Okay, for the rest of my trip:
My companion, Elder Komulainen, came with the office elders to the airport. When I met up with them, Elder K snapped a photo. I'll try to get that from him. We got in the van, and went to the mission office, on the grounds of the London Temple. During the drive, I got somewhat startled once when the Elder in the passenger seat (the left front) turned around to talk to me. I was like, "eyes on the road, driver!", but he wasn't driving.
Oh, ~ The letter you got was from President Swinton, right? He left last week, so now we have President Shamo. He's cool, too. I'm glad you got those pictures, though. President Swinton is probably back in Salt Lake looking for clients, now. He's a lawyer.**
Anyway, the day I got there was something called a Temple Conference. They don't happen often, I'm told. It's similar to a Zone Conference, but at the temple. Just recently, the London Temple got a Visitor's Center (the only one in Europe, according to reports), so President Swinton taught us there. Then we did a session, and had lunch at the temple cafeteria (very good food) then President & Sister Swinton taught a good-bye-type lesson. The zone leaders told some "Pres' Dawg" stories about things President Swinton did, and afterwards we went home. I live very near the Thames river. Google my address sometime. Tell Josie to, with the kids, or Carmen or Maya, if Josie's out. Oh, and write a snail mail letter to me, too, if you can. Just one as a family.
To answer your other questions:
- Elder Komulainen--to whom I am guessing Papá is referring by "Elder Alvar Aalto"--does not speak Chinese beyond "ni hao" ("hello"). Just Finish and English.
- The area I'm in now ("Welling"; Google it, if you like) there are not a ton of Chinese-speakers. There are lots of people from Nigeria and other African countries. Also, Indian, Nepalese, and "Chav"-- (poor white type), very like the low-life white type in Utah ... it's sad. But it's okay. (I meant to send you a picture today of the Book of Mormon shelf we have with tons of languages but I forgot the cord to connect my camera, so I'll send those next week).
- There are about 160 missionaries. About 7 Mandarin, as far as I've been told. I've only seen 4, (all at the Temple Conference). ~ There are at least 2 assigned spanish elders. There are elders from Finland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, the U.S., England, and I think I've met one from Poland. One just went home from Romania. There's another from there, too, I think. But as far as assignments go, I've only heard of English, Spanish, and Mandarin (which is pronounced /man-duh-REEN/ out here).
Yeah, have everyone write notes for the medicine box. Have them write them now, so they'll be done when you send the medicine. Mailing a lot of letters would be too expensive, of course, so send all you can in the packages.
I'm sure you've already thought of all that, though, so, whatever.
One min left. Love, ecmj
Oh, p.s. Tell Carmen and Maya to take the time to capitalize when they email the King of Convention, the Grammar Guru, the one and only me. :¬P Thanks. Bye.
** Sure-ease thought: Good thing he left Provo abruptly 2 weeks early ~ Because that put him there in time for the "Changing of the Guards" as far as mission presidents go, as well as that temple conf -which both would be good opening experiences for Calvin.