Archive | October, 2009

Limbo in Colonia

26 Oct

dear mom,

my comp´s sickness got to the degree that, last tuesday, we had to leave montevideo. apparently the humidity of the ocean makes it hard for her to breathe, or something like that. i dunno, i dont really get it. everything she says about it is in spanish… but i´m pretty sure it wouldnt make too much sense in english, either. i think it´s one of those ´mystery diagnosis´things.

so we had to frantically pack and take a bus to colonia, to hang out with a couple of other hermanas for a little while, until the president could find somewhere to put us. he told us not to call him, that he would call us, when he had somewhere to send us. a little while turned into a whole week. we spent a whole week without an area, doing divisions. wandering around like that can get a little boring, and makes it even harder for a girl like me to keep her focus.

when we weren´t out, every other girl in the house took turns on a rotation of having emotional meltdowns, and holing off in a room with one other girl to have lengthy whispered conversations. and i spent a lot of time looking at the pictures in my camera, trying to study, organizing my suitcase, reading letters… doing whatever.

finally i lost it and called the president, and he told us we will be going to pysandu tomorrow. so in the 3 changes i´ve experienced in my mission, i will have seen 5 different areas. i miss montevideo.

it´s really hard to be here as a missionary, when i will have spent half of my change without a real area or people to focus on. when i have spent so much of my time stuck in that house.

so that´s why have spent a lot of money this month, cuz i had to move and buy groceries and cleaning supplies and other crap 3 times. and then i had to buy a really cute sweater i saw in a shop window to make me feel better. but no, spending like this will not be a trend.

but yeah. i can sure use some prayers if you´re looking to say ém for me. i´m hoping things will pick up when we get to paysandu.

i miss you mom and i love you lots and lots. i´m glad to hear your classes are doing well, and tell teenie that i love her and miss her and i hope she gets better and better and better. tell dan he´s rad too. and tell marsh i miss him and he needs to write me back.

19 Oct

dear mom,

montevideo is heaven. i can barely even believe i am in the same country. our first night, we went to meet the bishop in his nice, cozy, apartment with hardwood floors, wall insulation, art prints, and the smell of candles. they fed us hot grilled ham and swiss cheese sandwiches and good apples. you know, like, fresh ones. without worm holes and bruises.

the next day, one of the many american families in our ward took us out to eat at a cool vegetarian restaurant with hot pink walls, moroccan lamps, low tables, pillows to sit on, and indian music. i ate cous cous, and again, figured i had died and gone to heaven. i was so happy. i really cannot believe this is the same country.

then another american family fed us fajitas, and for the third time, i thought i had died and gone to heaven. i asked them for their torilla recipe, cuz you cant buy them here. so now i just need the taco seasoning that one cannot buy here.

but its not all super duper peachy, unfortunately. i feel like i am in heaven, and hell. hell because…

my comp is really sick, which means we spend a lot of time in the house. and i didnt think i was one of those, ´ra ra! lets go lets go!´missionaries until… well, until i couldnt go. its killing me. i just want to work. i feel like such a waste of time and space and church funds like this. we spend so much time sitting around our SICK (sick because elders lived in it right before us, and i am convinced, did not clean anything ever at all once the entire time they were there) apartment doing nothing. i can read scriptures for a couple hours running before getting too bored, but… man. we can´t go running, cuz she´s sick, … man. i am so restless.

also, the people here are faaaaar more educated, which is cool, cuz i can talk about music and art and things i love, but uncool, cuz a lot of them are super impatient with my redneck spanish i learned in the frontera. my comp is a law student from argentina and has a broad vocabulary and a distinct accent thats a lot harder for me to understand. i have, however, happily, gotten to the point that when i dont understand someone, its simply because i dont know one of the words they are using, instead of just not understanding anything. but i get really annoyed because a lot of people around here are a little more prone to assume i dont get it cuz i´m stupid, then patronize me with their english skills, which are infinitely worse than my spanish skills. but whatever. i still dont have the vocabulary to tell them otherwise, so, oh well.
but yeah, im going to have to try to stretch my vocabulary out here, cuz the rinky dink redneck spanish i must have been learning doesnt seem to be cutting it.
for example, the other night, we were talking to one of our investigators, and she was talking about the pollutants in the local water supply. i followed the conversation perfectly well, until she used the word for ´lead´, which i currently do not remember. anyway, at that point, she started to patronize me, even though i had just completely followed a conversation about environmental hazards in collegiate level spanish. whatever.

