Hola everyone! Apparently lots of people actually read my blog. Wow. I feel loved. I hope you are all doing well and the lives of the American people are great. In case you did not notice, a letter did not come last week. That is because I forgot to send it! The internet here is ridiculously slow and has problems all the time. So this letter will be longer than normal, apologies.
My language skills are slowly improving. My first week, I had a really steep learning curve, and it was great. My second week I felt really frustrated, and yesterday was the worse. Literally, why can I not speak perfect Spanish already!? This is laughable, of course, because I have only been here for 3 weeks. I have taken a good look at myself and decided that the attribute I fail the most at is patience. I am not a patient person. This includes myself too, however. I realized that the reason I always hated Spanish so much in school was because I could never see any immediate results of my studying. With any other subject I could learn rapidly and succeed with effort, even if I did not like the subject, but with Spanish I never saw that growth. Looking back now I realized that of course I improved, but it is frustrating. Ah well. :) One day, hopefully in the near future, I will be fluent. Right now I need to practice patience and be content with what I do know. So this last week I focused on patience as my Christlike attribute. It was actually very beneficial, and one of our investigators totally followed the Spirit to give me advice, although she did not even know it. She talked about how paciencia (which is patience in Spanish) is made up of 2 words. The first one is pac, or more correctly, paz, which in English is peace. The second word is ciencia, which I from what I gathered is like knowledge. So paciencia is the knowledge of peace in your mind, roughly speaking. I loved this! Patience is having faith, and a knowledge of peace. Patience is waiting because you know with time things always get better. This was awesome for me, and I feel like I have a ton more insights on patience. :)
Spanish is a beautiful language, though. The people of Hermosillo are known for speaking extremely fast, and have replaced all of the "cha" sounds with "sha". So kind of like Argentina, but not. So the word "mucho" would be "musho", and the word "ocho" is "osho", and the word "muchacha" is "mushasha". It is great. Also, it is said that the people of Sonora sing their language instead of saying it. The flow of the voices is so expressive and beautiful. The accents in words are drawn out and combined with the rapid speaking and sha sounds, it makes for beautiful music. And I get to learn how to speak it! Yay!
The culure here is great. Last P day we were in Cetro Hermosillo and Simon and Garfunkle's The Sound of Silence was playing, except for it was a cover of native Mexican pipes and awesome. I have no way to describe it, but it was great. The culture is like that here. They take American things that they like, and then make them their own. I also love driving in Mexican cars. We fit about 8 people in a 5 person car and take off! There are no crosswalks and no one follows laws except for stop lights, so it is a ton of fun.
So far, I have only identified three things I really cannot stand here. The worse of all is the cleanliness. You know how you are not suppose to eat on the streets of Mexico? Well this is kind of a joke because I guarrantee the kitchens in the houses are just as dirty if not more so than the street. The other day we made lunch in a members house and there were ants all over her counters. That is normal. Our kitchen was so dirty that last p day I finally announced that I could live in mold no longer, and scrubbed everything for hours. This week I tackle the fridge and stove. Yikes. Pray for me. I also cannot stand the culture of tardiness here. Everyone is always late, and it is literally impossible to get around. Everyone from investigators, Mexican companions, the members, the bishop, and the stake president. Very frustrating. Life goes on. The last thing I cannot stand is this way that they make chicken sometimes. Haha! I do not know what they do, but they put this red chili picante stuff on it that is sooo gross. I thank everything that is holy for an abundance of beans and tortillas.
Update: I have pretty much gotten over the cleanliness, but I have yet to get over the tardiness culture. I do not think I ever will. But as Hermana Briggs says, you have to give and take. Yes, time is literally not in the vocabulary here, but it is okay because the people are so loving they will invite you into their house after 5 seconds of knowing you, feed you, offer you everything they have (which is very little), and love you no matter what. So it is a trade off. I am just working on being okay with it. It is impossible to be obedient when it comes to time here, and it bugs the American sisters to no end. Oh well.
My arms are covered in freckles, my feet have weird tan lines, my chest and back are peeling sunburns, and my face is just red. It is so hot here, I just cannot explain it. And it is not even summer. D: This week was pretty good, but today was terrible. I heard it was 100. Although that is not even bad, because it gets to be 130 here.
One of my favorite things about Mexico so far is the family Duarte. :) They live one house away from us and are just the cutest. They actually remind me of a little Spanish family. It is amazing how the gospel just thrives in families here. They just take it in and make it a part of themselves. Both of the parents are converts, and their testimonies are fire. The family Delgado is also amazing. The ward here is practically run by young families of RMs. It is impossible to get people to go to church. They say that Hermosillo, along with Tijuana, Chihuahua, and Ciudad Juarez are the 4 hardest missions in Mexico, and I would like to add all of Latin America. We have missionaries from all over Latin America here and they tell stories about how in their countries, in the south, missionaries baptize every week. Wow. How would that be? But it's cool. :) There is a lot of work to be done here, and I love diving into it.
Guess what?! The group of 4 sisters that I came into Hermosillo with is the 3rd generation of American sisters here in Mexico. The first came in December 17, not too long ago! There are only about 20 of us. Sisters, however, whether native or American, are not allowed in the northern boarder towns, so we rule the south. Our district is led by Elder Filguiera, who is from Chili, and his companion. And then the rest of the district is 7 sisters! Haha!
Speaking of Elder Filguiera, this week I had a terrible experience. Elder Filguiera has been rambling on every time we see him about how he has discovered the best place in all of Mexico for tortillas de harina (flour). So finally between sessions of Conferencia on Saturday we went to check this place out, and I a pack of 12 tortillas for 12 pesos (which by the way, is like the equivalent of a dollar. It's ridiculous.) THEY WERE SO GOOD. But the reason they were so good was because they were about 90% lard and butter, and 10% flour. But I couldn't help myself. So I ate 8 that day. And then I felt really, really sick. And I have no eaten a tortilla since. Literally the though of flour tortillas now disgusts me.
We eat breakfast and dinner by ourselves, and I have limited this to only fruits, vegetables, and cereal. It's been good, though. Lunch is such a big meal here that I really don't need more than that. Also, tang and soda is like a staple here. I think it might be because it is less expensive than purified water and also tastes better, but who knows. Our water system is pretty much like that of the cabin. We can't drink the water, but we brush our teeth, wash our dishes, and shower in it.
GENERAL CONFERENCE! As always, I have no time. But general conference was freaking awesome. I loved every talk, and I am so ridiculously excited to get the Liahona in a month. We got to watch it in the clerk's office in English, which was really awesome. I loved the music of the first session, and I feel like the whole conference could be surmized in about 3 themes that almost every speaker talked about. One would be exact obedience to all commandments and truth, no matter what. What do you guys think the others are? Maybe it is just because I'm a missionary, but I feel like this conference was very important. I hope you all go back and review.
Love you all!