When Ryan first left for his mission, he described it like falling down the stairs only without the fear or the pain. Reana described it as being thrown into a freezing cold pond. My home teacher described it as being a fish that had just been caught and had its head whacked against a rock . For me, the last description feels the closest.
That's almost exactly what it felt like for me my first week here at the CTM. It's really hard to explain. I don't think you can ever really understand what it's like unless you've been through it. I feel just like Rapunzel in the new cartoon after she's just left the tower and she goes back and forth between joyful exclamations of ``I'm never going back!`` and mournful lamentation, wondering why on earth she'd left the tower.
It's been a rough week. A wonderful, amazing, powerful, hard, scary, hilarious, fun, funny, dizzying, horrifying week. I've never felt so weak and pitiful in my entire life. I have so much to work on before I'll ever be ready to walk the streets of Bahia as a representative of Jesus Christ. Every day gets a little better, though, and some days are just down-right, all-out FUN! I have the most amazing district imaginable. I feel so blessed. And minha compenhera, Sister Oliver, is a blast and a half. I'm really grateful I have her as a compenhera, because I have a tendency to stress and be a perfectionist, and she is the most chill human being alive. Sometimes we goof off way too much in our district, but I'm grateful for the chance to learn how to relax every now and then. We had an awesome testimony meeting the other night. I am absolutely amazed by these Elders. They're younger than Risa, most of them, but just in the past week I've watched them change in remarkable ways. I can't even believe we've only known each other for a week. It's scary how quickly the idea of ``home`` starts to fade into a vague kind of dream.
So, what do I think of Brazil? Sao Paulo is madness. Sheer, blinkin', bloomin' madness. And I love it. When we first arrived, the other three sisters and I got to ride in our own, personal car apart from the Elders, and we thought we were probably going to die before we reached the CTM. Drivers here are INSANE!!! And the city is humungous. Sky-scrapers as far as the eye can see in every direction, with smog so thick overhead you start to forget there's any such thing as a sky or the sun. Traffic is so bad here all the time that a lot of people just take the train and endure a 2+ hour commute to and from work every day. One of my teachers does that.
The food here at the CTM is pretty good. Brazilian cafeteria food, basically. Not as bad as US cafeteria food, but not nearly as good as what our teachers tell us we have to look forward to in the field.Here's a Portuguese tongue-twister my teacher told us about that was cracking me up so bad I couldn't breath or see through my tears for almost a full minute. I want Ryan to try and say it to you all so you can hear how hilarious it is. ``A ra arranha a aranna, a aranna a arranha a ra.`` The translation is something like: a frog scratches a spider, a spider scratches a frog, or something like that. It sounds amazing.I'm learning a ton, getting a little better at Portuguese every day, though it's coming to me very slowly, and just loving the Gospel! I know this is where the Lord wants me and I'm so grateful to be here.