Greetings from the beloved city of New York!
Time is starting to really fly by on the mission. At first it was going very slow, but now it has sped up more than it ever has in my life. Time completely feels different when you are on a mission. It's almost like, because you are forgetting yourself, you don't worry about time as much, and so you forget it. Time leaves the mind and the mission has felt like a really long day. Like I said, I feel like I am in a dream, and the day I fly back to LA will be the day that I wake up. It is very weird. None of this feels real.
I want to start off with something that is very interesting. We teach every kind of hispanic culture. We talk to people from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and I have yet to have Hispanic food like I have had in California. You can't beat it. We eat dominican food a lot and their special dish is Plantains that are fried. The common meal here is Chicken, Rice, and Plantains. Most of the time the chicken is not cooked. Last week, our church had a Thanksgiving party, and we all ate chicken that was pink and wasn't cooked all the way. We got home and all of us spent the night throwing up. We took turns who got the bathroom for throwing up. Nasty right? Haha it gave us a good laugh though. Thank goodness that's over!
My new companion is very interesting. He speaks great Spanish. He is from Madrid in Spain and has grown up there so he speaks really well, which is nice, because I can now really learn from him. He speaks english pretty well, but his accent is horrible. He even says it is. Haha. It's nice because he is bold and just get things done, but this week I have been struggling. Whenever he wants to do something, he says to me "ok this is what we are going to do...this is what YOU are going to do".... he doesn't let me suggest anything. If I don't understand his idea and even begin to question it, he pulls out a quote, and starts to chastise me saying I am breaking the rules. This whole week, whenever I have done something that he doesn't agree with, he writes it down on his Ipad. There are some other things going on between him and the companions we are living with, but I won't mention them. I just know that this cycle (6 weeks) is going to be extremely difficult. He and I do not get along when we are doing missionary work. When we are doing anything else, we are fine, but mostly all you do on a mission is related to missionary work.
I am struggling with him. He even told me he would be my hardest companion. Maybe it's just the culture, but that still is not an excuse. He is overly bold with people and extremely negative and uses the rules to condemn you rather than to inspire and uplift you (the reason we have them in the first place). I don't know what to do, but I think for now, I am going to try my best to just do whatever he says and try to go with the flow. Hopefully I will learn something from him. He works very hard, which is something I really do like about him.
He has served in Newburgh (the highest murder rate in the entire nation) and in Harlem. He says Yonkers is by far more depressing and scary than in either places. That makes me feel good! Haha. That means wherever I go from here will be great!
Sister and Elder Wilson are the senior couples who live in our apartment building and we went up the other day to ask them a question and we started talking and turns out their son served in Compton California during the riots in LA back in the day. I asked him how he liked it and they said it was not a good experience at all. There was a member who asked them to help him with some service. For their service they helped him take the dead bodies from the street and "dispose of them." Can you imagine? --as a 19-year-old having to be stuck in Compton during the riots dragging away bodies every day. He was stuck in his apartment for a good 2-3 weeks. I felt really fortunate for serving in Yonkers after hearing that.
I don't have much this week. This has been one of the hardest weeks in my mission because of the challenges I have been dealing with my companion. It really is a good learning experience because when you go on a mission you are assigned with many different companions throughout your mission whether you love them or highly dislike them, and you two have to figure out (with God being at the top of the relationship) how to make it work. You are with them 24/7, day and night, for months at a time. You see a completely different side of people when you are with them that much. Never in my life will I ever have to be with someone for 24/7 every second of the day. It makes you grow up fast. It's great preparation for marriage and learning how to deal with situations. This week I have really been hit with the reality of a mission. It's everything what I didn't expect. It's a lot more real than I ever expected. It's good though because even though these have by far been the hardest days of my life, I am learning so much. It teaches you how to survive with nobody there to help you, with nothing but God by your side. That is literally all I feel like I have at times. The hard times heavily outweigh the great times, but the magnitude of the great times are so much better and completely outweigh the hard times.