Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hanging by a Moment, Holding out for Higher

Let´s just be honest- it´s been a jolly while since I´ve last written.
I have so much to catch up on, but no hot dog to put it on. Anyway,
first and most importantly, I will speak in metaphors. "I got my baby
back, baby back, baby back..."
"Reunited, and it feels so good..."
"Guess who´s back? Back again. Bryant´s back. Tell a friend."
Ok, well, all dramatics aside, the gist of it is, I got transferred,
and I got transferred good. I don´t know why I thought I learned the
lesson of how I´m always wrong on the mission, but I didn´t. Hna.
Bryant, during our intermittent correspondence during the 7+ months we
were away from each other told me, "man, I wish I could kill you (be
your last comp.) You could see how chill I am now." And I was like,
"hey, that´s not funny. You almost killed me the first time! And p.s.-
never gonna happen."
Oh, but it has. I am finishing the mission in San Cristobol, which is
more or less the campo again. The part I am specifically in is called
Lava Pies, which means "wash feet." I feel like that can only be a
good thing. I always felt like I was gonna come here, kinda like I
knew I would eventually go to Quisqueya. But whereas Quisqueya and my
love thereunto was more like that found in an arranged marriage, me
and Lava Pies have been a love at first sight. I am severely enjoying
myself here, and it´s only been about 4 days. Normally, the transfer
should have been tomorrow, but because of the fact that it would have
fallen on New Year´s Day and we don´t even want to think about how
impossible that would be (in any country) to transfer large groups of
people hither and thither, the transfers fell a good 5 days early. I
guess I had to have a weird end to a weird adventure. But Hna. Bryant
and I are really living it up. I feel like it has essentially been
non-stop chatting and laughter since we´ve been together. She´s
changed so much. Of course, she hasn´t noticed it in herself, but I
sure have. It makes me wonder the changes other have/will see in me.
But for those that wonder, she looks smoking hot, has dropped a
boatload of weight, and is a really good missionary. I told her
beforehand I would write these things. She approves this message.
Especially the boatload of weight.

Well, as I think of how long this entry will probably end up being, a
couple of thing came to mind. And by a couple, I mean another
boatload, probably the one that was lost by Bryant. But I´ve recently
been Reading the General Conference talks from November, and as usual,
President Uchdorf, who is indeed a boss, was talking about how too
often, we are always looking forward with much anticipation to the
next phase of our lives, especially in a world where everything from
cars to information moves so rapidly. We can´t seem to enjoy where we
are in the moment. I could be eating lunch with a friend, but if I
spend that whole lunch texting everyone else I know, how do I really
ever learn to savor? How do I learn to enjoy what I have if I´m always
holding out for Higher? As Pres. Uchdorf himself says, "I don´t go
riding my bike with my wife anticipating the end of the ride, nor do I
listen to a song, waiting anxiously for the last note. I do these
things because I enjoy them, and the joy they bring me in the moment."
I feel like as my mission draws to a close, that it would have been
nice to have this talk earlier. But I also feel that the end of my
mission isn´t the end of my problems. I have more or less come to an
understanding of how to enjoy myself in spite of the suckiness of my
circumstances. No, my new house doesn´t have a microwave or doorknobs.
Yes, it only has one bathroom, an no, there are still no Tina
burritos. But as more than one philosophical voice has insisted, the
things that make us happiest are simplest. For some reason, we just
like to complicate and outdo ourselves. But since tomorrow is a new
year, which will inevitably bring new crap to deal with, it just seems
like a good time to enjoy ourselves- o sea, resolve to be enjoyable
and to enjoy. Uh-huh.

I was also brought to the realization that part of this happiness is
found in individual moments. I´ve left a lot hanging, not having
written and all, but here are some highlights from the past couple of
weeks that simply need to be shared:

* Funny moment- Here, here for Chistmas cheer. Well, I was here,
anyway, my last mission Christmas. Although difficult to be away from
loved ones during such times, I gotta say... I´ll never have a
Christmas quite like this one ever again. Besides getting cutesy
aprons from Hna. Dawe and eating delcious Argentine empanadas with the
elders from our district and their American neighbors, I received the
best gift anyone can ask for-the gift of laughter. Once upon a time, I
was companions with Hna. Paus. A couple days before Christmas, I
decided to turn on some Christmas tunes and hit the shower. Just as I
was about to close the bathroom door, I hear a most pitiful
"Sweeeeeeneeeeeeey...." in Paus´s typical fashion. "What?" I asked, a
tad exasperated. "Don´t leave me alone with this song. It scares me!"
It was that song "Carol of the Bells," that I believe can be found on
the Home Alone movie soundtrack. Anyway, it was a good thing I was
already in the bathroom, cuz I just about wet myself. I may have found
ways to play that song from that time foreward way more often than I
would have otherwise..

