This is something very unique to Chile. To knock on a door here is seen as an invasion of privacy’ also, it’s not very safe, so everyone has a big fence around their house, which means that we’re kept out by a gate. Naturally you’d think that if people had a big fence around their entire property, that they’d have a doorbell or something so they knew when someone was outside. Haha, no. Not in Chile. They are so creative & cute, so instead of doorbells we get to yell at houses! We stand outside the gate & yell, “alo”, outside until people come out. Not hola, which is hello, it’s “alo”, & it’s really funny. The first time we did this I was so confused. I kept asking why we were yelling at the houses & if the people could even hear us, but supposedly the walls are thin & people listen. I guess it works because people come outside. It’s as weird as it sounds, I promise, but it’s super fun too. Cute Chileans.
Honestly I have very little time, so please excuse my scattered thoughts.
A few things about Chile…
The cute Chileans love Coke, juice, bread, & hot dogs in a strange addictive way. They adore these foods & that’s no exaggeration. Let me just put this into perspective for you… Coke only comes in giant 3 liter bottles here, they have an entire isle for these bottles at the grocery stores, & I’ve been served Coke every single day here for lunch & then sometimes at appointments as well. If they don’t serve us Coke, it’s juice. Water is not the norm here. The bread here is really, really yummy. It doesn’t have a lot of preservatives in it, so people buy bread every single day. We see people walking around with a bag of bread for Once (the little snack/tea time they have at night) all the time. There are also Panaderias & Pastellerias everywhere. Seriously all over the place. Hot dogs are also sold literally everywhere. The classic Chilean completo is a big hot dog on a hogie bun with melted cheese, mayo, guacamole, & tomatoes. It’s actually really good, but they eat hot dogs with other things as well. My first meal here was a hot dog (no bun) & a mountain of rice, which they gave us condiments for, but they were intended for the rice, not the hot dog. Funny Chileans. They also love hot dogs so much they put them in spaghetti & other dishes. Also, they drink tea & something called Eco, which apparently is a substitute for coffee and I partook of in members’ homes so we are praying that was not a sin. Just kidding it doesn’t have caffeine, I don’t think and really isn’t bad, it just tastes gross unless you use a lot of sugar.
Que mas… let´s see, people have carts and trucks here selling huevos (eggs) with speakers & they just yell in their speaker about the eggs and drive through neighborhoods. They’ll also do this with sweets & there is even a man in our neighborhood selling peanuts with a train whistle that he blows. The ceilings in the houses are low so I’m feeling tall for the first time in forever. Also, if you know what a one man band is those are common here. They wear these cute costumes & walk through the streets playing & it’s so loud you can hear him from several streets away. The dogs…. there are dogs everywhere and the government does nothing about this because apparently Chileans are very tolerant. Almost every person in Chile owns at least one dog & one cat. The stray dogs walking in the streets with the people are generally very nice, but we’ve been warned that missionaries get bit my dogs every month, so if that happens I’ll need rabies shots. Manjar (dulce de leche) is pretty yummy, I’ve eaten more zucchini here in casseroles or spaghetti than I usually do in a year. They soak their lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes in oil and vinegar. So, in other words I try to avoid that, but it exists at every meal. Last of all, they kiss your cheeks even if you are
a stranger & I think that’s really cute, even if it surprises me sometimes.
My first area is Talcahuano Norte, a cute little town not too far from the ocean. Everyone says that this is one of the best areas in the mission because the ward is so kind & willing to work with the missionaries. My trainer is Hermana P, from Cordoba, Argentina & she’s the cutest. We’re going to have a great time & we already have a big pool of investigators & a baptism scheduled for next week! Also, I extended my first baptismal invitation this week & he accepted! Ahh!
This week was understandably a little difficult as it was my first one here in Chile. I think it’s hard because there is no warning to what it’s really like and it all comes on at the same time. All of a sudden you are in a different country with people speaking a language you don’t understand and you’re expected to be a contributing member of the companionship. You’ve got to teach and do your part, and then the next day you’ve got to do it all over again, get up early, go go go until you drop after the evening planning session. But there’s something I really like about it too.
I testify that this is the Lord’s work & I’m so lucky, & grateful to be part of it. I love this Gospel & all of you.
Until next week,
P.S. Dad, get this. When I left the CCM they told us our bags could not weigh over 50 pounds or they wouldn´t take them on the plane. Not that we’d have to pay, but that they would not take it. Also the carry on had a limit of 17 pounds so I had to leave literally half of my stuff in Mexico… shoes, clothes, books, shampoo, etc. Anyway, then they didn’t even weigh my stuff, so I’m super sad about that and missing my clothes. I love you so much, and I’m sorry there is no more time. I surely struggle to balance my time during this special hour each week.