Wow, what to share...
stories from the week:
- I have gotten varied reactions from the people here with regards to my Spanish. Most people, when they discover that it´s my first week here and I´m from the states, are very impressed. (so thanks, Mom and Dad!) Others, little children in particular, not so much...haha
- they don´t call Spanish Espanol here, it´s "castellano" (the double l does not make the "y" sound here by the way. It´s pronounced "sh" or "j"...it´s kinda hard to explain in writing, but when I call home, you´ll get to here me say words funny :]
- I am blown away with the kindness of the people here. I guess I came into the mission with very low expectations. I don´t know why, but it´s good because the reality is way better than I could ever imagined. I guess I was expecting to be constantly rejected and made fun of and told to leave and never come back. And that will happen. So far, the worst I´ve experienced is just some lady hanging up on us. Other than that though, the people here are AWESOME. An investigator came to BOTH sessions of general conference with us on Sunday and he brought us pizza! He´s so great. I love everybody we teach. AH! I want to tell you all about each one of them, but alas, I cannot. It´s really to hard to explain in writing and would definitely take up too much time.
- pizza here is different, but also delicious. The cheese is super cremoso and the bread is thicker and less greasy. I haven´t seen pepperoni pizza yet, but we've had pizza with cheese and onions, cheese and garlic, and cheese and egg. Yum. Everything I've tasted here, I've liked. EXCEPT mate cocido. We aren't allowed to drink regular mate, but if it's anything like mate cocido (and I'm guessing it is...), then I'm glad. The mate we drank tasted like warm water with hay or grass mixed in. But I gulped down half a cup. Woot woot.
- We don´t knock on doors here, for the most part. We stand at the gate in front of their house and we clap/aplaudir.
- I almost locked myself in the bathroom here on the first day. I forgot my shampoo so I wrapped myself in my towel to go grab it, but for a few minutes, I was locked in. The door handle came off. My comp couldn't save me from the outside. It was great. But don't worry, I figured it out.
- Hna Flores is the best. She's my "madre" and I'm her first daughter. She is also 1.5 meters tall. I don't know the conversion, but I know she is tiny. Someone please tell me how tall she is in feet and inches. Gracias. She's super patient and kind and funny.
- I actually LIKE walking! Milagro. The first day my feet hated me, but since then I just love walking everywhere and taking the collectivo (bus) and talking with people. Actually talking with strangers is still not that fun for me, because I´m not super comfortable with their idioma. But I´m working on it. I know that in order to mejorarme, I need to open my mouth. Please pray for me. I mean, I know you are, but I figured I'd give you something specific.
- I hate role-playing. Maybe you can pray for me there too. I know it´s important, I just don´t like it very much.
-General conference was AWESOME. One of the main messages I got out of it was this: When we realize our divine nature - our divine potential - and we start down or return to the path of discipleship, something miraculous happens. God fills our hearts with LOVE. And I know this can happen for us EVERY time we pray. Every time we study the scriptures. Every time we truly try to come closer to Christ.
- Dogs. They are everywhere. On the day it rained super hard (seriously, the truenos (thunder) was THE loudest thunder I´ve EVER heard in my life. It was so cool.), a dog almost attacked us. It was mean and had crooked teeth. Some of the dogs are our friends...but not this one. Luckily, we had our paraguas (umbrella), so I was ready with that in case it tried to bite us. Thankfully, it just growled menacingly and followed us for about 10 feet before finally, it stopped. We kept walking and kept an eye out for it until we were out of sight and then just laughed and breathed big sighs of relief. So far, that dog has been the most scary thing out here.
- On Thursday afternoon we were in the park finishing up our planeamiento semenal. We were sitting opposite one another at a table. I could see a couple (very young) making out behind my companion. I tried to ignore them, but it was a little difficult. I have good peripheral vision and they were RIGHT THERE, going at it in broad daylight in a very public place. Great. Luckily, Hna Flores also noticed. She immediately got out her law of chastity pamphlet and put it in plain view on the table. They obviously didn't notice, but it's the thought that counts. Then, she switched spots with me, saying "esos chicos estan besando a lo loco y no quiero que usted tiene recuerdos." Once, we switched places, she explained that she has been on her mission for 10 months and therefore, any memories of that sort are gone for her. So don't worry, Mami, Hna Flores takes good care of me :]
- Daniel offered to teach me how to ride motorcycles. He´s a super funny investigator and he is also easily distracted so our main focus with him is just to keep him on track with the things we are teaching. It´s quite an adventure getting to know the people and trying to follow the Spirit. Definitely something I need to study and strive to apply every day on my mission. Luckily, when we explained that are certain things we can´t do as missionaries, he understood.
- we talk in usted here and not tu. It's a little strange, but I'm learning.
I just want to finish with my testimony that I know we can become the glorious beings that we are destined to become through our diligence and faithfulness to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his teachings. Whenever you're feeling down, you know what you can do. Pray. Read the scriptures. Do it with real intent. Also, you can listen to or read to Elder Holland's talk from the Sunday session of this General Conference. Because holy cow his words seriously touched my heart. I want to testify like He does.
Con mucho amor,
P.S. For exercise every morning, all I´ve been able to do is: stretch, ab workout, and push-ups) so by the time I come home, I should finally have achieved flexibility, buff arms, and a six-pack, riiight?? hahaha miracles do happen on a mission after all ;)
P.P.S. I'm so sorry for rattling on for so long. Now I have like zero time to write everyone individually. I´ll do better next week, because I won't be as overwhelmed. K? K. LOVE YOU ALL!