Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bowen Brothers

Hey family!! I just read your email and I´m glad you all are having fun at the beach with out me haha. Don´t worry, I´m doing splendid over here. And, don´t get confused by the title of this email/blog post, I´m not in Bowen anymore! My new companion is Elder Hunter. He is from Phoenix Arizona and he was in Bowen the transfer before I was there! He knows Carlee Terry and was in the same MTC district as Matt Lyle. Haha so some pretty random/crazy connections there. It´s fun talking about the members or how terrible the shower was or just joking about good ol´ Bowen. But I am writing this email from the heart of Mendoza!!! I loved this week. My new area is in a part of Mendoza called Las Heras (just a pronounciation tip, the "H" doesn´t make a sound). My area is called Pascual Segura, just because it´s the name of the road that the chapel is on. That´s right, I have a chapel now. And a ward. With a bishop, three hours of church, youth, and the whole 9 yards. Our area is pretty big, it´s like a 30 minute walk to our chapel haha. But I´m super excited to get to know the city a bit. Downtown Mendoza is incredible. There´s everything from giant outlet stores (which pretty much only sell soccer stuff here so it´s heaven) to McDonalds and just everything else you can think of. It´s soooo freaking huge. But I love it to death. I´ve never really been in a big city like this for a large amount of time, let alone one in another country. My life is like a sandwhich with everything on it.

The futbol team in my area of Mendoza is called Huric├ín (once again, don´t say the "H") and I think they just got promoted from a lower division to a higher one so the fans here are going crazy. I think they went from Division C to Division B so they´re not quite at the highest one yet but everyone still is loving it. On Thursday when the team traveled to where their game was this weekend there were people on cars and motorcycles honking and waving the team´s flag down the main street of our area. Then on Saturday and Sunday we could hear people doing the same thing from our aparment, which is pretty close to that main road. I tried to send a video of what we heard so hopefully you can get a little taste of what it´s like. Speaking of futbol, I see a lot more here than I did in Bowen. There are dirt and cement courts everywhere, and you can see people playing on at least some of them during practically all hours of daylight. It´s incredible. But all I want to do is play with them so in that sense it´s just torture haha.

Other random stories from this week. I saw a dog on a roof (apparently that´s a common occurence here?) and I saw a dog with 3 legs. Like I don´t just mean it had a broken or messed up leg that it couldn´t use so it hobbled around a little bit on 3 of its legs. I mean it literally only had three legs. It was a super strange sight. I´m trying to think of other stories from this week...Mostly it´s just a lot of change. Elder Hunter only has 3 more transfers than me so we´re both pretty young but we´re doing well. It´s harder to improve my spanish now because all we do is speak English in the street but I´m well enough off where I can pretty much say anything I want to with confidence. I never really thought of myself as bilingual yet but I guess I am now so I guess that´s pretty cool! haha.

Well family, I miss you all a ton. I´m glad to hear you are all doing well.

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, May 23, 2011

Building Brick Houses

This week I helped build a house! We actually had two service projects this week which was cool because I think before this week I had only done one. When I was on Divisions in Alvear we helped this lady move and organize a bunch of junk from one side of her yard to the other haha. She wants to do something with the area where all the stuff was so we just stacked it all in a different place. We saw some wayyyy giant spiders thought, holy cow, it was so intense. Every brick that was on the ground was bound to have some ginormous man eating monster under it. I was jumping around and squealing like a little girl. It was really fun though.

On Saturday we met with some of the members of Oeste along with Elder Summers and Elder Barlow (who are the missionaries from Oeste) and poured the foundation for a house that one of their members is going to move into. It was really cool to see how different the construction process is here. When we showed up there was basically a 1 foot trench dug where the outside and inside walls would be. Inside the trench there was rebar box that had a section that was fatter which went from the bottom of the trench to about ground level. After that there was a more skinny part which rose above ground level. On every corner of both the outside walls and where the inside walls would connect to make a T there was more rebar boxes to stabalize everything. Anyways, instead of a nice little cement truck coming in and pouring everything in a couple minutes they do all of the mixing by hand. They do have a machine that is basically like a barrel that spins around and mixes everything but we had to shovel rocks into it, add water, and then of course the cement powder until it had the right consistency etc. Then they´d lift up the back of this machine and pour it into buckets which then had to passed/carried to what part of the base we were working on. Elder Summers (who is just like this big football player) shoveled all of the rocks to make the cement and then the rest of us not so manly-men passed the buckets of cement and poured them in the base, and then passed the buckets back to be filled up again. Haha, it was a pretty crazy process but it was really fun.

