One of the first things Elder Blackford said in his latest email was, “I find it hard to believe that I am considered at the ‘5 week mark.’” Wow can I hardly believe either! It seems like Elder Blackford just left, but he has been gone for about a month! It’s showing up in his emails too. The grammar and spelling have been getting slightly worse, so we know he must be getting better at Portuguese! He says,
I am officially at the state of "language limbo" where I really can’t speak English fluently anymore, and I can’t speak Portuguese fluently either—like all my dreams and thoughts at night are just a mixture of the two languages with an occasional Spanish word too. I get so confused that most of the time I really don’t know what I am saying, but it is ok because all of the other white people understand me, because everyone has the same problem.
The other good thing about that is that he is working and studying harder than he ever has in his life, so we know he is still as excited as ever to be there. He told us, “I have found some different type of study habits that I am using, such as walking up and down stairs while doing flashcards! That’s my new favorite.”
I think one of Elder Blackford’s favorite thing culturally so far is getting to know the Elders from another country. He’s always full of stories of the silly things he and “the Brazilians” are up to.
The nicknames still continue from the Brazilians to me, my name has changed from "Elder Fiesta" to "bambi" to "crazy white kid." I don’t even know how to type out some of the other stuff. I guess part of the reason they all are making names for me is because I sing in the shower with them, and they think it is the funniest stuff ever.
Although he’s having lots of fun, he really loves the Spirit there. Elder Blackford told us he was excited about a really good talk he heard, he loves going to the temple every week, and he’s thrilled to be teaching some lessons without having to write down everything he’s going to say. We are so proud of him! Not only does he have a burning desire to share the gospel, but he also gets to be himself while doing it, which he accurately described as “being energetic but not tooo over the top.”