. I have SO much I want to tell you about, but the internet is
PAINFULLY slow and the keys on this keyboard stick like nobody`s
business. So don`t expect too long of a blog email this week.
This week I left the CCM and got on a plane to Santa Cruz... It`s been
a crazy week, that`s for dang sure.
Leaving the CCM was really sad. Saying goodbye to everyone that I`ve
gotten way close to over the past six weeks was really hard... But I
know they`re all killing it in Peru.
My first night here I got to sleep in the mission home, which is
absolutely stunning. It`s up really high in this apartment building
and it has a view of the South part of the city, which is the part our
mission is! After President Willard interviewed us all and him and his
wife bought us all food, he showed us all our areas, super vaguely
from the mission home. He told me I was going to stay in the city and
pointed out which area I`m going to. There were 8 of us that came in
together, me and Hermana Cabaña from the Peru CCM, 5 from Columbia,
and one kid who randomly came in from Provo. Sounds like he had an
even weirder time than I did.
My companion`s name is Hermana Mejia. She`s from Guatamala, she`s 22,
the oldest of four kids. She has 3 younger brothers. She doesn`t speak
English, but she has the clearest accent I have ever heard in Spanish,
which is wonderful because everyone else is nearly impossible to
understand. We get along great and we can pretty much communicate
whatever we have to. She`s the most patient person in the world and
she jokes around that she`s a gringa... Sometimes I forget that she`s
latina because... I don`t know.... I can actually communicate with
her, haha. I am thanking my lucky stars that she is my companion
because I am learning so much from her.
My area is Cañada, which is also the name of the ward we are serving
in. There are two sets of missionaries working there. Me and my comp.,
and a set of elders. When I came in... there straight up wasn`t a
bishop. And I can`t tell, but it seemed to me like there hadn`t been
one for a while. The funny thing is that there were counselors to the
bishop, but I don`t know who they`re supposed to be counseling
because.... I don`t know. There was no bishop.
But then, yesterday, me and Hermana Mejia were walking to the church
and the phone rings... and it`s President Willard. He`s all "Where`s
your church?" Hermana Mejia tells him... He`s like "Okay, we`re on our
way there." So we`re freaking out, hauling butt to the church... Long
story short, we have a bishop now, thank goodness. It was funny
because in relief society for the opening prayer, the lady was like
"Thank you, Heavenly Father, that we can have a bishop..." and it was
not passive aggressive. At all. But anywhere else, it would`ve been
and that made me laugh.
Santa Cruz is hot. Bloody hot and humid. I constantly feel like I am
in a sauna. I have never sweated so much in my entire life. Also,
there is dirt everywere. I know South America is dirty, but Santa Cruz
is dirty in a different way. Hermana Mejia even says so. "Ugh, dirt.
As is Santa Cruz." It reminds me so much of the race track it`s not
even funny. It`s dirty in the same way.
And I have never drank so much coke. Everywhere you go, people want to
give you Coca-Cola. I am grateful. I stinkin` love soda.
This week the funniest thing happened. There`s a gym near our house
called "the Rock Gym," and it has a picture of Dwayne Johnson on it.
So I was like "Oh. People here know who Dwayne Johnson is! That`s
Fast forward. I was teaching Hermana Mejia English words in the street
the other day. I`m like "Tierra. Dirt." "Arbol. Tree." and then I`d
make her repeat it. Anyway, I point at a rock and say "Piedra. Rock."
She repeats it. I`m like "Sì. Rock. Como Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson."
She looks at me like I`m an idiot and is like "¿Què?"
I lost it. I laughed so stinkin` hard at my Dwayne Johnson joke I made
with myself, and I was dying. Poor Hermana Mejia had no idea what I
was laughing at. Now I keep making references to my own dumb joke. But
don`t worry. I explained it to Hermana Mejia.
The food here is surprisingly good. Empanadas are to die for. I love
them. Every day at one, we have a pensionista that feeds us, we just
go to her house. Her food is to die for. One of the first things they
told me is to write home and ask for recipes for apple pie and banana
bread. They`re always learning how to cook new things. But they have
to be so patient with me because I know approximately no food words. I
ONLY KNOW HOW TO TALK ABOUT THE GOSPEL. I DON`T KNOW HOW TO SAY
But my Spanish is coming along. I love it here, I love being a
missionary. I`m getting better at teaching and understanding
everything that`s going on... And when I get back, I`m determined to
be Latina. I love you guys! I miss you like crazy!
Monday, October 27, 2014
And mom, I have to tell you... President Willard was really impressed
with me. He said some way nice things! He kept saying that I`m going
to "leave my footprints all over this mission," and he said that he
really felt like God wants me here and that God is pleased to have me
here. He also told me that I "walked in like I was ready to train
somebody, not be trained."
HUMILITY, HERMANA HALL. HUMILITY.
