Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mollie #18 from Chile - New Companion, A Tunnel, Po, and Angol, Chile


                                                                                            March 1, 2013
Hey all,

        So, my mission is not nearly as poor or run-down as I thought it would be. There is a lot of beauty here.

    I have been paired with Hermana Urizar. She is great, especially since I had convinced myself that I wouldn't get another companion I would get along so well, like I did with Hermana Ferral. She is super nice. We are learning a lot about each other.

     I will see when I can send you pictures. My camera is really bulky and hard to lunk around. Anyways, Hermana Urizar, and I are assigned to Angol. I just love this place! It is beautiful. Not too busy, and not too remote.

   Hermana Urizar is from Guatamala, and her Spanish is very understandable to me. We live in a small house with two other hermanas. It is about the size of Michele's apartment, but the kitchen is smaller and Michele's walk-in closet would be a second room.

    The other two hermanas are much harder to understand. One of them is from Buenos Aires, and her Spanish is reallllly fast! I know you understand this, Mother, from talking to your family.

      I learned a new word from her the other day - ¨po¨. Po means "pause." Where we would simply pause, the Spanish speakers say 'po' - so most sentences sound like a really long word. She also uses ¨Sh¨ in place of 'y' and 'll' - for example, "Como e shama?"

     Chilean Spanish is impossibly more confusing. They mumble almost all of their sentences and speak even faster. It is very hard, but my companion is very patient with me. She is willing to go muy muy lento and to ask every other person to speak slowly with me. I have not yet taught a lesson. Yesterday, we spent the day getting familiar with some of the members in the area and asking for references. We also did some street contacting.

     They make bread here in one particular way. They fry it. It is very good and somehow not very greasy. Still, I think I ate three meals at three houses in five hours! They only really eat one meal a day here, that is almuerzo or lunch. It is more like supper, because it runs anywhere between about 2:30 to 6:00pm.

     The houses are all different sizes and built in many different ways in many different colors. The other day, I stooped over and shimmied my way through a tunnel in order to get to a door that had "Beware of Dog" signs covering it. We knocked and were able to enter an old cement courtyard with a rectangle pond and stairs leading to a turquoise color house... where we were fed fried bread again!

     Anyways. none of the sisters in my building speak English, which is actually really rare. I am going to count it as a blessing. They are all from different countries and speak different types of Spanish. Though sometimes I do feel like a crow yammering away noisily and blunt and ugly, while they sing prettily one to another in Spanish.

     A couple things I have noticed about this place. There are gates around everything, and there are dogs everywhere (USUALLY sunbathing). A lot people have a run down awful-looking house with fencing that is worth tens of thousands of dollars. The metal work here is fantastic. The days are hot, but you don't really notice, because the trees are old, and there is shade everywhere. It is not like Florida at all...not nearly that humid. I think it will be easy to love this place!

       (So, the man here in the shop seems to like the missionaries, and I have 15 more minutes... ) What else to write?  The streets here are crazy, kind of like San Francisco. A lot of them are one direction though. How you know which direction is anyone's guess. Twice I have seen cars stop, because they were on a single lane road driving towards each other.
       Que mas? Que mas?... My favorite frases right now are ¨Que?¨¨ y ¨Mas lento, por favor.¨ When I am confused I move my lips to the side and say hmmmmm... and shake my head. It is my signal to my companion that I don't understand what she is saying or what someone else is saying. Then she tries to find other words that work instead.
      People here point with their lips. It is kind of fun, except I am really bad at it. What I am good at is my accent! Evidently, it is not super griengo. Griengo is what they call all of the people who don´t speak Spanish as a native.
     For the primera cambio, all griengos are paired with nativos. Still, a lot of the natives speak English. I was just lucky to get none that speak English as roommates. I am supposed to help my companion learn English, but I am not sure how that is going to work. She has very little desire to practice. She is leaving here in one or two months.
     The people here have very expressive faces. Spanish has a lot fewer words than English. They make up for it by expressing what they mean in different ways with their faces. Fewer words but more expression. It is something I want to work on.
    I have been challenged to read The Book of Mormon in Spanish in a month by my mission president here. I don´t know if I can, but I will try. We don´t have a lot of time.

Oh...My mission is a walking mission. LOVE this fact!

                                                                                         Lots of love,
                                                                                         Hermana Bowman

Hi Jake... My suggestion is to go on a mission right after graduating. I will see about writing you more about it.