September 9, 2013 – Paraguay
I would first like to apologize for my last letter home which was crazy. I was suffering a bit from culture shock and perpetual confusion. They are definitely things that happen when you go to South America. Also we had just found out that our debit cards didn’t work so we had no money for food and so I was sad and hungry. Don’t worry though! The Elders came to the rescue on that one!
The minute I stepped off the plane here I think my idea of what is clean and what is nice and what is sanitary completely changed. It’s pretty crazy out here! Don’t worry though mom, I sanitize all my water and I’m super grateful for that uv wand.
The food here is very good. Basically deep fried empanadas, mayonnaise rice, noodles in oil, salad in oil, meat covered in fat. Seeing a trend? 🙂 We get fed 5 days a week which is super nice! Yesterday I had falling off the bone ribs. MMmmmm.
You only eat one meal a day here which is lunch and then bread and milk snacks at night and in the morning. It’s really nice because we get to use that extra time to work!
I moved to S on Wednesday! I am so grateful to be here! I love S! And the people and everything. You can look across the river and see Brazil on the other side. I am literally in the furthest corner of the mission, but that’s alright. It’s just lots of hours in crazy taxies and collectivos. Traveling here is super fun! The roads are made of crushed rocks, nothing has shocks or seatbelts and the drivers are crazier than Utah. I always feel safe though. It’s just fun for me. One time we got in a cab and the driver said, “One thing you need to know about me is that I’m always first. (he is also Mormon) On the day of the resurrection I’m going to be the first one there.” Then he proceeded to drive like a maniac to our destination. The four Hnas. in the back would have been thrown from one side to the other, but we were crammed like sardines so we didn’t even budge 🙂 The driver said nothing bad ever happens because we’re missionaries so he can drive as crazy as he wants!
The Elders here are awesome. I had forgotten that boys can be nice after my stay in the MTC. They take really good care of us. They took our mattresses from P to S in a taxi, two Elders in the front seat and two mattresses sticking out the back. Best ever.
S is great. It’s a pretty big city and it’s got tons of shopping. The shopping centers are super nice. The nicest places I’ve seen in Paraguay and are actually clean by US standards.
Speaking of cleaning, we spend our Saturday morning cleaning the chapel which is fun! We use a method I like to call making a bigger mess. It’s how Grandma Gould described the cleaning method of her college roommates from Saudi Arabia I think. You pour a bucket of water on the floor, push it around, then sweep it out the door onto the sidewalk. Well, where the sidewalk would be if it existed in ¨Paraguay 🙂
Hna. Chavez is great. It was hard at first with the language barrier and the culture barrier. She does things very differently than I would, but I’m learning a lot from her. This week I really focused a lot on humbling myself to take direction from her and serving her and learning from her and now I understand her so much better. She’s a great companion. We really found our rhythm this week. On Saturday she was out of commission because she hurt her ankle and couldn’t walk, but it was a great opportunity for me to serve her and help her and it was really a turning point in our relationship.
She says that I’ll be speaking as well as I need to in 4 weeks. I’m pretty excited for that! I can understand everyone except people who mumble (those with really heavy Guarani accents), excited children, and people who talk for more than 10 minutes at a time which is everyone here. These people looooove to talk and to be listened to. They will tell you everything! My companion also really likes to talk. The people here have a different concept of time.
I’m the first missionary that the S branch has ever had that plays the piano. They have been doing acapella since the creation of their branch! I can’t believe it! I’m going to be teaching a music class every week or so to the youth so that they can play piano.
One funny thing is that the latin missionaries call Hermanas Chuchis. Chuchis is: when you walk into a super fancy hotel or house, how it looks. I think I may be the only blonde in S. Also possibly the only piano player.
The new apartment is really great in S. Our neighbors have a dance party every night at 10:30 and the parrots next door wake up at 5 am. Hola hola hola whistle.
I really do love S though. It’s been great to get to know the ward and the new people. There is incredible faith here. Even though they may not understand things completely they know that the church is true.
Paraguay is great! The work is hard (and sweaty), but I love it! The church is true! The only reason I’m out here is because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on earth again.
I love you all! Can’t wait to get letters and PICTURES from everyone. I miss you! I’ll try to send letters home this week or next.
Hna. Cami Anderson