Dear Family & Co.,
Finally got the pics! At least, some... I'll send some more after this if I have time. First, and most importantly, we have a photo from Cielo's baptism! And, I present to you for the first time, my comp, Elder Cortéz! And don't worry, I was only a little sunburned.
Second, my first selfie! Ever, I think! I'm very proud. And also disappointed in myself... Ah well. The backdrop is the view from the top of Necoxtla: my área, Ciudad Mendoza (Mendoza City)! To the left, at least. To the right is the adjoining área, Nogales, and you can see a tiny bit of Orizaba to the far right.
Now then, the week! It was a good week... I went on divisions with one of our zone leaders on Wednesday in Nogales, and got to see a different style of missionarying. It was actually really good, and I learned a lot.
Something that I love about my companion is the little English that he does know. He's picked up stuff from various American companions, and so occasionally he'll use an English phrase in a very Spanish accent, and it cracks us both up every time. One of his favorites is "freaking." He uses it like the elder in the best two years uses "flip." "Freaking perro" (dog). "Freaking camión" (bus--they're super run-down, noisy, and every bump is like skydiving without a parachute). Or, my favorite, occasionally after a difficult lesson, "Freaking Satanás" (Satan).
I also had my first "major" blunder in Spanish on Wednesday. Ah, it was super embarrassing. Ok, here's how it went down: I think I've mentioned before--all across the mission, the missionaries eat lunch with members. So, Elder Cortés (note the "s," not "z." He's the zone leader) and I were with a very pleasant older sister for lunch, who served us something called "memelas," which in this case were essentially tortillas spread with beans, cheese, and pico de gallo. Extremely delicious. This sister asked me if I would like some chile on mine. (Side note: The people here and extremely nice, and will ask you if you'd like something even if it's a lot of trouble for them. Once, during a different lunch, a member asked if I'd like some more wáter. When I said yes, he left the room for a few minutes, then returned lugging a new gigantic jug. I didn't know he was out! If I'd known, I would have declined, or offered to help bring it in. So, keep this in mind when you read my response.) I didn't know if she had chile available, and because I knew that if I said, "sure, thanks," and she didn't, she would make it right there in front of me. So I wanted to say, "Oh, sister, I don't mind either way, thank you." That way, I was thinking, if she didn't have any I could save her some effort. Now, the only phrase I knew for the sentiment expressed in English as "I don't mind either way" (or "I don't care," which can vary significantly, given your tone--think about it) was "no me importa." So, very kindly, I told her that "no me importa." Elder Cortés leaned over and muttered, "Elder, you shouldn't say that." After his explanation, my apology, and a few days, I can laugh about it. Luckily the sister wasn't offended. Apparently, I had said "I don't care" in Spanish, but with the English equivalent of "Shut up/stop talking, I don't care about what you're saying!" As my companion would say, "Freaking diccionario."
One more thing--it's really funny, but whenever someone from México speaks in "mock English," what they'll do is add "-ation" to the end of every other word. A couple of elders explained it to me--apparently, that's what English sounds like. "Action," etc. So, they'll say things like, "chocolazation," or "hamburguesation." And no, the fact that the only examples they gave were of unhealthy "American" food words was not lost on me.
That's it for this week. We have an activity in the planning, a health seminar that our misión leader proposed, that should be a great draw for people and hopefully also result in a few more investigators. I love this ward, I love this work, and although it's hard at times I believe it's where I'm supposed to be, and that makes things easier. And the times where everything falls into place, you're being led by the Spirit, and you can tell that the investigator senses it, too... Those are the times that stick with you.
Con mucho amor,
(Kathy says, "And, from last week, the photo Rob promised to Matthew of him using the train tracks as a walkway!")