Happy moment- There is a show, I believe, called House Hunters. I´ve
never watched it, but I could have been on it. Maybe. I don´t really
know. Hence never having watched it. But I bet they hunt for houses.
And for the last couple weeks of the past transfer, so did we.
Supposedly, the Hermanas of Quisqueya will be getting a new house.
About bloody time. Considering it is the house where Hermanas from all
over come and go unexpectantly with lots of luggage, having a house on
the fourth floor is just not the best idea. Especially when said
Hermanas leave at 5:00 a.m. every 6 weeks...
Ironically, the Hermanas of Lava Pies just moved at the end of last
transfer, so I´m in a new house down here. Considering the abscense of
features I used to consider necessary, I´m wondering if this house is
the Office Elders´ idea of a joke. Or revenge for making them move
heavy fridges and stoves all day. But yeah, new transfer, new house,
new year... what else is new? We I suppose we shall see.

*Anticlimatic moment- End of the world. That is almost so last year.
We are all survivors of a hideous overestimate. Well, I don´t think
the Mayans ever said the world would end that day, but admit it... you
kinda thought it might. Whatever their deceased spirits are doing
right now, it´s probably closely related to mocking us for believing
mere mortals could ever know when the Apocolypse will be.

*Sexy moment- There are but a small handful of these on the mission,
so you have to enjoy them when they come. Hna. Dawe and I both got
rockin´ haircuts from Hna. Consuelo, the hand magician. Enough said. I
don´t want to blow anyone´s mind.

*Surprise momet- We had a Christmas potluck with our apartment
complex. I think the people who live their only invited us so we could
bring way more than our share of food and to potentially use our
church´s collapsable chairs, which didn´t even end up happening.
During the sorta party, some man who was on the phone asked for my
name. I gave it to him, and he said, "he´s not gonna know how to say
that..." A good twenty minutes later, over the sound system, we all
hear, "and a big Merry Christmas shoutout to Hermana Sweeney..." Uh,
what? I guess the guy on the phone had called in to a Domincan radio
station and given him the name of the first person he saw. I have all
the luck. And my 15 seconds of fame.

Indecisive moment- Uh... leaving. I was really expecting to stay in
Quisqueya and had hoped to be there for the baptism of Perla the
Prodigy. She is the 13 year old who at first, seemed not too
interested- her uncle is a member but her mother is a less active
member, o sea, she never goes to church. But I got to see one of those
awesome, miraculous missionary moments of change with her and she
started to go to church regularly and started asking us really sincere
questions. And now, I won´t get to see her baptized, nor will I see
the marriage of a woman who has been going to church for 18 years and
will now be able to be baptized. I was part of the process of helping
her get the papers she needed so she could get married. But there we
are will that phrase again- part of the process. I´ll have to be glad
and accept someone else watching a couple of great
happily-ever-afters. I was the Queen of Quisqueya. But I have now
passed the crown. Which is a shame, because, The King, o sea, Romeo
Santos, was in town for a couple weeks, during concerts. Don´t worry,
Romeo- next time. Every Queen needs a King, especially if he can sing
like Romeo. I think I need my crown back.

And finally... Movie Moment- "How old are you?"
"Seventeen" (months)
"How long have you (waited to be) seventeen (months)?"

And yes, I´ll say it. Out loud. And even proud. I have 17 months on
the mission. Let´s be serious, that´s crazy. But cool. So many
adventures, so little time. Or so much time, depending on how you look
at it. Anyway, I have to put an end to this novel before it becomes a
best seller and I´m not even around to reap the benefits. Until the
next mental vomit, please enjoy staying up way too late and
celebrating a year that´s worth the wait. So you drink your
Martinelli´s and I´ll drink mine. And by Martinelli´s, I mean Green
Apple-flavored soda. Cheers.

Resolved to renew,

Hna. Sweeney "The Fearless" (except on Sundays)

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