Tuesday, March 17, 2015
¿Cómo Se Dice?
Okeedoke, so I kind of have a lot of things to tell you all but I don´t really have a whole lot of time so I´m going to try to make this sort of brief and also I didn´t read any of the emails I got though I did read part of Elder Schomburg´s but anyway okay so let´s start from the very beginning.
So, I thought the plane ride was going to be the most crazy part of my whole life ever but it was actually quite boring to be honest. Lot´s of sitting. Very little sleeping. It was dark outside so I couldn´t really see anything we were flying over (though I was able to make out a few islands which was super cool) and yeah so that happened and that was basically boring and I don´t really know what else to say about it. We thought it was going to be so hard to get past immigration and customs but none of the officers said a word to any of us and the only thing they took from me were mis rasaduras [my razors] so it wasn´t really a big deal.
Okay, so when we got off the plane and got through customs and everything, we didn´t really know what to do but there was this one Elder (the first other missionary I found at the Atlanta airport) who was from Canada but was born in Argentina so he spoke perfect Spanish and sort of guided us all out of the airport. Some of the girls that I thought were going to be on the plane didn´t end up being on the plane, for example, my companion Hermana Paulson. What happened was she was scheduled for a different flight; just the flight the same time but a day after ours was. I arrived with most of my district. We are one of two North American districts in the CCM [MTC - Missionary Training Center] right now, so that´s pretty awesome. There are tons of Latinos all over the place and it´s so much fun and I just can´t even explain. We also have an Elder in our district that is actually from Switzerland and speaks only French so that has been a huge but amazingly entertaining barrier. The other night we spent almost half an hour trying to get him to understand the word ´pudding´ so that was wonderful. He is very friendly; he oftentimes has conversations with random people through the window of the bus as we´re driving to the CCM each day.
Which brings me to another point; I don´t actually live at the CCM currently, hahaha yeah wow okay so yeah. When we got off the plane, there was this nice lady that didn´t speak any English whatsoever and she told us to go with her but she could only take three so Hermanas Palmer, Hokanson, and I all went with her and got in her car and drove through Santiago and it was so amazing and then suddenly she pulled up to this house and we were all confused and afraid but it´s this place called Alcantara and it´s basically an overflow from the CCM because, let me tell you, this CCM is so very very tiny. There are I think 38 missionaries here right now. We take up four of the long pews on Sunday. It´s sort of crazy.
But anyway, Alcantara is SOOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL. It´s an old Swiss embassy that the Church bought and it looks like it too. I´ll see if I can get my pictures on this computer, but I´m not sure I´ll be able to today. But anyway, Hermana Paulson and I are staying in a room called the Hinckley room because, guess what, it was a room that President Hinckely stayed in when he visited. Also many other general authorities have stayed there, not that it´s a big deal or anything. So basically, we sleep and eat breakfast at Alcantara, and then we take a bus to the CCM which is about 15 minutes away and it is so fun and so amazing and just sO GREAT HOLY CROW.
Our teachers are absolutely amazing. We have six teachers, two per time of day (Hermana Ceballos y Hermano Antileo en la mañana, Hermana Cabrera y Hermano Leiva en la tarde, y Hermano Ceballos y Hermano Henriquez en la noche) and they are all so amazing. They act as investigators also (portraying their own first investigator) and we have to teach them and it is very nerve-wracking but also amazing. Hermana Paulson and I didn´t have a whole lot of luck with our first two investigators, but we got return appointments, but then we were actually able to get in a door and teach Carolinia a lesson about prayer and she is very excited for us to come back ´next week´ which is actually just tomorrow.
The food here is food. I haven´t had any empanadas yet but I have heard many good things. ALSO THIS SPANISH IS VERY MUCH CHILEAN SPANISH AND NOT MEXICAN SPANISH AT ALL. They have different words for EVERYTHING but thankfully, the basics are still the same. I´m very grateful to be studying in a CCM that has the language that I will be speaking en el campo [in the field]. And all that being said, I LOVE SPANISH SO MUCH HOLY CANNOLI. And I´m very grateful for all the Spanish I already knew because it has helped a lot. Of our North Americans, I know the most Spanish and am usually translating when the Latinos are talking to us. It´s so much fun. I thought that my main problem was going to be understanding the Spanish because I thought I could speak pretty well, but I´m finding more and more that it´s the other way around. I understand a lot, but it´s hard to spit words out. I find though that if you just spit out whatever the heck you can, it helps. The Latinos are very helpful in correcting us and helping us with our grammar.
Which reminds me.
Because our CCM is so small, we are given a topic to write a 5 minute talk on every week and then when sacrament meeting starts, whoever is conducting calles out the names of 6 or 7 people that are going to give their talks. It´s like the Hunger Games but it´s also really cool.
I had an important realization this week that I´m not sure why I didn´t realize earlier.
We watched a devotional on Sunday given by Elder and Sister Cook and he explained how everybody receives their call and the process it goes through. While I was listening I had a thought come to mind: I wasn´t called to the Chile Santiago North Mission. I was assigned to the Chile Santiago North Mission, but I was called to be a representative of Christ and of la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]. I was called to serve, not to go to Chile. I am in Chile and that is great, but I am not here just to be in Chile. I am here because I am a missionary. I am here to spread the word of God and teach the gospel to His children. Mi llamamiento es más importante que la lugar [My calling is more important than the place].
