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I was thinking about how little kids in the U.S. sometimes try to imitate Spanish by saying nonsense words, so I asked my companion Elder U. to give me his best impression of what English sounds like to him. He said something like “Washa wash hoo washa.” I thought it was pretty funny.

Tijuana isn’t very pretty. There’s a lot of graffiti and barbed wire. And stray animals that aren’t very nice. Actually, I was talking to Elder U., and we both came to the conclusion that there probably isn’t any grass in Tijuana—not in the whole city. Or at least we haven’t seen any yet. There are dirt roads, steep hills, pollution, and backed-up traffic, though.

But Tijuana’s pretty cool, too. Not in any sort of wordly way, but because of it’s people. Contacting people can be pretty hard as a missionary, but here in Tijuana we’ve had several people actually come up to us and ask for us to visit them. I know that that doesn’t happen very often in other missions. There’s a lot of people with a lot of probl…
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¿Qué Pasa Calabaza?

Here’s some new photos.

We ate chapulines (which is Spanish for grasshoppers) and made sure to share them with as many people as we could. All of the American missionaries in our district ate at least one, actually, but some of the Latino missionaries weren’t willing to try them. We also brought them to one of our ward’s mutual night activities and had fun sharing them with the youth. They taste like lime-flavored popcorn.

Because we had four baptisms within a four-week period, we earned the opportunity to go the Tijuana temple. It was Elder U.’s first time entering the temple in his whole mission, so he was excited. It’s honestly a very cool temple, and a lot bigger than it looks in pictures.

Also, we were going for a morning run and I tripped and scraped up my knee.

We had a baptism last Saturday of an 80-year-old woman. Her son, who’s a recent convert himself, baptized her.

And we stuffed 12 missionaries into one car.

Re: Email from Mom and Fotos de Elder Rice

[Answering a few questions]: Yeah, we have daylight savings. Send packages to the mission office. I think the parents of my companion are taking good care of him, but I’ll ask if he needs anything (maybe American candy or something). The shots [during zone conference] were for influenza, but I didn’t get one because I had a cough.
[Referring to Kaysville's recent power outage]: They didn’t have any power for hot showers? Man, I wish we had hot showers. All we have is a gas-powered boiler that produces a small amount of hot water if we really need it.
By the way, some of the American candies that don’t exist around here include Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids.

Here’s two photos of the Mexican-American border, a photo of Elder U. and me at the baptism of L. and E., and me sleeping in the haircut shop.

La cucaracha ya no puede caminar …

... porque las vamos a matar!

We spent about half of the day today moving to a new apartment in order to evade the cockroach problem we’ve been having. We finally finished moving in the desks, beds, the fridge, and everything else, when we discovered dozens of cockroaches escaping from the bottom of the fridge. So we spent the past half hour killing them and probably will continue the fight after we finish writing emails.

Here in Tijuana, Halloween is actually bigger than Día de los Muertos. I did see couple of altars to loved ones, and I got to try pan de muerto (which is essentially just a roll with sugar sprinkled on top), but I didn’t really see anything notable.

The American influence around here is actually sort of interesting. You tend to see advertisements with words in English spelled incorrectly, like "Wuelcome!" or "Eat Juan’s Hambeurgers!" And the music that I’ve heard in stores and on the streets tends to be outdated music from the U.S., from the 50s, 70s…

Más Fotos

Here's some pictures I never got the opportunity to send earlier. I'll send a longer email next week. The first three are of the plane ride to Tijuana three weeks ago. The fourth is of me with the mission president and his wife (who are very nice people, by the way). The fifth is Elder U. on the teléfono. The sixth is my bed. The seventh is a street we walk down pretty much every day.

The last photo is of the Mexican-American border. The top part of the photo is California, the middle area is the border, and everything behind the giant barbed-wire fence is Tijuana.

Life On the Other Side

Dear Everyone,

Sorry about not sending an email last week. The problem is that there’s no public libraries here in Tijuana, so we have to send emails from what they call a “sirver,” which is basically a small shop with computers and Xboxes set up that charges us by the minute to send emails. So I read all your emails last week, but didn’t have any time to send anything (especially since we’re supposed to send an email to the mission president before anyone else). I haven’t read any of your emails for this week, and I may not be able to until next week, but I will read them. You guys might only receive one email from me every two weeks, though.

So I guess I’m going to start with the end. On Saturday, Elder U. and I baptized three kids—S., N., and K.—who are the first three baptisms our area has had for over three months. S. is 12, N. is 11, and K. is 9. K. is the son of an inactive member, and N. and S. are two of the daughters of a very, very poor family. They live in the remains of a …

I've arrived in Tijuana!

I don't have much time to write, but I just wanted to let you guys know that I've arrived in Tijuana. I now have my companion, Elder U., and we definitely have a lot to do. I'm still getting to know him (it's sort of hard when I can only speak broken Spanish), but he is a first generation convert in his family and he seems to take the mission work very seriously. We have seven investigators committed to baptism right now. Apparently, before Elder U. arrived, the area was pretty much at a standstill. Earlier today we had a street contact accept a visit this Friday, and even though I only said one line in Spanish, it was still pretty cool.

I'm running on three hours of sleep right now because of the long plane flight. It's been a really long and crazy day and culture shock has already hit me a couple of times, but I feel calm. I think it's going to be a good first week.

Elder Rice

Here's two pictures of me and my new companion:

Also, we're serving in…