So, California is hot and sunny with lots and lots of palm trees and lots of dirt hills. It's funny but everyone seems to have boats and dogs. The dogs just bark and bark and bark. A day in the life of a new language missionary (Chinese) is 6:30 am wake up, work out until 7, shower, make breakfast, and change to be ready to study at 8 am. From 8 to 12 it's personal study, then companionship training study, then companionship study, and last but not least, language study (1 hour each). Then it's lunch and we're out!
I'm lucky I'm in a car. I did an exchange with a companionship on bike and it was just hot... I was drifting off to sleep on the bike too (I don't know why I just fall asleep EVERYWHERE). Mission life is very very tiring. I'm pretty much always tired! It doesn't help that I have to squint in the sun, so my eyes are pretty much already closed. Or when I have sunglasses on, it's nice and dark... sleepy time.
Anyways, there are also a lot of crazy people here. Lots of drunk people that just kind of chill wherever in the hot sun, drinking. It's interesting talking to them.
I've also learned to cope with rejection. When I was biking, we got kicked out of this community by a grumpy lady who called us bozos. Apparently we were going to run over the old people! Another guy threatened to send his cute little poodle on us. You learn to just laugh it off, it's pretty funny actually.
We met with this girl from France (parents were refugees from France). She has TONS of questions, which we tried to answer. Hopefully when she returns to France though, she'll be able to communicate with the French speaking missionaries there. She's really interested though. We brought her to this baptism of this 80 year old man. She went to a baptism and that sparked her interest in the church, she had a very peaceful feeling. It's funny, when the 80 year old guy came out of the water, (he's hard of hearing) he said really loudly, "WELL WE GOT IT DONE." Everyone laughed.
We have to get 10 OYM's (open your mouths - talking to random people) a day per person. So when we were in this park, I tried speaking to this old lady who looked totally Chinese. She understood absolutely zero of what I was saying. Turns out she was Laotian. Worth the effort though! This park had a ton of people playing softball. I wanted to get in and take a couple swings.
I picked up a simplified Chinese book of Mormon from Elder Heaton, a Chinese speaking Elder. It'll be nice in my studies.
Cooking is more annoying than I expected and takes way too long. I gave in and got a "Magic Bullet" as seen in those online infomercials. It is so fun. I make smoothies in the morning now, really fast and easy. I can pretty much blend anything. For lunch one time, I blended zucchini, yogurt, peanut butter, and oats. Not that bad!
I had a companionship exchange for a night and a day. Went to Miraloma. I had heard it had some horses, but I woke up in the night coughing like a mad man. I could hardly breathe. Sure enough when the rooster crowed (literal rooster) and I woke up, I looked out the window and there were tons of horses [which I’m allergic to]. It's funny because in that area and Norco, CA (which is also called "Horsetown USA), there aren't paved sidewalks. Just dirt paths for the horses. So that was interesting.
The past two P-Days, we've played soccer. It is SO fun. I'm turning really dark from spending so much time in the sun. We have our nice little World Cup going here in Riverside. It's so hot though, the fluids go in my mouth and come out my skin (so much sweat...). That's really what I look forward to every p-day. We might even start playing Thursday mornings bright and early at 6 am.
A lot of these places look like we're in Mexico. So naturally, most people speak Spanish (and less English). So I've brushed up on my Spanish. I walk up to people and say, "Necesitas ayudar?" They're very nice. In fact, the Latinos are a lot more humble and welcoming than other people. They're so nice in fact, that we got offered three cervezas in a day. Naturally to be polite, we took them (not). Cerveza is beer, so we declined.
In this part of California, there's this thing called Harvest. They hold it a couple times a year, and the group rents out Angel Stadium and you pay $10 to be saved. You just have to walk across the field. Pretty easy. So when we ask people if they go to church or are religious, a lot of times, they say they go to harvest.
One thing that's weird is wearing shoes in everyone's houses. I still feel rude even though everyone does it. I guess that's just how they do it here.
Missionary work feels a lot like home teaching, we go to people's houses, sit with them and talk about their life, cool things that happened, and share a lot of spiritual thoughts. A lot more straightforward than I thought it would be.
Johansen and I have had the Wicked and Frozen soundtracks going for a bit. We jam out in the car when we're driving places. It's fun.
Sundays are the busiest days in our schedule. We have meetings from 7 am until 1 pm. Very tiring. I have to work to stay awake! But it's all worth it because Sundays are also, "P-Day eve." And P-day means SOCCER (it's really just so fun!)
I'm meeting lots of cool people here. We ran into this guy watering his lawn the other day who's a basketball trainer. He trained Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, and Brandon Jennings (is that his name?) when they were young. Very interesting. Old people can be interesting too, just a bit less focused. We've met a couple senile men who have lots and lots of stories.
Mission life is hard but rewarding. It's hot here, but at least we have AC in the car!
Little fruit stand
Lunch (with Taco Bell sauce)
Dirt sidewalk for horses