A Real Letter (May 27, 2009)

3 Jun

Dear Everyone-
Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while. The internet here apparently isn’t very reliable. And if it doesn’t work on Thursday, we miss our chance for the week. How are you? I miss you a lot.

This place absolutely is Spirit Prison. They make us get up and eat cold cereal at 7. They make us sit in class all day, with short breaks for food and exercise, until 10:30 at night. I haven’t sworn aloud for a week now. In fact, I was lectured by the MTC president’s wife for saying “crap” and “stupid.” I’m not kidding. It is by the sheer grace of God that I haven’t utterly and completely blown a gasket and hitchhiked home from here. In fact, oddly enough, even while being forced to make my bed and wear nylons, I am, in a really strange way, pretty happy here. Even if I don’t feel like I have anyone to talk to, cuz I don’t have anything in common with anybody here.

The MTC is in a small building right behind the BA (Buenos Aires) temple, which is also tiny. There’s about 100 Elders, 60% North American and 40% Latino, from all over. Right now I am one of 3 gringo Sisters, but we have 11 Latinas coming in the next transfer. I sincerely hope that the older sister in our trio gets put with someone else. She’s a little crazy. I haven’t wanted to punch her or anything, but I certainly think I could do without her just fine. The other sister, the one I flew out with, is sweet and mellow, so I wouldn’t mind being her companion for another 8 weeks. Yeah, I will be in the Argentina Spirit Prison another 8 weeks! If I didn’t feel so strongly that this is right for me, I would surely be losing my mind. Oh- there have only been gringos in the MTC since September.

I would happily sell the third sister for a can of Coke or a brownie. There isn’t much by way of sweets to speak of around here. On Sundays, we get Fanta Mandarina, which is good, and there’s a lot of Dulce de Leche stuff, but I have been craving sugar still. This is probably good for me, I guess. Otherwise, the food has been good. Lots of meat and potatoes, and the spaghetti is greasy and gross, but the mangoes and sausage are amazing. If the main course at lunch is sick, there is always the salad bar with beets, and fresh off the cob corn and artichokes and tomatoes. And bread. There is always bread.

But yeah, although I am handling prison life remarkably well, I still seem to be smashing my face against window screens to see what is outside. There are beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The weather is a pleasant warm, crispy early fall. And I don’t need hair conditioner here. When I am not at a window screen, I straight-up elementary school style daydream- about ditching my companions and exploring BA, or Seattle, or swimming, or going barefoot, or saying a favorite curse, or painting. OH, to paint. I have been doodling up a storm, but it just isn’t cutting it. I want so badly to get my hands dirty.

But anyways, I am happy, here. I really am. The reason I am here and not in the MTC in Provo is, according to the MTC president, is so I can learn Spanish 10x better, like, immersion style. Although, I really don’t feel like I am in Argentina, except that everyone is brunette and speaks Spanish, or as they prefer to call it, Castelleno (Cast-ey-SH-anno,) My instructor in the mornings has a nearly indecipherable lisp. But I think I am learning quite a bit of Spanish pretty quickly. So far I can only talk about church with horrible grammar, but still, for one week’s effort I’m feeling ok. It’s a pretty language, and as far as I can tell the locals are real, real nice. Although all I’ve met so far have been Elders, MTC employees and temple workers, which would be nice anywhere.

Oh, one super rad thing about this Spirit Prison is that on Saturdays, we get to go out into the city, to street contact! Practice on REAL people!! So amybe after this Saturday, I’ll be able to tell you more about BA.

We had a lecture about mission health today. It was terrifying. If Uruguay is 2nd world, I’d sure hate to see the 3rd. Basically, I’m coming home with a parasite and athlete’s foot. And HEP C. Oh, and I’m going to be really well acquainted with dysentery. Speaking of, they served Lengua, cow tongue, at dinner last night. I tried it. It was HORRIBLE! It haunted my dreams, and I woke up with the taste and even more horrible texture in my mouth this morning.

And the Elders are actually cooler and more mature than I’d previously given them credit for, which is good, cuz we’re around each other in class A LOT.

Anyway, I love you and hope you are doing well! You can write me or try your hand at emailing me.

I love you!

– Allison


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