Friday, May 25, 2012

Important Words From Annalee!!!!

Important words from Annalee

Jari's P.O. Box has changed! So if you are wanting to write Jari this is her new address.

Sister Jarinete Thomas Santos
MTC Mailbox #210
NJ-MOR 0716
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Happy writing.

Mission Log: May 25, 2012

So. It's official. I'm in the intermediate Spanish class. Want to know what that means? It means that my MTC life got turned upside down and that I'm still here for 9 weeks. I have a new companion, Hermana King. She's lived lots of places (including central Florida) but right now she's claiming Alabama AND she went to BYU-I. She is so incredibly sweet and our teaching styles work well together. I also have a new room at the MTC. I live with my companion and then 3 other sisters, two of them are from Mexico so I hear a lot more Spanish now. I have a new district, a new zone, and a new branch. And I have a new P-day, which is why I am able to e-mail home twice this week.
My new teachers (Hermano Johnson and Hermano Walton) make fun of me all the time, because whenever I think I'm starting to speak Spanish and get really excited they have to break my heart by telling me that I was actually just speaking Portuguese again. But hey, good news I actually know a lot more Portuguese than I ever gave myself credit for. Funny how that has decided to manifest itself now of all times. My branch President served his mission in Brazil, worked at BYU for 32 years teaching Portuguese, and served as mission president in Brazil so he and I speak sometimes. He asked me if I wanted to move to the advanced Spanish class so that I can get out of the MTC in 3 weeks. I laughed.
My new district is great. The boys...I mean elders...are really funny and easy to get along with. Sometimes they sing more rap than they should, but we're all getting along well. In different ways I see my little brother in each of them, which makes it easy to love them...and to tease them, and to tell them to shape up.
I still haven't learned how not to refer to myself as "Jari" which gets me a lot of weird looks, especially when I introduce myself incorrectly to our mock investigators. Oh well, I really like my name. I can't help if I like to hear it every once in a while. But I'm sure I'll start refering to myself as "Hermana Santos" at some point.
There isn't too much else that is exciting around here. Although, I would like to say to all you crazies who promised me happiness on chicken cordon bleu day, y'all are liars. It was straight up awful. The salad and wrap station though, they are glorious.
OH!!! I met someone after my own heart yesterday, in the wrap line actually, he's half Portuguese and is learning Spanish. So basically we have the exact same problem of understanding really easily but sounding like idiots whenver we open our mouths. So glad that I'm not alone.
We got a new batch of missionaries yesterday. One of my efy boys is here now. Horray Elder Jimmy Davidson! He's going to be a fantastic missionary. It's so crazy that less than a year ago he was at SVU playing guitar and leading our group at game night. Oh how things have changed.
By the way, thank you thank you THANK YOU to all who have written me letters or dear elder letters ( is pretty much the greatest thing ever!). It's really nice to hear things from the outside world. I try to respond quickly, so if you haven't received anything from me go yell at your mailman because I promise I've written you back.
That's all for now. Love you all.
Hermana Santos

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mission Log: May 21, 2012

I made it to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) safe and sound. Cool facts, one of the elders who helped me with my bags was from Brazil and one of my companions is from Adelaide, Austrailia. So it was like I had a tiny piece of my parents here with me on the first day. I'm terrible at learning Spanish, and I'm terrible at calling myself "Hermana Santos." Other than that things are going well. I'm in a trio companionship. One of my companions is from Adelaide, like I said and the other is from Springville Utah. Their names are Hermana Kirk and Hermana Merrerly respectively. I have pictures of everyone, but I forgot my camera in my room so I'll have to send those next week. But, yeah, so the's like the a little city of missionaries all running around super excited and super confused about everything. Depending on who you walk by you'll here "hey, how are you" in a range of languages in incredibly peppy tones. It's great. My teacher is Hermana Clark and guess where she's from? Morristown, New Jersey. And her grandparents are serving there right now. She gave me permission to adopt them. Which will be nice because I haven't met anyone else going to NJ yet. (Hermana Kirk is going to Argentina and Hermana Messerly is going to KY). What else? Oh, 19 year old boys. Everywhere! I don't really understand them, or their humor...but they're sweet and they love the work they're doing. They'll all be fantastic missionaries I'm sure.
Most exciting thing that's happened so far? My first night there was a fire drill because someone killed a bag of popcorn in the microwave.
Oh, and my Jari-self is still alive and kicking. Story time, I used to get teased a lot at BYUI because of how many people I knew and I couldn't walk on campus without stopping to talk to at least one person. The same is true at the MTC. I've ran into 3 teachers that I know from when I lived in Utah (they are all wonderful and it warmed my heart to see them!), Harrison Reid, a girl from my ward at BYUI, and a couple other randoms. My companions are getting annoyed with it, oops.
Hmm...what else? Oh, yeah! I'm an idiot. You would think that since I was leaving for 18 months that I would have thought to pack a couple pajamas, or t-shirts at least. But alas, I did not. I also forgot a laundry hamper, a bath robe, and a slew of other things.
I don't really know what else to say about the MTC because mostly I study a lot and talk in Spanish a lot, and that doesn't make for very exciting stories. Oh. Wait. Here's a story. So I don't speak Spanish, right. But apparently I have the teachers here fooled because they had me take a test to see if I should move to the intermediate class...and it looks like that is what will be happening. So...that will be interesting. I mostly just jumble up the Spanish and Portuguese I know and make up the rest, but apparently it's working for me. Hopefully the Spanish speakers in New Jersey feel the same, though they probably won't.
Okay. I think that's all I've got. I'm happy, I'm healthy, I'm a missionary.
OH! Wait! One more thing. Do you want to know why being a girl is awesome? Because you get (I use that word loosely) to wake up a half and hour earlier than everyone else and go to a special exercise class everyday! Whoo hoo. Ha. Well actually they classes are fun...but really I'd rather sleep and eat peanut butter. Oh well.
Last thing. If anyone wants to send me a letter from I'll get them the same day, but PLEASE include your address if you do, otherwise I won't know where to send a responding letter.

