OMHeck, I`m in Paraguay!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it?? Sometimes I can`t. And then I just look at all the dirt everywhere and I remember!!! It`s so crazy. I`m defs still in like a tiny bit of shock. But just a tiny bit. I have a bajillion things to say. No lie.
|She looks like she belongs there, right?!!|
Settings: Paraguay is SO POOR! I knew this coming into it, obviously, but it`s totally different to see it in person. It`s crazy. People here have nothing. All the houses are like one room with dirt floors and no windows and no air. It`s nuts. Everything here is hecka dirty and unsanitary, and it`s been a real uncomfortable adjustment for me. We literally walked into our apartment for the first time and I was like, "what?...." Literally every time I use our bathroom I feel like I`m going to get hepatitus or something. And ours is "nicer" than like any of the other ones around here. Our apartment is an old tienda (aka like an empty tiny store), so it`s super small, literally has NO WINDOWS, and only has a sink and bathroom in the back that is wayyyy sketch. I don`t really know what words to use to describe the stuff here because sketchy and ghetto are the ones that come to my mind the most, but that doesn`t really describe it exactly. It`d be like super super super ghetto in the state (as in none of this stuff would pass coding laws), but here it`s just super normal, so it feels weird to call it ghetto. Anyway, if I were to sum up our apartment in a quote, it would be when Hermana Valenzuela told me "Make sure you keep the door to the bathroom shut, because that`s usually where we`ve seen the scorpions here." Lololololololol. But really, that happened. The picture I sent of our apartment makes it look dece, but trust me, the only reason I`m able to handle this is straight up because God is blessing me HARD CORE to be chill and not care.
|All caves need is a little string of Christmas lights, apparently.|
Even from the first day I arrived to now, I can see how far I`ve come in terms of tolerating discomfort. I honestly already have a fondness for our apartment. AND it has air conditioning, which is a huge blessing, because it`s SO HOT here. Sad note though, on account of the no windows in our apartment, it is always SO DARK inside. Our light is literally a single light bulb hanging from it`s wire from the roof. It`s like a straight cave in there. You can`t tell whether or not it`s daylight outside, which makes it hard to wake up... Anyway, I`m done complaining about my apartment though, because like I said, I`ve already adjusted to it. I just wanted you to get my first impression when I walked in there. I`m honestly fine with it now. Even though the bathroom still scares me... (think port a potty mixed with beach bathroom stall mixed with something super old and sketchy and dirty...)
In terms of other things, it`s obviously WAY hot and humid here. It`s been a little rough, but I was as mentally prepared as I could have been, I think. It`s been alright. And honestly there`s just no room to complain. I just have to take it in stride. I really just don`t complain at all here. Who am I going to whine to? My companion is way used to it by now, and obviously the members here LIVE this way all the time, so really I just have to decide to get over it. Which I have decided. I decided it like my second day here. I mean I still feel uncomfortable, but I just try not to think about it too much. Side note though, the bug bite situation has gotten a lot worse here... I put on TONS of bug spray and such, but I`m getting legit eaten. And not just by mosquitos... It`s pretty sketch. I have some bites on my legs that are pretty jank... But don`t worry, I`m pretty sure I`m not dying. I feel fine. Mostly it`s just way annoying. Sometimes when we eat at members houses (we always just eat outside because they don`t have tables inside and their house is just one room with their beds), and there are so many bugs crawling all around and on me that I stop trying to get them off of me because it`s just futile. #datparaguaylyfe
Also, Paraguay is super dirty. Not just houses, but in general. People just throw their trash outside and there is junk EVERYWHERE! Except for the fact that it`s really sad, I kind of find it artsy. It`s honestly like instillation art everywhere. Quite fascinating. People just have piles of broken TVs on their yards (how hipster, amirite?) and there are piles of glass (like the pictures I sent) and then just literally bags of trash. It`s pretty sad. They just don`t have government regulations here. It really is like the whole country is a modern art museum. Also, there are SO MANY WILD ANIMALS HERE!!! Dogs, horses, cows, chickens, MORE DOGS. Literally all over the place. I must have seen 1,000 dogs this week. Literally. It`s nuts. Most of them are chill, but some of them are a bit scary... Mostly it`s fine though. TBH, I don`t think that anyone who hasn`t served a mission in a third-world country can understand. There`s just no adequate way to describe it, and it`s literally something you have to experience yourself. I still think about other missions in other places a lot, and I just can`t even with how different they are. I imagine Baby Ray sitting pretty in her Nauvoo house and the visitiors center and then I look around me and just can`t even. It`s crazy. But all missions are hard for different reasons, so it`s all good. But seriously, it`s so good for me to be here. Some of these circumstances you just literally can`t truly adjust to, so the only thing you can do is try to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Which I`ve been blessed to have a pretty solid start on. I feel pretty good and pretty happy most of the time (be happy IN your circumstances, not BECAUSE of your circumstances, amirite?)
