Sunday, October 18, 2015

First Week In Bolivia

Goodbye El CCM......
Journal Entry:
Okay, let me tell you about Cochabamba. First of all, you are not supposed to flush your toilet paper or drink any tap water. This means that you have to use water from a water bottle to brush your teeth. If you don’t like brushing your teeth, try doing it without any water pressure. Es muy dificil. Also, you have to make sure you don’t drink any of the water. We have to wear shower sandals tambien. It’s weird to wear shoes in the shower but if you saw the floor you would wear shoes tambien. 
Today we took buses up to the Cristus statue. It is huge and it sits on top of a mountain overlooking Cochabamba. I love it because Christ is stretching out His hands as if He is beckoning to the whole city to come unto Him. We are His missionaries! We took a lot of pictures and President Hansen gave a short spiritual thought. 
Okay, about my mission President. He and his wife are so awesome! I fear their first impression of me was not the greatest because I had not slept for 30 hours then I took a two-hour nap on their floor (President Hansen had an appointment and we had to wait for him to get back so Hermana Hansen told us to sleep). Anyway, I was soo out of it when she woke me up for my interview with President Hansen. I vaguely remember asking her, “What do I have to do again?” Then after the interview, I remember walking around with only one sock. I don’t know, but I must have made a good impression because they haven’t sent me home yet, haha! I was totally out of it. That night I went to bed at eight so I got ten hours of sleep. It was awesome!   Next, I want to tell you about the transportation here. You can get around three ways:       
Walking, which we did to the stake center. People openly stare at us because we are white-gringos.
Buses, and we only used these to get to the Cristus statue. It was uphill the whole way in a stick-shift bus so that was iffy.
Taxis, we have taken so many of those. Basically, you stick your arm out into the road, a car with a “taxi” sign on it pulls over, you decide on a price and tell them your destination. Then, you get in and they drive you where you want to go. Yesterday, a taxi driver asked me if I was married, told me I had pretty eyes and told me I didn’t understand Spanish (Which was true because the secretary, who was in the taxi with us, told me all this after and I didn’t catch any of it).
Anyway, transportation is very fun. But the food is even better. Actually, one thing about transportation is that we are so crowded, we don’t wear seatbelts and all the cars here are stick.   

 Okay, Comida. The other day for dinner we had pizza. But it wasn’t normal, it was chicken, cheese and corn pizza. Also, we had Chinese takeout for lunch today(Wednesday) and no dinner because no tengo tiempo. Para esta bien porque yo tengo snacks.Yeah, it has been a great day. I love it here- Spanish, the people,  mi companera.  

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I feel like it has been so long since I last wrote you but really it is just that so many exciting things have happened this week! I will try and write a bunch! 
Okay, first of all, my compañera is Latina!!!! Her name is Hermana Fuenzalida and she speaks a little bit of English but we speak Spanish all day long and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! I love the language so much and people say I am pretty good at it but I know it is totally the gift of tongues and not me. Also I have a gringa accent so sometimes the missionaries will laugh when I speak Spanish but I love it! My compañera is so nice and we have the same sense of humor. All the missionaries think I am hilarious but I don't know if it is because I have good jokes or because I say the words wrong. I learned an idiom in Español, it essentially means "Get that corn out of my face!" It is "A otro perro con esa hueso!!" which can be literally translated to mean, "Give that bone to a different dog." All the latinos laugh when I say it because I am a gringa. 

Next, I think I am the only white person in my area. Literally whenever I walk down the street with my companion people will do one of three things:
1. Do a double take.
2. Stare at me until I make eye contact and say Hola! after which they look away while still trying to sneak glances at me.
3. Openly stare at the gringa with crazy hair as if they have never seen a white person before in their life. These people keep staring at me even if I make eye contact. Haha! We were walking down one street and there was literally 15 (yes, I am sure) people just staring as I walked by. I felt like a walking circus. But I actually find it pretty entertaining, haha. People usually don't talk to me though. One drunk guy was trying to talk to me a couple days ago but I didn't really want to stick around and chat. 

 Anyway, guess what?! We get to wash our clothes by HAND!! So that is what I did today!!! I washed my clothes by hand with freezing water and they are hanging on the clotheslines on the roof to dry right now. IT was so much fun! Me and my compañera also did some service where we helped one of our investigadores wash her family's clothes. By the way, sorry for any typos, I am sort of forgetting Ingles. 

One Cholita was sitting at a bus station and when I walked by she goes, "Oh, usted es BLANCA!"
Me: "Si, si..."
Cholita: "Y sus piernas(legs) son MUY BLANCA!!"
Yeah, I laughed pretty hard at that. 
The FOOD here!!! Me y mi compañera make our own breakfast every morning and go to a pensionistas for lunch and dinner! I love the food but sometimes it is so much!!! We eat lunch around 1 and cena around 8pm so I am usually hungry by then. We usually have meat, rice and potatoes for every meal. I will attach a pic of my first "Bolivian" meal (it will either be in this email or on my blog). 
People greet each other here with kisses on the cheek. Of course we are not supposed to greet men that way but one non-member did not know that so I got a kiss on the cheek from a Bolivian man. How exciting! 
Anyway, I am in Sucre, area San Juanillo 2. Our area has a bunch of hills so sometimes I feel like I am hiking. People here live in poverty but for Bolivia most of them are middle class. It is not hot but the sun is pretty intense. It is really cold in the mornings and nights. Like cold enough to wear my scarf and tights. But we are going into Summer so it should get warmer. 

I love it here so much!!! It is the best time ever! I love talking to people and teaching them. We had one investigator that was never home when we would go to her door. We finally got a hold of her on Sunday and were able to teach her a lesson. Her circumstances were so humble. We sat on little chairs in the blazing sun while we taught her and her four children (who were actually really crazy, they grabbed my folleto, my Libro de Mormon and my hand sanitizer). She was so receptive to the gospel and I know she could feel the Spirit. It was awesome!!! I love the people here and I am so excited to teach them more about the gospel. The hardest part about this mission is that people do not keep their commitments. They do not read el Libro de Mormon or attend church. But I love to teach them. I got to talk to a Cholita the other day (the women with bright shawls, braids and straw hats) and she was so happy to hear the message, even if it was in broken Spanish. 
I love my mission! I know I am doing a great work for the Lord and I am so excited to continue inviting people to come unto Christ!!! I love the work! I love the gospel and I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!! (Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece!!) 
Adios until next Monday!!! 
Hermana Eaves

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