Archive | September, 2009
28 Sep

as always, i love you and i miss you a lot. and of course, everything is going to work out great. good job not worrying too much.

i experienced my first major bummer of the mission this week when one of our investigators who was about to be baptised refused to go to her interview and told us she wants nothing more. that was a big bummer.
however, the next morning i got to watch the 21 year old young father louis, who was baptised last week, baptise his little sister amanda, right after he got the preisthood, and that was super cool. i hear that if one of your converts gets to go to the temple while youre still out here, you get to go. i should still be here. i hope to see it.

in other news, i am over being called fat because 1, i know i am not, and 2, i think its actually a sign of affection. which is weird, but whatever. they call me gorda and serve me half pint bowls of cold dulce de leche to eat. weird. whatever.

also, eating lettuce is against the mission rules, but food rules are almost always broken in the homes of members. last week, i was given a salad. a real one, of lettuce. i enjoyed it more than i ever dreamed i could enjoy a head of lettuce. and i felt amazing for the next 5 days. and the parasites can only help me to digest all of this mayonnaise, right? right. i love lettuce.

uh, what else? my companion is super rad and gave me the perfect summer skirt. then she gave me a pair of light blue nylons. the other day, i wore those nylons with orange amber earrings and a baby pink skarf and my red gloves and a blue shirt and a grey skirt and a black coat and hat. i have officially stopped caring how i look out here, and i now enjoy the idea that with my maryjanes and blue tights, i probably look like a 7 year old girl.

oh! and i saw the backyard where the lady who does our laundry hangs it to dry. i now know that my clean laundry hangs only 1 foot above of a herd of 50 chickens and 9 rabbit hutches and about 15 pùppies.

oh, uh, and i might need someone to send me some bug repellant and benadryl sticks pronto. cuz, you know how i like to hop stones in a swamp to spice up my life? yeah, my life got real spiced this week when, shortly after doing that, i looked at the back of my right calf and saw…

3 normal mosquito bites that were red and enflamed, and next to it, something the size of a golf ball, also red, swollen, hard, and hot to the touch. i think those little %$”%·´s bit me in the SAME SPOT twenty times. it hurt so bad i could hardly walk last night. i took some ibuprofin and it got better. but yeah, i hear urugay enjoys clouds of mosquitos in the summer. please help me.

oh! so we ran out of money last week. which means weve been skipping breakfast. and dinner. which i dont mind cuz i feel like the food here only helps me to have a full stomach, while i am still malnourished the same. anyway, we were hungry on saturday night, so we went to wish a ward member a happy birthday. we got to the party, and they of course gave us torta. we stayed a bit so as to not look mercinary, and someone showed up and gave her a present. in front of everyone, this 56 year old woman opened what turned out to be a pair of panties. she then, without a hint of embarassement, held the large panties in the air for all to see, and thanked the giver. in this respect, i love this place. i have had women breastfeeding their children practically in my face. this happens about 5 times a week, as of late.

oh! and we met a woman in our ward who has a pecan tree AND knows where to go to get fresh, unsugared, real orange juice. she is an angel.

other than that, i have had suuuuper weird dreams all this week. one night, my companion was dead set on marching through palestine to find osama bin ladin and eat his first born. then i ate a huge sugary crossiant with a hotdog inside.

oh! and we did a service on the ward and cleaned a local high school. it looked like an abandoned jail. filthy. its probably a good thing i am still scared of having intellectual conversations in spanish, cuz i am suuuuper curious to break the rules and have a political conversation with somebody to try to understand why things around here are the way they are. i know when my spanish is good enough, i will cave and ask somebody… cuz i the curiousity is killing me. also, i still really want to teach high school art. maybe more now than ever.

anyways, i wish the best for you and teenie, tell her i love her and i want her to get better. tell dan to rock on, tell marsh ima write him back.

tell grandma and grandpa roach thanks for the letter, and ill get back to them, and tell dad the same, but my letter will be sent to marsh cuz i dont have his address.

i love you and i miss you!

