Saturday, March 8, 2014

To-Do or Not To-Do...?

So these pictures are of a statue in front of the French Institute of Benin. It's made out of bags of pure water (the main way of drinking water here) which are usually littered all over the streets here. Rather than just letting them waste away on the side of the streets, some dude decided make them into a cool statue! 

Lists. I'm not sure why, but people sure do love lists. To-do lists, Top 10 lists, grocery lists, Wawa screen after screen of fresh toppings lists... really the lists that people make could go on forever and ever. 

As a missionary, I find this to be especially true. We tend to keep a lot of lists as well. For example, every week, we have to go through our list of amis. What I mean by that is that we have to plan on when to see them, what to teach them, and how to help them. Even on a daily basis we have to list out everything that we are going to do and accomplish during the next day. Even President, during every Zone Conference, writes a list of things we are going to talk about. Do people even realize how many lists there are in the world?!?! We could even make a list of all the lists out there. Scary stuff.

On a personal level, I have been keeping some lists for myself as well. At the MTC, I bought a cheap little paper notebook that I write notes in. At the end, I have lists that I keep, which I can add to throughout the day if I think of something. 

So here are some of the lists I keep: 

The "To Listen" List: That's a pretty self-explanatory list. Often times, when we go to amis or members' houses, they listen to tons of crazy music. Most of the time, it's pretty awful (wait for the chorus and crank the volume to 11). However, my list mostly includes a lot of cool French music that I've heard since being here... plus, the actual French missionaries help out in knowing what music to check out once we get back home. 

Although, one song that is not French and is African (Ghanaian more precisely) is Azonto. I'm not sure why but it's super catchy and was really big when I first got here. Everyone would always ask if I knew how to dance Azonto (of course not) and I would just deflect that in saying that my companion was Ghanaian (I was with Elder Owusu at the time) so they would all be like oohhhh so he would definitely know how to dance it since the song comes from Ghana! Little did they know that it came out while he was on his mission too so he had no idea either (but they would always force him to bust out a move or two). Here it is, since everyone should know how to Azonto: 

The "To Watch" List: This is, by far, the biggest list in my notebook. All the movies I think about I pretty much write them down as needing to watch them when I get back home. My favs include:
  • Cool Runnings
  • Three Amigos
  • Top Gear series (previously mentioned in last week's message)
  • A League of Their Own
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
There are still about 50 other films on the list, but from this little sampling that I gave you all, you can see that these hallmark films are quintessential to the history of filmography and cinematography. Makes sense as to why I need to re-watch them!

The "Stupid Things I Miss" List: Okay, this one might take a little explaining... maybe it would help if I listed out some of the things on this list.
  • Building Codes: Evenly-leveled steps. Hand rails. Pulling doors to enter/pushing doors to exit. Cabinets that close. Lack of roofs with rusty nails sticking out which could potentially stab your brain. Everything that I can guarantee every person reading this email takes for granted. 
  • Non-foam furniture: I don't know what it is, either the humidity or the foam that they use, but oh my goodness. I didn't even know you could sweat just sitting around on African foam furniture. 
  • Costco: Really, buying in bulk, free test tastes, and everything that one could ever need in life... all under one roof. At least I still have Dad's Costco card in my wallet in case I ever find a Costco here. 
Anyway, I think you guys get the idea on what's on this list. Other items include: American manners, sliding desk drawers, kitchen appliances (oh dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves, how I miss you) and fast-food drive-thru's. 

"The List": Okay, this was the very first list of things that I started to make. This list consists of everything that I want to do when I get home. I guess you could say it's kind of a bucket list of things I need to do once I get back. Again, here's a little sample as to what's there:
  • Watch All Toy Stories with Fro: I mean really, who wouldn't want to do that?!?
  • Kiss American Soil: Self-explanatory
  • Attend a Sixers/Flyers/Eagles came upon return home: I would have included the Phillies but they are not in season when I return this fall. Unless they make it to the World Series and I ask to go home in late October. Good reason to go home early, right? 
There are a few other more personal things in there that I would like to do, but I think that should give people an idea of what "The List" is all about. I haven't added a lot to it as of late, but maybe I'll think of more things to do right when I get home. 

The last list I have is probably the most serious of them all and are things that I would like to talk about during my homecoming talk when I get back. I don't know why, but for some reason I think of a lot of things in the context of things I want to say when I get back home. I mean, really, how do I describe all the things I learned from two years in Togo/Benin in 10-20 minutes!?! It's impossible I tell you! I would share the things on this list, but I will not... guess you'll just have to mark your calendars for this fall in order to hear the stuff that I am going to talk about! 

But anyway... those are my crazy lists and I think that gives you an idea of the things that randomly pop into my mind when I'm out walking around (and trust me, there's a lot of that). 

However, as much as I miss the stuff that I do list down, or as much as I want to do the things that I have listed, I'm not in too big of a rush to get them done anytime soon. Something I learned while I've been here on my mission is that we can get pretty easily distracted by things back home... though I might be depriving myself of the things that I miss back home, I am very much indulging myself in the things that I can do while I'm here: reading scriptures, feeling closer to the Savior, meeting new people, helping different people, and really immersing myself in an experience that I will never quite be able to match for the rest of my life.

Trust me, I got all the time in the world to watch Three Amigos, appreciate evenly measured steps, and go to a Philly sports game. I only have eight more months to really appreciate and complete this so-far amazing experience that I have gone through. Who knows, maybe before I leave here I'll make a list of things to do before I leave! And maybe even, things I'll miss? Stranger things have happened.

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well. As always, the days and the weeks are going by as quick as ever. And honestly, the months are going quick too! I mean, didn't 2014 just start? #crazles

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and thoughts coming my way. If there's anything I would like you guys to pray for me for, it would be that I take advantage of every moment I have left here. 

Until next week! 

With love,

Elder Hawkins 

 Close-up of bags on the bag man!

Note from the Fro: Awwww, watching Toy Story with his mom is number one on his list. Sniff!  It's true, I can't watch any of the Toy Story's while he's gone, I haven't even tried. I get very teary just thinking about it.  He is my "Andy" after all. :)

1 comment:

  1. I loved the Bishop's advice to departing missionaries: You have 2 years (or 18 months) to serve your mission, and the rest of your life to think about HOW you served it (and to do all the things on our lists, Trevor would add). TOO TRUE.