Ahhh so much to tell you! I am in CHILE!!! It is summer here and it is AWESOME! My first area is called Quilpué (Retiro and El Sol), and I think it´s a little southeast of Viña del Mar... But yeah it´s a little city and it´s really awesome! I live kind of in the country more, where there is a lot of green! Lots of plants and trees and flowers and PALM TREES! My favorite. We have to walk a little to end up in the place where we teach, where there are more houses, where it´s a lot more crowded.
Ah let's see! My companion is Hermana García (22 years old), and she's from Panama! She of course is a native Spanish speaker so we speak Spanish aaaalll the time. In the morning when I'm not really thinking clearly, I always start speaking in English, and she just gives me this look like, "What the heck are you saying?!" Haha And then I realize that it's English and switch back to Spanish. Haha. But anyway, she's been here in Chile for a year, and was in Valparaíso for most of her mission. She is suuuuper funny and kinda reminds me of a Panamanian Justyna. Haha. But yeah she is super fun and an AMAZING missionary, and I want to be just like her!!!
Ok so let's start at the beginning. I left the MTC at 3 in the morning, took a bus with 20 other people that i didn't know, to the Salt Lake airport. We got on the plane to Dallas/Ft. Worth. It was humid there and we walked around for a bit and then got on a plane to Miami! Miami was beautiful and SUPER humid and we had to go through a lot more security and lines to get our ticket to Santiago. On that side of the airport, no one spoke English so it was funny. But after we got through security and everythiing, we got to call home! I talked to Mom and Dad and Camille for like 3 or 4 hours! It was sooo good to hear their voices and to talk to them. By the time I was done talking to them, we didn't have much time to do anything, so we got some food and got on the plane to Santiago!
This plane was the bomb. Suuuper huge and fancy! They all spoke Spanish, and the stewardesses were super pretty! They were all latinas and wore red lipstick and black and red uniforms, and they were so sweet. I didn't get a window seat - sad. But it's ok cuz I got to chill in teh awesomest plane ever! Every person had a personal touch screen tv in front of them, and we could watch movies or tv shows or listen to music or play solitaire and other games. So we listened to whatever was mission approved haha. We listened to Handel's Messiah, the soundtrack of the Lion King and other Disney music, and I watched Toy Story 3! We got 2 meals on the plane, and they were pretty fancy! For dinner we had ravioli with cream, salad with asparagus, crackers and Brie cheese, and cheesecake. For breakfast we had omelets, hash browns, honeydew and grapes, and a roll.
Everyone slept on the plane, cuz they gave us pillows and blankets. There was also a moving map that showed us exactly where we were. I remember waking up and we were flying right over the Panama Canal! It was awesome. But yeah, we got to Chile at about 7 am! We went straight through all the lines, through Customs and stuff. We paid some fee for landing there and no one could understand how to pay it. So i went up to the lady and I was speaking in English and she was trying to explain it, but couldn't in English, so she asked, "Is there anyone that I can talk to who speaks Spanish?" And I was like, yeah! Me! And she was super surprised but started speaking in Spanish. So I totally understood and told everyone else what they were saying. It was cool.
But yeah as soon as we got through everything, the mission president and his wife were there to greet us! Their name is Kahnlein, and it's German, but it's pronounced Kenline. So we took pictures and left for Viña. We had a bus for all the new people waiting outside, and the weather was suuuper nice! Super warm! And Santiago isn't that pretty...it kinda looks like New Mexico. But as we were driving to Viña, it started to get super pretty! Super green and stuff, and it got really foggy! We took pictures next to the coast and at the flower clock, but everything was foggy and it was drizzling. The assistant that was there with us said it hadn't been so foggy for 3 months! So we didn't really get a good view of the coast or anything. But Viña is super pretty and there are HUGE ships in the harbors. Like, huge.
