Monday, September 29, 2014

Abbey's Argentine Adventure

Holllyyy Cowww,

I am in Argentina! Man, so much has happened since my last p-day. Getting here was crazy and kind of awful. I think over all it was like 36 hours of straight travel. Goodness I don´t even know what to include in this email.

I am in Tupungato serving with Hermana Vargas who is seriously the sweetest and cutest peruvian I know (and if I am correct, the only peruvian I know). She is really small, very patient, and doesn´t speak english. Woo! I feel so bad for her because I don´t really speak any spanish either, so it is quite a hoot when the two of us try and communicate. Sadly, I won´t be able to send pictures. Dropbox doesn´t work on this computer. But me and Hermana Matheson both got natives as our new companions and they call us ¨Giants¨ because we look so big compared to them. Self esteem boost right there. Apparently in this mission most of the girls gain like 20 pounds and lose a lot of hair. So, I will come home fat and bald, mmm, my favorite!

An old Argentine lady on the plane complemented all 80 of us missionaries on our well grooming. We said thank you and then she said, you all dress so nice that you will probably get kidnapped. So that is a plus too.

Apparently my area is the one that gets the closest to the Andes. Before I got assigned here people we talking about this one, they said mountains, and I said that is where I want to go. And here I am! It´s really dry here and sometimes reminds me of Cache Valley, and Oregon, and New Mexico all combined. Well the outskirts of my area remind me of that, but the ¨city¨ is a whole new world.

I really don´t know how to describe this place. Maybe look it up on google earth. Some places that we have been to are REALLY poor, while others are a lot nicer. The food is a wee bit weird as well. In my area potatoes, meat, and rice are really popular. We have had that for every meal, and we always have it all together. Honestly, I have already have cake where the bottom was rice, the middle was potatoes, meat, and cheese, and then another layer of rice on the top. And that was actually my favorite meal! I will have you know that I have eaten everything that was put in front of me, including all veggies and fruits. A couple days ago we were fed two lunches, and that was a struggle. But I did it. And gained 10 pounds. 

For some reason shower curtains are often absent here. The pole and the rings are there, but not the actual curtain. I have no idea why. Maybe they are in high demand? Hard to find? We went to the store to try and by one but they weren´t even being sold. But don´t worry, I will let you know when I find one. :)

I am happy here, I don´t know any spanish and I can´t understand anyone but I am happy. Oh and the clapping outside of peoples doors thing? Yeah I will have to get used to that one. Dad, I honestly thought that things would have changed 30 years later, but no I think it is still the same as when you were here.

To greet people we don´t shake hands. We kiss cheeks. Gah, I don´t even like hugging let alone kissing. So I am really bad at it and my face is breaking out from touching so many people. I actually don´t really like doing it, I will come to love it I am sure. But yesterday at church was the worst. There were so many people! Honestly, whenever you say hello and goodbye to someone new you kiss them. The worst part, and I don´t mean this offensively, is that everyone looks the same to me and I can´t tell who I have and haven´t kissed yet. Ah, its a struggle. But everything is just so funny to me. So crazy. That is the word I use most often. Crazy.

I wish I could send pictures. Tell Karma I got her Dear Elders. So I guess you can get letters here, but it all just depends on if the missionaries in the office will send them or not. 

Well I guess that is about all! There is just way too much crazy stuff to even try and type. Don´t worry I have written most of it in my journal and will have some lovely stories afterword. Oh, I had to bare my testimony in church yesterday. It wasn´t fast sunday. But yeah that went terribly and mostly people just look at my like I am stupid. Oh, (I keep remembering things) whomever told me that I wouldn´t stand out here, that is definitely a lie. I get so many double takes and people stare all the time. Sometimes when we are walking down the streets people will say, in english, Hi or Hello because they think its cool. My companion says it´s a good thing that I can´t understand because sometimes they say more than just that haha.

Also, everyone here is tone deaf. (I just took a deep breath in and out) I will have to get used to that.

Well I love all of you so much! I am so blessed and so happy that I have people supporting me!! I think of you all often and I pray for you always. 

Con Amor,

Abbey

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Argentina Bound

So Abbey left for Argentina on Monday. She was able to call home and let me tell you that was the best thing of my (Ashley, her little sister) life! She said she just loved the MTC. She had such a great time with all the other Elders and Hermanas. But, she was ready to head off to Argentina. 

