October 29, 2012

...more from the dengue girl

Hi peeps,

I am happy to report that I am doing much better with the dengue. I basically was in bed for the entire week except to email you last week and go to the lab a couple of times. I did make it to Sacrament Meeting yesterday. Today I went to the office to pick up my mail and we ate Pizza Hut and got frozen yogurt with Hermana Ball and her companion. I am still regaining my strength back and after email I am going to read my mail and take a nap. People have been calling and checking in on me all week. I have been in my jammies all week too. We are going to the temple tomorrow which will be nice. Dengue stinks and it was probably the worst week of my entire life being sick. (When I say, the worst week of my life, it wasn´t that bad, but I can´t think of a time of when I was as sick. I remember having the flu for a week in 9th grade and that´s the closest I could come up with. But I wish I would have had my marshmallow bed.) I didn´t eat for basically a week and just tried to stay hydrated. I threw up once. Everyone says I look real skinny. I weighed myself at the office and I am down some more. I told Hermana Hernandez and Hermana Eickbush it´s called the dengue diet. It was good seeing them at the office. They were glad to see I was still alive. President said, “resucit√≥” or like I had been resurrected ...funny! Anyways, I have stayed in contact with the doctor who his really nice and he said I don´t need any more lab work and by the end of the week I should be pretty normal but that sometimes it can take that long to get your strength back. Thanks for the prayers and stuff. When I didn´t want to eat anything I kept reminding myself of the food I will be enjoying after I get home. But I am doing much better and up and about. It´s been kind of a weird transfer with the illnesses and all. It is hard to feel like getting into much of a routine when I haven´t been doing normal missionary stuff for a while. Crazy. I am ready to be rid of this dengue nonsense and I should be fully recuperated for the trip home. I still need to buy some souvenirs next p-day, then we are having an hermana activity our last real p-day, and then I´ll be in the office. Sweet! So I wasn´t feeling up to a conference the mission had on Saturday with Elder Zwick of the seventy, so the other hermanas had to give us a report. He did talk about the numbers since the new missionary ages were announced. Apparently 11,000 papers have been received in these 3 weeks or so and normal is 500 or 600 every week. 2000 were from sisters just in Utah and 1500 international sisters. Our mission, which I think has 160-ish missionaries, will be increasing soon to 250. He said that one day he will speak with a group of missionaries and half will be hermanas ...pretty sweet! So I guess there are going to be a lot more sister missionaries which is good since our mission numbers for sisters are dwindling. It will be interesting to see what happens and what new missions they will create. The other hermanas were real excited with his talk. The hermanas stayed in a little with the storm. It´s nice having the other hermanas around while I’m stuck in the house. We had lots of thunder and lightning but nothing too bad. The power did get knocked out that affected our water one morning but they got that fixed up. I haven´t been doing anything, not even dominoes or writing letters. My letter writing is getting real lame. I could barely get up and go to the bathroom. Yesterday, I took a shower to get ready for church and that about did me in. I had to take a little nap afterwards before going to Sacrament Meeting. But today I´ve done good walking around and stuff. Elder Shaver, the doctor, said that it can take up to a week to get back to normal strength. I can´t believe it is November next week and it´s almost election time. I finally got my ballot today but it won´t go out until Friday. I will send it even though it´s probably not going to make it. Did the Giants win the World Series? I was watching ESPN a little at Pizza Hut but I couldn´t tell if they won or made it to the World Series. Good luck with the clarinet gig, Alexis. I knew that ASU education school was Lexxy´s next life plan. I guess this week we do need to try and find some of our investigators. I sure love you peeps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, ejc

