That is a lot of people on the blog! Holy broccoli! The Taiwan [person] might be Kirsten´s sister... I know she is somewhere there abouts.
Ok, I'll answer all the questions first. I don´t know who Elder Palaoci is, but in regards to soccer, he is absolutely right. It was really fun in the Provo MTC, but it is way better here. First off, there aren´t nine-finity people playing. We usually have about 12 on each team. Second, everyone is way better on average. I think it is just cuz soccer is much more popular among the latinos, and this MTC is about half latino. Oh and Latino is the term we have been asked to used. As for us people from up north, we are referred to as norte americanos. Except for Elder Badzinski, he is still Auzi.
The food is intense. Every meal is alien to us. The tastes are all different, the ratios are different, and the fact that we have rice and a meat for every meal is diffferent too. I think we even eat more rice than I had been eating in my final weeks at home. Sometimes meals are great, sometimes they are mas o menos [more or less, average], and once I had to concetrate on lifting my foot off the ground. The juices are so weird haha. Ok... so different. Every meal we have a choice of two unlabeled juices, or water. The two juices the first day, were of coloration bright yellow/orange, and a dull light brown [anyone's guess, but mine is Tamarind]. All of us newbies chose the bright one, and were sorely suprised. I honestly dont know how that particular juice could have caught on...it was...er...great. Luckily the juice changes every day, though I often stick with the safe choice: water.
One day I went for the juice, and drank it. When I asked my companion what it was, and after serveral minutes of trying to understand him, I realized he was saying it was herbal tea. uhhh.. is that even ok?
I have heard no word on where people do dry cleaning, but I haven't asked either. I suspect we need to arrange it with someone outside the CCM.
The spanish is exploding. Every day is so much better. And my english is going out the window. When I'm writing in my journal after a day of speaking spanish, I tend to accidenatlly use grammatical structures of Spanish or the english version of a phrase I can say in spanish, so it makes limited sense. Last night I was trying to ask if we could go to meals in our P-day clothes (which are just casual wear), and I said, "Can we go to food in our clothes?" Oh and I memorized the first vision really well in English in the MTC, but then memorized it in Spanish. Now, the only way I can say it in English is by translating it directly. But the result is in a different order than the real English one. Elder Silva (my compañero) laughed at me for a while after he asked me to say it in English for him.
My companion is a Chilean who knows his scriptures like nobody's buisness. He can whip out a scripture on the most diverse topics, and i have no idea how. He says he learned them all in seminary and institute. Apparently he wasn't sleeping. So I guess I really need to work on my at hand bible references. He was in a band before comming to the CCM and they recorded a CD. I got to see some pictures of him performing live. He plays keyboard.
Ms. Harber remembered me?? What in the world? thats impressive.
A random story. The second day here, Elder Steward kicked a soccer ball over the wall in a game. We got to go into the world, which was super exciting at the time. It took forever to find it [the ball], and while we were looking, a dog smelled or heard us and started barking from the other side of one of the homes wall. They all have walls in this neighborhood and the CCM has a 15 foot wall all the way around. A man came out to investigate the cause of the barking, and gave us a quizzical look. Instinctively, Elder Stewart asked, "Have you seen a ball?" He didnt understand. Why? Oh wait this is PERU! Haha Elder Stewart rephrased, "¿Pelota?" The man shook his head.
That 50 mile hike story is awesome. [A couple of years ago Mark participated in a
Boy Scout activity to walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less. He was successful and finished it
in about 16.5 hours. Missionaries get to walk a lot, but never 50 miles in a day.
So, he can never complain about walking on his mission, because it will never be as hard
of a walk as the 50 miler was].
Ok, I wrote some things down to get into this email.
Today we went to the temple, and it was awesome. The Lima Temple is one of those Micro temples, and its it definitely micro. To get there, we are required to take the bus. We can walk back if we want, however me and Elder Silva took the bus back. It was quite an experience. The bus to the temple had about 18 seats, and 38 people crammed into it! It was incredibly crowded. In addition, the ceiling was about 5 feet 11 inches off the ground, so I stood with my head completely sideways and pressing against the ceiling. Everyone here is quite short, the Peruvians around me were probably 5.5 feet at the tallest. Only two other people on the bus had my problem, and they were norte americano missionaries also going to the temple. The driver has an assistant who collects the money of departing passengers when they drop them off. He stands right in front of the bus door while in motion. To give an idea of how crowded the bus was, he just left the door open on the way to the temple because there wasn't space to close it, and he held onto the rails, leaning out the side the bus between stops.
On the way back from the temple, we missed the bus. But another came about 10 seconds later. There are a lot of buses here. It was not nearly as crowded though, which is good. But this time, since it was only me and Elder Silva getting on, the driver started going the instant both of my feet touched the floor of the bus. Consequently I almost fell and was able to give people on the bus a good laugh. The driver did this at every stop, and it caught me off guard every time. So everything was more or less ok until the bus took a turn off our road to the CCM! They don't really have routes as far as I can tell, and there are no bus stops, they just pick you up wherever you are, but they are more like mass taxies. Someone had to be dropped off a street over I guess. Elder Silva and I both looked at each other as we turned away from familiarity and into the wild unknown Lima with nervous looks. We tried to jump off, but when Elder Silva asked the departing-passenger-money-collector
slash door guard, he said some spanish words that even Elder Silva didn't understand.
I remembered the time when i jumped off the bus sans you all in London. Paul was with me right? [No, Mark jumped off all alone and the bus took off. He started running; we tried to keep
him in sight, but weren't able to get off until about a block later--it all ended well,
obviously, but, it was very scary.]
So we keep driving who knows what direction, the door guard keeps telling us no one knows what and we are steadily growing more nervous, when the bus suddenly stops and he motions for us to leave. It cost 1 nuevo sol to get both of us wherever we were. We looked around, at each other, and around again. Haha. Ummm... We were by a gas station... Oh, behind the gas station is a nice fence! Luckily for us we could see the Regional church headquarters building from where we were, so we headed there. Remembering that the CCM was right by the headquarters, we were able to make it back to the CCM alive.
So by the way, I got a hair cut the first day I got here. Which is odd, cuz I had one two days before leaving Provo. I have not hair now...they buzzed it way short. But it isn't even a really good chop! There are uneven hairs all over the place!
We went to tottus (similar to walmart) after the temple today, and there were odd bottles in the drink aisle. The notable ones were tall and skinney 1.5 liter bottles, and taller and a little wider 3.3 liter bottles. They look pretty great for water rockets... I kinda want to take a few home in 1.9 years.
The area authority came the other day and talked to us (in spanish). He talked about while we are on our missions, we have similar responsibility as apostles. It was very cool.. Obviously we lack the keys and authorities that they have, but we are here to a similar end. It was cool. I had to listen to the translators. Im not that good yet. However, I needed no translation in the temple.