21 Sep

*In my letter, I asked Allison to describe the fruit she loved so much. -Cari

the fruit*? small, green on the outside, pink on the inside with lots of seeds, kinda like a more dense tomato. we taught a lesson to that jw lady later in the week, and it went really well. so i now feel no shame to continue to charm our way into peoples homes by climbing their fruit trees.

my adventure for this week involved hopping stones in a swamp in my proseliting clothes. haha. our area is huge, and theres a little swampy valley in between two of the neighborhoods. it takes like, half an hour to walk the streets around the swamp, so we decided to be hard core and just walk through it. its now a regular path we take.
id love to send pictures but the second world is really getting me down in that respect. i still havent figured out how i can do it.

on thursday, after our great lesson with the jw, we realized we were running late to meet louis, who was baptised on saturday, to walk with him to the hospital to visit his baby son, who was there because of congestion. we ended up running across our entire area, like, 8 miles, up and down hills, to get there in twenty minutes. we then ran another 2 miles or so up some more hills to get to the hospital… and.. yeah. i guess i shouldnt have been so surprised, but…

uruguayan hospitals are scary as hell. eeeeeeeeesh. if your illness doesnt kill you here, i bet the hospital stay will.

that reminds me. we were at a members house the other day, and the family had lived in the states a few years ago. they then spent the whole time trying to get me to say that the houses in uruguay are really trashy compared to those in the states. i pretended not to understand them… cuz im pretty sure im not here to criticize peoples houses. even if its true. doesnt seem super christlike.

and i almost wasnt very christlike the other day… i almost wanted to punch a pregnant woman in the face. we were eating with a member, and she called me fat. this is a normal, inoffensive topic of conversation here, but it still pisses me off, mostly cuz i have, miraculously, not gained any weight in my mission. and also cuz i am still a gringa who still finds that incredibly rude.

then, while piling white rice covered in vegetable oil and breaded deep fried red meat on my plate, and lathering mayonnaise on top, she warned me to lay off the bread, cuz itll make me gain weight. it wasnt her so much, as its just the irony is a little frustrating in general. i suppose these people dont realize what theyre forcefeeding me. they dont understand the sheer force of will it requires for me to eat that stuff. ugh.

so if anybody wants to send me peanut butter and raisinets, that would be awesome. cuz hell, if im gonna get fat, i might as well enjoy the journey.

anyway, i really do like salto though. those thirteen year old girls are super funny. they like to give me fashion advice, and encourage me all the time to wear my hair down and wear makeup. its rad that they have no idea what sort of bumble and bumble using, mac makeup wearing rockstar i was in my previous life. they play with my hair during lessons.

oh, and the next day after my surprise marathon, i got to shovel a huge ditch for the zone service project where we help people build houses.

i have hit the point of my mission wherein i am experiencing physical exhaustion. im running miles over hills and eating the equivalent of nothing but crisco. ugh.

but anyway, i feel mostly alright about it cuz the work is going sooo good here. were looking at 8 baptisms this month. 8! we dead seriously had someone call us and ask us to be baptised last week. it was incredible. and incredibly funny, cuz in our zone conference last week, the president told us specificially that this would never happen. ha!

i am really happy here, even if i feel like i am enduring physical torture. it makes it all worth it to see so many cool people in silly looking white jumpsuits.

