I am happy to say that I am typing this email from a computer lab in the CTM (pronounced "say tay em ee"), from Brazil! After a long and tedious flight partway across the world, I landed safely in South America!
Btw sorry if i don't cap, this shift key is TERRIBLY tiny. So when I don't cap, just get used to it.
This CTM is absolutely amazing. It's the church's second largest building in the world, just behind the conference center. There are a ton of stairways that all look the same, so it's kind of like a maze. Perhaps there's some sort of spiritual undertone to this, but I can't think of anything...life is like a maze? I don't know, but I keep on thinking of "Life is like a box of chocolates" when I do those types of analogies, which feels weird since missionaries can't watch non-church movies, and Tom Hanks hates Mormons. I'm getting off subject.
There are definitely a ton of amazing things about the CTM. The food, while it doesn't look that great, tastes phenomenal. If the food always tastes this good, I won't ever have a bad day, with the exception of yesterday. yesterday at dinner, i looked inside the burrito-type thing they gave us and thought that there may be fish in it. I shrugged my shoulders, and started eating it anyways, and then I started to feel funny. My companion (Elder Burton, who came on the same day as me and who is ridiculously funny) asked me what was wrong, and then I told him that I was allergic to fish. He went up to the cooks and asked if there was fish in it, but since they only speak Portuguese (a lot of the workers aren't even Mormon), they didn't understand him. They said "nao" to him, but apparently there was something lost in translation, since 5 minutes later, one of the cooks comes up to him with another fish burrito. My guess is that he actually said it correctly, and they just wanted to mess with him. Or try to kill one of us. Regardless, it was funny, and I took a Benadryl, and now I'm fine.
Also, I have 3 Brazilian roommates, who I don't understand as much as I want to, but from what I do understand, they're super nice elders. The first one moved into our room yesterday, and he just looked like a ginger from South Jordan Utah, so Elder Burton and I were trying to speak Portuguese super well to impress him. As it turns out, he's from Portalegra, and we just looked like idiots. So that's cool. Regardless, when we can communicate, I like them a lot. Also, I love hanging out with the Hispanic missionaries. As it turns out, they struggle with the language as much as we do, and probably even worse since it sounds so much like spanish, but ever so slightly off. One of the Chilean missionaries taught me secrets to better ironing shirts. Apparently, turning them inside out is key. So that's cool.
There are some small downsides to being here. Firstly, the district that I'm in here isn't as tightly knit as the one in Provo. There are a couple grumbly bears in the group that bring our spirits down (namely, Elder Burton and I, since we both enjoy not being grumbly bears), and some of them don't quite recognize how lucky they are to be one of the 100 or so missionaries from North America that aren't among the 1100 waiting for their visas. I still haven't quite caught up on sleep yet, especially since I had to be up atthis morning to go to the Sao Paulo Temple (which is super cool, since it's made of primarily wood, but it's also a lot smaller than the pictures of it portray.) I think they switch off taking the missionaries to that temple and the Campinas temple, which I'm curious to see. Also, I'm doing alright with the language, but I still wish that I could do better with it, primarily to communicate and not sound like I'm five years old. It'll come, I just need to work on patience. Also, I ripped a pair of my pants yesterday while sitting down, which was embarrassing. I'll give you three guesses where it ripped, but I'm guessing you'll only need one. I felt rather silly, but luckily we were headed to bed 10 minutes later.
Our practice lessons are going well. I've improved a whole lot since the first lesson I taught in the MTC, where I just read off a script and didn't listen to what the investigator said. Of course, my MTC "investigator"/teacher was hard to understand because he was speaking a different dialect of Portuguese, from Capo verde. Honestly, it's slightly hard to learn Portuguese here because Brazil has so many little changes in the language based on the area. It's cool though.
I'm not going to send pictures today since the mission said they sent one or two pics to Mom and Dad's email accounts, primarily me with my just-as-jaded-as-me mission group.
Also, super cool: on P-days, we can walk around part of Casa Verde (the part of Sao Paulo that we're in, not the aforementioned Capo Verde) and go shopping and stuff. I don't know if we'll do that today, since Elder Burton's card is frozen and I don't know if mine is or not), but regardless, it makes me feel legit. The CTM isn't quite as prison-y as Provo.
Alright, thank you all so much for the emails! I feel so popular, like a king, or an actor, or one of those celebrities that are famous for reasons I don't know. I bet they get a lot of emails on their P-days. I'm gonna start responding to other emails, and if I have time, I'll email more! I'll be able to write longer emails out of the CTM, when I'm not pressured to just 45 minutes a wek.) Tchau! Eu amo voce!
PS- Don't send me packages in the CTM. If you really love me and want to send packages, send them to my mission home in 3 weeks. But I appreciate the thought anyways.