After we got the the bigger box of the rebar base covered in cement they boarded up the smaller box which was above ground and we started filling that up with cement as well. Since that part is where they will put the first bricks it has to be perfectly even or else everything will be messed up. This was the coolest part for me, they measured a certain height on a rebar post and used a long rubber tube with water in it to mark the same height on every other post. From this mark they´d measure down to where the cement was to make sure everything was even. You may wonder how water and a rubber tube can be used as a level haha, I definitely was wondering too. They had one end of the tube verticle against one post and the other end placed against another post. When the water in the tube against the post with the measurement was even to the measurement, the water in the tube on the other post would tell them they height they needed to mark on that post. That way if the base wasn´t perfectly even, the little part that came above ground where they would place the bricks would be even. I hope I explained that well enough, it would probably be easier with pictures and in person but this is the best I can do haha.

Haha I have one more funny story for this week, when I was on Divisions I talked to this super drunk old man. He asked me how much it would be to take a taxi from where we were to his house and then said, "Do you know what I want?" I asked him, "What?" and super drunkenly (yes that´s a word) he responded "Five Pesos!" Haha, you just have to imagine that real good in your head because it was quite comical for me.

I think that´s about all that I have for the week, but next week I should be emailing you all from a different city! So this week is going to be kinda hectic but I´m excited. I love Bowen but I think I´m ready for a change haha. And a decent shower, pray that I´ll get a decent shower will you? I´d appreciate it haha.

Well I love and miss you all,

Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

6 Months Young

Sweet Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I hit 6 months in the mission tomorrow. It is a super weird feeling, it seems like it´s going by way too fast. At the end of every transfer I look back and it seems like it was nothing. I learned a lot this week about a lot of different things, so it´s been a really cool week in that sense. It´s cool talking to so many people everyday because you see the world from their perspective and sometimes see things that they´re doing right that you want to do later in life or things they´re maybe not doing right that you don´t want to do later in life haha. Some of the families in Bowen are buying things that they don´t need and are pretty expensive and then are telling us they don´t know why life is so hard and why money is so tight when they´re going to church and have faith etc. It´s just interesting to me. I´ve also learned a little better with how to deal with companions and how you can kinda joke around with them when something is bugging you. I learned something else cool this week but I forgot what it was, so just imagine the coolest thing you´ve ever learned and there´s a 17% chance it´s the same as that other thing I learned.

My spanish is still improving and I´m a lot more comfortable with it, my grammer isn´t perfect yet but it´s getting a lot better. I´m also using the verb "haber" more which is key in sounding like you know what you´re doing haha. I can understand almost everything, especially if people don´t talk a million miles an hour, but sometimes when the conversations are about random things I´m not as familiar with all the vocab so I obviously don´t understand as much. For example we talked about fishing the other day and I had never heard the names of different fish before or the word reel, bobber, lure etc. But with normal conversations I get just about everything.

We toured a bodega (winery) earlier today which was pretty cool to see how the whole process goes from grapes with seeds and stems to wine in some pretty cool looking bottles haha. The workers there even let some of us put the stickers on the bottles. The bodega was named Faraon which means Pharoh and they kept that theme throughout the whole place so we got some cool pictures. There were egyptian painting things on some of the walls and a giant sphinx with heiroglypics behind it. I don´t really know what any of that has to do with wine but it was still pretty cool haha. P-days have been a little weird ever since that rule about our whole zone not being together (even though our zone is almost the size of other zone´s districts) but they´ve still been fun and after next week I´ll probably get transfered to a bigger zone where it won´t be as much of a pain.

Other stories from this week is that I went on Division with my District Leader here in Bowen and during the siesta we put Elder Mori´s plaque in Jello haha. He was so bewildered when he came back and saw it because obviously he´s never seen the Office before haha, but it was pretty funny. On Division we went exploring a little and went wayyy out in the campo around Bowen which was a blast, it was like a perfectly cool autumn day and they fields of grapes and trees were all different colors and we were walking in the middle of it just loving it. It´s gonna be way weird if I go to the city next transfer..

We also taught this super old lady this week who had a sewing machine that was about as old as she was, but it was in like perfect condition. I know that is a super random thing to write in an email and maybe not very important to many of you but I think Madeline would have like it a lot haha. She also had a guitar that was in a ton of different pieces and I really want to go back and see if she wants it or not. It would be way legit to fix it up with wood glue and even though we can´t play the guitar because of the new rules I could still have a way cool guitar from Argentina haha.

With all the love of a Pharoh´s Sphinx,

Elder Lounsbury

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chancho Asado

Dearest Family,

It was sooooo cool to talk to you all yesterday! So awesome to see how everyone´s growing up like weeds and fruit trees. I still can´t believe Enoch can walk and talk, it´s super hard for me to imagine what he´s like but so cool that he´s getting so big n´ stuff.

