Holy cow, so much to say, I don´t even know where to start. First of all, this keyboard is a little different and kind of throwing me off but that´s off subject. To make this a little more interesting I´m going to start off with some True or False questions and you can see how much you get right. The winner gets a pat on the back or something.
1. I saw Messi in Buenos Aires on my first day here. 2. I am the first missionary in my area. 3. I live in the chapel. 4. My companion only speaks Spanish. 5. I shower out of a bucket. 6. I´ve heard both Shakira, Fergie and Lady Gaga here. 7. I´ve got bitten by a dog already. 8. I make up 1/4 of the Priesthood holders in my branch. 9. I already have a baptism. 10. I have seen clips of the shows Zac and Cody and the Goofy Movie.
Alright, I think that´s all for now. I´ll answer the questions throughout the email and then all again at the end.
Okay, well I guess I´ll just start from the beggining. Flying over Argentina was wayyyyy too legit to quit. Right as we hit the border the sun began to come up to the right of us and to the left of us there was a thunder storm. It was soooo legit. You could see these giants plumes of clouds just light up, it was insane. It was love at first sight. haha. Trying to get through customs and find our luggage was a little confusing. It was kinda sketchy because the only instructions we had were to find some random guy named Albierto that was supposed to pick us up and give him a white envelope. haha. Weird right? But we eventually made it through everything. They took us from the international airport to another airport in Buenos Aires for flights within Argentina. We didn´t get to Mendoza until like 7 or 8 because our first flight was delayed--it was this tiny airport with only one luggage belt thing. Anyways, we met president and his wife and assistants there and they took us to the mission home. We had some dinner and talked for a bit and then slept in Mendoza in this pench (apartment) with some other Elders.
The next day we met our trainers, went street contacting, had lunch and then I had to take another 5 or 6 hour bus ride down to this tiny town called Bowen. I have no idea if you can find that on a map anywhere but that´s where I am. I live in the church which is really a building that looks like a storage place from the outside. There´s a decent amount of room when you walk in which is where we have church, a tiny ¨kitchen¨ that is about 4 feet by 3 feet and then a tiny bathroom all in the corner. The bathroom is about 5 feet by 5 feet and has the toliet, sink, and ¨shower¨ without anything seperating them. Technically I could take care of business on the can, wash my hair, and shave at the same time. I have yet to try that though. Speaking of showers, I shower out of a bucket. I guess it´s a little more than a bucket...but not really. It´s attached to the wall and you fill it up with water and then plug in this cord which heats up the water. When it´s done you unplug everything and turn this tiny knob at the top which opens up a stream. You basically have to shower in parts. Turn the knob, wet yourself down, turn it off, soap up, turn it on, rinse etc etc. Every once in a while you have to take this squeegy and squeegy the water into the drain so it doesn´t run out under the door and into the kitchen. So legit. We sleep upstairs where we have a closet for our clothes, some shelves for our food and a fridge.
Okay, the ward. Well really it´s a branch. Actually it´s not even that, it´s a branch of a branch. The real branch is in another town but since most people just walk everywhere and only a few people have cars they hold meetings for the people in our small town in our building. Once or twice every month they drive a van down from where the main branch is and pick everyone up. But on all the other sundays it´s just us. The most people ever to have come is 25. We´re going to try to break that record but the time transfers are over. On Sunday we had 20. Missionaries have only been in our town for a year so it´s not quite established yet. At all really. Most of the members are 3 Bolivan sisters and their families. For church we have sacrament (one person passes) and then the main branch sends someone down to give a lesson and then church is over. No talks, no classes, just one hour of the sacrament and a lesson. It was crazy. The guy who blesses has been a member for a while (and by a while I mean almost a year) and the guy who passed the sacrament was just baptized a while ago. Other than that Me and Elder Robinson are the only other Priesthood holders--and the only Melcesidek holders.
