Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Real Chilean Email 8-27-12

Greetings from across the world!

I bet you're all excited to hear from me. ;) Mondays are my Preparation day. Things are going so well here! It definitely is a different place here. Castellano [the Spanish dialect spoken in Chile] here is definitely different from RM Spanish, and that's an understatement haha. I can understand some of what Chilenos say, and I'm learning all their Chilean phrases and everything, which is fun. But yeah, it's hard! Elder Smith is thankfully super conversible in Spanish and helps me out a lot. He's trying so hard to be a good trainer and teach me by example. The ward I'm in is very good; everyone is kind and greeted me very warmly. I gave my testimony on Sunday without anything written and just went by how I felt. Everyone I meet with says my Spanish is very good and I can speak well. After a week, I can understand much better and recognize fairly basic questions such as how I like Chile, where I'm from, and almost anything Gospel related. I'm pretty ahead of a lot of missionaries who come here and can't speak or understand anything. Hopefully I'll become even better in the coming weeks, but I will remain patient of course.

My pension (yep it's called a pension still) [where he lives] is very modest, but it's still very good. Many people here live very humbly, and they're happy. Elder Smith and I visited and talked with a recent convert family, and they are incredible. They might live poorer than anyone else I've met here, but their testimonies are so powerful. I could actually have a really good conversation with them because they are Peruvian, and I've learned that Peruvians speak very clear Spanish--Chilenos talk faster haha. We spoke to them about the temple and the mother said she wants to send her daughters to BYU.

Elder Smith is from Centerville, Utah, and is hilarious, fun, but very focused and serious about the Work. He knows a ton about the Gospel and he says he has learned everything just from being on his mission for a year! His birthday is tomorrow so we're going to try to do something a little bit nicer than the ordinary.

There are two Misioneras in our ward, which doesn't happen too often here. Hermana Zuñiga is from Argentina and Hermana Valeriano is from Peru. They are both amazing and so kind to me. Neither of them speaks English besides what they've studied on their missions, and a lot of times I feel like I get my best practice from talking to them. I'm really grateful for them and how they make every situation bright and happy.

Elder Bahr (from Bismarck) is in my mission! I spent a few hours with his companion on an exchange and then we all met up at their pension and talked about people in North Dakota and such. What a coincidence huh?

I am super grateful that I brought a coat with me instead of buying one here because it was really cold for the first few days!

They have a Walmart here, but it's called Lider for some reason. It looks basically like any regular Walmart besides how things are in Chilean pesos and a lot is in Spanish, but there are many American commodities so I'm not suffering food-wise or anything like that haha. I really like the Chilean food actually. I eat a lot of rice and beans, salad, flan, fruit, and meat. The members feed me very well. I eat lunch in members' homes, but we don't have dinner here. Sometimes, we have once, which is basically tea time. They have a bebida [drink] here called Ecco, which is super good and is basically coffee but not coffee (it's like wheat coffee or something) and we're allowed to drink it. We can't drink maté here though.

The mountains here are striking and definitely beat Utah's mountains hands down.

That's all for now! I love you and miss you!!!!!!

Muchisimo amor,
Seth, with his MTC companions.

Like he said, he was one of the most spoiled missionaries there :)

Seth and one of his best friends, Elder Driggs!

This is what Chile looks like!

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