This is a picture we received upon her arrival in Mendoza, Argentina 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

VAMINOS MIS AMIGOS

Alrighty, so this last week in the MTC has flown and has been SO MUCH fun. Last Friday I got my travel plans. Two Elders didn't send their visa stuff in early enough and have been reassigned to Oregon and Pennsylvania. It is really sad that we won't be able to fly out with them but it is really cool that they get to serve in two different missions. So we leave here at 6:00 a.m. on Monday morning and fly to Georgia and have a layover for a few hours, then we fly out from there at like 9 p.m. and then get to Buenos Aires at 8 a.m. the next morning. Anyway, we don't know what next happens from there but I will be sure to let you know.

Just an FYI I love hearing from everyone but if you send a Dear Elder after 12:00 p.m. tomorrow I won't get any of them. So if you are going to send something please send it tonight or tomorrow morning. Thanks love you.

On Tuesday Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us for our devotional. It was awesome to have a general authority there and he did a really good job. He spoke about prayer and it was amazing because just in his talk alone I had almost every question I have been pondering about, answered. He is the man.

I see Kenley all the time. We got to sit by each other at the Devotional and me and my comp played her and her comp yesterday in vball. I got to talk to her a little today while we did laundry so that was good too.

Me and Hermana Harris were asked by a teacher to help his district of all Elders with the law of chastity lesson. We were the investigators and the tea

 cher just told us to make it as awkward as possible. I thought it was really funny and I didn't feel awkward at all, but the Elders were so flustered and embarrassed, it just really made my day.

Okay, so earlier I wrote about how I got my travel plans and all that, and don't worry, I have my visa and my plans and all is well. Well, yesterday I got this letter that was addressed to me and was from the secretary of the Arizona Tempe mission. They said they were excited while anticipating my arrival and the letter was informing me of some changes made about the amount of clothes I would need to pack in my carry on or something. So me and Hermana Harris went to the front desk, they called Salt Lake and they confirmed that I actually do have my visa and that I will be flying to Argentina. 

All of the Elders in my district had read the note I had gotten but they had all gone to lunch. So me and Hermana Harris came up with this bizarre story of how all along I was actually supposed to go to Tempe Arizona Spanish Speaking and that the call I received to Argentina was actually wrong. Hermana Harris told them all and said not to talk about it because it was a really sensitive subject. I tried to be sad through out the day but it was actually really hard and I didn't want to waste a day being sad. So I didn't really try to hard to convince them, I would just say I don't want to talk about it if any of them asked. Anyway. So last night just so happened to be my turn for spot light. And it was awesome. Everyone had such nice things to say and I was so blown away and it was awesome. Luckily no one really brought up anything about Arizona or I would have felt really bad. But a few of the elders talked about how they just can't figure me out and how I am full of surprises (they really set themselves up for that one). So at the end I talked about how grateful I was to have at least been put in a district with all of them, and then I said that I know that the reason was so I could prank them all. And then it was silent. And then Elder Wilson was like "wait are you serious or are you kidding?" and I said I am actually going to Argentina with you all. And I didn't really know in the beginning how many of them really believed that I was going to Arizona, but it turns out that they all, hardcore, fell for it. They were so mad. I guess Elder Baesler had been telling everybody that had ears and was talking about how crazy it was because this has never happened in the church. One Elder said he had started fasting for me and a couple other Elders said it had really shaken their testimony about the way the church assigns mission calls. It was SO FUNNY. They are all still really mad about it and I am just so happy that it worked out so well. Oh my it made my life.

 I actually don't really know if that whole paragraph makes any sense, but I am going to Argentina. Although, here is the kicker. Hermana Streadbeck is in another district but got called to go to Mendoza. Her visa didn't come in time and last night she got her reassignment to AZ and on her paper it listed me as her companion but my name was crossed out. Really weird. I don't know what happened there but yeah I am still pretty sure that I am headed to Argentina.

So that is my funny story for the week. Gosh I just really love pranks. Me and Hermana Harris hid in a closet the other day and scared Elder Wilson. It was like 6 in the morning in an "empty" dark classroom.  He was singing scripture power as he walked in and was just trying to be a good soul and restock the toilet paper and tissue boxes for our service assignment. And we got him good. Haha, his face was the best I have ever seen. His arms were full and everything went flying. He hit the wall behind him and just fell over. Haha, it was the best.  He is the sweetest of all the Elders too so it was funny that we got him. But he scared us the night before so I don't really feel too bad.

Brother and Sister Hartman are our in our Branch Presidency. They are the coolest couple I have ever met (and are in Darby MT right now, Dad) and have been the greatest to our district. I remember taking the color test in school but I guess he is the creator of the Color Code. I don't know how popular it is but I guess it is a pretty big deal. So I will attach a picture with them below, they are awesome.