October 22, 2012

...greetings from the dengue girl

Well, well, well, I hope you are all doing well. Things are pretty good here in the DR except that I came down with a "little case of dengue fever" on Friday. I have basically been in bed since Friday afternoon and the other hermanas have been taking real good care of me. We´ve been in contact with the doctor and Hermana Hernandez and I am just drinking lots of liquids and taking lots of Tylenol. I am feeling better today and working on getting my appetite back. Hermana Ball and her companion came over today and hung out with me and Hermana Domgaard. Our other roommates had to go to the doctor since Hermana Mcentire woke up with her bad back. They went to get some x-rays and stuff but I had a fun time with the other hermanas at the house. I thought about not telling you but decided you might be upset if I didn´t, but I don´t want you to worry. On Friday morning when we were studying I got a really bad headache and took some Tylenol. We worked in the morning and I ate lunch and then laid down. Then I was running a good little fever so we stayed in. My eyes were hurting which is another symptom of dengue and body aches, so by Friday night we were pretty sure that was what I had. On Saturday morning I went to the convenient lab across the street to get some blood work done. The lady didn´t see a good vein but she managed in the first attempt. I had to get the same test today again and the lady there today was not as successful. She was not very careful to look for a vein and just went for it in my arm. I didn´t think it was going well so I looked and Hermana Domgaard started saying, “Don´t look, don´t look.” Anyways, she ended up having to do it in my hand. I did get a cool Disney sticker so that made it fun. J I think Hermana Domgaard could have done just as well with the needle and was a little freaked by the needle lady today. I have had some nausea too with the dengue but I am starting to eat a little so that´s good. I have been drinking lots of Gatorade and water and luckily I haven´t had diarrhea or been throwing up since that´s when you need an IV to keep hydrated. The other hermanas always keep telling me to drink lots. The other hermanas have been babying me real good. Hermana Mcentire has been asking me every five seconds if I need anything. She´s been calling Hermana Hernandez and the doctor although today I decided I wanted to talk to him since I am improving. I am really glad Hermana Domgaard is here to lighten the mood. One morning she brought me a cold rag and felt my head and said, “I just have to take care of my baby.” She´s a funny girl. She made my bed too this morning. I did get a blessing on Saturday from the district leader since they were in our area to do a baptismal interview for the other hermanas, so that was good. I had Hermana Domgaard print my emails this morning and she said she saw something on the page about being healthy and thought that was ironic. J The good news about the dengue is that I will probably reach my weight loss goals before I come home. J I can´t wait to weigh myself sometime soon. President called to check up on me today too which was nice. I am on the mend and should be back to normal in a couple of days... just another story to tell about the mission. J I don´t have much to tell you since I have just been bored in the house. It´s boring not to have a TV or anything but life goes on and I’m going to be totally fine, so no worries. Other than the dengue, the lady got baptized on Saturday which was cool but I didn´t get to go. I will have to get the pictures from the other hermanas. Our convert from a couple of weeks ago got put in the young men´s presidency this week which will be good for him. Fortunately the temple trip got cancelled this week so we will go in a couple of weeks or something. That worked out nicely so I don´t have to exert myself too much to go to the temple this week. I will work on not getting other diseases. Some people in the area wanted to come visit me but that isn´t allowed in missionary apartments, but the thought was nice. Well peeps, my time is up. I hope Mom is on the mend and that you have a great birthday this week. I sent a card that I hope gets there in time. I can´t wait to see you all in 4 weeks. Hopefully next week, I won´t have any reports of illnesses or anything. J Love you guys sooooooooooo much my forever family. Love, ejc

