Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012 - First week in Chile

This week was really good and I am really excited for the work to continue. I don't know if you could really tell, but Tocopilla (Jordan's current location), and pretty much every city in our mission, is surrounded by mountains with the sea on one side. So, you are walking uphill pretty much all day. My feet are really killing me. We get 30 minutes to work out everyday and I have been spending 15 minutes massaging my feet out.

Yes, President Bruce is pretty tall. I don't know if he is taller than me because I am terrible at judging heights and ages, just awful, but I have yet to see anyone taller than me. I am like 5 or 6 inches taller than the tallest person in our ward here if that is any help to judge by.

The travel office was awesome. If the guy (I wish that I remembered his name) hadn´t been there I'm pretty sure that we would not have gotten a flight that night. (Due to delays, they missed their flights from Santiago to Antofagasta.) We were told not to accept help from the locals at the airports and so we were skeptical to get help from this guy. But then one of the Elders saw, as Elder Christensen calls it, "The Eternal Smile" underneath his dress shirt and we knew we were gonna be alright.

It is looking like we are going to move into a larger residence with one of the members because the pension is super small, but we will all probably still live in the same place. I think the member has too much space so we are going to build a wall to section off the house and then rent that part of the house. I am really excited to get this arrangement if we can because the members love the missionaries and this house is way, way, way, way, way nicer than the pension we have now.

Elder Lopez is from El Salvador and Elder Christensen (just so you are aware, there are 3 in the mission) is from Wyoming.

Here in Chile you have two mamitas, one for laundry and one for lunches (in this sector it is the same person) and you pay the laundry one like 20$ a month and you pay the lunch one like 80$ (American) and it is awesome. You get a big lunch every weekday and then eat lunch with members on the weekends. In Chile there is really only one meal, lunch, and you eat a ton. All that I really have in the morning and night is some bread and drink some juice or milk because the lunch is like a 3 course meal, always. And for laundry you take it on Friday it comes back cleaned, pressed and folded, AWESOME.

It is interesting that you talk about the architecture here because I was just talking about it yesterday. The houses here are the textbook examples of don't judge a book by it's cover. The yards here are pretty much non-existent and so you will not see a lot of effort put into them because they are small and nothing grows. You will see the metal paneling and the streets are really terrible, but when you go inside the houses they are beautiful and clean.

The members here love the missionaries and I would say that the members are nice, but really it is mostly just everyone here is nice and the ones that aren't usually just ignore you. The congregation was about 40 people and I had to bear my testimony (obviously) and the people were telling Elder Revi that even though I couldn't understand them, that they thought my ability to speak was really good. Plus, the people here aren't like in America where it is considered rude to correct people, they do it all the time because they want you to be right and it is really helpful. I really enjoyed church because even though I could not understand anything, once I got there everything was the same as at home.

The language is coming and I really want to understand people so I'm trying really hard to listen, but they talk really fast here. Like REALLY fast, even Elder Revi says so (and Spanish is his native language - Argentinian). I can pick up on the flow of the conversation a little better now, but I am terrible at understanding questions.

The shopping here is not that bad since you barely need to cook anything yourself, but it looks like they only shop once a week and get everything that they need. We are not really allowed to buy food from the street vendors, but Tocopilla has a grocery store so i'ts all good. The bread here is really good and people eat it with every meal. It is a little denser than at home so it holds up a bit longer. And the juice...oh, the juice here is amazing. I bought some apple juice here and it tastes exactly like I'm eating an apple, and all the juice is like that so I'm going to be just fine. Also, I have yet to have a meal with the people that I did not enjoy.

Also it is really hot here. The temperature is not actually that bad, but the sun is intense. It is not too bad though cause everyone in the city just goes in from like 1 to 4pm to eat and take a break, so we just eat and study at that time. The temperature is also really dependant on the wind because it makes a huge difference.

I really do have a lot more to say but I have to go now.