Monday, August 16, 2010
I´m going to start with an apology that I may be disjointed in my writing and forget things. I have to try and take a step back from my day-to-day life to tell about it. I try to write things down but I often forget.
Sierra, FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS! You are so big! haha I love you and happy birthday! I hope your party was off the hook!
I don´t know who else has had birthdays, but I love you all and Happy Birthday!
Well, I have been here for almost two weeks now. It’s starting to feel a little less like a foreign place. The people are all really nice, even if most of them aren´t really interested in listening to us ´´chicos´´. I made a list of little experiences or characteristics of Argentina, so I’ll just go through that.
I love almost everything about this place, with one glaring exception. There are dogs EVERYWHERE! They are barking in the street, behind fences in houses, and even on the train! You can´t be outside (or inside for that matter) without being able to see or at least hear a dog. There are all sorts shapes and sizes, but they all bark. Every time we clap a house, all the dogs in a 3 house radius go crazy. Sometimes we can´t even have a normal conversation with people because of all the noise. And you have to always be on the lookout for the little mines they leave behind.
Another thing that has a connection with dogs (you´ll see why in a second) are the sidewalks. There is an interesting thing here that the ´´state´´ doesn´t build sidewalks. If you want a sidewalk, you make your own, or hire someone to make it. Because of this, the sidewalk changes quality, color, width, style, and sometimes existence with almost every house. As for the dogs, there are dog footprints in about half the sidewalks. Because they are laid by the people, they don´t always have stuff to block it off while it dries. So that is an interesting thing. It seems almost normal now. I think it would be fun to build your own sidewalk. Some of them are really nice, done professionally most likely, and others look like a 10 year old did it. (No offence to any 10 year olds reading this)
Every once in a while, we take trains or buses to go to our zone/district meetings and to the Mission Office. They have a train system for the ´´suburbs´´ It cost about 75 centavos, or about 20 cents to go to the Stake Center and 1.25 pesos or roughly 35 cents to go to the mission office. To take the buses or ´´collectivos´´ it costs a little more but is faster. We try to talk to people but most don´t want to hear it on the train and bus. And we are all too busy trying not to fall over or out of our seats, because the ride is very crazy. All the people here drive very fast, but there are rarely accidents. Instead of yielding at intersections, they honk their horn to alert others that they are coming.
We have a district meeting once a week, where we go to the stake center in Berazetegui and meet with our zone and district. All of the Elders in our zone, are awesome, and the meetings are helpful. I will go to my third tomorrow.
After those we go to lunch as a zone. The first time, we went to what is called a ´´Pizza Libre´´ Basically you sit down, and they bring out argentine pizzas one at a time and you take a piece. there are lots of different kinds, and they keep bringing more out until you are full. With a drink, it only costs about 6 American dollars to eat there. The pizzas here have thicker crust more similar to bread, almost no sauce, and lots of different toppings. Toppings like crumbled hard boiled egg, tiny french fries, tomato slices, corn, as well as ham, other meats, cheese, pineapple, and things like that. I like them a lot.
And it´s pretty much Sprite, Orange Fanta, or Coke to drink here. (and water) There is absolutely no Dr. Pepper here. Que triste.
The food in general is great, but a little different than I was told. I haven´t even seen a steak since coming. Chicken is way popular, but they generally just boil it bones, skin and all, so it takes a little getting used to. There is also a lot of pasta and empanadas, which I was expecting. In our pension, we eat pretty standard food. Cold cereal, bread (little loaves like from Aladin, when he feeds the little kids),
hot chocolate, yogurt, bananas. It is all a little different than the States, but a good different. My favorite is the milk, and hot chocolate. The milk comes in bags, cold not warm, and the chocolate mix has this distinct flavor that is hard to describe. Also, they have Malta, which I think is the stuff Grandpa likes as a coffee replacement. It is kosher for the missionaries and we’ve had it a couple of times. Dad, you’re right, it smells like burnt toast, but it tastes quite good actually. I don´t know if you can still buy it in the states, or if you still want it Grandpa, but if not, I will bring some home with me. (Only 21 and half months away). One of my favorite desserts here is very simple. It´s cold (not frozen) bananas with dulce de leche drizzled over the top. It is soooooo good. I bought my own bananas and dulce just so I could make it.
