I made up for my lost email of last week by sending mom a really long email this week.
I am sure that it's all tough for you, the family must just be so different without either of us there. It is really weird for me to think that when I come home Riley won't be there, and when he comes home he won't be this scrawny little kid he will be like grown up or something. People at the start of my mission thought I looked about 16 or 17. Apparently now I am starting to look older. And I feel older.
There is this fatigue that just never goes away. Riley is going to do great though. He is going to be the greenie that every trainer dreams of. Except he might be a bit shy at first. It is always tough to have a companion who doesn't talk very much. I can't wait to get his emails and start to see what type of misisonary he is and what his mission is like. I think it will make me think back a lot to the start of my mission.
I'm glad he wore the tie. I didn't know if he would like it or not. I feel stupid about the badge though. I am sure he can't wear that in Guatamala as I would guess they use a word that isn't Elder for the badges in Spanish.
Haha Ryan seriously sent the best emails ever.
And about time Sean got rid of that girl. Hopefully he can find a good one or start thinking again about a mission or something. That would be cool but I'm sure is a lot of work.
And I checked my blog... it hasn't been updated in so long. How come that stopped? I would send more photos but it is impossible here. Once I get back to the mainland I will.
Oh ya, thanks so much for all those photos! Honestly, those were so good to see. The highlight of my week maybe. I was laughing at a few of them, everyone just looks so normal and happy and funny. Send me some of Elder Steed Jr.
And you gotta love those dumb 16 year old boys. Trying to knock back a gallon of milk. I bet with some training/conditioning you could do it.
Alyssa has no boyfriend yet I hope?
But you can't start the countdown for Riley to come home right when he leaves... haha it is such a massive amount of time. C.S. Lewis remarked that when viewing things of very large size, at a certain point humans stop seeing in quantity and they start to see in quality.
The sublime. Like a mountain, or outer space. Or a two year mission on the first night in the MTC. Time is weird on a mission. Riley will be gone for so long but when he comes home it will seem like it went by so fast.
Okay, and to close. The Chav story. Have I told you before what a chav is? In this country the government gives you money if you don't have a job. And they give you a house. Or if you have a child. And the more children you have, the more they give you. And they call it socialism.
So they make these huge estates of government housing, and then everyone who doesn't have a job or is too lazy to look for one gets put in these estates. For generations they just waste away and breed and have more kids and get more money and no one is married and they have no work ethic or determination or motive for even being alive.
They have their own culture, vocabulary, clothes, it is like a different world. The closest thing I can think of that you would know of is natives on a reserve. But it is different even than that. So these are Chavs. People who were born on these estates, who have children on these estates, and who will die on these estates. It is incredible to see. But anyways, we occasionally will venture into these estates and do some knocking. We met a few last week and they accepted our offer to do some service. We talked to one for maybe 10 mintues at the door, and asked her if there is anything we could do for her in her garden or something. She said yes, then proceeded to show us round back to the garden. She pointed to the shed, and told us we need to move the shed to the other side of the garden. And that the tools were in the shed. We were like... we meant maybe another day? We were dressed in ties. But we cycled home, got changed, and then came back. The tools she provided for us were a scewdriver, and a wrench.
And she said move the shed. So this shed is massive, and we needed to take it apart. So we try to start unscrweing it. It is held together by the most random assortment of screws and nails that are mostly stripped/damaged. We have absolutely no luck with the screwdriver. She is sitting on a lawn chair watching the whole time. Her two sons, aged
16 and 18, and inside playing xbox. We tell her the problem. She starts going door to door to her neighbors asking for a drill. She comes back and says we need to come back tomorrow, because she found a drill for tommorow. And while we are there, we might as well help her clean up her yard. So chavs have the dirtiest yards/houses ever. Her yard is filled with years worth of crap. Our job is to move it all into a big pile in the center of the yard. We do. We throw in a matress, old bikes, lawn chairs, wallpaper, sacks of garbage, an old swimming pool, a bunch of firewood, parts of the fence, the old shed door, like just the craziest pile of stuff. And then she gets a jerry can full of gasoline, sticks a newspaper in the opening and lights it on fire. I have some awesome video of this. It was like a moltov cocktail. She said it is too expensive to take rubbish to the tip, so she wanted to burn it. Needless to say, in a couple of mintues there was a raging inferno of like 30 feet in her backyard and it must have been the most enviornmentally unfriendly fire ever built. Her neighbor noticed, and rather than calling the police dragged over an uprooted tree from her backyard, and tossed that on top. This was a huge tree.
We were sure the fire department would be there any mintue, so we got out of there. When we went back the next day, no police or fire services bothered to show up. There was a huge black ring in her backyard and ashes everywhere. True to her word, she had procured a power drill. With one drill bit and a dead battery. We somehow managed to take the shed down into four walls and a roof. She watched. Her sons helped by coming outside at the end and kicking the shed apart when there were a few scews we couldn't get out. She wants us to reassemble it next. But where she wants it put isn't level. And she has no way to level it. She said she doesn't care, we should just rebuild it there anyways. I can barely even comprehend this. But we might do it one day. We helped her neighbor clean out her rodent cages. Rats, mice, gerbils, rabbits. Disgusting. But that is a whole different story.
Hope you can understand slightly now what a chav is. I will be sure to show you some when you come to the UK next summer.
Have a good week. Good luck Riley and all his stuff. Don't be too sad, it is the perfect place for him to be.
Love Elder Steed