Missionary blog of Sister Emily Heyer, Brazil Campinas Mission, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, July 22, 2013

An American in Brazil

[Emily arrived in Brazil last Tuesday.  Monday's are her p-day so this is the first we have heard from her since arriving in Brazil.]

While waiting for the flight [to Brazil] we [Emily traveled with another Sister who was serving in Provo, UT waiting for her visa] met a Mormon Brazilian couple who said that they were going to help us through the airport when we landed and make sure we get our connections. So that was a relief. When I got on the plane to Brazil I couldn't help but cry a little as it took off. Goodbye America! Everyone on the plane was Brazilian except the missionaries. It was strange and I realized really fast that I don't really understand anything at all. I felt a lot like the best two years character....that's not what they taught me in the MTC! hahaha. It was pretty tough but I was really excited. The flight was SO LONG. I remember falling asleep and waking up about 15 times. It was pretty boring. The plane was huge though. The biggest plane I have ever been on for sure. When we landed the member couple helped us get through customs (which was not even hard at all...it was fast too) and then we waited for our bags. It took forever for my bags to come and I thought they were lost. I just prayed and prayed and prayed until about 15  minutes later they finally popped out. We then found our driver and he drove us to the Mission President's house. We met all the other missionaries from the CTM (MTC in San Paulo) and the President and Sister P. I love them. I couldn't understand anything they said at all but I love them. We ate our first meal (rice and beans and what they call stroganoff but is pretty different from our version of stroganoff) and drank guanana and had bolo (cake) and sorvette (ice cream). It was all....SO GOOD. I love the food. Still do. Not sick of it yet. ;) One of the AP's is American so he helped us out a lot. His name is Elder B. He is super awesome! He has 6 weeks left.

We then went to the mission office where we had a really long meeting about the money and rules and stuff...all in Portuguese though so I guess that means its not my fault if I break the rules right? ;) Just kidding. One of the secretaries was American and he explained the REALLY important parts. Then all of our possible trainers (companions) came in singing and clapping and yelling and it was insane. They were singing a hymn in Portuguese but they changed all the words to be about BAPTISMO! They all just kept shouting BAPTISMO. And doing the brazil snap. Which I tried to learn in the MTC and I literally cannot. As they said...I have American fingers. lol. It was madness. The people here are all really loud and warm and awesome. But for my first day I almost cried because it was so overwhelming and I couldn't understand anything! 

Then President P. announced who would be with who. My companion is Sister B. She only has 6 weeks left as well. She is about 5 ft and is really sweet and works hard. I really like her a lot. She doesn't speak any English. When President P. announced it she seemed really nervous and overwhelmed. All the other trainers kept pulling her aside to comfort her and make sure she was okay. It was really hard for me because I could tell that she wasn't super stoked because of the language issues and I felt like a huge burden. Still kind of do. I held it together though. I've only cried twice since I've been here. It's just hard sometimes being the only one learning the language they are teaching.  Its tough sometimes. But I am learning faster because of it. And I am teaching her English as well. She really wants to learn English. We live with two other Sisters...one is from Argentina and has 3 months left and the other is new like me....but from Curitiba Brazil...so if you do the math that is 3 Portuguese speakers...and one English speaker. Which equals....no one understands English and therefore me. It has been pretty hard. But it's okay. I am learning. They are very patient with me and are all really sweet. I feel like a puppy a lot and they definitely over compensate on the instruction as if I cant cook or use the bathroom or shower or that I didn't learn anything in the MTC about the gospel -_-. That part is really annoying because I know what is going on and I have read PMG...its the language I don't know not basic living. But its okay. I am learning patience and humility and Portuguese. 

