Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Elder Mayberry is in Chile!!!!

I'm here! How exciting it is to finally be here in Chile. I have so much I want to say, I don't even know where to start! Ok, so I guess I´ll start from the beginning and talk about the flight and travel and such, then my first day, then I´ll tell you all about Chile, and finally a basic day in the life of me here in good ole Chile.

Ok, so we left the MTC and did all our flying and what not and I called you guys and such. Then we got on the plane to Santiago and that was a loooong flight. I tried to sleep and did sleep a bit, like an hour then wake up then another hour and so on and so forth. Definitely wasn't the best sleep i´ve had in my life. Anyway...then we landed in Santiago! Hallelujah, I was excited that I was finally here. So we landed and took our cary on and stuff to customs where you pay a fee to get your visa. Its $131. The church gave us this money while we were in the MTC, but the problem is that customs only takes bills that are ridiculously perfect haha. So some of the ones had crease or were a little worn or whatever so I couldn't use them, hence I used my ATM card there. I´m going to deposit the cash that I have today so no need to worry. Anyway, after that we went and got all our bags and what not and met up with the Mission president and his assistants at the airport. President is an amazing guy. He´s super excited to be here in Chile and to be working with the missionaries. He´s always so happy to see us. So we met them and waited for all 18 of us to get to that point. The sister misionary in our group forgot that you couldn't take food/meat products into the country even though we had to sign a paper and stuff saying that we didn't have any....but she did hah. So it took a long time for her and we all had to wait for like half an hour maybe more til that got worked out. Then we headed off to the MIssion presidents home. The car ride was like 30-45 mins. and was a nice scenic tour of Santiago. This city is gigantic. Im gonna try and provide pictures so you can see. Anyway, I´ll talk more about the city and stuff later. So we got to the MIssion Presidents house and had a small snack and had interviews and had a new missionary orientation where we got assigned our new companions and got assigned to our area. My companion is Elder Hastings. He´s from Redondo Beach and he´s been in the field for 7 months, so 9 months in the mission total. He´s a good trainer. Anyway, after that President talked to us for a little more and then we were off to start the work. We were headed to our zone, Puente Alto, with our sector being Puente Alto 2. So we had to take a bus to the metro then the metro to our zone and then another bus to our pensión (apartment). The total trip was like an hour and a half or so. Prety boring but then again it was very interesting because I was actually in Chile! Yup. So we eventually got there and immediately after we went to lunch at the house of the Presidenta de la Sociedad de Socorro (relief society). That was good. Nothing scary or anything haha. After lunch we went and bought all the food/stuff I was gonna need for the upcoming week. That took about an hour or so and then after that we met up with our ward mission leader, Cesar, who is amazing. He´s a RM of about 6 years or so I believe but he is super excited to be able to help out with misionary work. Anyway, after that we actually went around and did some teaching and stuff. And that was our first day. Very exciting.

Now to talk about the exciting stuff haha, Chile! So, for starters, Santiago is absolutely huge. Theres about 6 million people in the city, and our mission covers like 3 million...so like half the city of Santiago to 150 missionaries. My zone is called Puente Alto. There's like 9 or 10 zones here and each zone has sectors. Mine is Puente Alto 2. Puente Alto is about a 4 our of 10 on the scale of poorness here in Santiago. The mission president lives in an area that is really nice, it looks just like home there. Puente Alto is a different story though haha. It is definitely not like dirt poor, but the people here dont have very much money. The houses and stuff are usually small and dirty and stuff like that. But I love it here. The people are amazing. Our apartment is alright. Haha, the missionaries that live with us, one companionship, and my comp say that its a fairly nice apartment but I dunno about that one hah. They have more experience than me though so they know whats good and what's not. We are only there to sleep and get ready in the mornings though so it doesnt matter too much. Ok, I´m gonna talk about my daily schedule and talk about CHile and culture and all that good stuff at the same time.

We wake up at 7:30 here! Haha, we dont have to wake up at 6:30 because the people stay out later here in CHile. They still say buenas tardes (good afternoon) at 8 at night! But yeah, we wake up at 7:30 then we do our exercises and get ready for the day. At 9 we do our personal study, at 10 we do companionship study, at 11 we do language study, and then at 12/12:30 we finally leave the pensión. Much later than most missions I think. From 12-1:30 we either follow up on appointments or knock doors, which I´ll talk about a little more later. Then we eat lunch! Lunch is the big meal here. They eat huge meals for lunch and then don't eat again til like 9 or 10 at night and that is a small meal. They call that once (ohn-say). But yeah. LUnch lasts for an hour and a half. The food here is fairly normal. I havent encountered anything bizarre or anything yet. I dont think there is anything like really awful here, thank goodness. For my first lunch, we had some good soup, which was like chicken noodle. I thought that it was a good lunch and was satisfied cuz it was a big bowl, but then the lady took the bowls and brought out the real meal! It was a huge plate of rice and chicken haha. I struggled but I eventually finished it all. It is gonna take some time to get used to the portions here haha. But then after that there's always some form of dessert, and my first dessert was....of course....assorted fruits and yogurt. Im proud to say that I ate it all with no problems! It was prety funny though, it caught me off guard. But yeah, no problems. Meals I´ve had since then have been lots more rice, different kinds of meats, and basically thats it so far. No potatoes yet, which has surprised me. Yesterday was my hardest lunch yet haha because the rice we had, had tons of vegetables in it! I tried as hard as I could and ate as much as I could but I could NOT eat it all. So when the lady left the room I put the remainder of it on my comps plate and he finished it for me HAH. Pretty funy stuff. So yeah, thats food here. After lunch we either knock doors or go to our appointments or check up on investigators for the remainder of the day. So our day really doesnt begin til like 3 haha. But we go til 10, which is when we have to be back in the pensión. All the houses here have gates on them. They way you knock doors is you go up to the gate and yell "Hallo"(pronounced ah-lo). Kind of like a modified hello. But then the people come out and you talk to them and such. We knock doors for about 2 hours out of the day and the rest is for following up on investigadrs and teaching. Then we go back to the pensión at 10 and plan for tomorrow and get ready for bed and write in our journals and go to bed at 11:30. Oh yeah, we dont have a time for dinner so when we get back to the pensión at night we just snack til bedtime. And this is the day in the life of me. Oh yeah, p'-day is monday for me

