Monday, December 16, 2013

Week Siete Continued

Mexico City is sooo huge! We flew over it for a while and it looked like this the whole time.

Hola from Mexico!
So I ended up flying out on Wednesday morning. When my flight was cancelled, my attitude towards staying was quite negative until Monday night. There were three things that I recognized as reasons for my flight being delayed. First, I needed some humbling and that took placeon Monday night. Second, Elder Quentin L. Cook came to devotional Tuesday night and I needed to hear what he said. And third, I talked to a man in the Arizona airport where my new flight layover was, and I know that I was supposed to talk to him, even if it was just planting a little seed.
I LOVE MEXICO!! Being here really hasn't felt too different, maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet, but I've found myself thinking, "It's going to be so crazy when I get to Mexico," and then I remember I'm already here. While I don't think I've had culture shock, things here are very different, that's for sure.
     There's no heat/AC in most (if not all) houses including ours, and insufficient insulation. The first night I nearly froze to death because I didn't know it'd be cold. Now I make sure to wear a hoodie to bed each night.
     The bathrooms in houses are so small. The water from the shower hits the sink and toilet (I don't know why they don't have shower curtains, lol!) and basically the whole floor of the bathroom is always wet.
     Sometimes the water is turned off so you can't flush toilets or wash your hands in public bathrooms.
     Taxis don't have seatbelts and when riding in a member's car, I'm the only one that wears one.
     Dogs are everywhere and they roam the streets like stray cats.
     I found out that I'm not supposed to say "Hola" to men, I can only say "Buenos tardes"or the like. Apparently an "Hola" can be interpreted as me being interested in them.
     Everyone stares at me. Men and children don't try to hide it, but when I look at the women staring at me, they look away.
     You can hear the electricity in the power lines.
     We're not allowed to wear watches because then people will want to rob us, even if the watch isn't expensive (cause they don't know it's not). I miss my watch. :(
I love the food here!! I absolutely LOVE corn tortillas and tamales are so good! I haven't had a bad meal since I've been here. :) I had strawberries once and lettuce twice and I've felt fine. I know I need to be careful with what I eat, but I'm not worried about it TOO much.
Washing dishes! This is in one of the two nice houses I've been in. They were the only ones that were similar to ones in the U.S. Most houses here don't have cupboards and stuff like that in the kitchen.

Spaghetti and hot dogs.

I love the people here too. They are so nice. I've gotten used to the kiss on the cheek with women. I think it'll be hard when I come home not to do that. My companion is great too! Her name is Hermana Zamora. She's 21 and is from Ecuador. She knows a little English and I'm pretty sure her English is better than my Spanish, which means my Spanish is terrible.
Hermana Zamora- I'm taller than her even when she stands on a step!

Thank goodness she knows some English because I don't know how else I'd survive. I can't really understand what anyone is saying, even when they ask easy questions to me. I've heard it takes three months to understand perfectly. I just don't know what I'm gonna do until then. Like, it's so bad. I have no idea if anyone is talking to me, unless I'm looking at them, and then 99% of the time I have no idea what they're talking about. It's hard for me to open my mouth and try to talk, regardless of not understanding what they're talking about, because I don't like to talk in general, so even more so it's hard because I don't know how to say much.
That is the hardest thing. Like my companion and I are able to get by with her knowledge of English and my dictionary, but I can't ever just say what I want to say. I can only express certain things, and they come out very broken. It is so hard when you want to say something so bad, but you have no idea how to say it. In lessons I want to understand what's going on so bad, what the investigator is saying, what's going on in their life, but I can only get a small piece of it all. And then responding is almost impossible because I have no idea what's going on. Blah.
I've been thinking a lot about why the process of learning a language has been so difficult for me. Heavenly Father doesn't just give us stuff. We have to work at it and a lot of times this requires us to take a few steps through Gethsemane. How can we expect our missions to be easy when Jesus Christ's was in no sense easy. We have to go through hard stuff to build our faith, and I know that's what the Lord is trying to help me with now. We need to trust in Him with all that we have. I love Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." That is so true.
I'm so strong!

Chistmas tree! Or should I say arbol de Navidad! Muy bonita!

My name is very hard for people here to pronounce and they don't know what it means. They ask how to say it and I say "Slaughter" and they say "Es-lah-ow-ter." Even my companion after many times, couldn't say it right. I don't mind, I think it's fine. But yesterday I finally got her to say it right by writing "Slater" jaja. The area I'm in is called Tula. We're in the San Marco 1st Ward. I just realized I forgot to get pictures of my apartment, so I'll have to take some this week and send them next Monday, so you can see what it looks like.
My first full day here, Thursday, we had a meeting with the Mission President and all the trainers and trainees. President Call, my Mission President, talked about serving. He said that the sure-fire formula for success is found in Alma 26:22. I think it's interesting to note how many times the word "given" appears. We have to put off the natural man to do this mighty work. He also made the point that Satan always tempts us and he never waits for us to ask, he just does it. That was Satan's plan in the pre-mortal life. Heavenly Father never forces anything upon us, He just doesn't work that way. He always waits for us to ask. That's why the scripture says "Seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall know, knock and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7).
Here's some good stuff:
The Mormon Messages, "Wrong Roads"and "Hope ya know we had a hard time."
The talks, "The Laborer's in the Vineyard" by Elder Holland and "The Merciful Shall Obtain Mercy."
Christmas is almost here! I'm so excited to experience Christmas in Mexico! Listen to my favorite Christmas song for me, ok? "What Child is This/Greensleeves." Mmm I love that song.
Mucho amor,
Hermana Sara Slaughter

On the "mountain"we had to climb. It's really just a steep hill. I think the area on this hill is called Monticelo.

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