Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lindsey's journey to Argentina and her new area

First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!! I am sorry that I didnt mention anything over the phone but I hope you have a super fantastic day! I love you very much! :)
Dear fam,
So after I talked to you on the phone this week I immediately boarded the plane to Buenos Aires Argentina. I sent you a letter with my first reactions already but I could just tell right away that the people were so much more European than in Ecuador. Argentines kind of remind me of what I would picture in a typcial Italian. Anyway, they dress super nice too. I arrived in Argentina and realized that although they dress differently, Argentines live in homes quite a bit the same as the people in Ecuador. The flight to Buenos Aires was pretty crazy. It was about 10 hours long and it was full of like 130 missionaries all headed to Argentina. I believe there were missionaries going to 3 different areas but it was still loco. A poor Elder named Elder Sirrine had the unique experience of sitting next to me on both our flight to Dallas and then to Buenos Aires. The flight to Buenos Aires was overnight and so we all tried our best to sleep. Poor Elder Sirrine had the hardest time sleeping (he probably couldnt get comfortable in his seat) and I, sitting next to him, who had a window seat, must have slept nearly 9 hours straight without a problem. After a night of almost no sleep, poor Elder Sirrine woke me up to let me know that we were eating breakfast on the plane. He had already eaten all of his food and everything. I was completely oblivious. I felt bad. I definitely should have given him some time with the window seat or something. But I was so glad I got some sleep! When we arrived, all the missionaries met up in the mission office in Buenos Aires and talked over VISAs with a lady there (all in Spanish of course). Then we loaded three separate buses and road over to another airport where we would load a plane to our separate missions. One to Cordoba, one to Bahia Blanca, and other, mine, to Comodoro Rivadavia. Before we caught the plane, we had the unique opportunity to meet our mission president in the airport. He was on our flight to Comodoro on his way back from some kind of mission president conference. As I mentioned in my other letter, he kind of reminds me of Grandpa Andrus mixed with Uncle Clay and his wife reminds me of Aunt Lori mixed with Grandma Kuhn. Random, I know, but somehow that's what they're like (I dont know how the punctuation works on this keyboard). We had about another 3 or 4 hour flight in which I attempted to talk to my neighbors in Spanish but more or less epically failed. Haha, oh the struggs. After a short van trip, we arrived in Comodoro, a city roughly the size of Provo so I've been told (and its the biggest in our mission). Most of the sisters spent the night at the home of some service missionaries but Hermana Heath and I got to sleep at the mission home of President and Sister Rogers. It was super comfortable there and it was such a nice home, especially by Argentina standards. After 2 days of training there, all of the mission trainers arrived to pick up their new companions. The poor trainers. They are almost all native and they walked in to see a room full of North American missionaries, only one of whom speaks Spanish. I was then assigned my first official companion and area. My companions name is Hermana Arres. She is from Mexico and doesn't speak any English (which has been a little tricky but is really helping me learn). She is a little bit older. I cant remember how old she is exactly but I believe she was either 27 or 29. She is an elementary school teacher :). I was assigned to a zone in the city of Trelew to the Trelew Norte (Trelew North) zone. This is a city near the very top of my mission so its not cold or anything. It is quite windy though and creates quite a few problems with my skirts (I'm trying to limit the flashing the best I can. My area is called Progreso B. And Heraman Arres and I are opening it. That's right, brand new area! Heck to the yes. Once we got to know each other a little better, Hermana Arres and I and a group of a few others loaded a bus and travelled for 4 or 5 hours, I can't remember exactly how long it was because I slept the whole time (my talent to sleep in vehicles is really coming in handy). We arrived and met parts of our zone. One of our zone leaders (I cant remember his name right now) is totally from Idaho Falls and attended Hillcrest. How cool is that? He seemed to be a really cool guy too so that was great. Then we met the only other companionship in our district (yes, we are a very small district), and Elder Jara from Peru and an Elder Smedley from Pocatello (wow, small world right?) They are super great! I like them a lot. Some members of our ward also met us at the bus stop and tried to talk to me. I didn't understand  and looked at my companion. Haha, story of the last few days. Turns out that they didn't know we were coming and threw together a welcome group really quickly. They hurriedly drove us to our new apartment where 2 other sister missionaries already lived and got us settled in. I will send pictures of the apartment. Its a little small and a lot run down, but I found it to be the perfect picture-esque missionary apartment so I was feeling it. However, the next day as we attended church we found out that since the Elders had not had time to prepare for us, they had just put us up in that particular apartment for a few nights until they could find us an apartment of our own and after church they took us to see what will be our apartment. It is still in the fixer-up stages but they are working on it and it is going to look really nice when its done so we are excited. After church (where when I listened REALLY hard I somewhat understood the talks) my companion and I met up with the other Elders for a little area explanation. We figured out each others boundaries and decided to meet up later in the day so they could show us around. Right after church however, we went to the neighbors for lunch (they don't really eat dinner here they just eat large lunches, so that is what they feed us) and we had some sort of chicken, ham, cheese patty (not like cordon bleu, but it was still good) and noodles. This food wasn't so much, but I find that the Argentine food is often quite tasteless. They don't put much salt or flavoring in any of their food. But it was fun to get to know the members a little better. We ate with the Sirena family which consists of Brother and Sisters Sirena and their 20 year old daughter. Both Sister Sirena and her daughter speak quite a bit of English. They offered to talk to me quite a bit in English but I didn't want to do that so we just spoke Spanish. I didn't understand everything that was said but I usually got the general idea. 
After, we met up with Elder Jara and Elder Smedley and they showed us around the area and introduced us to most of the members in the ward one house at a time. As the day went on, I got more and more frustrated about not understanding and my mind was just feeling overloaded. But fortunately for me Elder Smedley has only been out for 6 weeks and doesn't speak a ton of Spanish either so we helped each other out throughout the day and occasionally just talked in English. Sometimes its just nice to talk without having to think much. After one house, I was particularly frustrated because they spoke fast and my companion hinted at me to say something. I just shook my head because I had literally no idea what they were talking about at that point. I just couldn't do it and then I felt bad for not doing it. I talked to Elder Smedley afterward and he was very encouraging. He said, "All you can do is enjoy it" and I thought that was quite profound. I mean a few months from now when I understand more Spanish I will never be able to be in this same situation again. And really how unique and comical it is! I just wish I could see myself through their eyes. I'm sure its ridiculous but I am learning a lot. Every day I can tell that understand more and with less effort. It is so great! After he told me that yesterday I just enjoyed the next few visits and had a lot of fun getting to know the members. They all told me that I spoke good Spanish so that was nice (I am pretty sure it was a pity compliment, but I still appreciated it). At the end of the day, I can say that I just about have the best companion ever. She is super, duper patient! She understands that I don't understand that much and she is super nice about it. I honestly have been so blessed in everything so far! I had the best MTC experience and now I have basically an angel companion and some great Elders in my district who help me out so much! Oh man, I honestly don't know if I could have been more blessed in the people I am surrounded with or my mission assignment. The people here are so great! In fact, the cutest older couple ever, the Trivinos, invited us to stay at their house for the next few days while we wait for our own apartment to be finished. They are probably the wealthiest couple in our ward but their house still isn't all that large. I took photos of their place too. Anyway, things are going well, things are tricky but still good. I will just keep a-praying. I haven't even taught my first lesson yet because yesterday it was just like spiritual thoughts with the members so we will see what happens. Ok well, I believe that is about it. Pictures to follow. I love you all very much!! Oh, and Happy Halloween this week!!

Hermana Kuhn

                                                         Lindsey's companion - Sister Arres

Sister Missionary apartment
Member's home


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