Mom, before I start I would like to tell you not to edit this letter. I want everyone to see what's really up here for a sec. Maybe I should include a warning like at the beginning of some TV shows, "Warning, this post may contain graphic material not suitable for all readers." Hahaha.
I have noticed a big problem people. Our culture does something that I am not a fan of, and to illustrate it I am going to use an example from a cinematic masterpiece--Legally Blonde.
After Elle is dumped by Warner, she does the only thing she could possibly do! Decide that she wants him back. How is she going to do this? Go to Harvard Law school, of course. She works so hard, misses out on parties, and studies her butt off. Blood, sweat and tears people. And she does it! Gets a 179 on her LSAT, completes her admission video, and heads to law school. I want to talk about her first exchange with Warner after this. When he sees her he asks, ¨What are you doing here?¨
She responds “Oh, I go here!”
Warner replies, “You got into Harvard Law?”
Elle then says, “WHAT? LIKE IT´S HARD?”
Your kidding me girl! You just worked so hard. And now you are saying that it wasn’t even hard. Come on!?! I don’t want to seem like a complainer, but I hate the pretending that everything is easy and everything is ALWAYS okay.
People, I am having an Elle Woods moment (well one of them, I have many). I am in Argentina. This language doesn’t make sense to me. The culture doesn’t make sense to me. I walk literally hours a day. I walked from 2 until 8:30 pretty much straight yesterday. After being a visa waiter for over 7 months, I have been struggling with letting go of my Love and mission pride in Salt Lake East Mission. Two days this week I had anxiety so bad that while I prayed to my Father in Heaven for help all I could do was cry. Then, when I left the house it was all I could do to not continue crying, let alone smile at someone.
If I told you this wasn’t hard, it would be a lie. I don’t want to be like Elle and tell you this isn't hard, because that would leave out all of the growth. We are a church of unity. It would be prideful for me to pretend that I am doing this all on my own. During a breakdown Thursday during weekly planning, Sister Morales tried calling president, because it is really hard for me to express myself in Spanish when I am crying. And I'm telling you that man must be a man of revelation, because he didn’t answer the phone or call back. If he had, I might not still be here in Argentina. I haven’t had a moment of truth yet, where everything fits and I know I can do this. No sign or magic scripture. But I have had tender mercies from the Lord.
Yesterday at about 4 we walked out of a house, and this dog was there. So cute! The dog started to follow us. I kid you not that dog walked around with us all day until he walked us home to our pench. We named him Nephi because he was our Nephi. Every time another stray dog came near us he would bark and fight ‘em off. Haha. When we got to the pench, we made him two eggs and gave him some water. I decided that it was the spirit of my favorite dog ever, Zack, coming to protect me and help me know I am loved. (No judging; you know I love my puppies and how they make me feel calm!)
Another awesome moment yesterday was in testimony meeting. It was a crazy meeting, but the bishop stood up and bore his testimony. It was so beautiful, and I understood every single word! The whole time I had tears running down my face. The spirit is the same in any language. After that I got up and bore my testimony and talked about how being in this ward has helped me see that the church is just as true in Spanish as it is in English. Obvious, but for me, I truly realized that yesterday.
So that is how I am doing. I don't care if you are the Bishop or the Relief Society president, when life is hard, don't pretend it's not. Don’t just clue people in after you are done going through whatever has happened. Admitting something is hard, doesn’t mean you don’t have faith. It is a show of faith to admit when the Lord is carrying you.
No one wants to be “that” companion, the one having the breakdown. Poor Sister Morrales; she is doing her best. She is really babying me, and I would like to tell her that I am not that fragile that I’m really a strong person who has been having a couple of really bad weeks. But I don’t know how to explain that in Spanish :(
On a lighter note. Here are a few funny things I have discovered in Argentina. (Because laughing is better than crying.)
1. There are tons of ants here. They are really small, but they carry giant pieces of grass and sticks and rocks and stuff. It is so funny to watch a line of moving grass. Haha.
2. Also politics. Dad I have a political idea for you. Like the Argentines for your next campaign you can rent a plane with giant speakers and yell at the people of Boulder City from the sky. It would be really effective. Haha.
3. I thought that when I came to Argentina, after wearing my Sister Walker tag for so long that I would finally become Hermana Walker. But upon arrival I have realized that I am now la Rubia (the blonde). It is actually becoming a problem. If I got a peso for every man who whistled or called out, I would make more than my fare share of 800 pesos a month. I guess catcalling is just culturally more acceptable in Argentina. On Saturday, a man followed us for about 10 streets. He called me beautiful and touched my face. Ewww! We told him we lived with our families, were both married and 28. I had to end up calling the zone leaders, and they told us to go to a member, go inside and not come out until he left. At that moment a bus drove by and we jumped on and lost him. The zone leaders also gave me permission to slap the next person who tries to touch my face. So that is cool!
4. Ironically considering Buenos Aires means good air, the air here smells so bad, but for some reason my face must love this polluted air because I have never had better skin. I am also getting a tan. Well, I´m getting tanner. Hahaha.
5. There are so many language variations in Argentina that even my companion has difficulties, and she speaks Spanish. Haha. For example, my area is super nice so they would say, “recheta” (cheta is short for concheta or "posh") the Argentines add re like muy when they talk. It is funny!
We live in a super nice Pench. It is just a one bedroom apartment with no carpet, just tile. We have a bunk bed. The only difference is the bidet in the bathroom. The Bishop’s wife and our ward mission leaders’ wives have done our laundry for us. It is super nice of them, because otherwise we´d be doing it by hand.
We pretty much eat milanesa, bread and pasta every single day. I like chicken milanesa better than carne, but both are pretty good. My companion and I are dying from missing spicy stuff right now. When my days are super bad I buy an orange Fanta from a Kiosco; always makes me feel better :)
There is probably more I could say, but I don't have much more time. Also, I have really enjoyed the Young Women’s meeting from April Conference, especially the talks from the second counselor (link to Sister Dibb's talk) and Sister Dalton (link to Sister Dalton's Talk). Mom, read sister Dalton’s talk. It has helped me through the last two weeks. The Church is true; I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love Him; His Son is my strength and I am upheld by His hand. Love you all. I CAN DO HARD THINGS! That statement will get me through this week.
|My pench (apartment)|
|Typical street in my area|
|The Castelar Zone|
|El libro de Mormon!|
|Cardboard Christus in our chapel :)|