He also said my Spanish is the best he`s seen a Hermana come in with
in a year and a half of being mission president. Apparently I have a
way good accent! Even the latinos tell me so, but it`s really funny
because then they think I can understand. There`s a reason that when I
was set apart, I was blessed that I`d be able to express myself and
not necessarily blessed that I`d be able to understand others... Ever.
I can speak way better than I can understand, which is backwards. I`m
just really good at manipulating the words that I know. Also, Bolivan
accents are impossible to understand. They just don`t say consonants
half of the time. It`s a grand adventure.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
MOM. HI. Guess who gets a phone call AND an email today?? YOU. Yay for probably breaking rules.
I am currently in the mission office with a giant packet of papers with my name on it. I haven´t looked through it yet, but I am getting so excited. It has my first agenda, all the scripture masteries, some quotes from Elder Holland (#whatup #mishswag), and some other stuff. I never thought I would be so excited about new study materials, but holy cow. It´s like Christmas.
The flight went well. I got to sit next to Hermana Cabaña. It was only 3 hours long, and it was the quickest three hours of my life. When we came out of customs, President and Hermana Willard were wating for us! They are so sweet, some of the nicest people I have met, as far as I can tell... I mean, I´ve known them for a whopping 2 hours now... But still. They are like... blown away by my Spanish, which is crazy. They say I have a good accent! We went to this restaurant and the lady who worked there asked where I was from... I told her I was from the US and she turned to President and said "And she speaks Spanish!" So... I´m a pretty happy camper to say the least.
Right when I got off of the plane when President Willard spoke to me, he told me that my trainer is one of the best missionaries that he has ever had. So, needless to say, that was a load off of my shoulders as well. I´m a happy camper.
Santa Cruz is BEAUTIFUL. It feels like I´m in a sauna... Which is nice now, but is probably not gonna be quite so nice when I´m proselyting.... Oh well. Today I get to be in air-conditioned spaces all day, which is pretty legit. So I´m happy with the sauna.
Anyway. I love you. I love you a lot. I am fine, I am in Bolivia.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Well it´s that time of the week again. It´s my last P-Day in the MTC which really bums me out. We went to the temple for the last time in what´ll be 17 months, so that´s a huge bummer. It´s weird to think that a week from now I´ll be in Bolivia. Honestly, I´m pretty sad. It´s hard to leave everyone, get really close to a whole new group of people just to leave them too. It´s been a tough week here, but it´s looking up.
It didn´t help that I finally got sick. There´s been a nasty cold circulating around the MTC since pretty much week one, so I´m just lucky it didn´t get to me before. But no, my poor companion has been so worried about me. I´ve never been the most graceful sick person. I feel a TON better today though and I think in the next couple of days it´ll be gone.
Also, can´t believe this, but I HIT ONE MONTH! Que en el mundo?? Dang, if it´s already going this fast, I´m going to be home before I know it.
This week has been relatively low-key. As far as funny things that´ve happened, I´m already famous for my red lipstick thing here... One of the girls in my room requested that I wear it one morning, just out of the blue like "Hermana Hall, are you going to wear lipstick today? It feels like a lipstick day." So I did. What can I say, I don´t disappoint.
We also came up with a superhero for every member of our district and most of them were these crazy intense ones like duplication of powers or mind reading or making copies of yourself... And then they got to me and they were like "Hermana Hall just turns into this giant black guy and shoots people holding the gun sideways." Basically, me having a man-watch has changed how the district sees me, I guess....
Oh! The girl I´m going to Bolivia with (also known as the only other person in the whole CCM besides myself that´s going anywhere but Peru) knows Vicki! Vicki was a missionary in her ward. Holy cow, that was such a cool surprise.
Anyway. Things are good. Next time you hear from me I´ll be in another country... Again. Dang, life is crazy. Hopefully I can email from the Mission Home, but if not, you´ll probably hear from me next Monday. I love you guys! Wish me luck!
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
This week has been more or less of the same. Peru is amazing, but I´m in this weird little pocket that mostly feels like America.... I´m going to get some pretty crazy culture shock when I go to Bolivia....
First things first, General Conference was phenomenal. It was such a cool experience to sit in this army of missionaries in Peru and hear from a prophet. You should´ve seen our reactions when D. Todd Christopherson started his talk by saying "Buenos Dias"... For a second we all thought he was going to speak in Spanish!! Our reactions were pretty funny when they announced Jeffrey R. Holland´s talk too.
My favorite talk was by a guy whose name I don´t remember... His first name was Jorg and he came out and talked about increasing your spiritual confidence and he gave a list of things we can do.... I loved it. He was great. I also loved Elder Bednar´s talk.
The other big news I have this week is that me and my comp. are sister leaders here in the CCM for the last two weeks! The funny thing about all that is the running joke was "If Hermana Wight and Hermana Hall are sister leaders that would be so funny...." and we all were thinking of dumb, ditzy things we would wind up doing.... Next thing I know the branch presidency wants to meet with us. Anyway, the past couple of days have been a little bit crazy getting things ready for the new girls, giving latinas tours and whatnot.... Luckily we only have to worry about the Norte Americanos now....