14 Sep

i am really loving salto. at first the ward was ice cold cuz there have been some hooorrriible missionaries that were here before us who like, dated locals and misused church funds and cool stuff like that, but weve gotten them to warm up to us beautifully.

we have 4 really great investigators right now. a couple are 13 year old girls, which at first i kind of felt weird about, but after all of the 14 year old mothers weve met in the last week, i feel great about it. theres a recent convert girl who invites all of her friends to her house to have an fhe with us every week, and its really great. weve met some cool girls, and if this can keep em from getting knocked up next month, all the better.

we also had a downright straight up really cool thing happen this week. we passed by the house of a guy we had seen at church. he and his wife just had their new baby blessed, but he didnt bless him cuz hes not a member. within five minutes of our first visit, he agreed to be baptised. its going down on saturday. i am reaaaally stoked.

i took some cool pictures this week, but i still havent quite gotten a way to send pictures figured out. i will send pictures when i do.

other than that, it was a pretty long week. i didnt notice until 5 days ago that our area is super hilly. i kept on just wandering around, wondering why i felt so exhaused. duh. i am walking up and down hills for miles and miles all day every day. our area is huge.

because our area is huge, it incorporates some beautiful campo, and the hills provide for some great views. my comp and i go through the campo whenever we can think of a decent enough excuse to do so. i will send pics when i can.

also, having a grip on the language makes this all a lot more fun. we sat in the front patio of an old member lady and chatted and laughed with her and her friend about how great fun it is to serve cow intestines and tongues to american missionaries.

so ha! they know. and they think its absolutely riotously hilarious.

then i got to explain to them why exactly we dont use bidets in the us, and what we do instead.

also, it means i am capable of asking people if i might have the pleasure of climbing their fruit trees, which i did twice this week. the first time was a jehovas witness lady whod have nothing of our religion, but really wanted to give us her fruit. i commenced talking with her daughter, who laughed really hard every time i said anything cuz apparently my accent right now is a super funny mix of brazilian gringa.
i dunno what fruit it was… im pretty sure it doesnt even have an english name… and it probably had parasites but i got over that a while ago.. and i filled my pockets with them and ate them in the street. if i could remember the name of them i would start a plantation of them and a pyramid scheme, cuz i am pretty sure theyre some sort of south american miracle fruit. i felt amazing after eating them. probably the healthiest thing i will enjoy in my whole mission.

the second fruit tree was a catholic dude who, again, had nothing of our free song we offered, but gladly let us take advantage of his kumquat tree.

i am glad the white handbook says nothing about the climbing of fruit trees in proseliting clothing, even if maybe it should. lord knows it sure made me happy.

and finally, i had a teenager this week ask me if i could read. i proudly said yes, i can read in 2 languages, and she was very surprised and impressed. i am not sure what that means.

and super finally, i love the kids here. yesterday we were talking to an investigator in the street, and there was a 7 year old riding his bike in the dirt road. he kept on screaming, MISSIONERA!! MISSIONERA!! and popping wheelies on his bike to impress me. he did it for 25 minutes. i love that kid.

tell teenie never to joke about smoked salmon to me again so long as i am stuck in uruguay chewing fatty meat off of the spinal column bones of cows again, and that i wish her much luck with her cough.

tell marsh i hope he is well, and tell dan that he is rad.

love you!!

Salto, Uruguay

7 Sep

i spent my last night in artigas with my trainer running through the middle of a field in a thunderstorm with heavy winds, rain and lightening. it was terrifying, especially because i am 8 inches taller than her, and was therefore at higher risk. i now feel all kinds of hard core.

i got to salto after a 3 hour bus ride ALONE. yes, alone. i put my speakers up against my ear and listened to my favorite wierd music that freaks companions out. it was wonderful, just me, wierd music, and the countryside for three hours. i felt like a normal person again.

and salto? i like it here a lot. its kind of like a more european seattle gone 2nd world. but its a lot nicer and cleaner than artigas was. no dog jaw bones in the streets. instead, there are smashed toads. tons of them. huge ones. if i were a ten year old boy, i would think this was the coolest place in the world. its really green here. and the spanish here is WAAAYY easier to understand. it sounds nice and clean and clear compared to the portunol i was dealing with in artigas.
and i officially believe in miracles. i do not know how or why, but i can talk to my companion. she doesnt know a lick of english, but we havent had problems at all. we actually have a lot of fun. i havent spoken english in five days now, and i, for the most part, feel fine about that. sometimes i notice that i am conversing in spanish while im doing it and i sort of get weirded out at the idea that im bilingual. i mean, theres still a ton i dont understand, but i can get by and make sense to people. i never imagined myself speaking spanish and making a lick of sense. its cool. part of it, i think, is cuz i have always liked to play taboo. so i do a lot of talking around words to make up for my lack of vocabulary. but the dictionary is a really dandy help.

