Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009

Wow...so much is going on back home. It sounds like everyone is really busy. I got a ton of letters written last week, as well as did Elder Dickson. We took a picture of all our letters stacked up. I have a ton more to write today as well. I've been slacking.

Well, as far as my bike is concerned, I got the spoke replaced and back in the same day, which is really good. Saturday I got a flat by running over a carpenter's nail and blowing it out, along with several goatheads (They're everywhere. If you don't know what they are, look them up...nasty things.) We tried several times to patch it, with no success. It just kept leaking. Either we aren't good at patching holes, the patches are junk, or the hole was too big to easily patch (it was actually all three). I got cash back when I bought the patches at Wal-Mart on Saturday, so that covered the bike repairs when I broke the two spokes. This morning we went to the bike shop and my debit card wouldn't work. It works at Wal-Mart and the other bike shop, but this is the second time I tried using it at this one in particular and it just doesn't like it. The guy standing behind me insisted on paying for me, so after half-hearted "Oh, I couldn't make you do that..." (I couldn't used cash for now,) I relented. It was really nice of him. He told me that he was spending enough money there that another ten dollars wouldn't break him. He was either buying or having his road bike repaired. So I have a new tube, and will put it in this afternoon. This isn't the last thing that will have to be repaired in the somewhat near future on this thing, I can promise you. We'll see.

I got word that someone we were teaching in Modesto now has a baptism date of August 8th, so I hope that works out well. Oh yeah, speaking of, the lady that was going to be baptized on Friday backed out and rescheduled it for the 28th of August. A lot of stuff came up in this last week for her with her son's health, her own health, and various other things. None of it was a surprise though. Things inevitably come up right before baptism for people. It's to be expected. I made a picture CD (or CDs) at Walgreen’s last Monday and I'll pick them up today and mail them. This week will be pretty busy. We have zone meeting on Wednesday, president interviews on Thursday, baptisms for the dead for our recent convert, Alice, on Saturday, and a zone activity to the Sequoia National Park on Monday "most likely". If we do go there, I'm not sure, again, if I'll have an email written. I don't know anything about it, so I don't know if I'll have the time to get to the library. I'm excited to go to the temple for sure. I'm not sure if it'll just be to witness or if we'll do any, but I hope we get to actually do some. I haven't done any since I was maybe 17. Also, of course, I'm hoping to get to go to the sequoias. That'll be another picture CD right there.

It's crazy. It's already just about four weeks into the transfer, and almost the end of July already. Elder Dickson's birthday is the 30th. He says that he turned 12 on the same year that the first Harry Potter book came out, so he's exactly a day older than Harry Potter. My birthday is just around the corner. Oh yeah, thanks so much for the packages, Mom & Dad and Karen & Mike! I went ahead and opened them in case they were something I could use. And they were, so there we are! :) I'm about to be twenty-four. Twenty-four and single...I'm about to officially become a "menace to society". I didn't mean for it to happen, I'm just a bad seed, I guess. What'd'ya gonna do?

A member gave us a bunch of peaches from her tree in front, so we bought ice cream today, and we'll slice ‘em up and sugar them and make a day of it. I've also recently discovered how awesome kiwis are. I also have a new thing for milk. When I started my mission, I bought a half gallon just so I would get calcium or whatever. Then I started getting a gallon when I started buying cereal for the morning. Maybe it's now that it's getting hotter (it's been in the 100s and 110s for like two weeks straight or something), but I need to drink more and I'm tired of water. So I went to two gallons last week and had to ration myself. I bought three this week. It should do me fine. I hope everyone has a great week!
Love,
Aaron