Elder Robinson is way cool. As you can probably tell from his name, he doesn´t only speak Spanish. He´s from Texas and we get along pretty well. He only has like 4 more months so he´s almost out of here. He says he can put in a good word and get me with an all Spanish speaker next transfer. He says I´m ready but I definitely don´t feel like it. The language is hard, I´m getting better though. I can generally tell what people are speaking about but sometimes I´m completely lost and usually I don´t know the details. It´s hard because I want to have relationships with the members but I don´t know what´s being said and I´m shy to start with so it´s hard. It´s annoying becuase like little 3 year olds will be trying to talk to you and they know way more than me haha. But it´s coming...
The culture here is pretty different. The members are really nice and so far the food has been good. A lot of meat and potatoes, but not much flavoring. They drink a ton of soda (Coca-Cola, Sprite and that Orange kind are the main ones) and I think I´m going to be addicted when I leave. The watermelon here is amazing. They eat so much food though. Like it´s ridiculous, I have no idea how the people aren´t like so fat. It´s hard to eat as much as they do, especially when I don´t want to offend the members. They just keep filling up your plate of like 3 giant servings of whatever. It´s even harder because usually I´m so thirsty so I drink a lot of soda and end up just being more full. Like so big, I wish I could describe it better, but it´s like Thanksgiving every lunch. Oh, yeah, we only eat lunch with members. Part of the reason they eat so much is because they hardly have anything for breakfast, they eat a ton for lunch, and then hardly anything at dinner. The ice cream here is pretty good. It´s not a ton different than the states but it´s a little lighter and they sell it with like multiple flavors in the box.
What else. They live in pretty small houses and like the really really well of people have sofas and couches and stuff. Everything is made out of concrete. I think less than 10 roads in our city are paved and the rest is just dirt. A truck comes around every day or so and sprays water on them to keep the dust down. I´ve only seen air conditioning in a house like once or twice--most people just have fans. The weather here is kind of like an Oregon summer. It´s not like dying hot but I think the last two days were 96 and 98 so it was pretty hot when you´re walking around in slacks and a button up shirt. During siesta most of the town sleeps. A couple people will be out and about doing whatever but mostly everyone´s eating and sleeping. That´s when we have lunch with the members and then go back to our pench and study. The people like american music and shows, I´ve seen parts of Zac and Cody and the Goofy Movie in members´ houses during lunch and at least one family we met with was obsessed with Hannah Montana. I´ve also heard Lady Gaga, Fergie, Shakira, and Train. The Black Eyed Peas are playing right now in this internet cafe too....
I don´t know what else to say really, mail takes like two weeks to get here but I only get it about once every six weeks because that´s when the zone leaders travel to the mission home and get it. Sooo yeah... Also, I´ve been told twice now that I look like Riley from National Treasure. I think it´s the glasses because I´ve never been told that before the MTC and now. What do you think? I don´t have time to send pictures now (so sorry) but I´ll try to do it some other time. I think the computers here should work so that´s good news.
Oh, real quick, soccer today was so legit. The church has this court ouside and we played with the members of our zone and one guy they invited off the street. He was pretty good but I stole the ball from him a couple times and felt pretty legit. In the second game I had a hat trick so that was way fun. I can´t way to do it somemore. There are make shift soccer fields everywhere, but I hardly ever see people playing on them. Probably because it´s so hot, but I´m hoping to get some pictures and send them to you. It´s hard because we´re only supposed to have our cameras with us on P-day but i´ll try to get some and let you all see how Argentina looks like.
Well, I love you all, thanks for the the support and love, I think about you every day and have your picture on the fridge. Stay sweet.
Love, Elder Lounsbury
1. False, I wish though. 2. False, almost though--missionaries have only been here for a year. 3. True. Except it´s not a real chapel, it´s just a random building. We sleep upstairs 4. False. He´s from Texas. 5. True. Well, technically it´s more than just a bucket but still. 6. True. I´ve heard ¨Hey Soul Sister¨ by Train as well. 7. False, but super close, I had to block it with the bottom of my foot. There´s dogs everywhere. 8. True. Crazy right? 9. False, but we have one for next week. 10. True. They also like Hannah Montana haha