Well this very long email pretty much sums everything interesting up! I leave on monday and I will be so sad to say goodbye to everyone. I really still believe that me and Hermana Harris will be companions for the next 17 months. A sad realization will that be. I know hardly any spanish but I am excited to get to Argentina. The MTC has been so much fun and has been a great experience but I am excited to really get out there and help some people.

Oh, I have been watching this video over and over. Actually our entire district has. It is awesome. It is short, take a second to view it. 


I love you all and the next email you get will be from Argentina! hopefully.

xoxo

Hermana Blair 


Her district. 


She's will be off soon! 


Las Hermanas 


Apparently they were standing by a Porsche 

Another Day, Another Destiny.... or just same destiny

 Hola Familia y Amigos,

So I don't really feel like I have a whole lot to report on this week. This past week has flown by and I have actually loved almost every second of being here. Sometimes, 3 hours of a teacher blabbering away in spanish at 7 in the morning isn't always the most fun, but honestly everything other than that is the best! My spanish is coming a long slowly but surely. Us hermanas decided to do a little competition to see who could speak the least english. Whoever loses has to where what ever clothes in their closet match the least. I haven't lost yet, but I will send a picture when I do. The Elders decided to get in on the game too and one Elder had to shave his legs last night. It is actually pretty funny to see all of us trying our best to speak the language. I can't conjugate at all and sound like quite the gringa, but I am fine with it. I have faith that the language will come.

I ate my first salad this week! Yes I have gone 19 years without ever eating a salad and yes I don't feel like I have been missing out. My salad probably had more croutons than it did lettuce, but I still ate it nonetheless. In fact I actually had two salads this week. Which those will probably be the least of my worries food wise for the next little bit.

Each night we have a "spotlight" for one of the members in our district. At first it started out as just complimenting that person and saying what we like, but it has since turned into quite the show featuring the chosen person in their very own spotlight. It is a lot of fun and it has really helped our district grow closer. I really do love everyone in my district. We do everything together and have become a close little family out here in the big empty sea. We play volleyball together every day and our district is actually really good, so that has been really fun for me!

I saw Mckenley yesterday! I was so happy to see her, I had been waiting all day. We saw each other at dinner and we were able to talk for a little bit. It is weird because we can't really hang out or anything, but I was so happy to see here and I am really excited for her. 

It rained, like poured, here a couple of days ago. There were big puddles everywhere! Me and Hermana Harris ended up not having a lesson to teach because our investigator didn't show so we went out and took some pictures. I am also so grateful for the Hermanas that I am here with. They are all so funny and we get along great. I am also grateful for all of my friends that are serving right now as well. Their emails really make me have a more positive attitude and somehow make what I am doing here, more fun. I am SO GRATEFUL that I have this opportunity to serve. I am so blessed and I am learning so much about the gospel and myself. Thank you for all of the love and support! I am so grateful for everyone in my life! 

xoxo

Hermana Blair


Elder Benedict in the spotlight


Because why not sit in a puddle


This is when I fell in....Just kidding I was hopping through the puddle with my chair and having a grand ol time


Me and Ken. The cereal at the MTC is how she will survive. (just kidding kenley.....ha..ha)

Semana Tres (week three)

So this I have been here for 3 weeks but I am technically in my fourth. We leave in like 18 days or something so that is exciting! I feel like when the 6 weeks is up I will be done with my mission, like it doesn't feel real that I will be flying to another country.

Things are great here. Each week I write down things that I want to tell you guys and then by the time p-day roles around, those things I wanted to say don't even seem cool or funny anymore.

So I guess last week I was just barely starting to feel like I was getting used to have "hermana" be my first name. Now I am totally used to it. When someone says "hermana!" in the lunch room, all of the girls heads turn. 

I know the first name of everybody in my district, and its weird because I feel like some first names don't fit the people. When I was asked I told the boys that my first name was Harriot and they struggled with that for a bit. When they figured out my name is Abbey they said that fit a lot better. Apparently I seem like an Abbey, but Hermana Matheson seems like a Brooke..her name is Aubree but the Elders are sure that it should be Brooke. Anyway. That wasn't what I wrote down to tell you but there you go!

The MTC seems like a breeding ground for disease. Sickness spreads like wild fire here! Once one person has something, everybody gets it. So that has been fun.