July 20, 2009

Well, I'm not at the Sequoias. We might go next week...I don't know. The zone leaders were talking about maybe doing that for a zone activity. I doubt it'll happen to be honest. It's ok though. We'll have today to spend in the apartment. Last Monday we took maybe two hours taking pictures with "lightsabers"...or in other words, holding cans of shaving cream and then the other person holding scripture highlighter leads in front of the camera. Fun stuff. Also last Monday another spoke broke...grrrr... I'm babying that thing, but it's a piece of junk. So it's in the shop again today, and may be there for a few days they say. I got the info on truing the tires. I'm afraid to do it to be honest, but I'll probaby try it on the front wheel when I get the bike back. The rim on it is fine. No permanent damage that I know of has happened to it. As far as my bank account, we aren't going to Walmart today, so I won't be at an ATM, but I may have to take the 30 dollars out next Monday. I'm hoping my debit card doesn't get rejected again this time. I have it at the other bike shop here in town.

Jeanette, did you know anyone by the last name of Cozzens when you served in Powell? There's an Elder Cozzens here that went to that ward.

We had a really good zone conference this week. It really pumped me up while I was there. Then, inevitably, I leave and the wave of 110 degree weather hits me, zaps me of all energy and vigor. It's interesting battling that. Visalia is very similar to Modest, but it's a little more rural. We have teamups and dinners pretty much every night, which is great. In our area is everything from fairly well off areas to places that are pretty guetto. We have an investigator, Ann, that will be baptized this Friday, so we have to finish those preparations. Our district leader covers the spanish-speaking in all Visalia and I was on an exchange with his companion while he came here with Elder Dickson. I was so lost--language-wise anyway. Here I am sitting or standing there all day, not talking to anyone really because we don't speak the same language. There was one investigator they had that thought it very funny that I am very tall. He kept cupping his hands to his mouth and shouting (in spanish) "Everybody move!" I guess I reminded him of Andre the Giant in Princess Bride. I spent all day with a dazed half-smile on my face. It was interesting. It was fun.

I guess my pictures will have to wait another week. I still don't have them on cds as I forgot my card last week and we won't be at Walmart this week. I'll actually get letters written today, I promise. I keep promising this, but today I will. I hope everyone is doing great!
Love,
Aaron

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009

There's a member in Visalia that owns an awesome restaurant and has told us that once a week we can eat there free. It's called Rio Brazilian Grill. They have kind of like a food/salad bar, but the main thing there is the meat. They come by from table to table with a big hunk of roast or a shish kabob of meats on a long poker, then cuts off slices onto your plate with this really sharp sword-like knife. It's really, really good and a lot of fun. Hey, when the price is right... We went last week. I'm not sure if we're planning on going again this week or not.

My bike is back and is "fixed"...I should say that the spokes and wheel that I asked them to fix are repaired. There's a few other things that need done, but I can do some of them myself with the handy little bike tool I have now. Thank you again, Mom and Dad. My card was rejected at the bike place so I had to use money from my allotment (which we're not supposed to use for bike repairs), so I'll have to take some money out of the account sometime, probably today.

We might be going to the Sequoia National Park next Monday. It hasn't been finalized, but hopefully so. It's closer I guess than Yosemite. I'm not sure if I'll have time to email next week, but we may. We'll find out later I suppose. Last week was so busy with shopping. Since my bike was in the shop, we got a ride with another set of elders to go shopping. We didn't get back to the apartment until maybe 5:00. I didn't really get any letters written, but I'll do better today, hopefully.

Jeanette, did you ever serve in Cody, WY? I might have asked you that last week, but I can't remember, so I ask again. Elder Dickson (and also Elder Carter who was both my MTC companion and Elder Dickson's last companion and Elder Jorgensen's current companion in Modesto) is from Cody.

There are a couple of things that I would like, but nothing (that I'm listing :)) that costs much. If someone could print out instructions on how to "true" bike tires with a spoke wrench to get it spinning straight, and send it to me in a letter, that'd be great. I have a multi-tool that has a spoke wrench on it, but I'm not sure how to use it. I think it's a matter of tightening some and loosening others, but I need some kind of Dummy's Guide or something. Also, I still want pictures of everything. The picture album you sent, Mom and Dad, is great. I pretty much want to fill it now. Family pictures, pets (past and present), houses (past and present)... I sound so needy, but there we have it. :) Oh, also I want pictures of when I had the Scottish/mountain man beard, as well as the goatee. No one I tell it to can imagine it.

