Okay, so it's going to take my a while to get the hang of this Spanish keyboard thing. But, all is well! Thank you for the emails and the love. I'll tell you right now that Chile is awesome! (ie. ¡Chile es genial!) Sorry I didn't call from LA -- I guess that people have cell phones and pay-phones are dying away. There were only 3 pay phones, and all of them were being used by missionaries! Crazy, eh? But, I didn't waste time. I taught my first lesson in Español in the airport in LA and gave out lots of pass-along cards! :)
Okay, so I guess you're dying to know more about the people and the culture and what naught. Everything is amazing! My first sector in the mission is in an area called "Arrica" in the northern part of Chile. Everyone likes to say "¡hace calor!" (it's hot!), but really it's the perfect temperature. The sun can be hot, but there's always a nice cool breeze from the ocean. I love it!
There're lots of stray dogs (perros) in the streets, and it's a lot different from the states, to say the least. But I am loving every minute of it! My companion, Elder Cañellas, is from Paraguay and speaks less English than I do Spanish, if that is possible. It makes for quite the adventure! I'm picking up the Spanish little by little. You can really tell the native Chileans apart from other people in Chile because their Spanish is incredibly fast and slurred together. It's lots of fun to try and figure out what they're saying! My most common phrase nowadays seems to be: "Discúlpeme, pero ¡no puedo entender!" (forgive me, but I can't understand!) o "¡Mas lento por favor!"
The miracle is that I can understand when I really need to, especially during lessons. My companion is great, and he always has me teach a bunch of the lessons or give the spiritual thought. When I do, it usually starts a little rough, but for some reason the people can understand me! And, they are always willing to help me out with words, phrases, grammar, etc.
Everyday, my companion and I are trying to memorize one scripture: Elder Cañellas in English and me in Español. It's difficult, but it helps! And, I like to stop everyone that passes and give an approach in Spanish, usually offering a pass-along card. It's great fun! Elder Cañellas always has to be with me, however, because I have the hardest time trying to decipher what they are saying! :)
Can you believe that I'm in Chile? It's loco! But I love it. I'm gonna get fat also, by the way, because we eat tons of food and drink tons of juice. Everyone here offers the best fruit juices ever! Also soda, but we're not allowed to drink coke (which is nice). The juices are always fresh and refreshing. And the food is rica! It's great! The bread (pan) here is really great. It really is more European than anything else. We eat a lot of chicken, potatoes, and rice. We have salads with every meal (almost). And the only thing I don't care much for is the higala (liver), but it's not too bad. We have our biggest meal (Almuerzo) at one o'clock, and it is great! There is also a siesta from 1 until 3, so we have a good two hours to study in the Afternoon.
The people here are the most hospitable and so nice! Everyone wants to help you, feed you, and talk. So it's great for missionary work, even if most people we contact say "Soy Catolico" (I'm Catholic). Oh yeah -- we also have a papita! In every area of the mission, we have papitas and mamitas. Our papita is awesome -- he's the bishop of one of the wards around here. He brings us a HUGE lunch every day (other than Sundays and Mondays), and he takes our laundry every week. Man are we spoiled! :)
The homes here in Chile are very modest, and though they make the United States look super rich, the people are all so happy. I love it! Can I say that enough? I think this area of the mission is the best. I can't wait until I can actually understand more! I try really hard, but everyone just talks so crazy fast! So, any ideas to learn faster, comprehend more, and be more successful? For now, I will continue to endure. I try to listen to everything really carefully, write down words, and speak as much as possible, but it is still quite hard. Fun, but hard. And, since my companion is from Paraguay, this is the only English I'll see probably all week until my next letter! Fun, eh?
Well, I guess that's it for now. I need to write a letter to my mission president. Which reminds me -- I still haven't figured out the postal system here! I hear, however, it takes 3-4 weeks for letters to get to the states. I guess we'll see. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful time during the holidays, and enjoy Jacob coming home!
Elder Hobbs de Sur America
PS. Tell Jessica that she needs to be jealous. One of the families we visited gave us a huge watermelon, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted! It was perfect -- sweet, cold, refreshing, crunchy, and perfect. Mmmm!
PPS. Tell Brother Hermele thank you! I got a bunch of Dear Elder's from him when I arrived in Antofagasta! I will be writing back as soon as I figure out how the mail system works! :)