First of all, Mother.

Has our government restarted yet? I keep asking people, but they looked panicked and seemed to have no idea that our government was inactive in the first place. It’s a little worrisome.

To my journal for recaps on my week!

Day 8, date unknown

This day has come where a good cry would’ve been nice. Or at least a talk with Mom. Because Ma I had to teach. In Spanish. And it’s hard. Like, HARD. How do I say that so people understand? It’s REALLY hard. Muy dificil.
Because we{re learning Spanish, but not actively? Does that make sense? No Spanish lessions, but constantly speaking it, and memorizing gospel lessions and teaching in Spanish and talking in Spanish and they all say that it’s little by little, and not to worry about the language coming right now and to just focus on the gospel, right? But after yesterday’s lessions, our teacher took us aside and said we needed to start working on the language more.
And then the next day he said to teach out of Preach My Gospel but not to plan things out but to be prepared but it{s still not about the language, but also memorize all these things still
and
and
Well, today our teacher just stopped us halfway through our lession and said, “Stop. Stop. This is not what I need.”
They keep saying it’s poco o poco–little by little. But it’s actually like jump by lunge whilst maintaining as much Spanish and emotional stability as possible.
Like I said.
Hard.

Day 9

{Sometime early morning.}
Earthquake? Why, yes. Last night. At like two in the morning. It couldn’t have been too terrible because I slept right through the second one.

Later in the day.
Today? Today was better.

Also it was freezing this morning. A bitter, cruel cold. It was wet, moving in your lungs and settling in the bones. Later, well into the afternoons, the sun comes out and cooks everything. Equator lines and all.
Also, my streak of 8 days of not praying in Spanish with my district was broken today. Hermana Florian is to blame.

Perhaps most importantly, Mother, I hit the volleyball today. Three times, and it even went over the net once. It seems to be the CCM sport, so I might be able to REGULARLY hit the ball by the end of this six week stint.

Finally, and definitely most importantly, I’m serving a mission. This is going to sound really cliche, but I’m pretty excited to be having this experience.

Day 10
A Saturday
Ten days? The first few days dragged. Like a wet towel. Now they’re flying. Like, days are slipping all over the place. Class, meals, scriptures, sleep.

Also going out to teach in the city for, like, six hours. Pray I return alive and not too frazzled.

Later in Day 10

This is a city with no rules. It’s chaos and self-imposed rules. Traffic is this strange, strange maze of thick exhaust fumes and a chorus of horns demanding the right of way. Constantly, constantly.

Parks are overgrown patches of grass between traffic lanes. People lay about in this Inbetween Gardens. Brothers playing and young mothers and small gangs of school children. They all lie in this space between mayhem.

The Inbetween Gardens are also littered with the desperate or the brave, I’m not sure which. But they stand precariously close to the road, offering drivers lodged in traffic various things, ranging from metal bats to children’s toys, all for a few soles.

The mountains here are great mounds of barren dirt and rock, most with the side eaten out by towers of grungy, dying homes. The houses climb and climb the sides of these mounds, atop each other, aside each other, red and lime and purple and twenty shades in between.

If not for the color speckled sides, the mountains here would be unbearably ugly.

While streets here are ruled by the engine and horn, alleys and sidewalks are ruled by well-broken dogs, constantly looking for garbage bags to hollow out.

And the people we taught were so willing. Strangers in parks and passing families living in cement squares–all willing to stop and listen and decipher our jumbled message.

Their humility is astounding.

Day 12

Mi pequeno amigas are leaving. Muy triste. They’re so adorable, and they’re leaving early in the morning, flying off at half-pást three. Mourn with me.

Day 13

Hermana Estes is probably the quietest of our happy trio. Or–no–not quietest, maybe. But the most reserved. She tells a few jokes and has gotten better at being more sassy. Hermana Florian and I are rubbing off on her, I think. Hermana Florian is adorable. She has her mane of glory, and the brightest smile all the time. She’s got a hilarious sense of humor, and is in constant search for a solid pun. She also loves pistachios, and keeps a bag in our room. I love her a lot.

Both Hermanas are picky eaters, and pronounce Hermanas like it’s spelled, but I love them anyways.

Oh, yeah. Hermana Florian loves to randomly announce to the class, ‘it’s been a rough day. I just found out I’m adopted.’

Dya 14, October 23, 2013

New Lations. Only four so far–one new roommate, the other to arrive tomorrow. They’re adorable, but different, for sure.
Alas.
Also, Hermano Cani. He’s one of our afternoon teachers. He’s very much adored. By everyone in the district, which is saying something. He’s so good at sitting us down and giving us a good scolding while making us adore him even more. He makes me want to do great things in life. He’s a small man, probably only five or six years older than us, but has an asounding sense of humility, and constantly carries the spirit with him. He’s got a very good light in his eyes, you could say.

Quotes:

‘Sometimes the Lations make random noises at us.’
‘That would be Spanish.’

‘Wake up your hands!’ Brother Cañi was trying very hard to get us to raise our hands, but we were utterly confused for several minutes. It was hilarious.

‘The airport was frothing with Wednesdays!’

There’s this really cool store we go to on P Day that sells llama ties? I know how that sounds, but I want to buy six and send them home EVERY time. One day.

Anyways, I love you all. Mother, I know you haven’t given Marissa her birthday presents. Because you always forget these kinds of things. But please do. It would be quite nice. ALSO! Forgot to tell you. A little important. The whole flying back into the States is probably not going to happen. They do that for all missionaries, but I’m probably going to

 

end up getting my VISA down here, if all goes as planned. I’ll let you know in the future. Please make the children write. I’hermanasd love to hear from them. Or no llama ties. No. Lllama. Ties. Note: Tried to attach picture. May or may not have worked. Sorry.

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La Primera Carta

Mother. Mother.
First off. I thought I wrote down the address of the CCM on a piece of paper the morning I left. No? I don’t have it on me. Another week you will wait.
It has been chaos. I have a ton to tell you, but really none of the time. I´m thinking of investing in snail mail. It takes about three weeks, but would keep my stress slash spelling errors to a minimum. Well, actually, this computer and I both lack a spell check, so that last line might be a lie. The spelling’ll be bad either way.
None of the buttons are in the right place. I’m sorry. A little, anyways.
ALSO! Perhaps most importantly! I have no one’s address. Email or otherwise. Please, if you could gather some up and assist me in this endeavor I would be a little bit grateful.
So. Where  to start. I’m going to tell you of today. Today was interesting, and also my P-day. This means that I awoke, ate breakfast, and did some much needed laundry–i should’ve been safe and brought three extra pairs of clothes. Silly me.
In order to tell you of the rest of my day, you have to know this. I’m in a different country. And so none of my words here are going to do it justice. There’s simply too much that will not translate over a screen and a couple hundred words. Firstly, the MTC here is beautiful. It’s small–three buildings. The grounds are in a constant state of being cleaned by wonderfully happy people. Sure, hardly any of the people here speak English–only the North Americans, as we’re known–but, for all intents and purposes, we could be at home. Except the sounds. You wake up and you can hear honking and sirens and a plethora of other city sounds. And I could hear that all week, but I couln’t really see it. Not behind our thick brick wall surrounding the grounds.
And then today was Temple day. We have the opportunity to go to the Temple and a handful of pre-designated stores. You step outside the gates and there’s a flurry of chaos. The air tastes like too many cars and overpopulation, and the sun is suddenly hot, and the streets are narrow, crumbling playthings for all the drivers to ignore. As soon as my group–five newbies, five seniors–were bombarded with a chorus of Taxi{s flying by, horns blaring, in constant search of someone to cart away. But we ignored the Taxis and had to run across the road, where cars are king and stop lights are optional. Crosswalks are little more than jokes. Everything is dictated on how lucky you’re feeling and how long ones legs are. Also not being stupid. That helps.
But a bus pulled up right as we got to the other side of the street, and we all piled on. The bus was an old dusty thing. We gave him the appropriate amount of change–fifty soles a piece, perhaps the equivalent of about fifteen cents–and we immediately pulled away, whether people were sitting or no. I was, but I was one of the lucky. We then drove about a mile or so away. The temple isn’t far. But we were still two directions of traffic away from the temple when we got out, so there was more of the panicky crossing of roads and the few blessed people who actually acknowledged proper red light etiquette. And then the temple was there. In the middle of badly developed housing and overcast smog.
And there was so much peace. The temple was wonderful, and was so peaceful, particularly in comparison to all the gritty life of the city. Anyways, it was really neat, and today was perhaps the first day where I thought, ¨´Oh, okay. I guess I’m in Peru now.¨´
I have two companions. I adore them both. Hermana Estes is from Utah, and Hermana Florian is from Connecticut. H. Florian has a hilarious accent. She stresses her A’s weird. She lives in a constant state of trying to tame a large bundle of brown-red hair. It’s quite the curly beast.
And now, because I don’t know how else to do this, I’ll give you a condensed copy of my diary.
Day 1. You know, the airplane flight with fifty missionaries probably has to be the safest plane in the air at all times.
Day 2. The showers. It’s like playing a game of hop-scotch with alternations of lava and arctic temperatures. I finally gave up on a decent shower. It’s a dangerous game I play, but I am brave, and don’t really need normal water temperatures anyways.
We also have the most adorable little Latina sisters from Honduras and Peru. One speaks no Spanish. The other spent two years learning it, They love us and we love them and I really don’t know how else to put it.
Day 3. Cannot tell if I’ve become super human somehow between yesterday and today, but I’m able to almost withstand a full shower without burning and or freezing my poor, poor scalp.
Oh, yeah. I also speak Spanish. That’s a thing now.
 I’ve got two companions. Um- I kind of like them a lot. I mean, I feel like this is super cliche and over used, but they’re awesome.
Day 5. Ma. Marissa. Sam. I ate the best orange today. It was very good. It was perfectly sweet.
Today was a Sunday. Do you know that means? It means severe anxiety. Sundays are days when a random person–or five, as the case may be–gets called from the congregation to give a five minute talk. In Spanish. So. Worst lottery win ever?
Day 6
A Monday
We taught our first lesson to our investigator today. His name is John–also known as Yhon, Jhon, yllan. To be honest, no one knows how it’s spelled anymore. It’s different every time we see it. Anyways, everything was in Spanish. Hermana Florian was AMAZING. She was busting out Spanish left and right. Me? I might have mixed up the words fish and sin. So. You can imagine how that went. /Christ is here to help get rid of the fish in our lives and make us clean again./ Oops.
But it was actually really, really cool. John is actually one of our teachers, and I know it’s weird to teach lessons to people who are already members, but he’s acting as one of the people he actually baptized on his own mission. We got into that little room, and he looked at us with his earnest little face, and we’ve been praying from him all week–I’ve been here for, like, three weeks now, right?–and I just wanted him to understand.
Feelings. I had them.
Now. But, okay, really. I don’t speak Spanish. I’m semi decent at the accent, but I have like a fifty word bank. Well, fifty two if you count sin and fish.
And the food here is really interesting. Really interesting. Let me just say that fries are in salads and popcorn in soups. And hotdogs are gourmet. (Mother, please, for all that is holy, make sure you spell check this. And throw in some decent apostrophes before putting it on the blog. Ack.)
Some quotes.
“My foot loves to eat chocolate.”
“This tastes like cumin.”
“Human? That’s it, let me try it.”
I miss you all, on occasion. But I love you all for sure. Most of the time. You can tell Nathan that I told my class about how grumpy he is in another language halfway across the world. You can tell Sam that I tell everyone he’s one of my best friends. And you can tell Joy that I miss braiding her long, long hair. Until next week!