First week in Chile

I´m in Chile. A week has passed since I left the MTC. I feel like it´s been my whole life. I had no idea how long the days could seem when I was in the MTC. How silly of me.

I´m in Iquique, which is in the north. Our area (sector in Spanish) is right right right next to the beach, and our apartment is literally on the beach. But it´s not a tourist beach, which is good. There are homeless people that live there. It´s sad. Also, ít´s not really dry here, because the ocean is right next door. I use sunscreen and my hair is always frizzy. Haha.

My companion is named Hermana Quiroz and she is from Honduras. I can understand her speaking well. I can´t say the same about the other people here. I imagine it´s really funny for people to hear me speak and try to speak to me. Honestly, I can pretty much say anything that I want to but when people respond and I try to follow, I lose it. Entonces, it´s probably so weird for people on the street to listen to my spiel about the restored gospel and then see my totally blank face when they give me their excuse for why they don´t want to listen (honestly, though, there are a lot of people here who accept to listen to our message in their homes, it´s great). I´m hoping that with time (little time, preferably) I´ll understand and be able to communicate better because honestly, it´s killing me. We talked in the MTC so much about how important it is to listen to people and teach to their concerns, and I would just LOVE to do that. Unfortunately, I can´t understand what their concerns are! Bah.

But really, we have a lot of work here and it´s great. In fact, we had a baptism on Saturday! Basically, Í´m a super good missionary and am converting people by the masses. JK. It was already lined up before I got here (obviously). But we have another this Saturday, and another one next Saturday if Miguel quits smoking. We´ll see.

Hermana Quiroz is funny, she knows NOTHING about English except she always says the word ¨fetch.¨ It´s the word of choice in the mission, I think, I´ve heard just about all the missionaries that I´ve met say it. Also, the same 30 minutes a day that I study Spanish, she studies English and it´s really hilarious to me. She hasn´t gotten far but if we´re together another transfer after this one I´m going to teach her English. This transfer I need to concentrate on learning Spanish. Seriously, with my ten years of studying Spanish I am suffering so much, I can´t believe that people go out on missions knowing less of the language than me and survive! Bah.

Our trip here was horrendous and now that it´s over I don´t really want to talk about it a lot. It took four flights. All the missionaries going to Concepcion Sur (there were like 15 Americans) and Antofagasta (six of us) were on the same flights all the way to Santiago, where we split up. But when we got to the airport in LA some guy from Highland took it upon himself to shepherd us around to the international terminal, and thank goodness he did because it involved lots of leaving the airport and walking around on random streets and several different buildings. We never would have found it ourselves. We flew to Lima, and then stayed on the plane while they cleaned it and stuff, and then flew to Santiago. It was the middle of the night when we arrived and had to wait in a million long lines, drag our luggage around, find where we were going. Ugh. Then we flew to Antofagasta.

I think you might have received pictures of me with the president and stuff? I looked awful. THEN, we spent the night on a bus to get to my area! Luckily, when we got there we slept until like 10 am (miracle) and by the time I finally woke up, unpacked, and showered, I felt a lot better.

Our apartment is pretty much what I expected, but we have a heater for the water for the shower. BUT it ran out on Friday morning before I showered so I´ve taken a few cold showers. I keep telling myself there are worse things than taking cold showers, like not having any missionary work to do, but during the shower time it´s hard to believe. It hasn´t gotten too cold here yet, but winter is coming. I don´t have enough short sleeved shirts, it takes a week to get our laundry back (a woman does it). That´s a problem.

One funny story. I didn´t get a planner in the mission office, someone had mine but forgot to give it to me, and so my companion called the zone leaders to get it to us and they said to meet us at 7 on some street that´s probably the border of our areas or something. So Thursday morning we´re just going about our business, getting ready for the day, and we get a phone call and the zone leaders and they´re like where are you?? We´ve been waiting! Apparently they thought we were going to meet them at 7 am! But that´s the time we wake up (we sleep from 11 to 7)! They came all the way to our street and met us to hand off the agenda, but I guess it involved three sets of Elders running from the edges of their areas to get it to me. Hilarious.

By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CHASE on Wednesday. I thought about him all day. I´m sad I didn´t get to talk to him on Monday, like I said last week, we didn´t have time to call in LA because we were just hurrying to get on the plane (which was actually a bus that we sat on forever waiting for that to take us to the plane and everyone was extremely mad that we weren´t calling our families). But I hope it was a great day.

Now for a wonderful theme. The Mother´s Day phone call. It´s in three weeks, right? Que bueno! I can talk for an hour.

To end, I discovered the brightest scripture in the world the other day in personal study, and it´s Ether 12:4. How beautiful! I hope you are all doing wonderfully and I miss you I miss you I miss you! Emails are fine but I ónly have an hour to email so you can also send letters by the pouch for Dear Elder, I get that mail weekly I think. Which is really good.

Have a good week!
Hermana Coppins