Words from Annalee:
If you are wanting to send a DearElder to Jari you will need this info.

MTC Box #: 251
Mission Code or Mission: NJ-MOR 0716 
Estimated MTC Departure Date: 07/18/2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

She's Outta Here

It's taken me almost two years to get to this point, and after prayers and trials and travels it's finally here. In about 4 hours I will be set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don't even fully understand the meaning of that role, and how I will be made to fill it. What I do know is that despite all the chaos that accompanied the making and following through of this decision that I have felt constant peace. I know that I am doing what is right for me at this time. So off I go with this as my compass:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3: 5-6  

Oh, before I forget. If you want to keep up with me this blog will be maintained by my mother and sister with excerpts from e-mails that I'll be able to send them. AND if you're really cool you can find my address on the right and send me a letter. Catch you in 18 months. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Life Lately

Let's jump back to December for just a moment. I was trying to make a lot of difficult life choices back then. One day I was applying for grad programs, the next I was going to work as a country director for HELP International, another day I would be making elaborate travel plans, and a day later I was on to something else. The whole process was becoming exhausting, this was especially true for my parents. One day my dad called me and said frankly (more frankly than I would have liked) "Jari, you're 22 years old. It's time to grow up and make a decision so pick whichever one is right and stick to it. You're done flip-flopping around." So I thought a lot about it, I prayed about it, and that night I decided that the plan that I liked best, and the one that felt the most right was to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So that's what I am doing. On May 16th I will report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah then approximately 9 weeks later I will head to the Morristown, New Jersey Mission. So there you have it, I am capable of making decisions and I'm rather excited about this one.

Since I am reporting just a little over a month from when I graduated I decided to play pretty much the entire time in-between the two. First stop, Utah. I only stayed two days but I was able to visit with some of my most favorite people chatting, eating, and enjoying the lovely spring weather. Brenna made a delicious Easter dinner, Michelle taught me how to skip a rock, Holly and I had a lovely chat, and Sean even recounted all his favorite things about Utah and college life. Those were three days well spent. 

Second stop, Chicago. I wanted to spend time with my dear friend, Courtney. She is getting married in August to another friend of mine, Israel. Since I decided to serve a mission I will no longer be able to stand as her bridesmaid which breaks my heart. I still wanted to be a small part of the planning and see her before I left. We spent the week trying food and exploring the venue for her reception, shopping for dresses with the bridesmaids, laughing at wedding comedy movies in the man cave, baking treats, and oohing and awing over shoes, cakes, and Ryan Gosling. I adore Courtney and her family, they are so fun-loving and easy to get along with. Thank you again Shade family for letting me join in on the fun for a week. 

Now I'm home in perfect, sunny, wonderful Florida. About a week ago my aunt and uncle flew in from Brazil so we headed off to the emerald coast for five days. Make that 7 Brazilians, 3 Americans, 4 Halvsies, and 1 RV. It was a party. Lots of beach volleyball, frescoball, fruit, golden corral stops, made up sign language/English/Portuguese/Spanish communication, singing, and lots of laughing. I'm rather fond of hanging out with my huge, crazy family. Of course there is no such thing as a vacation without an adventure, so it shouldn't have been a surprise when the RV broke down for a little bit. Luckily everything got fixed and we were able to all travel back home together, and we definitely made the most of it. You haven't lived until you've had a traveling karaoke night complete with dance instruction courtesy of my father. It was a happy vacation full of sweet memories and gorgeous scenery. I'm so lucky to live in such a beautiful state. 

You would think that maybe I'd slow down for just a second, but that would be completely out of character. The first night back from the beach my family "surprised" me with tickets to the Lion King Broadway tour. I'm terrible about finding out about surprises just barely too early, but at least we had an extra ticket and were able to surprise Blake's mom, Liz. Surprise or not the show was beautiful. The Lion King has always been one of my favorite movies, and the show was just that more striking and emotional. Personally I feel that there are so many levels past entertainment and towards spiritual that the story line is capable of covering. If you ever have a chance it see to I would definitely recommend it. 

And the adventure continues...

Before the 16th the agenda still includes a Honduran dinner, two Brazilian dinners (can you tell my family is into food), scuba diving, blueberry picking, and a little Utahan get together with some family there. Life lately is pretty good.