Spanish: So the Spanish has been interesting. I don`t really understand very much, and I can speak even less than I understand, but mostly I have pretty decent perspective. It`s a bit overwhelming, obviously, but I try to not let it bother me. True embarassing story though, so it`s my second day here and Hermana Valenzuela and I have been out all day talking with people and teaching lessons, and it had been a pretty good time. Overwhelming, but good. So we had this lesson with a recent convert, and Hna. Valenzuela asked me if I wanted to say anything, and I just panicked and couldn`t think of a dang thing and I literally just couldn`t think at all. So I just told her no and she moved on with the lesson, and it was all fine and good. So afterwards we`re walking back home for dinner and I feel mostly fine, and she asks me something super basic about how I feel and legit I just burst into tears right there on the side of the road. For literally NO REASON! Hahahahaha it was the weirdest thing that`s ever happened to me in my life. I wasn`t even sad or stressed (per se) or anything. It was literally just being purely overwhelmed or something. It was really weird, but honestly pretty funny. But other than that I haven`t had any weird emotions or anything. I feel good and mostly tengo fe that Spanish will come with time. You can`t really rush it. Also, side note, but this Sunday was fast Sunday (AGAIN! Talk about opportunities to practice getting a testimony of fasting... be careful what you wish for...), and the Bishop stands up and says "Ok, we`re going to turn the time over to the ward... blah blah (in Spanish, obvi), but first we`d like to hear from the new Hermana, Hermana Ross" LOLOLOLOLOLOL. So I go up there and briefly introduce myself and start to bear my testimony (guys, I don`t really know Spanish), and of course I`m crying because I always do when I bear my testimony, and it was just a good/amusing time. I did relatively well though, and I felt good about it. A couple of people told me after that it was really sweet and my Spanish was really good. Which is a mentira, but whatevs, I`ll take the compliment. So yeah, again for opportunities to practice public speaking #reallybecarefulwhatyouwishfor
|Hermana Valenzuela is absolutely ADORABLE!!|
My trainer!: Hermana Valenzuela is great, and I like her a lot. She moved around a lot growing up, so she lived partially in California, St. George, and Mexico. Since she lived in Mexico for like 8 years, she knew fluent Spanish before the mish and has been a really good combination of a native speaker and a North American companion. The only bummer is she doesn`t really know how to help me learn the language, and mostly we just talk in English, but other than that she`s like perfect. Wayyyyy nice, super friendly, and teaches really good lessons. Which is prime, since I esentially can`t help her out at all. I was so apprehensive about getting a new comp, but literally the first thing she said to me when we met was "How are you feeling? We`re going to talk all about feelings when we`re together." I almost died of joy. And we really do talk about feelings a lot. She`ll periodically ask me how I`m feeling and check in on things and it`s so wonderful. She only has two transfers left, so I`ll probably kill her on the mish (as in be her last companion before she goes home). It`s a little weird because we talk about stuff at home a lot since she is thinking about it so often, but then obviously for me I still have like 16 months left... But it`s all good and she is a really awesome trainer. I`m a big fan, and I`m much happier here than in the CCM. Not that I was unhappy there, per se, but I`m just happier here. It`s MUCH harder (like WAY WAY WAY harder), but I like it better.
Other stuff: I met all the people in my zone today, and guess who`s in it! THE Mariah Border! She is WAY NICE!!!! I really like her a lot. I hope we`re comps at some point, although it`s statistically unlikely. Anyway, she`s super nice.
|We "met" Hermana Border before Holly even left as we found her super impressive blog and we both were smitten!!|
And there are a lot of North Americans in my zone, which is a blessing on account of the fact that I don`t speak Spanish. They`re all chill. Pretty much all we did today for P-day was hang out as a zone and play sports and stuff. It was a good time, but I`m pretty hot and tired. Tomorrow we get to go to the temple though!!! Stoke!!!! Apparently we only get to go once a year though, so I guess this is it.... I`m excited. I forgot to tell you where I am!! haha I`m in a city cailled Anahi that`s about an hour outside of Asuncion. It`s really close to the south mission, and I`m pretty stoked about it. Literally every Hermana I came here from the MTC with went EIGHT HOURS up into the Chaco. That sucks so bad... I`m stoked to be here closer to the city. We`re definitely not in the city here, but we`re only like a two hour bus ride from it. Other note about buses here - they`re CRAYZEEE!!!!!! So sketch so sketch so sketch. They don`t have bus stops, so you can just get on or off wherever, but they literally never stop!! They just kind of slow down and you jump on or off. But these roads are not like ones in the states!!! They are dirt roads with rocks and bumps and it super sucks to be on buses because it is so uncomfortable. But anyway, I swear I`m going to eat it on a bus one of these days because I`m always about to fall when we jump off or on. Jank city.
So mostly things are good and I`m adjusting and feeling pretty happy. Hermana Valenzuela makes a lot of difference. I have so much more I could say, but I`ll have to save it for later because I don`t have enough time. I love you all though and hope your freaking SO DANG PROUD of me for being here hahaha. It`s crazy to think about it, even for me. I can`t believe all of this is already becoming normalish to me!!! Weird! #pray4Holly
|Does she know her skirt color coordinates with the dirt? And the shoes too!|