So I was in the home having lunch with a family and the news was on. The families always have the news on during lunch it seems. They knew I came from a place in the U.S. called Oregon. Then something came up about Oregon on the TV and they prompted me to look. I had no idea what it was saying but they tried to tell me something like a Tornado popped up in Oregon!? Is this true? As far as I know, there´s never been one. So what´s the scoop? Christmas is coming up and it´s starting to affect the peopel here. Every house we visit has a smaller tree decorated. There´s firecrackers going off all the time, loud ones at that. Here they celebrate Christmas like we celebrate 4th of July, with Fireworks! I heard Xmas Eve is going to be crazy with fireworks all night long. For P Day today we had a Xmas devotional at the mission offices with the whole mission gathered. It was a blast and I got to see my old companions from the MTC! It was awesome catching up and enjoying the lunch. We had a little gift exchange where everyone had to buy a gift (max costing 10 pesos, or basically $3.00) and everyone randomly got someone elses. Then one of the Assistants to the Prez read a story, while we all sat in a giant circle, and told us to pass our gift to the left or the right. It ended up where I got a little fuzzy green journal book. There was an Elder close to me who didn´t get anything (because some fools would hoard the good gifts) so I gave it to him. It´s just kind of a silly activity for the holidays in the mission. Each zone sang a song and we saw some mormon message videos and then the translated versions of the Xmas devotional from President Monson. To get to the mission offices we have to ride a train. This morning was insanely ridiculous. The trains were extremely jam packed this morning at the work rush hour. The train was headed towards the capital. I definitely had to fight and shove just to get on. The whole time I was spent on my tiptoes, basically chest to chest with other people while my bag hung outside the doors as the train went to our destination. It was way ridiculous but a funny experience at that. I´m sure the next times I will hate it.
Christmas is a great time for us to work because people are much mroe receptive to hear about our message about helping families with the gospel during the holidays. It´s been really hot lately too, and its only the beginning of summer. My spanish is improving but I still can´t understand any native. The people here are super laid back compared to Americans. It´s like they´re always on vacation. I still have yet to step foot in a carpeted house. Everything is tile here.A very popular sweet here is called Dulce de Leche, which is basically a better version of our Carmel. They eat it with anything. There was a ward End of the Year dinner last friday night at the church which was great but we had to leave before the food because it got too late. It was a bummer but we got to see everyone and they gave us some food to-go. There´s a lady in the ward who served her mission here some years back and now she lives here so I know someone that speaks english who I can ask for help. Some things in spanish can only be explained by someone who knows both languages. Also they call it Castillano here. Its basically a mix of Spanish and Italian. For us, it basically just turns their yuh´s into zhuh´s. There´s also a few words that are different. My area seems to be safe compared to my other MTC companions´areas, and richer, but it´s still pretty low standard compared to the U.S. I hear there´s some areas where the people live better than any U.S. citizen, like in mansions and villas and sorts. I have yet to have a chocolate chip cookie here, althought I hear they sometimes make them. But they´re mostly big on pastries. Sometime soon I´ll head to the capital to do some paper work. If you go on Google Maps to Buenos Aires and look for a super huge road in the downtown with a giant roundabout, that´s basically the central hub of this city of 11 million people. I live like 20 mintues west in a place called Moron (haha yup). There´s some cool shoes called Arrpargatas that are like Tom´s but super cheap and less material and are awesome for relaxing and looking cool. I´m going to snag some pairs sometime.
Anyway that´s about it for now. The week has been no stop walking, teaching, contacting, testifying, and eating like normal. Thank you all so much for your support and reading my posts. It´s hard to imagine I´m 6000 miles away, and in a different place on the map than everyone else. It just makes the experience all the more special. I hope everyone is doing well and staying happy! I look forward to hearing from everyone during the mission or after how life is treating you! Until then.
-Elder Trevor Jones