But we took pictures by the flower clock and then they divided us into pairs, gave us an address and a Book of Mormon, and said, "Give the Book of Mormon to someone, get their address so the missionaries can visit them, and ask them for directions. Good luck!" Hahaha...yeah i was scared to death. I was with a girl who is suuuper gringa and couldn't understand very much Spanish at all, let alone Chilean Spanish. So we set off and there was a guy with whom we tried to ask directions, and he told us, but it was barely even Spanish!!! Haha so we just look confused but said thanks and walked away. When we looked back he was totally laughing at us. Haha. We ended up giving the Book of Mormon to an old guy who just mumbled everything. Before we could ask for his address he just kept mumbling and hobbled away. Haha it was funny. We asked this guy for directions, he was actually really cute. lol. But he walked us like 3 blocks til we got to the door of the Mission home! He was super nice but wanted nothing to do with religion. Whatevs.
The mission home is really pretty and white and has lots of flowers. We had pizza and juice and took pictures and had our interviews with the mission president. He was suuuper impressed by my Spanish! And he is super nice. We only spoke Spanish in the interview. But yeah! Then they took the Sisters to a hotel down the street and told us to get some rest and they'd be back to give us Once. Once is what they have instead of dinner. Lunch is the big meal of the day, and Once is just bread (sometimes with jam or ham and cheese) and fake coffee. It's called like...Eco or something like that. But yeah you add sugar. It's not bad. The bread is super good. The bread here has a super awesome reputation cuz it's always made fresh and it's delicious. But we had Once downstairs in the hotel parlor and then slept til morning!
In the morning we went to the chapel which is really pretty, and we went to the institute building for orientation. We sat there for a long time just listening to them explain everything and stuff. For lunch we had Empanadas full of cheese, and others with cheese and ham and olives and stuff, and salad, juice, and some kind of Chilean candy. Finally at like 6 pm we had Cambios, which means Changes, and its the meeting where everyone in the whole mission gets new companions and areas and everything! It happens every 6 weeks. So us newbies were super nervous cuz we were all gonna get our new companions! There were so many people there and they all sang so loud and good and it was impressive! Once they called out who your new comp was, the both of you got up and left the meeting to go straight to the mission area!
When they announced that Hermana Schrader was with Hermana Garcia, she came up to give me a hug and said, "Que grande!" Haha she is short and I am suuuper tall compared to all these Chileans and latinos! But we left the meeting, got all our stuff, and left with our zone leaders for the Metro! We walked a while in Viña del MAr, which is a huge city and there are so many people walking everywhere and big building and crazy stuff going on! But we got to the Metro and got on and we were on the Metro for 20 minutes before we got to Quilpué. When we got to Quilpué, my suitcase broke. Sad. The wheels don´t work anymore. So we had to drag it until we could find a Colectivo, which are like cheap taxis here. But we got in a colectivo, (the drivers all know that we are missionaries and always use the colectivos), they packed my stuff in the car and drove us to where I live! We live on a property with a nonmember named Cecilia.
She is super rich and her house is really nice. She has 2 dogs and like a billion cats, and a pool, and they live by a pond, and its really pretty. We live on a tiny little hill right next to the house! It is called a pension. Its really small and white, and has a living room and kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. The bathroom is really pretty and has a brand new shower and innovative sink! I will send pictures for sure. Sometimes when we have study time in the afternoon, we go sit outside by the pool and study. The dogs are Motita and Benjamin. And the cats are Josefina, Luma, ... and lots more. Haha. Cecilia is 54 and super fancy and tan and has 2 daughters, Javiera and Fernanda, and a son, Ismael. They are all in their 20s and they are super nice. Sometimes we see Cecilias husband or dad walking around and they are nice too.
I LOVE the people in Chile! Everyone is so short and so nice and always smile and welcome you. The way we greet females is with a kiss on the cheek and a hug. ANd we just shake guys hands. haha. One lady looked at me and told me I looked like a Barbie! And everyone says I have yellow hair. Haha. Everyone is impressed by my Spanish accent, cuz most gringos that come to Chile have a horrible gringo accent. But they like my accent!
