Well, first things first: Argentina is FANTASTIC! Beyond fantastic, and so different from what I ever expected. I am assigned to work in the area of Paran (feel free to put an accent on the last A, because I´ve no idea how to do that on this keyboard :), in 5 Esquinas with Hermana Miranda. Hna Miranda is WONDERFUL, and is very patient with me as I constantly bombard her with badly formatted questions in Spanish, and play charades with everything I do :) She is from Santiago Chile, is the oldest girl in her family of 4 children, and is undoubtedly one of the most faithful people I´ve met. We´ve only been together less than a week, and have already seen many miracles! I am so excited for our time together, and hope it lasts long.
Despite the differences in, well... everything, lets keep things consistent and at least start out with a list of fun facts, eh? :)
1) The shower in our pension is nothing more than a box on the wall with an outlet to plug in and heat the water. The shower itself is pretty fun, and an adventure every morning -- especially since it was made for someone much shorter than I am and I practically have to do aerobics to fit my head under the faucet.
2) ALFAJORES! Imagine the Tim Tam cookies (family and roommates, you know what I´m talking about here :), then triple the layers and add dulce de leche. Folks, I´m in heaven!
3) I´ve decided that Argentina and I are destined to be friends. The most popular things here are pasta and caramel. VOILA, dream come true :)
4) Here, you never knock on doors, but clap outside their homes. I felt super strange when I did it the first few times, but now I´ve mentally turned it into a game of sorts, and tried to clap out some rhythms. So far, I´ve done a few veggie tales songs, and some country songs. No one else understands mu clapping tunes though, so it just adds to my appearance as a crazy American when I clap out some rhythm and start laughing at my own joke. Sigh. Ah well, people already think I´m nuts, why not add to the fun! :)
5) Record of people I´ve seen crammed onto one motorcycle: 5 -3 of whom were adults. That´s talent right there, folks.
6) My nickname in the ward here? Hna Barbie. I still haven´t figured out how I feel about having being nicknamed after a plastic icon, but ah well. Honestly, being so tall has almost become a distraction here! No matter whether they´re Hispanic or not, multiple times in a lesson, we´ll be talking with them when all of a sudden they blurt out questions about whether I play basketball or not. Good thing missionaries don't wear heels, eh? Id probably give the members a heart attack, ha ha :)
7) In efforts to remember Spanish, I´ve started a little game with myself. When I need to remember or distinguish multiple words, I´ll put them all into a storyline! Here´s two I´ve thought of so far:
Ayer, el cielo lloró, y lluiva llegó, y llenó una botella que llevó, se llamó llanara
(yesterday, the sky cried, rain arrived, and filled a bottle I carried named llanara)
Hay una caballo quiene tiene cabello alla en la capilla (there is a horse who has hair over there in the chapel)
Pretty good eh? I´ve also expanded my talents to a couple songs:
(sung to the tune of the Dora theme song)
Come on, Vaminos!
Enseñe la gente
Porque nos ama!
I´ve also learned how to sing the Bob the Builder theme song in Spanish. Stay tuned for my next CD, containing all sorts of children's theme songs :)
MOM! Since being here, I´ve totally noticed things that I´m sure you picked up on your mission here! For example, that little ch sound you make to get people's attention? (Justin Bennett calls it mom's sprinkler) I was all excited about the first few times I heard people on the street doing there, until I figured the meaning is similar to a cat call on the street. Not so exciting after that, but it still made me laugh and think of you every time I heard it :) Also, the bread is TOTALLY as amazing as you said. I wish I could bring home a food supply for the rest of my life. Though that would probably have unfortunate consequences on my thighs. Maybe not :)
Phew! Well folks, my fingers are going to fall off here. Moral of the story is, I love Argentina :) I am healthy (for now :), have a constant headache from trying to figure out Spanish, and have never walked so far in my life. And I love it :) There is nothing greater in the world than the Lord's work! Since I have been on my mission, I have gained such a testimony of the power we give or take away from our selves in the form of our attitudes. When we have a positive attitude and outlook, everything is fun, everything is less intimidated, and everything is possible :)
I love you all! If anyone has specific questions about Argentina, send it my way, and I´ll do my best to answer in the next email :) Now, go pray for the faith to do something impossible! That´s exactly what we do as missionaries, and better yet, we have fun while doing it :)
LOVE YOU ALLL!