On Monday night we taught  a couple old guys again. I don't remember where they served but they still spoke spanish pretty well. My companion planned the entire lesson, she knew what she wanted to say and how she wanted to say it. We only taught two men and for 20 minutes each, so I wasn't too worried about the lesson and decided that I would just bare my testimony and say little things here and there. Well right at the beginning of the first lesson Hermana Harris had a cough attack and had to leave the room, when she came back in she couldn't even talk. She finally just left the room entirely leaving me with an old man, and no lesson. But the gift of tongues is real! I was able to teach and testify and it was all okay because   I am pretty sure the guy we taught has alzheimers. So I feel like he enjoyed it.

We went to the temple today and did sealings and it was the coolest experience ever! As hermanas we can only be proxies for daughters. There was an old couple that were the parents and they are the cutest couple I have ever seen. They have been married for 67 years and the husband is 90 and the wife is 87. Everyone could tell that they are still very much in love and it was just the coolest experience ever and I want to have a relationship like theirs someday.

So there is that! I am doing well and having fun. I love and miss you all!

Hermana Blair

oh and I have one of the best friends ever, check out the AWESOME package mckenley sent me. It was the cutest thing ever and really made my day. When you see her give her a high five and a kiss for me. 

ps chocar la mano is how you say high five



 ^^ Missionary Supplies ^^


^^The box of happiness Kenley sent Abbey. Ken needed something to do having all her friends on missions ^^


^^Hermana Blair and her wonderful companera Hermana Harris ^^ 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Semana dos: I taught Thomas Monson

First off, thank you for all of the Dear Elder letters. They are the best and getting letters is what keeps me going.

So yes this last week I was able to teach Thomas Monson......Thomas J. Monson. He was the sweetest old man, not the prophet, but still it was pretty cool! The language is coming along slowly but surely. My teacher served his mission in Mexico and has plainly admitted that he is teaching us "dirty" spanish, so that will be real great when I get to Argentina. I now struggle with writing and speaking english or spanish and it usually just comes out as spanglish, but at least that means there is some improvement with the language!

P-days actually stress me out quite a bit. We woke up early and did our laundry and wrote letters, went to the temple, and now we are here. Our district went up to main campus to have lunch and go to the bookstore there, and boy is the main campus a different world! The bookstore has 20 times the stuff we have at the west campus so all of us were going crazy in there! I bought another journal, books from the missionary library, and scripture markers and stuff. oh and I got a new, much needed, toothbrush so that was nice. 

We also went to the cafeteria there. I kinda wish we wouldn't have because now I know what we are missing out on. The cafeteria there is HUGE. And the food is way better. There are a lot more options, which could be a curse, but there are more HEALTHY options there. At the west campus we have 2 selections. Greasy Chicken or Fatty meat. I am so thankful for food, don't get me wrong (maybe a little too thankful for food) but I don't will never listen to anyone complain about the main campus of the provo mtc again.

We have 50 minutes of gym each day. Me and my companion dominate in volleyball so that is really fun. But usually we just end up playing 4 square with our district. I had never played 4 square until I got to college, weird how that has worked out. But my advice for any young person is to start on their 4 square skills now.

My district is really cool and we are all getting really close. A little too close probably. I don't know if I will be able to last the next 4 weeks with the same 8 boys but we will see. They are just really stinky and fart all the time, so that really invites the spirit.

A couple of the elders asked me the other day if I have ever been angry in my life. I told them I was a very angry person before my mission and that change is real. haha, but I thought it was really funny, their goal is to see me get mad before we leave. I really don't think it will happen, I honestly am loving it here. But who knows, maybe their stinkyness will throw me over the edge!

My favorite words to say in spanish are super (suPEAR) and unpoquitititito, which means really really really small. So its like unpoquito, which is small, but then you just add a lot of titittiti and that makes it really small. I hate the word verdad, which means truth, or .... right? My teachers say it ALL the time, even when it probably doesn't make sense, so now I dislike that word. Also, singing in Spanish is quite the experience. I usually don't recognize the hymn and can't read the words fast enough to be able to know what to say and how to sing it, but everyone just tries their best, and it usually sounds terrible.

This might surprise you but waking up at 6:30 hasn't been bad at all. Yet. I am sure the day will come, but I am actually doing great with the sleeping schedule.

I have a new found love for the book of mormon and honestly can't stop reading it. I love the stories and the words inside. I also have a new interest in the plan of salvation. I love being on a mission because I get to learn all of these things. It has been so great, I feel like I have been here a lot longer than two weeks but all is well and I am loving it. Thanks for all the love and support! xoxo

Hermana Blair



Me and Mi Companera Hermana Harris. 

None of us planned to match. Our light went out in our room and we got dressed in the dark. Great minds think alike.

The spirit is so strong at the MTC, it literally lifts me up.

Today at main campus, me and mi companera with the map.