Reality

Back to the mission letters… after a month of smooth sailing, reality started to settle in.

(10/31/89)

mission 007Mom, Rough week. They took our car. 😦 Elder B is kind of bitter, and is therefore unmotivated, which rubs off on me and affects our effectiveness when he’s [the] senior [companion]. It didn’t both me at first, until it affected my comp. Nobody’s listening to us, our investigators aren’t exactly progressing, everything’s kind of ick. But, I’ve learned a lot.

We have travelling elders that come to visit every couple months. We go on exchanges with them, they teach us, etc. Anyhow, one of them showed me so many things that were good about me and so many false ideas I had.

I need to learn ho to be a junior comp that can motivate my senior. Exact obedience is a must for happiness. Planning is paramount. Time is valuable.

We’ve had a lot of curves thrown at us, though. Terrible wind (on bikes – lots of fun), nobody even home, late trains, being late for trains, an overflowed bathtub, cooking catastrophes. Oh my. What a week. Just going to start over and do it right, I guess.

Don’t have a lot to say or time to say it, so this is short, but I haven’t given you an address because it will be changing any day. We’re in a temporary place until we find another. In the 15-20 days it would take to get you an address and get something back, I’ll probably be somewhere else. I’ll let you know. Just send stuff to the mission home – I’ll get it, though it will cost me postage to my flat.

Speaking of packages, I’ll be sending one that will hopefully get to you for Christmas thru the USAF base Post (which is cheaper). What I’d like to do with cards is to send them to you and have you send them thru US post there. Bound to be cheaper than 34p each card.

Good to hear that Tigger’s happier [our sick cat]. I have a coat. 30 pounds for a "wax jacket" on the market. Very warm and waterproof.

Love, Elder Chris

(11/8/89)

Mom, I hope the pics aren’t bent… [descriptions of the photos]

Every night at sunset, thousands on thousands of starlings fly in to rost and put on a spectacular display above the downtown steeples and trees. Looping and swirling in masses of hundreds, they do aerobatics for an hour or two. Has to be seen. Pictures don’t turn out.

I got in touch with the Harrisons this morning. [a family we knew that were vacationing in England] They love England and plan on giving you direct orders to pick me up. We didn’t talk long, but it sure was nice to hear a familiar voice. Which reminds me, I plan on making a tape for T. I’m sure she could censor it for you 🙂 Don’t tell her yet. It’s her Christmas present.

I resent the priorities statement. T just gets different information. I don’t write form letters. [evidently, mom had made some comment about what I write to whom…]

I had to laugh at your weather questions. I’m about 60 miles from London. It’s like asking how different is Woodinville weather to Tacoma weather: a couple degrees. It’s about the same all over. Wetter to the west, colder to the north, but not much.

Meals are the same, they just call them different names: breakfast, lunch, and dinner = breakfast, dinner, and tea (or supper). I’m sending you some recipes. The English dinners I get are basically meat pies, veggies, and spuds and all variations thereon. Food is just generally better here [!!!!], though.

Funny you should ask about choirs and such. This ward is atrocious, musically. Their "choir" is a dozen people singing a hymn in unison. The organist thinks himself a virtuoso and tries adding as many notes as are written and ends up with some interesting chords. Plus the military Americans are too macho to sing audibly, I guess. How un-Christ-like of me, I know. But I was hoping for more… I don’t have the time to organize a choir – especially at the risk of offending the current choir. So I just sing loud and do my best. As for church being different, it’s not really. Just smaller scale, so not as much happens.

The main minority group here is East Indians. Kind of nice. Very different. They’re pretty segregated, but not heavily persecuted that I can see. Just not talked about, really.

Looking for a flat’s been really enlightening. Kind of boring, too. All the flats are either real dives – oh you wouldn’t believe some of the places we actually looked at living in – or too expensive or have girls living in them or a combination of all three. Also hard to look when you love where you are.

Your letter took 5 days to get to me. That’s pretty good. It’s around 5-9 days, most are 7-9. How long to mine take? I got one from Utah in 4 days!

I saw some Nottingham lace in the markets this week. It costs anywhere from 1-2.50 per yard. They have blinds mostly but said they could probably get curtains. There’s lots of styles to choose from and things you can do, so you may want to wait until you come over. If you give me exact dimensions of what you want, I can get you quotes easily. Couldn’t say about authenticity though. You can buy a Rolex in Korea for $10…

You asked about a typical day – I don’t have one. Up at 5.30 or 6.30, bed by 10.30-11. Lots in between. Plenty of biking and trains these days. Ah well, keeps me humble and under 200 pounds. Already had a few dashes to trains – exciting.

I haven’t got a letter from K yet and am wondering what’s up. She doesn’t have to be that unselfish. And I’ve written to her, so… Ah well. I could easily give up writing, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy, if I didn’t think I’d lose friends.

Gotta go, love to all, Elder Chris

PS Just got the package. Great, thanks so much! It took approx 2 weeks to get here. I’ll be in Banbury till Jan 31 I just found out.

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