The food is amazing. I haven't had any problems with the food. The only problem I have with  the food is we don't eat enough. Compared to the MTC we actually hardly eat. Breakfast we eat crackers and chocolate milk. Lunch is pretty big but its not filling for me. And dinner we have basically raman. So I'm kinda hungry a lot cause I'm used to eating a ton. But its okay. I don't feel sick or weak because of it. And at least I know I am eating healthy! haha. The thing I miss the most though is cereal. They don't really have it here. -_- I also miss fruit. They have fruit but we don't buy it. Next week I think I will buy some and insist on getting a little more food. ;) haha

 All of my problems come from the Mosquitos and blisters. We are in Bela Vista and the whole area is hills. Cobblestone hills. HUGE hills. Comparable to San Francisco. Maybe worse. Its crazy. But its okay. I have about 20 mosquito bites and I am allergic to them so they are huge and purple. I will send pics. About 5 ward members gave me different cremes to try and they keep trying to make me take pills but I don't know what they are so I don't take them. -_- I have a cough and am pretty congested too (but don't worry I'm okay...its just annoying) and so the sisters keep making me take medicine that I don't know! Every 8 hours. Sister B even woke me up at 2 am last night to make me take it again. So finally I looked at the package and they have been making me take amoxacillin. As in when I have strep or ear infections. Which....I don't have a sore throat. And my ears weren't hurting but now they are a little....so I am worried that the medicine is making it worse? I don't know. Nossa. They are so sweet. I just don't know enough vocab to tell them what is wrong or what is NOT wrong. lol.  I also got a little sunburned and we passed by an investigators house and she rushed me inside and doused me with sunscreen talking about how I'm pale and white and American and I need to use sunscreen. It wasn't even a bad sunburn! -_- hahaha. But its okay. It's really sweet how kind the people are here. When they see us they give us water and snacks even if they aren't members. 

The area is very welcoming. And they are all fascinated with Americans....me. They all stare at me and the kids play with my hair. We get a lot of contacts....especially young men because they are fascinated with the American girl. -_- It is a little awkward sometimes because seriously....everyone stares at me. Its okay though. At least people are more likely to stop and listen to us. It was so funny though...the first night I took a shower and then I put my hair up in my typical messy bun and all the sisters FREAKED OUT. They had never seen it like that before and they all wanted to learn. So I taught them all how to do my messy and less messy buns. They all took pics and said that their hair was wedding hair. It was so funny. Especially because for Americans its the lazy hair do. ;) haha. They also were really fascinated by my stretchy head bands that go all the way around my head. They don't have them here. Mom.....they asked if you would by some and send them to me. hahaha. They are serious though. I will include it in my next package list when you feel like sending me something. hahaha. 

Our District leader is American so Sister B wanted me to play a joke on him when he called one night. She wanted me to talk to him in english and trick him that all is NOT well here. I pretended to be super upset and told him I wanted to go home and no one understands me and I am super sad and hate it here. He launched into all this advice and stories from when he got here and was SUPER nice and I felt soooo bad. hahaha. I interupted him and was like "Elder Elder Im so sorry Im kidding! We are kidding! Im so sorry! All is well!" He told me that I need to get 3 baptisms by Sunday to make up for it. hahaha. Oops. Poor guy. 

We are teaching about 20 people right now. 8 are ready for baptism and want to be baptized. So that will hopefully happen next Sunday. They are all amazingggg people. I love them. They are hard to understand sometimes but they are all very patient with me. They are very sweet and generous too. We teach a couple named L and V. They are amazing. I actually got to say the first vision in the first lesson and bare my testimony. They asked me if I would pray too because they like hearing my accent. -_- hahaha;. But hey its fine. We taught them again (third lesson) and I taught faith. I also shared multiple scriptures and bore my testimony. They said they are impressed that I speak so well for 4 days in Brazil. I think they are just being nice but its okay. L lovessss music so they asked me sing a hymn in English for them. So I did. He also agreed to say the prayer if I would pray in English first. He likes to listen to English because he understands a lot. It was a good deal for me. It was weird praying in English though. I am forgetting English. At the church they had a phoseball...fuseball....eh whatever...they had one of those tables and it took me about 15 minutes to remember what it was called. -_- I am worried when I get home I wont be able to speak English anymore! ;) Also I am worried I will kiss everyones cheeks because everyone does that here. Even people we dont know. Girls only though. But still....no wonder I have a cold. Its very friendly though. :) 

We taught an old man on the street who was sitting on his porch and he didn't really want to listen to the message but he took a pamphlet anyways and let us talk to him. He also noticed me admiring his flowers and he told me to take one. :) So I picked one of his flowers and told him I thought his house was very pretty and he seemed really happy. They love Americans here. They go way out of their way to impress me. I feel kind of bad. 