I forgot my camera/picture card at the apartment, so I can't make any picture CD’s to send home this week. I'll try to remember next week. I have enough I think, to make two. If we go to the sequoias, there may be a third; we'll see. Good stuff.

So yeah, the work is going good. There are a lot of people who are willing to talk with us (more than in Modesto, I think we have the plague up there), but not a great number (like anywhere) who are really wanting to sit down and learn for themselves. It's a nice area though. It's another area where you have everything from very rich to very poor. It's not quite as much of a contrast as the Modesto area was, but it's still there. There are pros and cons of Visalia vs. Modesto, so it's good. It's a lot more rural here than Modesto was. That's really good. I'm more comfortable in small towns and country (granted 130,000 isn't exactly a small town, but compared to 200,000, there's a big difference. One of these transfers I'm hoping to get transferred to one of the booney areas. Well, as boonyish as anywhere in the valley gets. The foothills of the mountains are more laid back, I hear. Hopefully in the next few weeks a recent convert here will be going to do temple baptisms. We can go to that. On the 24th, an investigator, Ann, is getting baptized. We set up another baptism date this week with Sandor. He doesn't turn 18 until late August though, so it'll be on August 29th. He's been waiting for some time, being taught the lessons over and over, waiting until he becomes an adult and can move out. We have our zone conference this Thursday. That's always something to look forward to. This ward is really, really good about team-ups. We have one pretty much every night of the week, and some days twice. It's nice to get around faster and be in air conditioning once in awhile.

I don't remember if I mentioned what we did for the 4th or not. We went to a member's home for the evening, and then when we were at our apartment planning, we heard the fireworks, so we stepped outside and were able to watch them. Aside from the laws in CA about fireworks, there were many remnants littering the streets of what's considered illegal here. Anything that explodes or shoots up is against the law. I love Missouri's fireworks laws...or lack-thereof. It's drier down south, here. Well, I'm off. I'm going to try to get a few letters written today. I haven't kept track of who I wrote and when, so if some of you get more letters than others, I'm sorry. It's not that I like anyone more than others, but that I'm not well organized. It's a work in progress. I hope everyone is having a great week.
Love,
Aaron

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 5, 2009

Alright, I have to make this very short because I don't have much time. This is borrowed time because I forgot to bring my proof of address to get a library card for Visalia's libraries. In answer to your question, Mom, my shirt size as far as I know is 17 (it's the size of all my shirts, albeit a bit snug sometimes), but I really don't need any more shirts at this time, but thank you anyway. Our Fourth of July was interesting. We spent the evening with a couple of member families at their house (they were doing a BBQ party thing with games and whatever else). We couldn't be out without someone else past 7:00. We watched the fireworks from our apartment that evening. I'm now in the Visalia 2nd Ward and my companion's name is Elder Dickson. We get along really great, so that's good. He's from Cody, Wyoming (Jeanette, was that one of your areas or not?) and has been out only a transfer more than me. Last Tuesday my bike kept breaking on me. It was weird. First I find that a spoke had broken. Later I look and it turns out another one did as well. Then I sit on my bike later that afternoon and one of the springs that hold my bike seat on breaks in half (it's still ridable). Then later, I find that my bike tire is really low. It all happened within a couple of hours. Sheesh. I had to keep riding it for the week though (I aired up the tire). It's in the shop now for the spokes. I'm hoping it'll be a quick fix. He said he's try to have it done today, but no promises. Ok, I have to run as I'm out of time. I'll write more next week...maybe...no promises. I hope everything is going well for everyone!
Love,
Aaron