oh! and i first-hand experienced descrimination. we spent an hour with a woman the other night who talked at length, completely unapologetically, about how everybody in uruguay hates the yankees, people from the states.
man, i had no idea how that could feel. it hurt like, really bad. real bad. i surprised myself by how much i cared.
so uh, yeah. down with descrimination.

so yeah, i am in heaven and hell at the same time. i still think, right now, it is more heaven than it is hell, cuz i am going to speak reeeeeaaaallly good spanish by the end of this, and i get to hang out with gringos and eat fajitas (in fact, i havent eaten a bad thing all week, nor have i drunk that sick tang juice crap the people in the frontera love) and we all know that food is super important to me, so its worth it. also its cooler here so i can wear sweaters and my nicer clothes, and i can do my hair and its worth it and i will not get sunburned cuz of the shade of the buildings… the beach is in our area (and this is why there are hermanas here for the summer season…) its nice.

so yeah. can you ask jon to ask amanda to record herself playing a few regina spector songs on the piano so that i can die and go to heaven? i am craving some regina really bad. she doesnt have to do a good job, just a rough copy will light up my life. also, can someone send me some chips ahoy?

i am thrilled to hear that teenie is ok. and that dan is ok. tell marshall that if he does this backpacking thing to take lots of pictures. i am glad you are doing well, and i love you!


13 Oct

dear mom,

you know how a couple of weeks ago, i said i was exhausted?
i had no idea what exhausted felt like. now i do.

we went back to salto on monday night, on hopefully the worst bus ride i shall ever experience in my life. there were drunks blasting reggeaton on their cell phones. they smelled horrible and were yelling things.. which usually i wouldnt mind too much, but because i had been running across the world in the sun on 5 hours of sleep for three days, it was a little irritating.

so we got back to salto at 3 in the morning, slept 3.5 more hours, and started our week. suuuuuuper long week.

we did divisions, and i went to the other hermanas area. it is, happily, waaaaaaay nicer than anything i had ever seen in uruguay thus far. i felt like i was in california. still eating deep fried meat in mayonnaise, but there were paved streets and dogs with leashes.

on the bus ride to the area, the elders who were with us contacted the whole bus. like, stood in front and announced that we are missionaries looking for the chosen people of god. and then we talked to every person, one by one. i wont lie, i felt a little like an idiot. at least i evaded having to be the one to talk to the whole bus.

we also started doing bolder street contacts, which turns out, makes making contacts a lot more fun. i told a man to repent and be baptised. he told me, oh yeah, that would be nice, but im busy. i told him to come find us when he had time to repent. and i believe he thought we had had a completely normal interchange. calling strangers to repentence and getting away with it is a lot of fun.

uh, what else? my favorite little abuelita beba got baptised!! she almost didnt, but through the power of my pepto bismal chewables, we saw a miracle. we saw her dressed in white.

so everybody who warned me to come prepared for dysentary knew what they were talking about.

uh, what else? oh, this week, its transfers. this is why i am writing on tuesday. and where am i going?

montevideo!!! i am way excited. i hear it is cooler there in the summer, and i have high hopes for entountering something better to eat. also to not climb hills and be eaten alive by mosquitos in swamps and wander around with pebbles in my shoes all the time.

i have also learned not to make fun of the other hermanas who could potentially be my companions. cuz when i do, they become my companions.
i have seen many, many photos of the hermana with whom i shall be serving in montevideo. she likes to wear lots of makeup every single day and take lots and lots and lots of cute pictures of herself. then make wall calendars of them and give them to people.
oh man.

oh, and she does not speak english. so here we go again. by the end of the next change i am probably not going to be able to speak english in my emails anymore. im starting to forget.

uh, what else? the other night, we were in the house of an investigator, and the father looked at me and excitedly said, chanchito! then ran to his backyard, and came back holding a white little piglet. it was adorable.. or at least, much cuter than its parents, i am sure. so i got to meet a piglet the other day, which was cool.

but yeah. the work in salto was really good. ima miss my companion… but i guess it was too good to last.

what else? we went to a little girl named alisons first birthday party, thinking it would be a tame little affair, and ended up listening to really loud reggeaton. i am not going to lie, i quite enjoy me a little reggeaton, but in a room with 50 people dancing… we felt weird as missionaries, so we left.

