Monday, November 24, 2014

First "cambio" finished

I finished my first transfer, or "cambio" as we call them here. Things are going good.  I can actually speak Spanish.  Not good Spanish, but Spanish none the less.

We put up a little Christmas tree.  We would follow the tradition of not doing it before Thanksgiving, but I don't think Thanksgiving is much of a thing here.  I don't know what more to say about that.
The houses here on the outside all look really similar (and dirty), but on the inside they are all different.  Some of them are really nice and others are dirt floors falling apart.  Saturday we knocked on a door, inside was nice, apart from the fact that it was about the size of our bathroom.   We brought the guy to church.  It seemed to go pretty well.  Funny thing was the first thing he really ever heard was a really good talk on the law of consecration. 
I really love all the letters and e-mails and stuff I get from you guys.  And please do send me Rick's letters.  That would be great.  I love hearing about the house too and anything you want to tell me.  I' ll see what I can do about sending pictures.
For Christmas, if you're planing on sending a box, please include another of those magical thin towels that you bought me.  Also, if you could find a nice looking notebook or two of lined paper.  The book I use to take notes in church and meetings is getting close to full.  The last thing,  I have that sewing kit that Grandma Walker gave to me.  I've used it a couple of times and it works great, but I lost the needles.  I would just try to find some here but they're so small I don't think it would make a difference if you just put one or two in with whatever you send.  Oh, and if you could send some pictures too.  Some pictures of the family and some of Oregon so I can show people my home.  And maybe some pictures of the house.
I will now proceed to answer questions.  I know we can play some types of discs but not all.  We have a little portable DVD player.  Also you can plug a USB drive into it.  I'm not sure what your question was about that.  (I wanted to send him some music and wasn't sure the best format to send it.)  We don't try to talk people down (I asked him how it works at the markets.  Do they try to "wheel and deal" or just pay the asking price), nothing is expensive, and we don't buy a whole lot.  I am assigned to one ward.  It's hard to say who is well off and who isn't, well unless they're really well off or homeless, but everybody in the ward seems pretty normal.
It's pretty normal here to call people what they look like.  There's a guy in my ward that everybody just calls "conche." (I don't know if that's spelled right) A "conche" is just someone that has lighter skin.  (They might have to be a Latino though.)  I've been called "conche" at least once. (I wonder how many people mistake him for a Latino.) Anyway, this person I was talking about, I think I heard his name for the first time yesterday.
Some people here speak English.  Some better than others, but everybody knows that the elders speak English (well at least a third or so of us, probably less).  So people just yell random English stuff at us.  Most of the time it's, "what's up dude?" or "good morning," even if its five thirty in the afternoon.
Anyway,  I'm out of time.  Have fun.  Love you guys.
Elder Jarvie

Monday, November 17, 2014

Despicable Me


Things here are going alright.  I'm at the point where my Spanish isn't that bad, I just have a terrible vocabulary.  But it's getting better every day.  I'm also getting used to being in a dirty, third world country.  

I got letters from Remington and the Dabels. (Thank them for me please) I think it was Sister Dabel who asked if I see a lot of poverty.  My half joking response is ¿What do you think Guatemala is?  In all seriousness, there are places here that are really nice, but there is a lot of poor areas.  Third world describes the streets pretty well.  The difference is interesting.  For garbage they have this little semi-truck thing drive around with a bunch of guys that go door to door with little tarps collecting people's trash.

Last week we had to go to a different place for e-mailing because where we normally go the internet went out.  Now that I'm back at this place, I can see a lot more of the pictures you sent me.  Thank you for those.  I enjoy pictures.

The letter I got from Remington was great. Hand written and everything.  Tell him he's a legend.  He also told me not to tell you about anything sketchy.  So when I come back in two years, remember to ask me, because boy do I have some stories for you guys.  Just kidding, there hasn't been anything too dangerous.
Side thought- in Spanish I think the word for pants is singular.

Also they have lots of little shops here that sell tortillas.  Tortillas here are fantastic. They are all hand made.  You can buy normal ones at the super markets, but the ones from the little venders all over the place are small, hand made and taste like heaven. Or maybe I just like eating.

I never really missed music in the CCM, but here you hear it on the streets. (I'm not used to calling them streets. They are called "calles" here.  Double Ls are said like a Y, like in tortillas. So its pronounced "cayay.") anyway yeah.  Also I never really liked music in Spanish before now.  The national instrument of Guatemala is the marimba.  It's like a big, super legit xylophone.  Sometimes I hear what you would call "Mexican music" with a marimba and it's actually pretty fantastic.  Also they listen to a lot of English music.

You always ask me about my companion.  He's good.  He keeps the rules, so that's a plus. In fact I think he studies obedience every other morning.  His favorite movie is "Despicable Me," along with every other Guatemalan.  A couple of days ago they set up a bunch a chairs and a big projector screen in the middle of the calle (like a 4 lane calle) and watched "Despicable Me."  This place isn't normal, but it has its perks.

I think I've talked about the little venders all down the calles but I'm going to talk more about them.  There are a lot of them.  They have tortilla shops, bread shops, food shops, misc. shops and electronic shops.  And there is tons of all of them.  Like honestly, you could live here and never go to a store.  Just buy stuff through some bars off the crappy little sidewalk.  It's really useful if you ever just want a snack or some little miscellaneous thing.

