Monday, March 28, 2011

M:80/P:69: Deja Vu

Hola Familia,
Oh, boy, where to even begin . . .
Well, first off, when I refer to my retainer I´m not talking about the orange one.  I broke that about two years ago.  Maybe two and a half.  I´m talking that little bar they put behind my bottom teeth.  I was eating carrots and it popped off on one side.  So I got my pliers an yanked the other end off.  The mission has a dentist here that is fairly well recommended but, like you all, I´m not sure I trust foreign dentists.  I remember how much pain there was to straighten these chompers.  Too much to just let someone take a sledgehammer to ém.
As for retirement, work the system!  America´s finest, waitin´on their payback!  When I get back, you and I will have to go fishing with Elder Laidler from the MTC.  I promised.  So you can start scoping out all the good fishing opportunities.
As for Bray, shoot, it´s already about time for spring break.  A couple days ago I realised that I only have three transfers left!  And with things looking the way they are, that means just one more area and that´s it.  It´s gonna be wierd to take the badge off.  As for Chelsee´s visit . . . well, I consider Braden to be generally well-disciplined guy.  So it´ll boil down to choice rather than fighting back the urge.  I can´t really comment on the matter much.  Explain your expectations well.
As for the girls, go, Riss, go!  AP Physics, I didn´t even take that class.  She, like me, just needs to learn discipline.  I hope she doesn´t have to learn it in the mission field like me.  As for Des, well, I think she´s just too big of a goof ball to be a book worm.  She´s hung around her two brothers way too much.
Music?  Yes, Dad, I still have a love for music.  I´ve got a song or two in sheet music and have been trying to work at piano on my P-Days out here.  I don´t know if I´ve made really any headway but I still like trying it.  If you bring my sax here there will be two things to deal with.  One, my technique will be horrible from all this lack of practice.  Two . . . someone will probably rob me of my sax.
As for the Panama stay, I´m just saying Dad, you have NOT seen drivers like those here, Dad.  They got decorated school busses with drivers that don´t respect anyone behind the wheel swerving and jerking to get everyone they can packed into the bus.  Seriously, Rome has absolutely NOTHING on these guys.  And half of them are drunk.  It´s very normal to see a guy hop out of the drivers seat with a couple open bottles of beer.  I don´t know if it´s safer to ride the bus or riding along side the bus.  I generally know how to get around on the bus system they got here.  And Dad, hawaiian t-shirts will mark you as a tourist about as fast as anything.  You should just wear what you want and hang a "rob me" sign on your back.  Just a t-shirt and jeans or shorts is what I recommend.
Now for what´s going on out here.  Last week was a near disaster.  Half the appointments fell through and nothing I hoped to accomplish happened.  This week was worse.  I´d say about 3/4 the appointments fell through, none of our investigators are progressing, and I´m feeling pretty tired of the area.  Generally, I would be leaving this next transfer, but my companion looks like he´s going to go home early.  He misses his family too much.  The president has asked me to try and cheer him up and keep him here, but I frankly find that a difficult task, especially given the area I´m in. (Imagine that.  Deja Vu for Austin remembering early on in his mission when he wanted to abandon his mission.  He should make a good mentor for this missionary, given his experience.) This was the worst area he could have come to try and cheer up and get excited about the work.  He´s already very resigned to going home.  And that means that I´ll be stuck here ANOTHER six weeks in this area.  I don´t know if I would prefer to ditch him in this area or stay here myself to teach it to someone else.  It´s a very peculiar place.  I´m not sure I could sufficiently describe it here without outright railing on the people.  And I´m trying hard not to point fingers . . . yet.  I´m hoping that Conference can do something for the both of us.  I haven´t been this fried since Christmas.
I´m sorry the letter seems to be more complaints than anything.  If it´s any consolation, whatever happens, I don´t intend to go home.  If I end up staying here, it will be very difficult to continue working but I´ll keep trying.  I´ve heard that I might get promoted to Zone Leader this change.  I´m not sure if that´s a good thing or not.  Leadership and management and the whatnot are still things that are a little foreign for me.
I hope you all are keeping well and staying out of trouble.  I love you all and pray for you all every night.
Your Elder in Panamá,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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