Distinguished colleagues, dear family and friends, and everyone else...
Back to Calhoun status.
Haha i thought I knew stuff back there in van nuys! Nope. Remember when I said that Van Nuys was scary compared to home? Well Van Nuys is paradaisiacal glory compared to where I am now. Dont worry I am absolutely loving life right now, just much harder than anything in cali.
this spanish keyboard is really difficult....sorry
SOO. I had a good trip here. Shay thanks for the jet lag stuff. I was still plenty jet lagged at the end, but I´m sure that stuff helped. There is so so much that has happened there´s no way I can write it all. I´ll try to write a lot. I flew over with some other visa waiter buddies from the MTC which was AWESOME. So good to see them, we had some good Alma 17:2-3 action. We even contacted some people at the airport and it was so cool to see all of our growth over the last bit. Shout out to Quynn G, I used the BOM you sent to me, thank you!
All the apartments are called pensiónes, or a ´pench´ as the americanos call it. My pench.....well it´s good. I definitely slapped myself for ever thinking badly of my apartment in cali. I spend the morning huddled around a dribble of lukewarm water in the shower. But that´s only happened twice. The other mornings I do the good old bucket shower :)but the bucket shower really isn´t too bad. I can at least cover myself with water, where the showerhead can not. then we eat some breakfast. Praise the HEAVENS we have a microwave, which most penciónes dont so thats good. Carpet does NOT exist in any way, shape, or form, it´s all tile. and on that tile is an eternal layer of dirt. My comps name is Elder Brendan Stuart from fresno. He is a really fun guy! I´ve been enjoying being with him. We live with two others, Elder donnelly from alabama and Elder estradas from guatemala. Elder Estradas speaks no english, so that gives me good practice.
The members here are very nice! I have been fed almost every day. At lunch time though, that is the biggest meal here, not dinner. This place is very poor, I´d say more so than my visit to Iquitos, Peru. But the members are very nice in feeding us a lot. Something they feed us a ton is milonesa, which is just a thin piece of chicken or beef that is breaded and fried. super greasy but pretty good! also pizza, and pasta. Not dominoes, homemade pizza dough and all that. Not mexican food or anything of that like. In fact, I might miss mexican food at the end of two years just as much as Whit! Maybe not that much. OK here´s some more culture for you: 1.everyone kisses me and expects me to kiss them back. I can´t kiss women, but men love to kiss just as much.on the cheek, one the cheek, don´t worry. 2. milk is sold in a bag. hmmm. 3.everyone shakes hands different. They grab your hand and then up around your thumb. people do it in the states but it´s every time here. 4.EVERYONE drinks from a family maté cup. a cup with mate herbs and then a special straw that filters the water through. its just their form of tea. We have only three rules. Don´t drink water from the tap, dont drink mate, and follow the white handbook. 5. most people have gates in front of their door (and bars on windows) so what we do is clap, not knock. I still kinda chuckle at that....but it´s fun! 6. pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. The roads are more or less a free for all. most people drive bikes, but there are lots of cars too. a good amount of horse pulled carts as well. There´s only one busy road in our area, and crossing it is like a life or death frogger game. Haha, not quite that dangerous, but a lot like frogger! (btw we walk. I was so blessed to have a car back in cali!) 7. mostly dirt roads. i pulled out my camera to take a picture, and elder stuart was like ´what are you doing??´ he looked around and said thats bad because it could get us robbed. OHHH....
I´ll tell this one story quick. Saturday night, it was late and we stopped by the ward mision leaders house. On the way, two drunk dudes were yelling at us on the corner. We just answered their question (what time is it) and kept walking. One followed us to the leaders house. He came right up and was talking to us. He was RIGHT in our faces, he was drunk out the wazoo! We tried to show him the BOM, but he was so drunk he was falling over. He kept muttering to us, ´i want money....i want to eat....money...´ We left of course, but he kept following! E. Stuart told me to walk faster. We sped up, but so did he. ALL OF A SUDDEN, he jumped forward and grabbed me! E. Stuart was like ¨dude run!¨ We ran like a block. Isn´t that creepy? Wow, I´m sorry. Life here is great. I´ve been only talking about my harsh culture shocks.
My ability to feel the spirit is growing and growing! Spanish....still hard. But we´ve given like 5 blessings this week. That is my favorite, quickest way to bring the spirit. Sacrament meeting was great! The ward is very small, like 50 people. But SOO NICE. The bishop asked me to bear my testimony right there at the start. But I thought he was just introducing me. I smiled but everyone stared. I finally got it. I also got to play the hymns! The church has one very old piano with a hollow sound and a broken pedal. But they love it, and i love it. We had a BAPTISM on saturday as well. We did studies at the church to wait for the font to fill. A cute little lady named eva and her 30 year old rocker-mullet son Carlos. They are really nice. LOVED IT. THis is such a wonderful mission.
Ok no time. I¨LL write more spiritual things later, so sorry! Just know i am good, and loving it. Its hard to adjust and stuff, but life is good.
´How should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?´