Monday, August 19, 2013

Al fin!

Russ and Elder Allan

Dear Alvin/Alshpin/Ajashfin/Alpin/Al fin!
Yeah, I haven’t heard the correct pronunciation of my last name for almost two years now. I’m really not sure how to say it anymore. All of the examples above are what people try and guess at when they read my name tag. For the most part I get called "al fin" which is cool cause in Spanish "al fin" means "to the end" so when you’re explaining the principal "enduring to the end" or "persevere hasta al fin" I get to point to my tag when I say "al fin" and it’s just a riot. HA!
But yes, I’m trying my hand at being one of those single-parent missionaries. It’s a trip!  Allan is a great kid—super culture shocked, trying to adjust and doing the common greenie things.
If you learn Spanish in Jujuy you can understand it perfectly in any other place because in Jujuy they have coca which is basically cocaine leaves they put in their mouths as a chewing tobacco type of thing. So it’s not uncommon to be speaking Spanish with a guy who’s talking a million miles an hour, using slang, smoking, and all with a mouthful of coca. The sad thing is I can understand it but my poor kid is just as lost as I was in the beginning. He got kinda mad about a few things this week. The fact that we don’t have dinner down here was like telling him his house had burned down (they have huge lunches and very light breakfast and dinner). Just stuff like that but he’s getting used to it all. Again, he’s a great kid and I’m sure a lot of it is the stress of trying to accustombrate himself to Argentina. But yes, it’s a good life. To tell him "WELCOME TO ARGENTINA" Oscar Ponce made us a cow’s head. So yes, my poor boy had cows head his 5th day in—what a welcome. He was a good sport about it and even thought the eyes were tasty but yes, face meat, it’s always good.
This week was a good week. It was Children’s Day here yesterday so everyone was having a block party of some sort. Because of that not a lot of people came to church! (Charlie Brown scream) but we aren’t giving up hope. The other day we were walking on the train tracks by a super poor neighborhood and, as we were making our way down to another neighborhood, I felt really impressed to go back so I told my kid “Dude, we gotta go back!"  We went back and it was one of those things like "Well, idk what’s supposed to happen. Maybe it’ll be nothing but let’s go."  We got back to the poor neighborhood and, out of nowhere, a teenage kid came up to us and said "Hey! Do you guys have like a pamphlet or something?" I said "Yeah! Even better! Where's your house?" He pointed to his house and we came back a little later and taught him and his little sister and brother.  They liked the lesson and all accepted baptismal dates! They are way cool: Nico, Erica, and Franco. They range from 16 to 11 and there are even more in their family so we`ll have to hit them all up on a later day. Good week; good following-impressions week! I love it. But yeah, that’s pretty much it on my part.

  • How are the folks treating your new comp? 
They love to joke around with him, ask him a million questions all at once, etc. It’s pretty much the way I was raised up. Here it’s totally chill to tell someone, "Hey man, you’re fat!" Allan is a big football player and when someone said this he was pretty much up in arms telling me "That’s really rude!” I remember that very thing happening to me when I was first here and thinking the same thing. After a while you come to expect it and people still continue to say things like that but you take it in stride because you know they aren’t trying to do any harm. It’s the native way and you just have to let it slide. I think I remember Dad telling me a similar story about how Koreans did that too.
  • Tell us a little about your comp.
Big sports guy, graduated in 2012, was a visa waiter in Mississippi for 9 months. His mom is from México but he doesn’t speak Spanish. He loves peanut butter, knows a few kids from P.G. He’s a quiet fellow but a good one at that.

  • Do you get to speak English with him?  Have you forgotten how?
Yeah, but not a bunch. It’s a rule that outside of the pench you only speak Spanish. Inside you can speak what you want but you want to try and speak as much Spanish as possible. But yeah, I’ve spoken a bit of English with him. The truth is, it’s best if it’s all in Spanish but, of course, there are gonna be times when you speak with him in English like when he turns to me and says "What did he say!!?"  But that’s normal.
  • Do you make breakfast for your comp?
I buy breakfast for him at times. Breakfast doesn’t really exist here. It’s like: Cereal, fruit, tea, etc. but nothing big. Kinda sad.
  • Do you exercise?
30 min. every morning—A few days running, a few, pushups and the like but nothing really specific.
  • Did your CTR rings work out?
Yeah! They are super! They fit so well, thank you!

  • Do you have to go back into Salta to make your comp all legal?
I don’t think so. I think they got him all legal there his first day.
Well fams, I hope all is good. It’s good here. We are really working hard to baptize this week so pray that we can do it and just do the best we can. I hope all is well there and that everyone is ready for some serious back to school funz. Enjoy! Thanks for everything! I love you guys. It’s all good.
Con Amor,

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