Monday, September 22, 2014

Canada, Eh?

Elder Lloyd & Elder Ritz standing on Mount Royal in Montreal.

Bonjour ma famille!

First off, I am writing on a French keyboard, so pardon my grammatical errors. Second, I already love it here! It's sooooooo nice to be out of the MTC! It's good to be back in the eastern time zone, as well. Also, I loved seeing the pictures from that BYU game! I can't believe Riley got on ESPN! Better be careful though, I don't think BYU would have a football team anymore if they played an SEC team, let alone Bama.

The trip here went pretty well, aside from the fact that I didn't get my check-in bags until a day later! They came on a later flight, but that had me and a few other missionaries pretty stressed out. The city here is so beautiful, lots of cathedrals almost everywhere you look and almost everything is in French! It's crazy how many languages are spoken here! And so many different types of people live here from all of the world. It definitely is like the French New York! The drivers and roads here are pretty crazy though--don't worry mom, we are being careful. The weather here is pretty nice right now...there were a few cold days, though. They felt like a Georgia day in January, so I'm definitely in for a beating this winter. We are going to get winter clothes after this email actually.

My new companion is Elder Norman, a California boy who has been here for 15 months. I really hope I can speak French like he can by that point in my mission because right now I am pretty limited as far as conversations go. We have been working with a Haitian family...the mom's name is Geraldine, and they are pretty close to baptism. She has 4 kids and a sweet little grand-daughter, as well. We are actually having Family Home Evening with them at the bishop's house tonight. The members here are soooooo nice, and we have already been to see a few families! We are definitely trying to get used to our new area because my companion and I are re-opening this area up after it was closed down for a transfer, so the members are eager to see elders again. We are in a place called Longueil, right off the island of Montrèal. We can see the entire city from the roads we drive down, and it is beautiful. Our ward is called the Lemoyne East ward. The members here are so diverse. It's definitely a testimony builder just to see all the diversity.

We are staying in a member's grandma's basement right now. We call her grandma. She has been housing missionaries for almost 20 years, and she is not even a member herself. But she says she loves to have the missionaries staying in the basement. I think it's incredible that she has been doing it for so long, and she is sooooo nice and tells some pretty great stories.

The people here say I sound like I'm from France. They say I have a French accent when I speak because I articulate my words really well. Sorry Kaitlyn, but it looks like I speak the better French...TELL RYAN I SAID HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOO!

I am still trying to adjust to life here, but I am enjoying being immersed in the diverse culture. Our area is heavily French, but most people here are bilingual. It's weird driving on the street and seeing everything in French, but I love it. Hopefully the language learning comes quick for me. Going to church was such a testimony builder to meet people from all over the world and to attend a church entirely in another language. It just reminds me how unified people all over the world can be through the gospel--it really is just incredible.

Also, the milk here comes in plastic bags...wut

I am loving the experience so far and am working as hard as I can! I just gave my second blessing to someone while out here on my mission as well! So many growing experiences! I wish I had time to fully explain them all! Rest assured, I am working hard and loving every minute of it! I will email y'all next week and send a few pictures)!

Love, Elder Cody Warren Ritz

ps: For mailing packages, mail them to the mission office address. They get delivered to us monthly. For letters that need to get to me quicker, just send them to grandma's house (our house). The mail will need two stamps instead of one. Mom, you should have the mailing information sheet.

pps: The camera battery charger doesn't work. Soooooooooo, I have no camera. Send me a new camera soon if ya want pics, mother!

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