Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It's Not Your Turn: 3 Feb 2014

!Hola Familia y Amigos!

I ate Chinese food this week! We went out to eat with Roger and his lovely girlfriend, Patricia (Whom we are teaching!!! Aaahh! Huge news because she has been agnostic for years and was super angry about Roger getting baptized . . . at first. Then she met us and now she loves us. Boom. Success.), and I can now say I have eaten the Nicaraguan version of Chinese food. It wasn't bad, but definitely not the best I've ever had.  Our waiter tried to talk us out of what we decided on ordering and was kind of rude about it, and it reminded me of the Chinese food incident my family and I had in Ireland.

Why we even went to a Chinese food restaurant in Ireland is beyond me, but we did, and it was mediocre as well. My friend Rachel Dunning ordered egg rolls (the Nicaraguans call them "Tacos de China," haha) and a few of them were definitely undercooked. She had us try them to see if it was just in her head--but no, clearly cold in the middle and not even very good. So we called the waiter over and told him, and instead of apologizing and removing the plate and replacing it later (which is the normal thing to do), he took a bit of one of the egg rolls in front of us and said, "It tastes fine to me." I can't even remember if he ended up replacing them or not,  I just remember it was hilarious.

Moral to the story: Don't eat Chinese food in Ireland or Nicaragua. I can tell you it is a bad idea from experience.

I only wrote in my journal one time this entire week--that is how busy we have been.  So, I'm writing this off of the top of my head (Expect grammar errors. I feel like I'm losing my ability to communicate. I tried praying out loud in English the other day, and it was seriously SO HARD. I know, dad, you always think people are exaggerating when they claim they've forgotten how to speak English, but switching your mind from one language to another is not easy).  But mostly I just have to share the amusing moments  from Hermana Gonzales and her attempts at speaking English.

* "Attention me please!"  ---Translation--- "Look at me now."

* "I am honey." --- "I am sweet." (Except her pronunciation of honey was hone-ee, which sounds like something completely different, which made me choke on the juice I was drinking.)
* "When you leave, I would kill." --- "When you leave me, I will die." hahaha (We hope that's the translation. Or we might have a slight problem on our hands.)
* "I have hungry everybody moment!" --- "I am hungry all of the time."

* "Me too, really." --- "Me neither."

* "Ees a bad girl." --- "Hey! Don't say that!"

And then all of the time, "Oh my gosh! I don't believe it!", "Whaaat?", and "Awkwarrrrddd," haha. She's cute.

Her English mistakes have nothing on mine in Spanish this week, however (I look forward to the day when I won't have this problem anymore, although I doubt it will ever come).  Okay, so here's the story:  We were leaving our house at the same time we always do, and Hna. G was a good five steps in front of me. And some CREEP reached out his hand as he passed by her and brushed it across her upper thigh.  Um, not okay. She just stopped right on the sidewalk because it took her by surprise, but I was incredulous and tried to yell at him in Spanish, "Hey! Don't touch her!!" (which might not have been the smartest thing to do, but it was instinctual and ain't nobody gonna touch my hija).  Which is, in Spanish, "Hey! No la toque!!"  But, what I actually said (or yelled, rather) was, "Hey! No le toca!!" For a bit of a Spanish lesson for you, "Tocar" is used more in the reference of waiting your turn. Which means I said, "Hey, it's not your turn!"   He yelled out something back I didn't understand, and Hna. G busted up laughing.    My intentions were good, but . . . the delivery could use some work.  It just wasn't his turn. He has to wait awhile. Or never.

Ugh. Such a creep. I wish it was acceptable to use my scriptures as a weapon sometimes. My Bible is at least five pounds.  I think I could definitely drive my point across if I could just thwack someone across the face with it.  And when I say someone, I mean all of the pervey depraved animals that live here that call themselves men. 