We are teaching a 13 year old (who looks 20) and a 9 year old J and J. They want to be baptized but their Grandma won't let them. Their mom is a drug addict and recently their grandma tried to put her in rehab but she ran away. They don't know where she is. The grandma is named M. She was telling us that her daughter is gone and was just crying and crying. She needs the gospel so badly but she won't listen to the message. She lets us pray for her and drink water and visit but she wont let them get baptized or listen. Pray for her. I feel very strongly I need to help her somehow but I don't know how because I cant really speak well or understand. I'm working on it. But I need all the prayers I can get. 

Okay wild animal news....one cockroach in the house and lots of mosquitoes. No huge spiders yet. BUT....we were clapping outside an investigators house (in Brazil all the houses have gates and huge front porches and stuff so you call their name through the gate or clap outside their house instead of knocking). and suddenly I looked across the street into a little field by a river and there was a GIANT HAMSTER. It was huge!!!! It was bigger than a dog. Almost the size of a cow. Seriously. It was a capybara! (Don't know if I spelled that right). I wish I had had my camera. It was just eating the grass. It was huge and weird and awesome. The only other animal news is that there are TONS of homeless dogs here. Everywhere. They are all really nice though. No dog issues yet. And we went to one members home and they had a brand new puppy! :D Like Obamas dog. cutest thing ever. It kept running into the house and hiding in my skirts and jumping all over me. It was about the size of a rabbit. It was so cute. Its name is Michael Jackson. hahahaha. I couldn't understand the family but I can bond with the puppies and if they have little kids. The kids don't need to talk to me. They play with my hair and I tickle them and pull funny faces and they love me. The youth are all really sweet too. They try to teach me Portuguese and I teach them English. Sister B said that the bishop will prob ask me to teach English lessons in the church soon. I am really excited! So many people here realllyyyy want to know English and I'm glad I can be somewhat useful. 

In Sacrament meeting the bishop made me get up and bare my testimony and introduce myself. Half the ward came to talk to me and tell me I speak really well. I smiled and nodded through most of it because I can't really understand. -_- hahahaha. But I could tell they were happy so that's good. ;) Also pretty much no one here can say my name. They call me Sister Americana usually because they forget how to say Heyer. It's totally okay though because I cant say ANY of their names either. Everyone goes by first names here and its really hard. Most are typical names pronounced super weird. haha. Some are just weird. Its hard for me. But they are all really beautiful names! 

I'm sorry that I am rambling. SO MUCH happened this week. Longest week of my life. I desperately want to understand the people and I desperately want to be able to speak. The zone leader talked to me on the phone yesterday though and said that I am speaking super well. Hopefully they aren't just being nice. :p haha. I'm doing really well though. Not dying. Not even super sore. And I can usually understand everything Sister B says which is truly a miracle cause not only does she speak only Portuguese but she also has a Portuguese accent even for BRAZILIANS! She is "kareok" or something like that. That's what they call people from Rio de Deniero. They basically have a lisp. Every "s" becomes a "sh"....."sishter Heyer". Lots of people in my ward are Karoke. Lots of spit. No no just kidding. It's different but I am glad I am learning to understand the accent so that when I meet people from there I can understand. :) 

Anyways I'm sure there is more but I cant really remember. -_- I am sleeping well. I am eating well. Every day gets better. I am happy. I am relatively healthy...nothing I can't handle! I am over medicated and over "creamed" for sure but oh well. Everyone is incredibly patient and sweet. :) Pday is Monday. Mailing takes forever. Everything is really cheap here. Their dollar is 2.22 where ours is 1 so basically everything is half off for me! haha. Its pretty awesome. I love this city. Today we are going to play frisbee with Elder B and the zone leaders and anyone else who takes the bus to the park. :) We are also teaching L and L again and hopefully setting a date!!! :D 

I love you all and miss you loads and loads! Hope all is well. Sorry if stuff is wrong....this keyboard is Brazilian and doesn't have some keys....and many keys are in the wrong spot. And also I can't speak English anymore. ;) 

Sending muito amor from Brazil! <3 Bom Dia!!!! 

Sister Heyer

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