Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hard Stuff

There were a lot of hard things about serving a two year mission. Some things were harder than others. I didn't have a hard time living on a small budget. Fellow Elders would cut my hair most of the time (unless there was a salon nearby with cute hair dressers), so I seldom spent money on haircuts. We were fed dinner (tea) by members of the church most of the time so we rarely had to purchase dinner items. I got used to eating cereal with boxed milk (Seriously. Boxed milk.) for breakfast most mornings and beans on toast for most lunches. Not bad at all.

I'll tell you what the hardest part of serving a mission was. Are you ready? Serving with crappy companions. Oh my goodness it sucked so bad. Usually, in Dublin, it's typical for an Elder to stay in one area for 2-5 months, with the average being 3 or 4. For example, an Elder transfers to an area and gets placed with another Elder who has already been in the area for a month or two. The missionaries serve together for another month or two and then the missionary who's been there the longest transfers out and a new missionary replaces him. That's typically how it works, but there are exceptions all the time. I was one of the missionaries who transferred around more frequently than other missionaries. At the time, I remember being told by other Elders, "Oh, you're the missionary who gets along with everyone so Prez keeps putting you with Elders who have had previous personality conflicts." I was flattered until the last month or two of my mission when my companion said, "Oh, you're the missionary that everyone struggles to work with so you keep getting moved around." Uh... wait. Really? Maybe... but I really doubt that was the case. I only hated one of my companions.

Sometimes I complained about my companion. Occasionally when I would tell another missionary that I struggled with my comp, they'd reply with something like, "Well, a mission is kind of like a marriage, Elder. If you can't get along with a companion for a couple of months how do you expect to get along with your spouse for all eternity? You need to learn patience and understanding so you can use those same qualities to strengthen your marriage when the time comes."

The first few time I received this advice, I thought, "Oh, man. That's so true. I need to try harder to prayerfully seek the Spirit in this companionship." Until one day, I realized something. I get to PICK my wife. The mission president doesn't assign her to me. Hello? Putting up with a companion using my towel or not rinsing his whisker juice out of the sink after shaving is nothing like having a wife. Plus there's no sex to cancel out the disagreements with my companion (at least there's not supposed to be). When I marry someone, I get to do stuff to her. When I fought with my companion, the best I could hope for was sharing Ramen. Not the same... unless we're talking about 9 1/2 Weeks or something... and I'm not.

-Calvin

28 comments:

Arianna N. McMillan said...

Shorter post than usual! Still entertaining though. nice.

Kate Weber said...

It's always fun to hear thoughts about your mission. I've heard people get that 'how can you get along with a wife if you can't get along with a companion' lecture come from a couple different RM's. I have always found that silly. Like you said: you get to choose your spouse. Silly people.

Monica said...

So very true.

Kristin Lee said...

You get to choose your wife, BUT you don't hand pick out all of her qualities. She'll end up having stuff that bugs the crap out of you. So I guess it's the same in that way.

Katie said...

Whisker juice? Gross. I don't even know what that is. Did you ever have any mentally insane companions? Like...clinically crazy? Okay, so I don't think that was the technical term, but it works. I don't recommend it. No offense to the mentally ill; they just shouldn't be on missions, that's all. Roughest 6 weeks of my life...and yes I learned a grew and blah, blah, blah...

Hank said...

Hmm...what do you do to Jake when you disagree?

Autumn said...

Hmmmmm....

Jessica said...

haha! Hank That was funny.

The Lady Girl said...

Positive: I'm pretty sure you weren't hard to deal with. I manage to be your friend just fine.

Negative: I found it disturbing when you said "I get to do stuff to her" T.M.I.

christa elyce said...

huge fan of your blog mormon bachelor pad! you'll find the woman of your dreams...and i hope you live happily ever after...not like your dublin comps.

also,...a giveaway that all my mormon chicks should know about!

http://www.jemappelles-christa.com/2010/02/je-mappelles-christa-giveaway.html

Nikki said...

Psycho companions sucked and missions don't even do marriage justice it's all a big fat lie. One of the biggest lies we are told in primary and YW and YM's. The hardest part on my mission was not wanting to "snog" the DL interviewing me in the primary room...oh yes Elder I am obedient, how about hittin' it?? No one is looking...:)N

M said...

