Thursday, April 22, 2010


April 21, 2010

Well, after 4 airplanes and a LOT of hours of traveling, here I am in Argentina! It is incredible! We met the President and his wife last night at the airport in Bahia and spent the night in a pretty awesome hotel. (We flew from Buenos Aires to Bahia Blanca instead of taking a 10 hour bus ride--I am VERY grateful.) The food here has been AMAZING (empanadas, helado, everything!) and I´m pretty sure that I never want to leave.
I´ve talked to a few people, but unless they talk really slowly I don´t understand very well. When I first heard someone talking on the airplane, it didn´t even sound like Spanish for a while.
Hermana Seegmiller and I spoke the most Spanish out of our travel group. This wasn´t a problem in the states when everyone spoke English, but when we got to Argentina there was almost a disaster.
Some of the missionaries didn´t hand in their immigration envelopes at the check point (BIG problem) and the guys working tried to tell some other missionaries and then they started yelling so finally I went over to see what was going on. I figured it out and calmed the workers down and went and got the other missionaries. It was probably one of the scariest moments of my life. I am really grateful I learned enough Spanish to figure that out... whew!
Then in the airport flying to Bahia Blanca, our guides only spoke Spanish. Whenever they wanted to relay information to the rest of the group, they did it through me because I understood them. It was amazing!
Second: I had a great neighbor in the plane... Felipe, from Buenos Aires. He´s 25 years old and he worked in Aspen all summer and we had just the greatest "gospel" conversation. Haha. It started with me telling him I was going to Argentina to be a missionary. Then he invited me to get drinks with him in Buenos Aires. hahahahaha! I said, "No, Mormons don´t drink and missionaries don´t go on dates." So he asked "What else can´t you do?" Which led into a wonderful hour long discussion on the law of chastity. hahahahaha. It was awkward for me, but Argentines are much more open. So we talked a little about the Church, I gave him a pass along card and he gave me his phone number, hahahahahahaha. It was really funny and awkward and I guess it was good, because I need to get used to talking about that with people!
I have taken a ton of pictures, but I forgot my connecting cable so I can´t send them this week, but next week I will. In a couple of hours I´m headed up to Tandil. It´s in the north of the mission and my companions says it´s been her favorite area so far (and not just because she has to say that because I´m new).
What else? I heard the best way to send letters is through Dear Elder--so start sending! :) You should be getting an email from the President (I gave them mom´s email address) with a picture, feel free to post that on the blog. In case you were wondering, President Detlefsen and his wife don´t speak English. They are VERY Argentine and I´m really excited for this. Nobody speaks English (except for me and the other missionaries, and not even all of them speak English) so I´m going to be sooo good at Spanish... hopefully I´ll forget how to speak English at all!
Also, in one year I will apparently be an Argentine citizen. My visa lasts one year, but after that I get residency and I can come back whenever I want without a visa! So maybe I won´t come home...
Oh, I guess some other stuff happened at the MTC before I left, but who could remember that???
I heard that I´m going to live in the "best" house in the mission. All I´ve heard about that so far is that it´s "big" (whatever that means) and there aren´t a lot of cockroaches (cucarachas). So that´s exciting, right??? Hermana Seegmiller left me for La Pampa--out in the middle of nowhere with the Gauchos. That is apparently the "real"
Argentina and she´s going to be amazing there and really stand out with her red hair. I´m going to miss her, but she´s going to be awesome.
The people here are much whiter than other Latin Americans, but nobody is as white as me! And nobody has blue eyes. My companion is 5´10" (VERY tall here) and I´m 5´6" (definitely above average) and we are both very blonde and very blue-eyed. Isn´t it great to know that I´m a freak here? I´m definitely excited.
I also heard that in my new area there are "mountains" (my comp. says they´re really just big hills) but next week on P-day they´re already planning on hiking! My first P-day I get to go hiking! This mission was definitely made for me. By the way, P-day is today (Wednesday) and I´m 3 hours ahead of you. The humidity is wonderful. One of the Elders who works in the office is from Potomac and he says the weather is a lot like there. Yeah! I´m so excited.
Also, every city has a plaza or park in the center with statues and trees and cool buildings surrounding it. They are really cool. I´ll send pictures next week. Basically I´m going to send 5 billion pictures next week, so get ready! In my area there´s only one bus we take every once in a while, so we´ll do a lot of walking! I´m excited to start walking again, since they don´t let us in the MTC :)
I´ve already contacted two people, but it´s not as exciting here because I might not ever see them again. I think it will be more fun when I´m actually in my area because I´ll get to teach those people! But it still was fun to talk to people, even when I had to ask them to repeat things 5 times. The Spanish here is beautiful to hear, even if I don´t understand all of it!
I can´t think of anything else to say right now... oh I didn´t tell you my comp´s name because I forgot it... and she´s over at another computer so I feel awkward asking her haha. But you will definitely find out :) Sister Hansen (Donne) who I emailed before the mission was actually HER trainer, so now Sister Hansen is my grandma! It´s pretty exciting to at least hear a familiar name.
Also, this entire country smells like smoke. Everybody smokes (except the Mormons--go Mormons!). And there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE. Like at least 2 on every street corner. Some of them are missing legs, and I´ve heard there´s a lot of mange, but I haven´t seen any really gross dogs yet. My comp says she´s never actually had to kick a dog yet, and she´s never been bitten.
Also, my this is my companion´s last transfer! She´s going home next transfer.
What else does everyone want to know? It is incredible here! It hasn´t quite hit me that I´m in another country yet. Or maybe it has and I´ve just taken it in stride a lot better than I thought I would. I am so excited for these next 16 months! And mom, if you don´t come to pick me up at the end, we are coming back to visit some day for the food alone! Remember those meat pastries you made a few months ago? Flaky dough with beef or elk inside? That were the most delicious thing I had ever eaten? The empanadas are like that... but 400 times better. Now think of the best ice cream you´ve ever had. It´s better here. I don´t like soda in the states... but I LOVE it here. Oh the pastries... Facturas are what they´re called and I can NOT get enough of them. So it´s a good thing we´ll do a lot of walking in our area, because I feel like I´m going to do a lot of eating!
So let me know what questions you have for next week! What do you want pictures of? I´m excited to get out there and share the gospel! The APs told us that the mission is on FIRE right now. People are so ready to accept the gospel, we just have to go out and find them! I´m sure all APs say that about their missions, but it´s going to be awesome here, I just know it! I love you all and I will write again next week!

Hermana LaPray

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