September 13, 2011
Greetings from........ESCONDIDO!!! I am working here in the northern part of Escondido with Elder Thomas, who was the Spanish district leader in San Clemente two transfers ago when I was with Elder Carey. . .
I was able to see a lot of great families on Sunday that I remembered from a year ago (although neither they nor I can believe that it was a year ago...it feels like yesterday). . . .
Yes, we were part of the huge blackout (hidden blessing: I was able to learn the Spanish word for 'blackout,' apagón). About 4:30 pm we were walking down the street talking to people and realized the cell phone wasn't working anymore (frustrating) and then as we were talking to people we realized the power was out. At first we thought that it was just the apartment complex we were in, and then we realized it was all of Escondido, then we realized that it was all of San Diego County, and finally we were informed of the complete range of the blackout. It was intense. We drove to the Church building to use the landline phone in the clerk's office because our cell phones were unreliable and spent the next couple hours trying to get a hold of the missionaries in the zone, because we were told to go in early that night for safety (sisters in at 7, elders in before the sun goes down). It was crazy. By the time we were back at the apartment, we had accounted for all the missionaries and we could call President Cook to report back, our cell phone had died, so we had to knock on our neighbors door and use their phone (finding out in the process that our neighbors had talked to missionaries years ago and that they had recently had a death in the family). We were given permission to go to bed early (once-in-a-mission opportunity), and then when we woke up the next morning, the power was back.
We were joking about how worried our families were about us. We imagined our parents having mental images of us being mugged in the anarchal streets of downtown Escondido (except my parents didn't even know where I was), when in reality we were sitting safely on the porch in our apartment, eating Safeway-brand mini ravioli out of the can, and looking at the unusually visible stars (usually in southern California, the constant light pollution makes it hard to see stars). It destroyed the night we had planned (we had several appointments that had to be canceled), but we came out alive, so that's good. . . .