on the topic of music, thank you aunt kandee, a million times, for sending me that cd. you have saved my life, and i love it. i especially love tracks 4,6,and 7. if theres anything else by those guys, tell my mom and maybe she can send me those cds for christmas or something. 🙂

on the topic of sending things, i need a couple more things, if thats ok.
more crappy little hlj rings. kids looooooooove them, and i have run out.
a few pairs of earplugs so the cats that are in heat in the streets wont keep me up at night.
neutrogena healthy volume mascara en black brown.
bumble and bumble seaweed shampoo and conditioner. because a dinky bottle of redkin is the equivalent of 30 bucks here, and i have exerted way too much patience in growing my hair to destroy it with crappy shampoo now.
oh, and did you know? the other hermanas moms use a usps flat rate box thats only like 12 bucks and quite big. and does not have a weight limit. feel free to enlist ellen to help me receive my shampoo soon, if possible.

oh, did i mention that i also had to swing a pick to break concrete for 3 hours the other morning while helping build houses? so i worked the last 3 days sleep deprived and with sore muscles. after these hills for 6 weeks, i now have like, man soccer player legs. eeigh. we showed up at the work sight and the dudes there looked at us like we were burly men. what a shame that we are not.

so yeah. we have been really really busy. i love you and i miss you

5 Oct

i write today from montevideo. all of the people from my group had to come down to sign papers to live in the country for the next year and something. 6 hours of bus ride to write my name. laaaaaaaaaame. my head really, really hurts. we got on the bus at midnight last night after a really long and hot day running across our area 5 times to try to wrange people together to watch general conference in the stake center. i have not slept. i am sunburned, and even though i showered, the bus was so stuffy, i got sweat in my eyes and they burn. this lifestyle is so glam.

watching conference was great though. the talks were great, and although the stake prez didnt want to let the missionaries have an english room to watch it cuz of a taco party incident that happened six months ago, a cool elder decided to enforce a little civil disobedience to set up a tv to watch the last 3 sessions in english. conference is a lot better in english. i mean, its not that i didnt understand the spanish, but…. its a lot more interesting when i can pay attention to what theyre saying without analyzing the grammar.

also, in the last session, a couple of the 13 year old recent converts we have decided to follow me to the english room because they decided that i am ´mas buena´than my companion. they soon got bored and spent most of the time latched onto my arms and looking behind me at one of the elders and telling me he was blowing kisses at me. they told me they know he likes me and we should date. i explained to them that missionaries dont do that, but they didnt quite understand. later they asked my comp if she would tell on me if i dated one of the elders, and because she didnt answer, they told me that was my go ahead to do it. i told them that would be like dating my little brother. which it would be like dating a little brother. and of course i think this is really funny, because it made that poor elder terribly embarassed. i love my little preteen possy.

other than that, not much happened this week. my comp and i get along really well, which is almost becoming a distraction. we have a lot of fun. the other night before bed, we spent the hour ripping out pictures from liahona articles and sticking them to our walls. in our tiny remodeled 2 car garage of a house, we have 70 liahona pictures. we call our house the liahona.

oh! and then we accidentally ended up watching an anti lds propoganda film, cuz one of our investigators had it and it was only in english, and she wanted me to translate. we asked to borrow it to see if we could figure out how to play it in spanish first, and watched it at a members house. it was terrible… and at times, terribly funny. apparently some people believe, because of something they found in a young womens manual, that we believe that there are 3 foot tall people dressed as pioneers who live on the moon.

that night, we set the dvd on fire on our patio to send it back to hell, from whence it came.

um, what else? the sun is really, really hot here. like, super hot. i already have a ton more freckles of the permanent sort on my face. to prevent this, i bought a sombrero … sombrero only means wide brimmed hat… not velvet mexican wall decoration… its black and fancy and i look like i am wearing the hat from the cover of breakfast at tiffany´s. it might be too fancy for a missionary. i definitely dont mind.

oh! in our running around in our area, and due to the hot sun, the asphalt in a new street melted, and i ended up with sticky wet tar covering my entire right calf. like, the whole leg. mottled black. and then i spent both conference sessions that way, with old men glaring at my legs. luckily one of our investigators had laquer thinner and a sponge to help me clean it off of my skin later that night.

oh, on the sending stuff front, a miniature childrens hymnal if possible… if possible, in spanish. and a mini english hymnal… and food. anything good or healthy looking.. taco seasoning packets, cans of chili… swiss cheese? can you send that? seriously, whatever seems like it could travel well and taste good. unless it is microwave popcorn or cornflakes or raisins, i promise you i cannot get it here. and peanut butter. and aveeno body wash if you want to really light up my life!

ok, time is up, and my head really hurts. sorry if this email is weird. i am really happy here in salto with this comp. i like here a lot. i love you and i miss you and i hope you all are well! tell my friends i wont be able to write letters this week and to please forgive me and know i still love them!