doesn’t get too lazy and fat!

Elder P., my companion, is from Colombia, and apparently in Colombia they talk super quiet. In our discussions with investigators, sometimes I feel like we’re almost whispering. But that’s just the way he talks—at least when he wants to be serious.

We’re teaching some pretty cool people right now. I. is a 60-year-old woman who’s lived a really long, hard life. When Elder P. and his companion before me first found her, it was late at night and she was at the point of throwing herself in front of oncoming traffic. They were able to calm her down and visit her in her home the next day. Since then, she’s been coming to church for about a month and s…
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Emails to Mom and Dad

Email to Mom
I received the cake mix and the frosting! Thank you!

Yeah, the members usually take it easy on the Americans with the spicy food (usually), but I'm actually getting used to it. Actually, one of my new favorite Mexican things is a spicy powder called Tajín. You put it on fruit. It sounds weird, and it is at first, but it's actually way good.

On Easter, people here traditionally abstain from eating meat, except for fish. One of the desserts I got to try is called capirotada. It's like a moist fruitcake with nuts.

General conference was great, and I felt the same way.

With your friends on Facebook, well, having doubts is normal. It's the natural opposite of faith. One of the ways we can combat the negativity that we face is sharing our testimonies—maybe make a post about your favorite talk and why you liked it. We can't always resolve other people's doubts for them, but we can always share a little bit of our faith.

Email to Dad
Yeah, I read a little about t…

¡Aguas, la salsa está picante!

Hey, they sent me back to Tijuana! I escaped summer in Mexicali by the hair of my neck. And guess what! The Tijuana temple is in my new area! I can literally see it from my new apartment! I don't have any photos yet, because I just arrived this morning, but my new companion Elder P. says it helps a ton with missionary work.

When Americans think of salsa, they think of something like a tomato sauce that you eat with tortilla chips. When Mexicans think of salsa, they basically think of hot sauce. The spiciest salsas you find in a Mexican restaurant in the U.S. are pretty much average in Mexico. Even the kids eat spicy here. And you'll find hot sauce at every table, pretty much wherever you go. It's like salt and pepper here.

In the same way the American perception of Mexican food isn't exactly accurate to what Mexican food is actually like, I think the Mexican perception of what Americans eat isn't entirely accurate either. I think the general perception is that Americ…

Apartamentos, perros, y el calor

I don't know what it is about mission apartments, but there's always something wrong with them, whether it's a cockroach infestation, mattresses without bedframes, a bathroom without a doorknob, a water heater that doesn't work, etc. In the apartment we're in right now, in order to turn off the light we have to unscrew the lightbulb half-way because there's no power switch. And to turn it on, we screw in. Maybe that's just the way apartments are in Baja California.

I think the street dogs actually like us less now that we're on bikes. But in the photo below of my companion on his bike, the dog running up to him is actually not about to bite him. He was friendly. I'm also sending some photos of the mountains here and our sweet missionary bikes.

We meet a lot of interesting people here. We're teaching a man who grew up in California and was deported at 26 years old. Several years ago, he was robbed of everything he owned by his pastor and now lives …

Freezing in Mexicali

I never thought I’d freeze in Mexicali, but the nights are actually pretty cold here. Not as cold as Utah, but still pretty cold.

The class division in Mexicali is a little more apparent than it was in Tijuana. Towards the center of the city, the houses are nicer (with air conditioning and everything) and there’s paved roads, soccer fields, palm trees, and such. Towards the outskirts things are a lot more wide open and spread out, all the roads are dirt, and the houses are more of tiny shacks. The size of our area is a little tough, because it's sort of hard to get people to church with the chapel so far away unless they have a car.

I’ve heard there are several different levels of fluency when it comes to learning a language, and I think I’ve finally hit the first. It doesn’t feel weird or hard to talk in Spanish anymore.

Last week we stopped in front of a gas station to look at our map when a crazy lady came up and started taking selfies with us even though her phone was broken. And…

Valentine's Day and Pájaros

To Mom
I’ll have to look into where you could send a package, because there’s a member of our ward who’s from Arizona who I’ve heard occasionally crosses the boarder to bring missionaries their packages.

Instead of Valentine’s Day, here they celebrate “El Día del Amor y la Amistad,” which is “Love and Friendship Day.” I’m not sure exactly what they do to celebrate it, though. I think it’s pretty much borrowed from the United States.

To Jacob
I think I promised you about five months ago that I’d send you some pictures of the birds I’ve seen in Mexico, but I never sent it. Well, better late than never. I’ve gotten to see some pretty cool birds, and these are just a few of them.

¿Qué pasa calabaza?

We had transfers this week, and they sent me to Mexicali to work with Elder Q., who’s from Honduras. The weather’s pretty good right now, because it’s still winter, but Mexicali has infamously hot summers. I’ve been told that it gets up to 45 degrees Celsius (or more), but the good thing is that the houses around here have fans and air-conditioning. I just got here, but I think the area of Mexicali I’m in is a little bit more upper-class than my area in Tijuana was. We went to Walmart today, and it felt like I was in the United States again.

I have a bike now! (And a cool bicycle helmet, too.) And don’t worry, because I didn’t have to buy it. All the bikes here are hand-me-downs that the previous missionaries pass on to the next missionaries that arrive. And if the bike breaks or gets stolen, I’ve heard they’re pretty cheap here. Elder R. told me he bought a bike for 400 pesos, which is about $20.

My new companion, Elder Q. found a Kindle with a touchscreen in the street markets here…