This week was pretty good, I prayed for two things that I don´t think you´re ever supposed to pray for (patience and humility) so this week was a little trying but everything turns out fine in the end haha. Being able to talk to you all definitely helped a lot. The new rules about not being able to get together with the whole zone and not being able to play soccer unless it´s on P-day were kinda a bummer but the mission isn´t about having fun. On that note, when we went to our lunch on Saturday, it turns out they were having a birthday party! They had a bunch of family that wasn´t members there (which helped our numbers out a lot haha) and they cooked a whole pig BBQ, which is called Asado here. I´m not joking, it was an entire pig. Like head, tail, everything. My first couple pieces were mostly over cooked skin with fat but after that I got some good ones haha. Anyways, we were talking with the family and someone Bin Laden got brought up (a lot of people talk to me about him) and the lady was explaining what she had heard on the news or something. First of all, a lot of people don´t believe he´s dead because apparently they haven´t released a photo? I don´t know, I just kinda nod and agree with whatever they´re saying. But she was telling me how Bin Laden came from a rich family and was like really smart and then when he was older he tried to help the US with something but the President rejected him and so he got mad and that´s why he hates the US. hahah. I hope you all think that´s funny because I thought it was hilarious. I´m not very confident that´s how things actually went down. One of the missionaries here told me a story about when they were talking with a member and the member thought that George Bush either dumped or cheated on the daughter of Bin Laden and that´s why he hated the US and that´s why we went to war. hahaha. That one is even funnier for me... Anyways, I hope you enjoy those because they made me laugh.

Other than that I don´t really have any funny stories for the week. I did get a new hand mixer which is now my new best friend. The box was half in English so you know it´s gotta be good quality haha. I practically have Jamba Juice every morning for breakfast now. It is delicious. It was kinda an impulse decision because they were on sale and it was the last one, but I definitely don´t regret it. It also makes the most delicious chocolate milk in this world. Like chunks are out of the question, but it goes a step further and makes it super creamy. I think I´m gonna take it home and find an adapter for the US plugs, it´s so good.

Welp, that´s all I got for now folks, have a fantastic week!

Love, Elder Lousnbury

Monday, May 2, 2011

If you want to destroy my sweater

This week has been sweater week. It´s got a lotttt colder in just a couple days. So now I pretty much always wear my sweater and have even had to wear my winter coat (there very conveniently was an extra in the pench that fits me) on a couple days. I even have rocked the scarf and gloves a couple times. I hope I´m well enough prepared for winter, I´m a little bit nervous that I´m just going to freeze to death. All of the houses here are just plain cement so insulation is unheard of. Each missionary gets three blankets and I think every pench has two heaters but from what I´m told it´s still not very warm. haha. I think I´ll be leaving next transfer so I´m hoping they´ll send me way up north where it´s not as cold haha. I´m looking forward to not having to shower out of a bucket anymore.

This was maybe the fastest week in my life. Which makes sense because it really was shorter since we had P-day on Tuesday last week but still, time is going by so fast. We´re already half way through this transfer and I´m almost at 6 months. It´s ridiculous to think about.. On a different note, I conducted my first sacrament meeting on Sunday. No one from Oeste came which means we have to conduct and Elder Mori didn´t know how everything works so he was just trying to prepare a lesson in case we had extra time at the end of testimonies so I just took over and did it. It was one of those circle things because I remember my first week when Elder Robinson was doing everything, and now it´s me. There were only 12 people in church, but still, haha. I just chose who would say the prayers and what the songs would be and then led the songs. My leading was less than perfect because it´s hard to think of how to lead and sing in Spanish at the same time but I doubt anyone noticed haha.

That´s about all I got for the week. I went on Divisions in Alvear and worked in the city a little bit which was fun. We played a game of soccer against these kids in the Plaza which was way cool since it was just completely random and I was in all my warm clothes but we still put them in their place real good. I love being a gringo that somewhat knows how to play soccer. It gives you street cred.

So, in case you hadn´t noticed, next week in Mother´s Day!! I´m excited to celebrate how awesome mothers are, I´m also excited to get to talk to you all!!! I think you´ll be getting an email from someone (at least this is what I´m told) that will explain to you how it all works. But I´ll send you the number of the cell phone that we have right now and when you all can get together and call then you just call it. Pretty simple I think. The best time would be around 2 or 3 your time, because that´ll mean it´s like 7 or 8 here. If you just send me an email saying what time you can do it that´ll be great, because we usually take a bus at 8:50 to Oeste. So if you can do it at 2-3 (7-8 o´clock here) then we can take that bus. And if not we´ll just take an earlier one so we´ll already be there and not have to worry about it. I hope those times work for everyone..and I don´t know how to get emma in on the line but maybe you all can come up with something for that. So yeah, just send me an email letting me what time works best for you and I´ll make sure I´m where I need to be.

Welp, I think that´s all for now folks.

Love, Elder Lounsbury