The first week has been a rollercoaster of emotions. The first day was really tough, it was probably the most I've ever doubted myself and the idea of being a missionary, all I could think about was the day I'll come back and be released from my calling. Things have mostly been better since then, there are times when I still wonder if I can really do this and then there are times when the spirit hits and I know everything will turn out alright.
I still miss music, mostly in the mornings before we get going. Leaving everything behind wasn't nearly as hard as it could have been just because this is so different from any situation I've been in before. I feel like I'm too busy wondering if this is still real life to wish that I still had all my things or that I had time to take a nap or something.
Other elders in my district have similar feelings, so I'm not quite alone even though I've just landed in some kind of strange new world. My companion - Elder Bryce is really cool, his main hobby in what we call "our past life" was working out, and he has all these complex workouts he does in the mornings and during gym time. I've mostly just been doing push-ups and crunches in the mornings, mostly out of fear that I'll undergo the same effects that other people do and then either blow away in the wind or move up three sizes in clothes. I actually ended up in west campus, so our gym pretty much consists of outside basketball hoops, a good chance for my base tan/sun burn for Mexico.
The other guys in the district are all really great and we've grown pretty close in our short time here (although we all agree that it feels like we've been here for months), most of them are into sports and my companion and others are always making comments on the carbohydrate based diet of our cafeteria. There is one other elder who's more of a 'geeky' kind of guy, he has a sort of awkward sense of humor that I've learned to love from being in computer and band related things over the years.
My artistic/intuitive mind and appreciation for comedy has led much of my input in conversations among our district to be met with uproarious laughter and comments of "...classic Elder Jones". Our district leader started an "Elder Jones quotes" page in his notebook that they add to throughout the day.
My Spanish has already far surpassed the ability I ever had during my school classes, though I've still struggled with discouragement particularly in that aspect. Elder Bryce studied a lot with his dad who had also gone Spanish speaking and is really far ahead of me and everyone else in the district. On the upside we can go to him for a lot of vocab and he keeps our lessons with the "investigator" from drifting into the infamous 20 minute awkward silences other elders have talked about, but on the downside I constantly compare myself to him and he pretty much carries the lessons.
It's been really hard, but the devotional last night especially was a turning point. The church Sunday school president was the speaker, and he told a story about when he was at the MTC and a little girl saw them and was amazed at seeing actual missionaries, he particularly emphasized her line, "grandma are those REAL missionaries?", and everyone was talking especially about that part afterwards. He also read a bit from his old journal entries and everyone was laughing about how much it sounded like all of us. I was really encouraged by the knowledge that we're all in the same boat even when we think we're the only ones with unseen pain. The spirit there was really strong and I know that things will get better after a while, my inner conflict right now is just the necessary pressure for a change of my character.
Thank you everyone for your great letters and packages, it's really a comfort to know you're all supporting me. To Grandma and Grandpa, I was really excited about your mentioning Simon Barth, he was actually among the group of people I knew from my housing unit up at USU and was probably the only person I really befriended. I would be really happy to ever run into him in Mexico. I guess it really is a small world.
I hope that I remembered your email right and that you still use this one, make sure to reply so I know, otherwise I'll send a letter or something. Thank you very much mom and dad for sending my wallet to me, also if Tyler gets more into guitar and wants to use my electric, make sure he knows that you have to plug it in before you turn the amp on or it can get messed up, and also there's this broken guitar string hanging from my music stand and it is not trash, it once belonged to Jeff Mangum and I will convert to Catholicism if anything happens to it, I'd be happy if you could just stick it into my drawer or something where no one will touch it.
(you can cut this out of the forwarded message if you want)
I love you all and miss you a ton, love Elder Jones