Also, I don't know if anyone recalls the name "Julio Blanco," but he was the 73 year old man with the 22 year old girlfriend who was going to get baptized before he randomly decided to up and leave for a farm for almost two months. Well, he came back, and was still positive about his baptism.  There was a moment in our lesson with him earlier this week, however, when he was talking and I had honestly no idea what he was saying (he doesn't have teeth, which doesn't help anything).  I thought he was talking about the farm and how someone hit a cow with their car and then gave him the money and he used it to buy his daughter a new dress, so my response was, "Oh, que bueno hermano!" and I didn't realize why my companion gave me a weird look.  Turns out he was actually talking about how his daughter was hit on the highway from a car dodging a cow, and he had to find her and then her dress which had been separated in the process (horrible, I know). And my response? "That's great, brother!" Fortunately, he's hard of hearing and didn't acknowledge what I said, and Hna. G reacted accordingly.  She gave me a hard time about it later, because sometimes I just really don't even know what's going on, but . . . yeah. Welcome to my life.

In other news, I need to mention what happened in our trip to Managua this past week.  First off, let me just say that I don't ever want to serve in Managua because it's dirty and Americanized and chaotic.  (Which means, I can probably predict now that I will, at some point or other, be serving there.) After a long meeting for all of the trainers and their "kids", I was sitting in the back of the bus waiting for everyone else to board and eating the rest of the Subway sandwich they gave us on the go for dinner.  While I was eating it a little boy (maybe 8 or 9) came up the window and tapped  loudly on the glass, pointing to my sandwich and then holding up his outstretched palm. I didn't know what to do. The window was sealed shut and I wasn't anywhere near the entrance, and so I just looked away hoping he would leave. But he didn't. He kept insistently tapping on the glass and holding out his hand, until an Elder getting on the bus gave him 20 cordobas or so (which is about a dollar) and he snatched them and ran away.  I felt guilty but I didn't know what to do. He's my little brother's Sammy's age.  I try to imagine Sammy being hungry and needing to beg for food...and it wrenches my heart.

There are always little kids in the streets, some no more than 6 or 7 years old, selling caramels and chips and gum . . . one little girl in particular whom I always buy from, just because she's always in the terminal when we make the trip from Leon to Managua.  Why is anyone that little trying to sell things for a living? Why is she all alone? Where are her parents? Why is the world so completely unbalanced? Maybe I don't really want to know the answers to those questions.

Someone told me this week that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the northern hemisphere (second to Haiti), and after driving past a little province called Nagarote for divisions this week (when we switch companions for a day just to learn more, or something like that), I believe it.  Nagarote has a Safari-like feel to it, volcanoes in the background (the biggest one is named Momotombo, which I think is so fun to say), thatched roofs, long golden grass in endless expanses of fields and banana trees and the occasional house . . . if you can even call them that.  The "houses" were made of nothing but 4 wooden pegs and tarp. It's impossible to grasp, to be honest. My mind recognizes the people outside, milling about and going about their daily business, and it's almost like I pretend they don't really live there. Because surely, no one is actually that poor. 

I don't understand why some people have everything and others have nothing.  I don't understand why in spite of that knowledge, I'm still so overly conscious of brand names and other materialistic things. It's the difference between Airwalk and Converse. They look virtually the same,but you wouldn't catch me dead wearing the former. And why? Why is that? Why can I be like that when there are people in the world who live in houses that are poorer quality than my family's tent that we keep in storage? Why is it that I could care less about 5 bucks but for someone here it could mean the difference in eating that week or not? It's almost like . . . I'm numb to it. The plastic seats, the rocking chairs, the tubs of water, the rusting tin walls, dirt floors, dirty cement, cheap quality photos.. I'm so accustomed to it that it doesn't really phase me anymore.

And you know what I can't understand more than anything else? They're just so, so happy. All of the time.  I love Nicaraguans.  I really do.  They have nothing, but what they have, they would give you.  I have not met a single Nicaraguan (not even one) who doesn't believe in God. He is a part of all of their lives, and they are a humble, God-loving people. I learn more from being here every single day. More than I ever even imagined in my comfortable home back in Southern Illinois.

Sorry if the end of this letter was a bit negative. It's just . . . incredible, really, how blessed we all really are.   I'm trying to give my mission my all, and I want everyone to know that.  I'm not coming home without having given this my all.  There are people who are ready for the Gospel, they just don't know where to find it.  And with His help, we're going to find him.

More Managua stories to come, time is short.  But you are all in my prayers and I'm loving every single day here more than I even have the words to express.  I completed five months today, too, if you can believe it! Almost 1/3 of the way done.  Time passes by way too fast.

Les quiero muchisimo!

<3 Hermana "Bee-am" (the most common pronunciation of my name, haha)

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