June 29, 2009

First word from LONDON!!

Dear family and friends:
Although Calvin's planned MTC departure date was July 6th or possibly later (based on recent visa delays and experiences of others) - He found out last Tuesday around dinner time, that he was "shipping out" the following morning first thing!! He was allowed a 10 min call to us at 9 pm Tues night. He sounded great - happy, excited, shocked, and a bit nervous about heading to England alone (he'd avoided ever flying before now) - but he sounded full of faith, to be sure... without which, he would've never left home last April.
So for me, (and it's ALL about ME) it was a very LONG 5 + days waiting for confirmation that he'd arrived in England - even with YW's camp to keep my mind off of him. But as usual with that boy, when nudged/compelled into doing something he's resisted and avoided (like an airplane) - once pushed into a pool, he swims to the edge, gets out, drys off, and that's that! (Often later, he doesn't even remember being resistant). ... Unmistakably - Koki's genes.


Mucho love and campfire smell to each of you,

(FYI ~ reminder for some of you that his London assignment includes learning and preaching in the Mandarin language - hence his mention of those he met that had served in Taiwan.)

From: Koki
To: Calvin
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Subject: That's my boy

(Koki -the anti-blogger, wrote 5 GREAT sentences to Calvin that I will not post until i have his consent :D - but he asked Calvin to tell him ALL the details; from the time he hung up with us until the time he woke up his first morning in England. And so, he did! When does THAT ever happen?)

Mon, Jun 29, 2009 5:15 AM (mtn time)

Re: "That's my boy" & "hello out there?"

All the details would be somewhat tough to include in this email. I don't have a lot of time. But here are some good ones: I was up 'til 11:30ish Tues night packing, with the help of two other elders in my district (Elders Gania and Johnson). Then we went to bed. We woke up at 5:30 am, and I got ready, and a few other elders in the zone woke up and said good bye (remind me to tell you more about that sometime), then the same 2 and I went to the bus. I was the only one heading to England. There were other missionaries going to Canada, (English and Korean), I believe. There may have even been some going to Korea. Then we all drove up to Salt Lake airport, and I checked in and whatever, and I went to Gate D2 (I think), and I met some people there, one of whom had gone to Taiwan on his mission. Then I got on a plane to Cincinnati, Ohio. It was not a big plane. Delta. B737. My camera was pretty much out of battery by that time, so I don't have any pictures. Bummer, but whatev'. As we took off, I realized we'd fly over the Mississippi river. I wrote some things down in my reporter's moleskine, like "planes look ricketier up close", which they do. It was fun though. Then I flew. After a while, we did fly over the Mississippi, and other rivers, too. Le'me say, the East may have no clue what mountains are, but they know how to make rivers. I had a 4 1/2 hour layover in Cincinnati, and I met another former Taiwan missionary (both were rather old, by the way; 70ish, by my guess). I also talked to a lady named Megan for a while about missions, and the Book of Mormon. It was cool. Then, we got on the plane to the airport in Gatwick, London, England. I watched the sun "set" ('cause we were flying north/north-eastish over Quebec and such) and saw that "Escape to Witch Mountain" was the movie, though I did not have headphones, nor permission to watch it. I had the dinner (which is actually not as bad as people say; also, I had a Fresca with it) and, after 2ish hours (after the movie had ended, I think), I fell asleep. When we were over England already, I woke up. We couldn't see it, because of clouds. The plane eventually landed, (not too late) and we got off. Then I stood in a huge line for people with not-EU passports. When it was my turn, they weren't sure if I was okay. But after not too long, they figured everything out. So I exchanged the money I had in my pockets ([dollar sign]52.oo) for Pounds (£25.something). Then I got my luggage. At the bagclaim or whateverit'scalled, a family greeted me and asked where I was going. They were members. After a short conversation, they handed me an American bill. I thanked them and then again thanked them, and then I continued on. After a little while, I looked at the bill. Le'me ask you something: Who gives a stranger [dollar]1oo.oo bill in London? Evidently, the answer is charitable LDS.
Then--after a brief walk--I met the missionaries who came to pick me up. I'll pick up from there next week (if you remind me).