BUT I know who I´m traveling to Bolivia with now! She´s this Argentine girl who took 6 years of English and she´s in my mission! So I´m pretty much the luckiest person alive....
OH. In our district we´re trying to be better about not saying just last names or nicknames or whatever, so we made a deal that whenever you say a nickname or forget to say "Elder" or "Hermana," you have to do five push-ups... Aaaaand I definitely did 160 push-ups on Monday. I am a sore child.
It really hasn´t been too crazy of a week. I´d kill for a pack of Hostess Powdered Doughnuts and I just about died hearing Maroon 5 in the grocery store today.... I miss American music.
BUT I love Peru. I love the CCM. I love my companion, I love my roommates, the people in my district are the best friends I can ask for.... And, hey, my Spanish is coming along! I made friends with one of the cafeteria workers (in my head his name is Helado Guy) and he always tells me "Español, Hermana, solo español," when I go through the food line. He told me today that my Spanish has gotten better! Also, a latina told me that my spanish is good and so is my pronunciation! Apparently my accent really isn´t too bad! If I could high-five all of my Spanish teachers, I totally would. Thank you Mr. Fletcher for making me watch like 100 videos of people speaking spanish with different accents....
Okay, well I love you guys! I miss you all of the time. I know I´m terrible about emailing, but email me anyway. I love hearing from you, it just takes me forever to write anything on these weird keyboards. So yeah. LOVE YOU. WRITE ME THINGS.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Okay, so compared to the last two, this week was relatively boring, thank goodness. So this email may be a little scattered or whatever.
Probably the most exciting thing that happened all week was that we got new ZLs.... The first time they came in to talk to us they chewed us out for like 20 minutes and then checked our planners randomly. Good thing everyone assumes the Hermanas are organized, because otherwise I would be in trouble. Anyway, an Elder in our district nicknamed them Stalin and Mousselini. And the other day when they came in to check on us or whatever, this same elder started singing a song that sounded like it could be the Russian national anthem... My district is so full of goofballs, it isn´t even funny. I love them so much. Our branch president told our old district leader (the district leaders switch halfway through in the MTC) that we were the closest district he had seen in a long time. Theyre my little home away from home. You´ll get pictures of them... In three weeks.
Fun fact: In the Spanish version of the chastity pamphlet one of the guys is totally touching a girl´s butt. It looks like they´re just staring lovingly into each other´s eyes, but nah. Leave it to the Elders to notice these things. I shouldn´t think it´s funny enough to write home about but I do. Sorry mom. You can delete this paragraph if you want.
Okay, so Fast Sunday was this week and we were all dying of hunger, right....? But we walk into the cafeteria and there´s a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN. And American pastries and all sorts of fun things. Never been so happy in my life.
The people here are so cute... We can be having a prayer to close a meeting as an entire branch (two zones!) and they´ll be like "please help us as we go forth to serve in Peru..." and then there will be this pause.... "and Bolivia." I´m the only one going to Bolivia. It´s good to be unique.
The girls in my room decided that I sound like Zooey Deschanel when I sing... So I have that going for me.
GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THIS WEEK. IT´S LIKE MTC CHRISTMAS. While you´re watching G. Conf, if they mention missionarywork, just picture little Hermana Hall chillin´with a HUGE ARMY OF MISSIONARIES IN PERU. Such a cool opportunity to watch it with them.
Okay... I really think that´s it for me. I love you guys! EMAIL ME PICTURES OF YOURSELVES. AND MY FAMILY. I WANT TO SHOW MY DISTRICT ALL OF THE CUTE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE.
MOM. I LOVE THE CCM. I don´t want to leave here, I love it so much. My district is maybe my favorite group of people I have ever met. We are so close. I thing between them and the guy I met on the airplane, I have my answer to why I´m here. I don´t know the logistics of how I, random Bolivia girl, got here in Peru even though I really should be in Colombia or Mexico, but holy cow am I grateful, and so stinkin´ blessed. Mom, I´m supposed to be here. I really am. Never would´ve called it, but this is exactly where I need to be and I can´t help but feel this has always been the plan.
Also, I don´t have any clue why I didn´t want to come to South America. I love it here. I love the people, I love the culture, I love the awkwardly crowded buses that force be to stand-up spoon with other girls in my district. I love it, Mom. Little kid Kaitee would be so proud of the adventure I´m having.
And what an adventure it´s been! I´ve been here for 3 weeks and I´ve had a man on an airplane tell me I have God with me, I´ve had to deal with a dog bite, I have the best district in the world, and I just love it here.
And here they have these cookies called Casinos, they´re kind of like an Oreo, but the cookies are vanilla and more shortbread-y and they have COCONUT ONES and they are to die for. Expect to get at least a little pack of them. They´re delish.