I have lots more to say about chile though so im just gonna do a random assortment of facts and stuff about my life here, the culture, all that good stuff.

-We walk everywhere. Its a ton of exercise, which I need, but its more walkng than I´ve ever done before haha. Our sector isn't huge, but its a good distance walk from one side to the other. Oh yeah, not to mention the fact that our pensión is in a different sector (puente alto 3) because we are the only missionaries in our sector and the guys in that sector who share the pensión with us are the only ones in there. So its about a 15 min. walk just to get to our sector everyday haha.
-DOGS. There are dogs everywhere. Then just run wild and free. Hundreds of dogs haha. I love it. Its always entertaining to just watch the dogs and stuff as we walk from place to place. My comp said that he's seen two dogs get hit by cars and stuff though cuz there's so many.
-There are three main ways of transportation here. Taxi, la micro, and the metro. La micro is the buses. People have cars too but a majority of people just walk from place to place. As do we haha.
-Being a south american country, CHile gets stuff a lot later than us haha. One example, a big thing here in music is guns n roses. And a lot of the younger generation, like the high school kids, have strange hair styles that are like a mullet in all kinds of different ways. Pretty funny.
-We only speak Spanish. Very little English. I only use English to ask my companion how to say something or if I dont know how to say something in Spanish. That is how you learn though. But im trying to speak mostly only spanish to practice and practice and practice. I have already learned a lot.
-Spanish here in Chile is very lazy and hard to understand at times. It all depends on the person though. Some people I understand perfectly clearly while others i can barely catch every other word. An example of the laziness-the people don't usually pronounce the "s" if its at the end of the sentence or at all haha. Hasta luego becomes hata luego. Nosotros becomes nosotro. And mas o menos becomes maomeno. It can be very confusing. They also take out the "d"s. Estoy ocupado becomes estoy ocupao. Also a confusing thing but I'm catching on. The Chilenos also have their own vocabulary too that's different from other places so I´m trying to learn that. Its funny cuz when you hear a word for the first time and study it then you hear it all the time after that. I'm doing good with the vocabulary though so thats good. Another thing they do here is add the suffiz "po" at the end of a word or sentence for extra emphasis. This they do a ton. They say things like sípo or nopo. Its fun to catch it. I just wonder how long it'll be til I start using it without realizing haha.
-Theres basically a store on every street. Like a little store thing that people convert part of their house into. Its nice cuz if we´re ever thirsty thers always something nearby. They don't have any American sodas but Coke and sprite, but the chilean sodas are pretty good.

-Oh yeah, the money conversion here is about 500ish chilean pesos to the dollar. So their money values are usually really high for stuff. I'm still adjusting to that and figuring out how much stuff costs and whatnot. For example my groceries, which wasn't very much stuff, was like 12000 pesos.
-Something I think is weird is how they have their milk haha. It all comes in boxes, not in cartons or the gallon containers we have. And they last a long time as long as you dont open them. Oh yeah, they sell drinks in huge sizes. They start at like a small size for like one person but then the next biggest size is like 1.5 liters with a 2 and 2.5 liter sizes. I think thats pretty funny.
- Here they use like propane to heat stuff instead of electricity. So like there are trucks that go around selling propane tanks and you can hear them from far away because they have like a recording playing thrgouh a megaphone on top of the car. Kinda of like the ice cream man but gas...
-They do time in military time haha. They say like 9 o clock but when they write it its 21:00

Hm, theres so much to talk about i can't remember it all haha but this is all I got for now. I´ll try to remember other things to write in my next email. Be sure to ask me any questions if you have them!

Im so happy to be here in Chile and am having tons of fun and an amzing time preaching the gospel. I absolutely love it here. Its so much better than sitting in the mtc and stuff. I am so excited to do this for the next 22ish months. Its going to be amzing!

Oh yeah, we are allowed to use gmail here and everyone says that it is easier to use and faster so please change that on the website or what not. Also youll have to help grandpa again to make sure that he can get these emails.

Til my next email!
Lots of love,
Elder Aaron Mayberry

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