I made it to Brazil safe. They are having us write on this paper so you have all the instructions. Just a couple of things that I’m suppose to stress to everyone and let everyone know …
#1 - No packages allowed. No arguments. Only when I get out into the field. Plus, I probably won’t get them before I leave and they said they will not forward them to us.
#2 - On the address on the envelopes sent to me … you need to put my full name and do everything exactly like it is in the example box.
Ok. That’s pretty much it. Just read all the other instructions. Oh, also, on packages sent to the mission … don’t put “religious material” or any pictures of Christ or Mary. Apparently the pictures cause problems for the Church and if the claim says “religious material” and they scan it and see anything else, you can get in a lot of trouble. Like hefty fines. According to the people here, you can rely on the mail here as far as safety of your stuff. They say it’s as good as the mail system in the States.
After the plane and after customs … we took off for the CTM. The roads here are insane. People are walking along the side of the freeway selling food and cell phone car chargers. Cars were speeding along cutting each other off. There was even a part on the freeway where the lanes just disappeared and it was just a very wide road. It was crazy! The motorcycles were the worst. You know how they can split lanes in California … and how tight it is there? Well, here it’s REALLY congested. Everyone is going fast and the motorcyclists are splitting lanes all over the place. One time we were in the far left lane. I was sitting next to the window on the left side and a motorcycle came flying past me probably a foot from the window. Crazy!!! But I’m safe and it’s really cool here.
The CTM is really nice and the food is really good! The water … not so much … and my shower today didn’t have any hot water so that was loads of fun. haha It’s also really tiny. I think they said there’s about 200 people here. But, ya, really nice place, the weather was beautiful today, and great food. I also got to see all the Elders and Sisters I knew from the Provo MTC that got their visas in the last bunch. To top it all off, we got a three hour gym time today!!! It was sweet! They also showed us around the outside area we can go visit on P-Days. It’s a huge area! I thought it was just going to be the surrounding streets … but no … it’s huge.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way here and with the speed the cars are going, it’s kind of sketchy. Let’s see … what else? Oh! Our windows can open so we get fresh air into our rooms and it’s beautiful weather. The fresh air is really nice.
I got paired up with Elder Downer as my companion again.
So there’s a bit of a language barrier here too so that’s tough. It’s funny though … at dinner we’d ask these Brazilian’s what different things were in Portuguese and they’d answer and then ask what it is in English. It was funny. We were teaching each other.
Another thing, one of my suitcases is broken. Somehow the zipper got pretty messed up and I can’t zip it up all the way anymore. Guess I just have to improvise.
So they make this fruit salad thing here that is AMAZING!!! Oh man … I had tons of it! And their juice here is good!!! I can’t wait to try some crazy looking fruit too! Here they have a snack time and it’s almost that time so I have to run.
Love you guys a lot!
* (Attached are a bunch of pictures Tavin sent of his "National Bubba Day Package" sent to the Provo MTC. He told us on the phone that the package was a total hit! All the missionaries loved it and Tavin had tons of fun.)