my only problem with my companion is her music. she loves efy music, and all other varieties of lds soft rock. i try to be nice about it, i really do, but after hour 2 of day one, i nearly had a nervous breakdown. i will never, ever have a place in my heart for efy music.

i think this is going to be my trail for the change. turns out the nicest member family who loves the missionaries thinks theyre doing all kinds of favors for us by playing the best two years soundtrack really loud every time we come over. also their house smells like mcdonalds cheeseburgers, which is really weird for uruguay, and definitely unpleasant. i nearly had nervous breakdown number 2 last night when the mother was telling me a lengthy story about her extended family in slurred spanish, yelling over the best two years song at the end of our day.

i am surrounded by people who dont speak english and love the worst kind of music from the states. que ironico. how painfully ironic.

we spent our first day here trying to explore the area, cuz we are both new to it, and we ended up wandering around lost in the rain for 3 hours.

uh, what else? the lady who did our laundry in artigas, i just discovered, stole half of my underwear. i cant imagine why, exactly, she found my underwear desirable… but there we are. i might need for you to send me some more underwear. and burts bees chapstick.

oh, i think i also had a spider bite last week. it was huge and burned and ached for days, but i think its gone now.

and now i am out of time. i am glad to hear youre doing well. try to gimme marshalls mailing address if you can. i love you and i miss you!

1 Sep

aaauggh! i just deleted my beautiful long email again.

we have transfers this week, which is means p day is today instead of yesterday.

um, lets see. i am glad dan liked that story. the church issues all of the hermanas mace… but i havent gotten mine yet. i want it soon though, cuz,… i am going to salto. the area right next to where the other hermanas got maced. i am going to be flashed and have rocks thrown at me. yeah!

and my new companion? latina. from paraguay. likely does not speak a lick of english. which means i have the opportunity to get really good at spanish really fast, or die.

it was super hot this week. people here love the novelty of watching a white girl change colors in the sun. i prayed for rain, and we received la tormenta de santa maria. a cyclone. we saw some crazy lightening.

yesterday one of our investigators dogs followed us around for a little while. then a long while. he followed us for miles, to the other side of town. then the storm hit and we hid, along with the dog, in a members house. we named the dog krooky, then walked it home after the lightening storm let up.

i learned a word this week. araña. which means spider. i should probably have looked up tarantula, but i was a little panicked in the situation. during studies, i looked over to where we keep our shoes. there i saw something of such stature and grandeur as i had only previously ever seen in a cage in an elementary school. i grabbed my dictionary and ran to our landlords screaming, ¡araña! ¡araña!!!the landlady came to kill it with a broom. then i cleaned it up with toilet paper.

i almost got bit by two she dogs twice this week.

our other hermanas have discovered, by means of a police bust, that their landlords are raising cockfighting roosters in their yard. yes, its illegal in urugay, too.

i havent gotten your packages or stamps yet, but i have been told that they should be coming this week. i am very excited to receive them, thank you.

and i dont know what pictures you have seen, but if they arent super ugly, feel free to post them. i am having a hard time figuring out sending pictures, but i have been taking them. when i figure it out, youll see them. if you find the one of us at the beach when i am in my brown shirt, post it. i saw it for like 3 seconds, and i like it.

oh, and we went to brasil. it is pretty much the same as artigas, but they sell bacon flavored microwave popcorn, guaraña, and flip flops there.

so yeah. love you! miss you!