I have to go now, but I love you all sooo much. I am still trying to send pictures. And I will write more about day-to-day life next time.
I wish I had more like 3 hours to write, but we have to follow the rules!
Thanks for all your support and love.
Hasta la proxima vez, Les Amo Mucho!
P.S. FROM SIERRA!!! I added the pictures to be funny since there are so many picture-less posts.
Also, when I read the part "every time we clap a house" I was so confused and I asked John. He said instead of knocking there, they clap outside to get the people to answer the door! haha! What the! I did not know that and figured some of you wouldnt either. That would be so funny, you are inside making dinner and you just hear someone CLAPPING at your door?! " Honey, can you get that?!"
Monday, August 9, 2010
Its been a while, but hello everyone! I have been in Argentina for almost a week now. Life is quite different, but I have started to get used to it. I absolutely love it here. The people are amazing, especially the members. We have had lunch with a few, and visited a recent convert family twice, and every time I leave there house, I am filled with love for them.
I am in an area called Platanos. We work kind of in two cities called Platanos and Ranelagh. I will send our address later. I don´t have the exact one with me, nor my companion. We are stopping by the offices later today and I´ll send a quick one. (please edit this as you think best for the blog)
One thing to know is that we don´t speak Spanish here. We speak Castellano. (Pronounced Casteshano).
My companion is Elder Pepito from St. George. He turned 27 yesterday. He is a convert of 4 years, and decided to come on a mission right at the ´´26´´ age deadline. He is great and has really helped me since I got here. His Castellano is awesome, and he has helped me inprove mine a lot.
The place where we live is called a Pension or ´´Pench´´. Our pench is not bad. We have running hot water, comfortable beds, a kitchen, and plenty of space. It is old, and cheap, but there are a lot worse house on the same block. We visited a member whose entire house was a sqare brick room of about 14´x12´, with no running water.
Yesterday for Elder Pepito´s birthday, we had lunch with the Bishop´s family, empanadas and spaghetti, and a really good grapefruit soda. and cake. We also had dinner with the recent convert family. The papá of the family made us pizza, and we had coke to drink. They also made us a cake. The mamá knows some English, so to practice, I was speaking to her in Castellano, and her to me in English. It was confusing, but fun.
This is short again, sorry. I am going to record all about my trip and how things are going and send that soon, so maybe that will be better. It´s hard to think of all the things I want to tell you guys about when I sit down at the computer.
I love you all, and I think about you every day.
Hopefully soon, there will will be pictures with posts.
I want you all to know that I know that this is the most important thing I can be doing right now, an I am so grateful for all of your support.
One more thing, we have 5 investigators right now, name Manuel, Margarita, Flavia, Leonardo, and Celena. They are actually 3 groups, but 5 total people. More will be on them next time.
I am trying to attach some pictures to send. I don´t have time to describe them, other than they are pictures of my trip, and my pench. I will try to take more.
As far as my situation with emailing and computers, we get an hour every p-day, and they are fully functional computers. I can send files, manipulate them (sort of) and I think send them through email.
It costs roughly 2 pesos per hour to used the computers. (Thats about 50 cents)
I am going to take your suggestion and record all about my trip and what I´ve done so far on my recorder. Then, I will send that file, probably along with some others. Feel free at any time to send the correct type of file, becuase I can easily stick them on my recorder to listen.
As far as mail, just use email, and DearElder. We live in a place with pretty much no mail system. Just stick to those. It may be a tiny bit slower, but oh well.
As far as packages, FedEx is going to be the most reliable, but more expensive I think. You can also use the USPS. My companion said he has seen both be used. If you need to anything with customs, always just say it contains ´´Missionary Supplies´´ regardless of what is in it. And the first time, don´t put anything perishible, and put a slip of paper with the date you send it inside so we can time it. Everything should be sent to the mission office, which is the one you already have with ´´Quintana 447´´ Then, I can get it whenever I can.
Elder Scot Daniel Stobbe Jr
Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission