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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