October 15, 2012

5 weeks and counting

So I am on the computer now.  We´ve had a good p-day.  We went to the park as usual on the first p-day after transfers. Then we went to the mall and I enjoyed some Taco Bell and frozen yogurt.  Now we are back in the area using internet.  My desire to write real letters is decreasing but I will try and send some and a letter for Mom´s b-day that hopefully will get there in time.  I am glad to hear Mom´s surgery went well.  Lexxy, not cool that you wore my favorite shoes.  I hope your feet have shrunk since I do not want them stretched out.  I plan to wear them when I get home. J  When will I get to register for classes?  So this week has been a good week.  The changes in the house have been nice with our new roommates.  I really have found that I enjoy my companions a lot more when we are not companions.  Hermana Domgaard and I enjoy each other.  She´s funny and she likes it since I always laugh at her jokes.  She´s been teaching me how to play dominoes and all the Dominican rules.  I will be buying some dominoes before I come home.  We have also played Phase 10.  Good times.  It´s amazing what some fresh people can bring to the house.  So the hermanas moved in on Tuesday.  We cleaned up the house and then went out in the afternoon.  On Wednesday morning I took them around to show them where a bunch of the investigators live.  I had a sore throat that morning but no fever.  Then we had lunch and I took my temperature again and it was 102.7 or something.  I told them and they all said, go to bed.  I really didn´t feel that bad so I was surprised to have such a high fever.  Anyways, we stayed in the rest of the day.  We decided not to go to the zone and district meeting on Thursday and Hermana Hernandez called to see if I wanted to go to the doctor.  My ears and throat were weird so we decided to go to the doctor at the CCM to make sure I didn´t have an ear infection or strep.  My fever had gone down by that point.  We finished our weekly planning session after the doctor´s visit and he said to take it easy the rest of the day and that it was just a virus que anda...have Lexxy say that in Spanish.  It´s funnier.  Hermana Domgaard kept saying that. J Anyways, on Friday and Saturday we worked like normal.  I am doing fine now, just some congestion in the ears and nose and stuff, but nothing to worry about.  I imagined Dad singing “Fever” since I had a fever.  It was funny.  We are supposed to go to the temple next week which will be nice.  I think we still get our normal p-day but just in case, ya ustedes saben (you already know).  Anyways, we had a few investigators at church and it has been interesting being shown around the area and getting to know the investigators.  One lady I was teaching is getting baptized on Saturday, so it will be fun to be here for that.  Most of my investigators have adjusted to the new hermanas so all is well here.  5 weeks peeps.  Craziness.  I love you guys sooooooooooooo much.  I just have a few minutes left, but all is well here in the DR ...only 4 more emails.
Here´s some pictures of Hermana Ball and me at the park today.  I hope you have a grand week and recover well Mom.  Can´t wait for email times next week.  Love you peeps, ejc

October 8, 2012

More from the DR

Well, I am on the computer.  Good to hear from you three!  I loved the photos of the crazy Nica´s homecoming.  Can´t wait for mine in 6 weeks!  So transfer news............... I am moving from Las Americas 2a to Las Americas 2b (which means I am moving rooms in our house to be companions with Hermana Mcentire) ...sweet!   We were super excited when we found out last night.  My companion is going to where Hermana Mcentire started and her companion is going to my querida (dear) Mendoza.  Hermana Domgaard and Hermana Madden from Fiji are going to be taking over my side of the ward.  We are all excited to live together and at least the few investigators I am attached to I will still see at church and their baptisms.   Hermana Mcentire and I had a lovely time going to watch conference in English for all of the sessions.  We were concerned about having investigators but then the leaders called on Saturday morning and said it was fine to go with or without investigators since they have their agency too.  That was nice and made things less stressful.  That is crazy with the age changes for missionaries and I imagine a lot more girls will go now.  We saw the press conference in between the sessions on Saturday and it was cool that pretty much only the First Presidency and The Twelve knew about the change.  I enjoyed watching the World Report and even seeing a glimpse of what they showed of the campaign and convention.  Conference was awesome!  Elder Oaks’ talk was great and I didn´t know he used to be the Dean of the University of Chicago Law School ...cool.  Sister Burton´s talk was good too.  I was thinking about how much I miss Julie B. Beck, but the new Relief Society president pulled through for me.  I think my favorite talk was Elder Holland, especially when he talked to return missionaries and that we can never go back.  I had read through some MTC notes this week and he had said something similar then too.  It is so true.  We can never go back.  Discipleship was definitely a theme at Conference.  I thought of the Laytons a lot, too.  On Thursday afternoon, we went to a cosecha in another ward to look for menos activos and an elder from Nicaragua and another from Honduras were teaching me Central American slang. J  I picked me up a Fanta that night and thought lots about you peeps.  We visited a guy that night and taught the restoration.  Hermana Louis asked him to be baptized at the end of the month and he said yes.  He came to Conference too.  So that is cool!  My favorite food for the last week or so has been plantains with fried eggs and onions...mmmm.  I have come to really enjoy onions during the mission.  I got a package from Chessy this week ...cool.  One of the letters in it was written in May.  Crazy Chessy!   And about the girl at Costa Vida that has a sister in the DR Santiago Mission ...well her sister is one of the other sisters I lived with at the CCM.  I am hoping to fly home with her, but we shall see.  I really say things all the time and then say to Hermana Mcentire, “My Dad would say that.”  Funny ...sometimes just laughing is what keeps you going.  Maybe, I just didn´t say as much to her in the MTC as I do now.   The elder from Nica said something about gallo pinto.  He also said Alexis will speak better Spanish than me but then the other elder said I speak good Spanish.  Someone else said this week that I don´t speak typical Dominican since I don´t embrace some of the slang and stuff.  It is part of the grammar perfection I like in English and Spanish, although I am not perfect todavia (still) en Spanish.  I can just imagine you guys at home.  It is so grand seeing you three together.  Well, I am out of time.  Until next week my favorite peeps.  I’m looking forward to more letters and emails.  Love you guys a million bazillion times 46.  Love you, ejc
P.S.  Here´s some photos... some of my new planner, me eating a twin banana,  Thursday night,  and one of last week with Hermana Vera.  She´s going home tomorrow.  Enjoy!