You have asked a couple of times about Christmas.  For Christmas I would like a bunch of letters,  (If everyone who is reading this letter could help me with that one, I would really appreciate it!) maybe some ties, a nice mechanical pencil, (I lost mine at the mtc :( ) pictures! yo quiero pictures, and what ever you feel like would be good.  I think I might be able to find an adapter here but the only ones I've seen I'd have to buy a different memory card (one with the little chip). I only have a few pictures on the one I use now so it's not too bad.  I do have one of me and my companion at the temple. Do you know if my Mickey Mouse card works here, or if it's still active? (At first I was like, "What is he talking about? He's never even been to Disneyland. Then I remembered his debit card has a picture of Mickey Mouse on it.)  If so, how much money is on it? I could probably just buy the adapter with the money I have.

Anyway, I miss you guys. Thanks for the letters and e-mails.
-Elder Jarvie

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bucket List

Thanks for the letters, and thank dad for his too.  We went to the temple today.  That was pretty great, even if it is kind of a small one.  I got to wear little headphones that translated everything.  I understand Spanish well enough that I probably would have been fine, but it was nice to not have to worry about it. 

Yesterday I went to the offices for immigration paperwork.  I got to see three of the elders from my MTC district.  My paperwork took a little longer because one of them had my middle initial and the other didn't.  So I had to go sign a few things.  On the bright side I think I can check being an illegal off my bucket list.  It's all sorted now so don't worry.

We had a baptism Sunday morning.  Her name is Paola.  It's a rule in the east mission that the members of the ward baptize people.  So she was baptized by a guy in our ward who works at the CCM.   I actually knew him before I started the mission.  The baptism went very well.  I have a few pictures but they are kind of a pain to send.  Try and see if you can find a USB adapter for the memory of my camera.  It would be a great present and I could send pictures a lot easier.
Spanish is coming along really well.  For being in the field less than a month I actually speak pretty good.  My Spanish was pretty bad in the MTC but having to speak it all day, everyday, I'm improving pretty fast.  I'm still far from comfortable talking to people.  (Not that I'm really comfortable talking to people in English.)
You always ask about my companion.  I don't really know what to say about him.  He is from Guatemala.  Mo mos tenanga I think. (I have no idea what that means? Anyone?)  He speaks very little English.  (And not like I speak very little Spanish.)  He knows a couple of phrases.  But I learn faster that way so I can only complain so much.  Next time I send pictures I'll send some with him in them. His name is Elder Zárate.  I told you that right?
My area is in Zona 5 Calle 30.  It is pretty much the backbone.  Just don't fly down here or anything, they would probably get mad at me.  There are a lot of churches in my area. Guatemala is different, a lot dirtier.  It's interesting though.  They have tons of little markets down all the roads.
Tell dad I've felt at least a portion of his pain.  I've only gotten decently sick once.  But you don't really work quite right for a while here.
Oh, I have a thing to tell Jared.  I believe his mission borders mine so I bet they use the same weird jargon.  A "pila" is a thing of water, like a sink or a baptisimal font, it's also batteries. But when someone says "que pilas" it's kind of like, "how smart."  Sometimes they will say "bien" before something that just means "really."  So if a person is "bien pilas" they are "really smart."   It's not a perfect translation, but pretty much.  Also "piñas" (pineapples) often refers to attractive girls.  And "chilero" is a guy that sells chilies, but it also means cool as in "that's cool."   You would say "eso es chilero."   It's usually "cool," they don't talk about the chili selling guy that much.   And if they did, they would probably just call him "el hombre que vende chilis."   I can't think of any weird words or what not apart from that.
When I e-mail, spell check is in Spanish so almost everything, but my address, is underlined in red.  There are a few others that aren't.  Once is 12.  He is haber congugated in yo form. and a few others.  Also the Spanish words of course. (If part of this paragraph was confusing to you,  just know you aren't the only one.)
I love hearing about what's going on at home and the pictures too.  This time I e-mail in two days less than normal.  I'll talk to you all Monday.
-Elder Jarvie

Monday, November 3, 2014

Baptism this Sunday!

Hey everybody!

Thanks for the pictures and the letter Mom.  I love seeing the things that are going on at home.  It's really exciting to hear about the house.  It's sad to hear that Emerson has a wheat intolerance too. How is he doing?
Things here are going all right. Spanish is coming.  I still feel a little out of place.  It's probably because I'm a lot out of place.  You always ask if people feed us so I thought I'd tell you that yesterday we were fed by three different families.  It's a lot different here but a lot of things are really neat.  I almost said nice.  That describes very few things here, but it is an interesting place.
You asked what would be a good way for people to prepare.  I would start with every day reading the scriptures and preach my gospel with the intent of finding verses, thought and teaching ideas you could share with people.  Directly following that, I would say pray, keep the commandments and get used to the idea of doing something you're not comfortable doing all day long. (And also know if they serve in English they have no right to complain.)
We rode a bus today.  That was a fun experience. They pack those things pretty tight sometimes. It helps when at one stop you throw in like ten missionaries.
One of our investigators is getting baptized Sunday!  We've been teaching her for a little while now. I've had a lot of times when I've taught the discussions, but I've never really been comfortable doing it.  It's even worse now that I have to do it in a different language.  Thank you guys for praying for me.  Things aren't going all that bad so it helps a lot.  Keep it up please.  At least until I can speak Spanish.
Speaking of Spanish, it's actually coming along pretty well.  The last couple of weeks I've actually had people tell me that for only having the time I do I speak pretty well.  Which is a nice change considering I probably was one of the worst at speaking in the CCM.  I'm sure speaking nothing but Spanish all day helps.  Meetings with the district or zone are always really nice because I get to hear at least a little English.
I love and miss all y'all.  I hope you guys have fun
hablare con ustedes siguiente semana
(translated means, "I'll talk to you next week.")
-Love Elder Jarvie