The bishop is awesome, Bishop Nuñez, and he is absolutely hilarious. And really young. His wife is really pretty and we had Once with them once, and the whole time they called eachother Amor. They have 3 daughters, and they are really pretty and the 9 year old is really talkative and smart. the oldest is turning in her mission papers!
We usually have lunch with the members. Most of what they serve is some kind of meat with rice. Always rice. haha. Usually with either chicken or steak, and sometimes soup or salad or bread, always juice, and always fruit. The juice here is awesome! there are so many flavors that everyone drinks! We've had watermelon juice, honeydew juice, papaya juice, mango, green grape... everything! My favorite so far has been the green grape juice. It's super delicious. The fruits here are sooo fresh and good and always my favorite part!
No one speaks Spanish. No one. It's Chilean and I can barely understand anything! Hermana Garcias ALWAYS turns to me and translates to me in normal spanish. Haha I feel so stupid! But I will learn it eventually! We have visited a lot of members and inactives, cuz there are no investigators. They all just got baptized! Haha. So we are looking for an investigator. There is an old guy named Rafael that we teach, who really likes to talk a lot about random things, but he doesn't really have teeth so I cant understand. Haha. So I just sit there in the lesson and smile at him and talk when Hermana Garcia looks at me. Haha.
We taught an inactive named Lorena, who has 3 kids and her boyfriend doesn't like missionaries. But we came to her house when he wasn't there and taught her the restoration. She has a Book of Mormon but never reads. She is always super overwhelmed with kids and other stuff and says she has lots of trials and nothing helps. We told her to read the Book of Mormon adn PRAY! cuz praying always always always makes you feel better. She promised she would pray and that she'd read and then we wanted to leave with a prayer. We asked her who she wanted to say the prayer adn she asked Hermana Garcia. Hermana Garcia asked if there was anything she wanted her to pray for specifically, and Lorena said, "Yes, but I don't want to tell you in front of the kids." So Hermana Garcia (she told me later) prayed to know what to pray for! So she prayed, and she prayed that Lorena would feel comforted through all the overwhelming trials, and she prayed that her relationship with her boyfriend/husband would get better. Right when Hermana Garcia said that, Lorena started crying. We ended the prayer and were leaving, and Lorena was just sobbing, and Hermana Garcia hugged her and told her everything would be alright. It was really sad but Im so glad we could help her feel hope. We are going to visit her again on Thursday, cuz she told us we could come back then.
All the kids here think its soooo crazy and cool that I speak English, and that I'm super tall and have green eyes and yellow hair. Haha. They always run up to me and stare at me and want me to kiss them on the cheek! Its adorable.
I showed a lady a picture of me and Jenna and Camille (one from last years Christmas) and she said, You are the oldest? And she said that Jenna looked oldest, then Camille, then me. Hahaha. And a old guy in the street looked at me and asked how old i was, I said, 21. And he said, You look 16. Hahaha so weird! I do not look 16! But everyone thinks I am way younger than 21. I dont mind. :)
We are going to visit an investigator tomorrow, who is teh boyfriend of a member. And they want to get married, but she said she wont marry him unless hes mormon. So he asked us to teach him. Haha.
The money here is weird! its all colorful and smooth and 1,000 Chilean pesos is like 2 dollars. The clothes here are really cheap but really cute!
Well thats all I got for now!!!! I cant think of anything else! I will try to attach pictures! If not, maybe another time!
I love you all and miss you so much! Please write me on DearElder.com! It is still free! It will take a while to get to me, but please write me! I will write you back for sure!
I hope you all have an awesome week! See you next Monday! Pray for me! I am praying for all of you. :)
Ciao and les quiero mucho!!!!!
P.S. My mission is Viña del Mar Chile, and the address of the mission office is:
Hermana Amy Schrader
4 Norte 1112
Viña del Mar