WHAT UP FAM!!!!! GREETINGS FROM PORTUGAL!!!!! Oh man. I´m in Portugal fam. PORTUGAL: HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.
Let me explain how this happened. We got all of beautiful, perfect flight plans changed around at the last second and had a overnight flight to NYC, a 12 HOUR LAYOVER in New York, an overnight to Madrid (where all the police officers walk around with giant riffles. I didn´t know what to do with myself) and then LISBON! Where we had exactly 12 seconds to try and not look like hobos (I didn´t succeed) and then meet the prez and our trainers and go to our areas. WHAT!!! Let me just say: jet lag is real fam. Jet lag is real.Also I wish you people understood how difficult it is to type on Portuguese keyboards so you could appreciate me writing this email right now. Hashtag strugglessssssBUT ANYWAY. Portugal. I am here. It is an absolute dream. The streets are all cobblestone and beautiful and everything is beautiful. My trainer is Sister Pereira, she´s from France, and I´m 98% sure she´s an actual, real-life angel. Seriously, she is so unbelievably patient with me and my mega sketch Portuguese my exhausted-ness and my complete inability to be effective, she´s obedient as heck and she loves everyone. She´s a dream come true. It´s also a blessing because she wants to work on her English, and so in the casa we´re supposed to speak English. SCORE
Our area is Gaia, where we share a ward with a set of elders and two other sisters. We live in a CRAZY NICE (two bathrooms fam!!!!) appartment with the other sisters, Sister Harper and Baugh, who are hilarious and my favorite. Gaia is by Porto (in the North) and it´s seriously AWESOME. It´s beautiful and the people here are crazy nice. Especially the ward, the ward is SO COOL and willing to do missionary work and the bispo is so awesome. I feel crazy crazy crazy blessed!Now, shall we talk about the language for a minute?? Ottimo. Let me just say, I knew I was great at Portuguese when I left the MTC, but I thought I had a somewhat decent grasp of the language. NOT TRUE FAM. I swear to goodness it sounds like everyone speaks Russian here. I can read pretty well, and my accent is way off but I can speak it okay, but seriously, I understand NOTHING. Ever. Nada. My ability to contact starts and ends with "bom dia". And heaven forbid, if someone asks me a question??!?!?! I just smile sweetly and let Sister Pereira talk, like I´m a mute or something. At least I´ve gotten used to the feeling of understand nothing, eh? It´s tough, not going to lie. But still, I love the people here and I´m very very blessed, and I understand a little more everyday, so maybe by the end of the mission I´ll have this Portuguese thing down.Now for a fun segment I call THINGS I´VE LEARNED ABOUT PORTUGAL. Get excited folks, this is crazy stuff right here:1. I am very white. Very white. And the people here all know it. It doesn´t matter how well I can fake a Portuguese greeting, people will still ask me if I´m from the US, try to use their English on me, and then tell me I need to get to the Algrave (beaches) for a little sun. Gee, obrigada.2. The toilets are big enough to have full-sized whales swim through them to the sewer system. I am 90% sure about this.3. The people are CRAZY nice. They usually reject our street contacts, but they get excited by our big smiles and smile just as big back, and then when they reject us they say "ta bom, ta bom, obrigada, obrigada" over and over.4. "Bejihnos" are a thing. Little kisses. Ya know, the kiss on each cheek? I give about 40 of those a day to all the cute little old ladies. I also have to avoid the kisses from old men several times a day.5. Portuguese people are very blunt. This can be a good thing, like when they told me my Portuguese was good for someone who just got here, or it can be a bad thing, like with the men who tend to like blondes since they don´t see them very often. I get a lot of weird comments. Good thing I don´t understand em, eh?6. Everyone has bad teeth7. Everyone speaks English better than I speak Portuguese8. Everything kind of smells weird9. The food can either be real good (examples: meat cake, the fish, others) or really bad (some weird tuna rice thing we had to eat a million portions of)10. THE PASTRIES. ARE. EVERYTHING.Anyway, there ya go, some fun facts. We have a couple of investigators, including Claudia, Jose e Sonia, Gesuino, Carlos, and Vitor. The problem is, pratically none of them progress or come to church or anything like that, but they like meeting with us so there´s something I guess. Jose and Sonia were at church yesterday though, they know about half the people in our ward already (!!!!!!!!) and we´re inviting them to be baptized tonight with high hopes. Pray fam!! Pray muito!!Yesterday we had a 70 member at church and I´m pretty sure it was awesome, but ya know, I understood nothing so I couldn´t tell you. We got to each dinner at a member´s home, Ulisses and his familiy, and he LOVES speaking English so it was literally a dream come true. Finally, someone I can be friends with! Today we went into Porto for Pday and it was absolutely UNREAL. Seriously. Wait until I send the pictures, yall will die. I also tried my first pastry and I´m pretty sure I shed some tears while it happened. So good.Anyway, I´m basically out of time, but I love all of you lots and lots and lots and lots and THANKS TO ALL for your emails!! I wish I had time to write back to all of yall, but probs not. Know that I love reading your emails and don´t stop with the life updates por favor!!MUCH LOVE AND BEJIHNOS FAM!!!Sister Parkinson