October 5, 2012

The Nica is home!

Alexis spent Wednesday in Managua before leaving very early Thursday morning for the airport.  Here are pictures of her last day in the Nicaragua Managua South Mission - with the Mission President & his family and the 20 missionaries who were also going home.

Alexis flew through Atlanta and arrived safely home on October 4th at 6:10 p.m. with a big smile on her face.  Happy times!  We are so thrilled to have her home and look forward to the return of the other Hermana Cottam in just six more weeks.

You may have heard of Flat Stanley!
Well, this is Mom & Dad with "Flat Elena" to welcome home Alexis.



October 1, 2012

Last email from the Nica!

Well, we just got back to Diriomo from Managua and my final interview. It went well. President was very complimentary and said he was sad to see me go.  I love my mission president and know he is the one I needed.  I had had the thought a few weeks back to ask him for a blessing in my interview so I decided to ask him for one as I leave.  I told him that my Dad had given me one before I left and that I would like one before I go back.  It was a nice blessing and just made me feel closer to my mission president.  President thanked me for always having a good attitude and being a good influence on others and good to my companions.  I really can’t believe it is over and that I will actually see you on Thursday.  President asked if I was excited to see my sister.  I said yes but that I will have to wait another 7 weeks ...he thought we left together.  But anyway, we finished off the change with another baptism.  We baptized the man who read the Book of Mormon in 10 days.  He is excited and even had to go out to the farm he bought, since he was living with the in-laws and they didn’t want anyone not of their religion living there.  We feel bad having 2 people get kicked out of their houses but they are doing great and moving forward.  I enjoyed the Relief Society broadcast.  We went with some investigators of the elders and it was great.  I felt the same sisterhood I feel at home and had tears in my eyes as I thought about leaving my Nica sisters.  As I saw the young single adults singing I thought that in a week I will be one of them and not Hermana Cottam.  I feel so many emotions right now but I am thrilled to see you soon.  So we head to Managua again on Wednesday and then stay at a hotel that night and we are off bright and early on Thursday.  I just can’t wait.  I know this is where I needed to serve my mission and that the Lord knows me and where I am.  I know this is His work and that this is His church.  I don’t doubt it.  I can’t wait to see you and tell you all about it non-stop.  Thanks for all the support you give us.  I have the best family ever and can’t wait for the party this week and then again when we are complete again in November. Funny stories from the week... this crazy man on the street called my companion Princess Diana.  That was hilarious.  I was talking to my companion about The West Wing.  I figure that I could watch the entire seven seasons in about 4 days without sleeping ...maybe that would be fun ...just kidding.  I didn’t get mail this week.  Hopefully I will get the last letters before I leave.  I am excited for food at home.  Saturday was not one of my favorites as far as food goes - soup for lunch, and chicken innards for dinner.  I struggled a little, downing the dinner, since I had asked before-hand what it was.  But I did it!  So I can’t wait to see you ...try not to make a big scene at the airport people ...you know me and my not liking to call attention to myself.  But I am super pumped.  I have been cleaning out and getting stuff ready to go but I will probably start packing more tonight.  I really can’t believe it is over.  I feel like I am in a dream.  It just can’t be possible that my mission is over and that it has been 18 months since I have seen you.  I love you soooooooo much.  See you on Thursday. I will have such a big smile on my face ...can’t wait.  I love you tons.  I am a happy girl.  Love, your Nica hija, alc