I have no clue if that was correct in Spanish. I´m kind of at the point that I don´t really know English anymore but I definitely don´t know Spanish. It´s like a weird transition that is really lame because I can´t speak any languages currently, but I love learning Spanish sooooo much :)
We had an Hermano teach us the first two days (Hermano Escobar) and he taught us about why we are here and who we are and he said, 'Bienvenidos a la misión!´ [Welcome to the mission!] a lot and he was really cool. He would talk about all the bad things that were going to happen and follow it up with ´Por qué? Porque somos misioneros!´ [Why? Because we are missionaries!] and it was very uplifting. He made the point that the nametags we are wearing are ours, not our sisters or brothers or parents and that really hit me. I´ve always looked up to my brothers for being missionaries and for doing the Lord´s work and wanted to be like them but now... now I am! But I´m also myself! More myself than them. This is my mission. This is my nametag. I am a missionary now! Soy una misionera! [I am a missionary!]
And I couldn´t be happier.
I don´t remember if I said anything about not being sure if I could get my pictures onto this computer but if I didn´t, I´m not sure I can get my pictures onto this computer. We´ll see what happens.
But anyway, I am so happy to be here and everything is wonderful. If I could give you one image to sum up everything that has happened this week it would probably be me standing on a table throwing food into the air and yelling, ´Cómo se dice?!´ [How to say?] because that´s our favorite new phrase here at the CCM. The Latinos are very nice though, they are even trying to learn English so they can talk with us. It´s a whole lot of fun.
Before I forget, people in my district include: Elder Taylor (district leader) y Elder Spanbauer, Elder Perrier (Suiza) y Elder Muir, Hermana Hokanson y Hermana Palmer, y Hermana Paulson y yo. They´re all really amazing. There is another district living in Alcantara and they are all Latinos and they are so much fun.
Also, nobody can say my name.
Literally not a single person can say my name and they all avoid it at all costs. Always.
I am Hermana Ese. I´ve spent a lot of time writing now so I´m going to try uploading pictures, we´ll see how this goes. If you receive more emails with more pictures, then you´ll know I´ve succeeded, but if you don´t, you´ll know I haven´t.
Oh, also, one more thing, a funny story from this week. Elder Vera was asking me at dinner how to say ´de nada´ en Ingles, but I thought he said ´gracias por nada´ so I said ´Thank you for nothing´ and then we all laughed for a long time and we told him that I had meant something else but he still says that to people and it´s really quite hilarious. It´s so awesome here. I just love it. Chile is BEAUTIFUL and so are its people.
Okay, anyway, now I´m going to try to upload some pictures.
Nevermind hahaha I forgot my cord at Alcantara (one of the only bad things about living there).
So I guess I´ll think up some more things to tell you.
If I can.
I don´t know... I... usually have so much to say... but now that I need to say somthing... I don´t know what to say... I feel like many of my funny stories would not translate well over email, but it has been so much fun and I am so excited to have more fun.
It´s kind of crazy to think that I´ve been in Chile now for a whole week?
Okay, now I have a funny story. So, Elder Muir is not very good at the whole compañero [companion] thing and he loses Elder Perrier (who only speaks French like I said) a lot and by loses I mean that he runs away, so Elder Perrier can now say, ´Where is my companion´ in French, English, Spanish, and Guadanin (a language native to Paraguay where Elder Vera is from). It´s actually very sad but the other day at breakfast, we were going around saying phrases we had learned in Spanish and the Latinas were saying phrases they had learned in English and they were all rather generic English phrases but it got to Hermana Sarmiento and she said, ´Where is my companion?´ and it was just really funny and I feel like these stories don´t sound funny but it wAS SO FUNNY YOU JUST DON´T UNDERSTAND. We haven´t seen any creepy crawlies at all and all of our maestros [teachers] are Chilean and they said that they don´t really have creepy crawlies which is cool.
It´s actually not overly humid here yet, it´s quite nice. It does cool off quite a bit at night though.
But it´s so great.
It´s weird to think that I´m literally on the opposite side of the world from you guys because there´s a weird phenomenon that happens I think when you travel far for the first time; you think you´re going to get off the plane and it´s going to be a different world entirely with like aliens and no ground and stuff but then you get off the plane in an airport and the words are actually all in English too because you´re coming out of the international terminal and there are humans there and the ground is ground and there are plants and a sky and even mountains (even if they´re on the wrong side). I think I had this weird idea that Chile was on a different planet, but it´s still on the earth. There´s a lot of smog, but it´s still the earth and I dunno; it doesn´t seem too far away.
Also, for your information, my p-day is today, whatever today is... Tuesday. My p-day is Tuesday and I am writing 11-12 my time. [Chile time is three hours ahead of Colorado time.]
I love you guys a lot. I miss you, but (no offense) not too much. I mean, I miss you all a lot but I mean also I´m in Chile and everybody speaks Spanish but me and it´s way challenging but WAY fun. I just really love it here.
OH BUT I found out that all of Santiago is not in my mission?? I guess I couldn´t really tell from the map I got, but I don´t have the temple in my mission D: but contrary to popular belief, Hermanas do get sent to the islands (insert smirking emoticon). We´ll see what happens from here. Soy MUY animado [I am very lively. *Not sure if that's what she meant. haha] :D
Okay, now it is time. I love you all so much! MANY LOVES SO MANY LOVES LOVES FROM CHILE
Until we meet again,