Well, here comes the new Blog...
Yeah. You heard me. The Amazon Mission Blog. Go to http://missionmanaus.blogspot.com. And enjoy.
Let me give you a rundown. It's entitled "Rua Itauba." Literally translated, that would be Itauba street. I lived on that street for seven months in a little apartment on the edge of the Amazon Rain Forest, sandwiched between the mightiest river in the world and the most expansive green you've ever seen: The Selva. The breathing, heaving mass that stretched for thousands of kilometers in every direction. It was always there--always a brief walk away, always waiting, always inviting. And yet, it played a subdued role in my life. What went on in the steaming pavement of Manaus shaped me forever.
Like I explained earlier, this blog will be written as if I were a Missionary once again. Blow by blow. High by high. Down by down. Every day will be a "Day in the Life of..." as it mostly was. I'm culling this all from actual journal accounts, letters to friends and family, memory, and second-hand accounts. I want this to be an exploration into what it means to be a Mormon missionary, a 19-year-old suburban-bred boy, and an American thrust into a foreign culture, a tropical environment and a third world country...literally a stranger in a strange land. I will not hold back. Some who read this may be personally involved, and may be surprised, offended, or (hopefully) touched by what I write. I hope they may forgive some of my superficialities, first-impressions, and juvenile feelings and actions. I was and continue to be an unreliable narrator--everything is skewed from my perspective and my narrow conception of the present. I hope to temper that with hindsight and the little bit of wisdom I've gleaned in the ensuing six years, but I will not spoil the raw emotions and thoughts that came to me at the time. What I'm engaging in is a dangerous balancing act between truth and fiction that may be trickier than you can believe. While I may hope for something akin to a bio-pic or documentary, the result may have to be a compromise: creative non-fiction.
As this is meant to be a two-year perspective, hopefully the readers will be patient and stick with me, learn with me, grow with me, and love with me. Most importantly, I'm doing this for me. I hope to preserve what all this meant to me, and share something I loved so much with everyone I can touch.
Tomorrow marks six years that all of this happened--enough time to get some perspective on everything that happened and proximate enough that I can still remember people, events, places, smells, etc.
It's really the smells that got me...