Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week 9 (Third in Paraguay)


Oh my gosh, so I did emailing differently this week and am writing this at the end of my email time instead of the beginning. Which, as it turns out, is a bad idea because my eyes are blurring over and I feel super wired from reading/responding to emails. So sry if this email is kind of weird, because I feel like I can`t even think straight.

This week was better than last, and mostly everything is good! I feel like missions are weird because you reflect on your mood and "how you`re doing" so much more than in the real world. If this was just a two month vacation or something I`d probably be having a really great time and wouldn`t be stressing about my mood or anything. But because it`s not I`m always thinking "Am I happy? How am I feeling? Am I adjusting well?" And then all my reflections always make me feel like I could be doing better, even thought really I`m doing fine. I can`t explain it very well, but like I`ve said before and I`ll say again, missions just do weird things to your emotions.

I was talking with Hermana Valenzuela this week one day during comp study and we were talking about the differences of how Satan affects missionaries vs us in our "normal lives" at home. At home there are so many more resources he can use (movies, music, boys, etc), and it`s just easier to get us to "do things" that are sins. But since we`re on the mish and we aren`t quite as susceptible to those things, he always goes after missionaries through their emotions and through their testimony. He always wants you to feel like you aren`t doing enough, like you won`t/can`t adjust to mission life, like you don`t have a strong enough testimony, etc. It`s so trippy, but so true. I`ve never felt so many attacks on my emotions before like this. It`s so weird. But I`m doing ok and I also really feel like I`m strengthened a lot and also I`m obviously super blessed in general, so I`m not really phased (for the most part). It helps to have already had a hecka strong testimony coming into this, that`s for sure. And also to have a really solid support system at home. And honestly all of my life experiences have prepared me for this. Like I said, #blessed.

Last p-day: Well last P-day Hna. Valenzuela wanted to meet up with her old comp Hna. Whittiker, so we went to this city like 30 minutes away and got Pizza Hut. It was so dang expensive and such a rip off, but also it was worth it because it was delicious. And the mall there was swank city and SO NICE!
Nicest Mall in Asuncion, or anywhere else for that matter
 I felt like I was in America and I didn`t want to leave. It was hands down the nicest place I`ve been in besides the temple. Because we had to travel and do a bunch of other stuff it was kind of a stressful day in general. Plus it was raining a lot. I`m still looking forward to the day that I can just take a nap on p-day. Preferably for 2 hours plus. That`s the dream.

Other details about Paraguay: So it`s impossible for me to tell you even 1/100th of the things I`ve seen since I`ve been here (p.s. the more I read the Book of Mormon the more I start to speak like I`m speaking in scripture verses or something. It`s pretty comical to me), so there are some things I`ll mention that I don`t think I`ve had the chance to before. We have tons of power outages and also water outages (?) where for any given amount of time we either won`t have power or won`t have water. It`s worse when it rains. So that`s been fun to deal with. That`s not really sarcasm though, because mostly it hasn`t been a real problem. Also, I forgot to mention that we wash all of our clothes by hand. It`s not really that bad except for that it takes 5ever and when the heck do I have a spare hour to do that?! Casi nunca. We just go to the back sink and use a spigot and a bucket with a bar of soap and then use this washboard thing and hang them up to dry. Pretty typical third world, so I`m sure you can imagine. Good stuff. In other South American fashion, I`ve now seen tarantulas, PLENTY of spiders (I think I`ve been bit by a few..), lots of beetles/cockroaches (sometimes in our apartment), and snakes. We actually saw a pretty cool snake the other day when we were walking and it was bright silver and I just stood there and watched it move for like 2 minutes because it was so cool looking. Also when I say that the roads are dirt, I actually mean brown sand, because for the most part it`s just sandy everywhere. And I`m always dirty and the bug spray I put on is super hecka oily and it just makes dirt stick to me even more. Pretty ratchet. The bug bite situation continues to be a minor problem in my life. I guess it happens to all North Americans when they first come though. Apparently my blood is still clean... So once it gets dirty enough I`ll stop getting bit (apparently it happens within the first few months). So that`s a fun thought to look forward to........ Lolz @ South American missions.

Piano: So I thought I`d include this briefly mostly for you, Mom, but I`ve been having to play piano here... Honestly I low key hate playing in front of a lot of people. I have to play at church and zone stuff and sometimes there is a pretty solid sized group there (like 50 plus). It`s just really not my favorite thing and it stresses me out. But I guess it`s chill because at least since I can`t speak Spanish the members know I`m not a total idiot because I can at least play the piano. Good job for practicing so much, Mom! I`m proud of you. Stoked for Mother`s Day when I can hear your progress. When you perform in class just think of me playing at church here and feel better. 

Capilla Abierta!  (Open House)
Capilla Abierta: So this Saturday we had this huge event that we`ve been preping for for like two weeks and we were contacting everybody and inviting them to it and just practicing a ton for it. I was pretty nervous because it involved giving tours to people all about the church and all the lessons, and I defs don`t have the vocabulary for that. Anyway, they ended up sending us like 15 missionaries from other areas to help us out, so I didn`t even have to give tours in the end! Which was good, but also I had practiced for it... And I went on exchanges with this other Hermana, and she was really nice but let`s just say I`m EXTREMELY grateful to have Hermana Valenzuela as my comp. Her style is just much more similar to mine. And it`s hard to be with someone who contacts so differently than you because you just want to be like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? You`re making us seem SO awkward and ALSO therefore making the church seem wierd." But of course you can`t say that and different things work for different people, so you never know. Good thing the spirit converts people, not missionaries, amirite? Anyway, after that semi stressful few hours of exchanges the event was over and we all went back and talked with the other missionaries and it was a good time. I just love missionaries so much. They bring such a strong spirit with them, and it`s just great to be around. I can`t believe I`M a missionary! 2 chill. 

P-day today: So all the hermanas in the area were meeting up in Asuncion at the temple to have an activity today. TBH, I really didn`t want to go on account of remember the trip to Asuncion from hell? Also, like I said it`s my dream to take a nap and chill out and NOT take a two hour bus ride each way to eat lunch with other hermanas for an hour. BUT Hermana Valenzuela wanted to go and mostly I`m trying to get into sacrifice these days, so we went. Also I was down with it, because I guess why not, ya know?
The oh so appreciated Hermana Valenzuela
 So I ended up being really glad we went because guess who showed up?

Hermana Speakman:  Her CCM Companion and confidant

Hermana Speakman! Which is crazy because her area is like 8 hours away up by Brazil. But I guess her fingerprints failed AGAIN, so she had to come to the office to get them done. And we had probably the best/deepest conversation we`ve ever had with each other in which she opened up and told me about her struggles and everything. She has a Latina companion and it`s just hard since they can`t really communicate and the mish is just hard for her in general in a lot of ways since she really didn`t want to come but felt like she should. So it was really nice and it was good to talk with someone I know/I think she needed to talk, so it was probz defs inspired that we went. And the bus rides were much better and they weren`t even half as packed. 

Ok, well I love you all a lot!!! Also family shout out to ColinBae for being the best ever and freaking WINNING THE ELECTION! I wrote him an email last week and FORGOT TO SEND IT and I was low key devastated when I realized. Good news is he`s 2 chill and I sent it to him this week. 

Thanks for all the support. I rly need it. Praying for you! 

-Hermana H. Ross
Sweet Lucia who is making progress on all her family history work

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