Hello from the DR

So peeps, the hermana activity got cancelled since some other zones were having a BBQ in Gazcue today and some of the hermanas wanted to go.  Anyways, we got invited to the BBQ, too, so it was another good day with the Eickbushes and hamburgers and hot dogs and Klondike bars...mmmmmmmm.  I can´t believe little Lexxy is going to be home on Thursday.  It will be so weird hearing from her next Monday from AZ.  I want all of the details and pictures and stuff.  I got the lovely package with goodies in it this week. You are the best and Hermana Mcentire loves you too.  She loved that you wrote, “Oreos for you and Hermana Mcentire”.   Things are good here in the DR ...not much news to report but it’s been a good week.  When we were in the taxi coming home after the BBQ today Hermana Mcentire was talking to the driver and told him we were going home en el mes que viene (aka, next month).  Sweet!  That is awesome isn´t it?  Today I said goodbye to Hermana Vera.  I know we will be in the holiday season when I get home.  I am soooooo excited but sometimes I do think about how this time is slipping away and I won´t be Hermana Cottam for very much longer.  I am ready to come home and start school and stuff but it will be a little bittersweet that this chapter of my life will be over.  There´s not very many people who get to do what we do day after day after day.  I am excited to hear about transfers next Sunday and will let you know what happens.  We have a baptism scheduled for the 20th of October and the lady is really excited.  She also has several friends who are members and she keeps saying that I am going home so soon in November.  I really don´t want to have to tell her I am leaving next week, if that is the case with transfers.  She calls me coTAM ...co like in co-pay and tam like in tambourine, but the accent on the tam.  Funny, no one else says my name like that.  Hermana Mcentire and I went to church by ourselves yesterday since her companion was sick.  We decided one from each companionship should go to greet the investigators and my companion decided to stay with the sick companion.  My companion and I watched the last half of the Relief Society broadcast last night with the ward since that was when they were watching it.  It was in Spanish so not quite the same as in English.  Mark your calendar next year Mom, since Lexxy and I will be coming with you.  I am super excited about General Conference.  We had to go to the office on Friday to pick up more pills for my companion.  I had a lovely chat with the Eickbushes.  I finished decorating my last planner and it says, hold on a little longer.  The back has the picture you recently sent of Chessy and us at lunch after graduation with the scripture Alma 17:13.  I don´t have a ton of time left but I just wanted to tell you all again how much I love you.  Enjoy yourselves on Thursday and as you can imagine I will be thinking of you.  Safe travels Nica ...three fourths of the Cottam clan will be back together esperando la otra (waiting for the other). Try not to cause too much of a disturbance in the airport. J  I am so excited for you all!  Can´t wait to see you in seven little weeks ...love you guys.  Party it up real good for me.  Love you tons, ejc