As a valiant and publicly avowed defender of empowered womanhood, I'm sure Calvin fully intends to let her "do stuff to" him as well. ;-)

And I'm all kinds of crazy, but found a workable mix of medication and counseling that helped me get stable and mentally functional enough to serve my mission. And then 7 months in I got a transfer call, where Pres says, "Elder, I've got a project for you." That project turned out to an Elder with at least 50 pounds more muscle on him than I did who had had punched his last companion out in the street. Not sure exactly what he was SUPPOSED to be on, but he told me wasn't taking his meds cuz he didn't like the way they made him feel. Not sure how anything could've felt worse though considering what an aggressive and confrontational spirit-killer he was w/out them.

But since I'd been through somewhat similar issues myself pre-mission, I prayed for guidance and hoped to be able to work with him on it. Except my answer was a very clear "DO NOT TRY TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT!" After that I was REALLY freaked, but I was still blessed to get through our month and a half in safety. When he eventually attacked his next companion, the guy was just as twiggy as me, but turned out to be a Judo stud. So Elder Project got headlocked unconscious, then Prez got called and decided to send him home.

So yeah, to all my fellow mental mormons out there, just please try to get it together as much as you can before you go serve a mission. Don't be a Project.

Crystal said...

"When I marry someone, I get to do stuff to her."

You get do stuff TO her. Awesome. lol

lacey rose said...

what is it with all this missionary flashbacks & marriage crap? I liked reading the bachelor pad for a reason. cause you guys are bachelors. not bachelors thinking about marriage 24/7.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be the one to tell you this but there is nothing that says that your wife is not going to use your towel or leave whiskers (hopefully from shaving her legs) in the sink.

Rissy said...

"do stuff TO her?" hmm sounds like you're going to be a generous husband. Freudian slip?? or did you not even consider saying "WITH her?"

Rissy said...

"do stuff TO her?" hmm sounds like you're going to be a generous husband. Freudian slip?? or did you not even consider saying "WITH her?"

PushingDaisies said...

It took you 'a few times' of hearing that advice to realise you get to pick your wife?? Lol, that was the first thought that popped into mind reading that comment.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you didn't post my comment. Lame.

I thought you guys were cool but I was wrong. I guess you don't know the answer either. :(

Cajsa said...

So I am reading this post to my husband and he is laughing and agreeing with everything. Especially the last part! (about being able to choose your wife and make-up sex) and I said "You would get along with these guys if you ever met them in real life." He said "Yep! Probably!" My husband is picky when it comes to friends... but he likes how you tell the truth!

Cajsa said...

You know and all these people who are complaining about him saying "Doing stuff TO her" Talk to your husband or boyfriends because if you think they dont think these things you are SOOOOOOOO wrong! MEN ARE MEN! And they are that way for a reason!

Cajsa said...

Im an annoying commenter today but I was wondering if you had heard?? My sister went to the Dublin Ireland Mission (long time ago) and she said its now getting disolved and being made part of a Scottish mission!!

20 Something said...

I like this post. It was short, not womanizing, and still pretty funny.

Tiffany said...

My husbands whisker juice drives me crazy too. But like you said I get to do stuff to him and visa versa so it really cancels out washing the sinks.

Blazzer said...

I think the point of the old, "If you can't get along with your comp..." saying is that you are learning patience. You will need a lot of patience and understanding when you are married.

The wisdom in learning that with people you don't like and would never choose to marry is that it makes you better overall.

Like a baseball player who lifts 50 pound dumbbells to make his arms strong so that he can throw a quarter pound baseball. Practice on harder stuff (comps) so that the important stuff (wife) is easier.

This is my favorite Calvin post. Funny, short, and man-like.

-Blazzer

YMA said...

So I'll be honest, the whole "i get to do stuff to her" kinda got me goin ;)

And I totally sympathize with you being transferred so much. I thought I was the best sister until I got wind that I was actually the "sister killer" cause all my companions went home...haha! I'm really not that bad, I promise.

Heather Guymon said...

Ha my husband shares this philosophy to an extent. Basically he learned a LOT of patience on his mission because he had a LOT of BS that happened to him, mostly at the hand of his mission president. When he married me, it was God's way of saying "Here ya go Shane, you learned patience and got SO good at it you get to have THIS for eternity!"

It makes sense but yeah, you get to PICK the woman and sex...well...sex is awesome.

Anonymous said...

the difference between being married and being a missionary and living on a small budget is

1 - you are sharing that money with another person (and eventually an entire family)

and
2 - your biggest concern is not how to make the money last by eating cheap food (like it is when you're a missionary), it is -how are we going to pay for these doctor bills, and get the car fixed, and pay the mortgage, and buy food this month?

so it is sort of like a mission but not really.