Monday, November 30, 2015

Sun-burnt with a side of French Toast, please

November 30, 2015

HOLA Familia y Amigos!  

Can you believe that it’s December tomorrow??  Because I can't... mostly because in my mind it’s way too hot here to be December, AND because time is passing so fast!  

Now I know what you all were thinking when you saw the picture of my companion and I last week - wow Meg is white!  Yes I know, but don't worry- the sun has already changed my skin color...TO RED!  Hah! I didn't last a full week without a sunburn, but what else is new? ;)  Don't worry mom, I'm using sunscreen now. :)  It’s seriously SO HOT and it’s not even fully summer here yet... Great…

This week we had a multi-zone conference!  Basically we talked about health, nutrition, exercise, and the new plan for the mission starting in the New Year.  It was super fun to meet lots of the other missionaries here in Bahia Blanca.  I was also able to have a much needed all ENGLISH conversation with Elder Holmes (one of the Elders that arrived with me).  Our poor little brains are a bit overwhelmed and fried from all this Spanish! We had Subway for lunch... super weird to have food from the states ha-ha! 

Now, in answer to some of your questions…

Hermana Palma is from Santiago, Chile and her family lives in an area called La Reina.  Dad, she knows the areas that you served in back in the ancient days.  She has been on her mission for 10 months, and I am her 13th companion!  Poor girl has been moved around A LOT.  She is awesome as a trainer.  She can speak a little bit of English – she mainly knows random phrases and Disney songs :)  But, she does seem to understand English well and when I don’t know how to say something in Spanish, I can normally say it in English and she can figure it out. 

Spanish is hard but it’s coming along.  Everyone always compliments me on my Spanish and says how good it is, but I think that’s only because the other Yankees that have been in this area have come knowing absolutely nothing and have really bad gringo accents.  I got lucky to have Dad and Jess help me with that!  My comp helps me lots with Spanish.  I just get frustrated over the stupid conjugations of verbs, you know?! 

Yes, we do have hot showers!  But the water heater is completely bipolar and really touchy so it takes like 5 minutes to get the temperature right.  It can go from freezing cold to frying your skin off in a matter of seconds.  Oh, and the toilets work great!  We are technically supposed to put the paper in the trash, but sometimes I forget. :/        

So over the past couple weeks I've obviously been eating lots of new and different foods.  But honestly we mainly just eat a lot of bread, pasta, meat, and dulce de leche!  My favorite thing is after we've had a huge meal with a member and then they bring out bananas with dulce de is really good!  I've also had my first Argentine Helado (ice cream)!  Sad to say, it’s not as good as the ice cream in the States, but that is probably good because I won't eat as much as I did back home...haha :)  Speaking of eating with members, for now we eat lunch with a different family every day, but starting in the New Year that will all change.  Too many missionaries are getting sick, so we will have a new mission rule that we can’t eat with the members.  We will be making our own meals everyday. 

Lucky for us, Hermana Palma likes to cook.  She makes this really good apple tort/cake thing that we have every week.  So this week I decided to give back and introduce my new mom to the wonderful world of FRENCH TOAST.  Only thing is, we encountered a few problems.  One, syrup is not a thing down here, so plain French toast it had to be.  And two, we are poor missionaries and could only afford the cheap baguettes the day we wanted to make it. So we had weird, mini-French toast on baguettes without any toppings.  Yum.

Hermana Palma's first taste of French Toast

Sun-burnt with a side of plain French Toast!

BUT on Thanksgiving, while you all were having incredible meals, we splurged and bought a real loaf of bread, milk and cookies for our Dia de Gracias feast...don't be too jealous ;) 

Our Thanksgiving Day Feast

Thanksgiving Day was hard...I was missing home and my favorite weekend of the year (Thanksgiving with the Family and decorating the house for Christmas).  As a result, I was quite sad that morning and to top things off, nothing was really going well.  All our appointments fell through, no one was home to visit, plus we were walking in the scorching heat for hours.  It was at this point when I decided to pray for help.  

Luckily, my Heavenly Father was looking out for me and knew that I was having a hard day.  That night we had a great lesson with some investigators about prayer.  We taught them about how we need to pray for specific things and really treat prayer as a conversation with our Father in Heaven.  We played the game “telephone” (where you whisper a word or phrase into someone's ear and they have to pass it down the line until the last person gets it and says what they heard).  Of course I don't know Spanish very well and so I always screwed up the phrase and the boys found it hilarious!  We all got a good laugh out of my bad Spanish and had a very powerful lesson... and I was happy!  I didn't realize it right then but after the lesson, as we were walking back home and saw the most beautiful sunset, I knew my prayer had been answered.  My Heavenly Father helped me to be happy and blessed me with the tender mercy of a sunset to remind me how much I am loved and how much I have to be grateful for!  

Thanksgiving Sunset :)

One of my favorite scriptures says, “Be of good cheer little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you; and inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.

I love this verse because right now I feel like a little child - I hardly know where I am, I'm living in a country I've only known for 2 weeks and talking to people who don't speak the same language as me…BUT I'm not alone or forgotten. 

I hope you all have a great week and remember how much love and divine help we have every day.  LES AMO MUCHISIMO!!!!

Hermana Bartholomew 

P.S.  Just like Dad and Jess experienced on their missions, people here have the hardest time with our last name, and it cracks me up! 

Hey Mom!

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