Quickly, here are some pictures. One of my "flat" building, another of my trainer (Elder Komulainen from Finland).

Speaking of where I live, here it is:

80 Longacre House
Pettacre Close

Finally, Mom, I read yours too and enjoyed it very much. I will give you details as to first impressions of England in the next email, I imagine. It's less time covered, but more experiences. It's fun.
Thanks, love, and see you.


From: Cherie
To: Calvin
Date: Sunday - 6/28/09 5:30 pm
Subject: Hello Out There?

Hi Calvin mijo,

I've been thinking about you and praying for you all week...
I got back from YW's camp late yesterday - and lived to tell about it :D ... but i still have NO idea if YOU survived flying and lived to tell about it! -

I must resign myself to the "No news is good news", I guess.
We are actually at Omar's right now. -- It was Jacob's day to speak in church!
Basically, everyone has left but us - Melinda & gang are coming back and we're making another meal later-(although we did enjoy filling chuchitos hours ago). We're "chilling" downstairs in the family room. Maya ran with Kristen to go feed her new puppies and get her train game (ticket to ride?) she's been wanting us to play since last Dec - Ashton is happily creating with a bucket of Lego, Papá is snoring on the couch as if HE went to camp, and several others are watching "Nanny McPhee"-(some for the first time). It just happened to start after a championship soccer game - and strangely we had just been reminded of it this morning in church when someone quoted a good line of the nanny's when she asks the children, "Are you willing to accept the consequences of your choices?" (Emma Thompson always rocks).

Mia Shalom was beautiful!! You'd be pleased to know that i took lots of close-up pictures of wildflowers on our long hike - their amazing detail is facinating to me. Oh, yeah - we were w/out a small camera again after you left, so i researched with Csmr Rprts and got a little Cannon, using up a $60 Best Buy in-store credit. (Hooray, i followed through!).

Camp was a huge success from my perspective, because much good took place - the YW showed love, felt love, and included whomever needed it at the moment. They pitched in, worked hard, and participated -- all w/out complaining!! Your 3 sisters were angels - really. Josie, Lizzie, Tori, & Renee did an amazing job of providing leadership, love, and example... and the adult leaders - both stake and ward, did a great job of setting up moments that encouraged the building of faith and testimony!!! (and FUN) Pres Bell was great with them all too. You'd have loved witnessing it all - miracles - many miracles.

I'll sign off - i've more to write but understand your limits on time.
I can't wait to hear about your adventures... and your first impressions of the UK!


PS -I want to send photos soon -Maya tells me she took a 17 min video of me -crazy dancing w/ YW, but I'm still denying its existence. We miss your fast AV skills... (We all wanted to view camp pics last night but not ONE of us had enough patience or energy to troubleshoot difficulties w/ the connection between the camera and TV) - I heard Papá tell a relative today that Sean will be home in 99 days - ... so maybe you'll get photos after that!


Amie said...

What a great beginning. He sounds like he's doing so well. And, what a great story to put in his journal as a start to his mission. I wish we knew who that family was that gave him the money. That's incredible! Hooray for missionaries!

Cherie said...

...and years from now, who more than Calvin will want to randomly do the same for a newbie Elder he stumbles upon in an airport far from either of their homes!!

Sue said...

I loved the details and especially, the story of the $100! What a blessing - and Calvin, will no doubt, do the same one day.

Sandy said...

Awesome story! I'm so excited for him...
You're so lucky he gives you such detail in his emails! My boys always were in too big of a hurry to do that!

Tara said...

So glad that he arrived safely in England,, the perfect place to lose one's flying virginity! I am sure he will have the opportunity to pay it forward many times over as he serves the lucky people in London town. Cheers, Calvin.