Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013

Mom (and everyone),
If you want me to buy a llama skin toward the end of my mission, I will gladly bring it home haha. Llama fur is insanely soft, I felt it in the airport in Lima two months ago. I only have one month left of training! I'm kinda bummed that they stole the nametag, because it was in Spanish. I´ll tell you about my home. It is a small apartment in the backyard of another home, owned by a baptist preacher, which is hilariously ironic. But we get along well, he´s very friendly. Almost everyone is. There are three rooms. A bedroom, where we have our beds and our ironing board. There´s another room for everything else, our books and desks, closets and all our clothes and suitcases, and little electric stove and little fridge. Then there is a bathroom. Its all insanely tiny, but its nicer than a lot of other missionary apartments here. Especially our bathroom. We have an electric showerhead, so luckily, we have hot water for showers. But not the sink. We have to boil all of our water. The bedroom and other room are probably 12 feet by 12 feet, and the bathroom must be 5 by 5. Its really small haha. The floors are tile, but many floors in houses here are cement. House layouts are totally different here. There aren't front yards, the door touches the street. But when you go inside, there is like a courtyard, and the house is based around the courtyard. There aren't inside halls. Oh, and our three rooms aren't connected. There isn´t a hall. Its only me and my companion in our apartment, but others are different. The zone leaders have a house, they´re so lucky haha. Like an actual house with two stories. I don't know how that happened. Some people have tiny little yards, but its no garden. Its a bunch of weedy grass with mounds of dog poop. 
I don´t know if I sent the picture of the Satan dog yet, but if not, I´ll send it today. I'm glad that everything is going well with the family, with the ward, and with the Elders there. I´ll be taking pictures of everything to send to you all! Thank you for your encouragement and advice. I print off your letters and read them throughout the week, every week.
I found out yesterday that I´m serving in the area that Ryan Garrett served in awhile ago! We eat lunch at the same house everyday, and we pay the lady who lives there to cook for us. And so I mentioned Elder Garrett to that family, and they said, “How do you know Elder Garrett?” And in that moment, I realized that the area Im in right now was part of the Bolivia Cochabamba mission when he served. So they know him. But even more than that, he used to sit in the same chair that I sit in every day to eat lunch. I seriously flipped out haha. The people here write in books of recuerdos. These books are like scrap books but you give it to someone else that you want to remember, and they make a page about themselves. Well they showed me his entry in their book, and there is a picture of him, so there´s no question haha. I thought that was so awesome. He probably knows a bunch of people in my ward. That was one of the highlights of my week. A few things that I thought of during the week that I wanna say:
- Here, it isn´t rude to point out acne. So everyone says, “Elder Gringo, you have a lot of acne.” And it drives me up a wall, but then they say that despite my acne I´m still guapo, so its okay.
- Tell Lane to start learning Spanish to get a headstart. There are a lot of goals that I have, that can´t be met until I am able to sufficiently express myself, so tell him to nip that bad boy in the bud.
- I was thinking this week about a letter that dad sent me, and I realized it would be the coolest thing in the world if dad and I could be mission companions. We´d take it by storm, nothin huge.

I´ll send some pictures today! I love you all, and I´m so glad everything is going well!
Ryan Wilkinson

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