August 25, 2008

I Survived!!!

Well, I seem to have survived the trip. The biggest adventure right now is probably typing this. 1) This keyboard is weird. 2) I need to get used to typing on a Spanish keyboard. Anywhoo, as I continue to be serenaded by the 80's hits in this gas station I will write my message.

First off, some... ugh, I've only been out of the country for a week and I'm already forgetting words... Logistics! That's the word. Firstly, email is for family only, so anyone else will have to send letters by snail mail or dear elder. Sorry. Secondly, packages. Anyone is free to send packages but they should only come around Christmas and my birthday (Apr. 24).

Okay, now for the trip. Pretty much, I didn't sleep for two days. But the traveling went off without a hitch. Except one Hermana (our travel leader) didn't show up. We had no idea what was going on since that was very uncharacteristic for her. When we got to Buenos Aires we found the other Hermanas from our MTC district and they said that her birthday on her passport was wrong.

We got the chance to go through the Buenos Aires Temple as we waited for our flight to Mendoza. It was pretty scary in Spanish.

So, then we got to Mendoza and got our assignments. I'm working in the province of San Luis in a very nice little town called Villa Mercedes. It's very nice here and everyone is very friendly, especially the Members.

Nothing too scary. Except that as we were walking by a meat store called Quickfood to meet some recent converts there was an experience. We saw a man walk out with two boxes, presumably full with money, point a revolver at the security guard then at my companion and myself before he shoved it in his pants and rode off on a motorcycle. That was scary, but unusual.

Other than that, I can't think of a much safer place than here.

On Saturday there was a special Priesthood conference. It was a Q&A with Elder Scott for the Saints in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. It was really cool. One brother asked if people with mental illnesses needed to be baptized. Elder Scott's answer was quick and short. "No. They are covered by Christ's Atonement."

Not much else going on. We have a baptism in a couple weeks.

Sorry for the continuation of no pictures. Next week, I promise.

Until then,

Elder Budge

August 12, 2008

6... 5... 4... 3... 2...

Well, things continue to move along. We met with the Consul today. He was a very nice and funny man. He seemed somewhat annoyed at having to coach our pronunciation, but we got through that part quickly. I had thought that I would be pronouncing "yo me llamo" as "jo me jamo", but I was wrong just the regular old "yo me yamo." El Señor Consul tought us how to make the "ñ" on the keyboard. It's "Alt 164."

He got extremely passionate when he started talking about the food. He told us to just have steaks and things all the time because you can get amazing beef for as much as a hamburger at McDonalds. And he condemned us if we put ketchup on our meat or bleu cheese or thousand island dressing on our salads.

When we asked him to tell us about Mendoza he said, "Now, you're the lucky ones." That made all of us going to Mendoza very excited. The most common phrase among us since then has been "I'm so stoked for Argentina!!!"

Now comes the part of the week where I keep thinking "I'll do better next week", but just keep doing the exact same thing. Maybe it will chage when I get to Argentina, maybe not. But I know there was something I wanted to talk about, but have now forgotten. Hm... Don't really know. Maybe I'll think of it.

So, it's my last week here at the MTC. ... Oh yeah! I got my FLIGHT PLANS on Friday! So, the three Hermanas in my district who are giong to Buenos Aires fly from SLC to DFW and then to Buenos Aires. The rest of us are going to Mendoza. For the most part we are going from SLC to LAX to Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires. But there is one Elder in my district who parts ways with us in LA. He gets to go through Lima, Peru. And he gets to Buenos Aires a good two hours before the rest of us. Oh well, that's life. Um... I would give everybody my flight numbers, but I can't remember them right off the top of my head. I mailed them home, so maybe someone can post the flight info for anyone who's interested once they get there.

We had the Health and Safety lecture. When they started talking about scavies my district all just looked at each other.

Not too much else exciting other than that in one week from now I'll be in Argentina.

Only two more times of service. I really need to take before and after pictures so that you can all see the wonder that we work turning the gym into a mini-conference center.

So, I don't know when I'll be able to write next because I don't know where I'll be or when my p-day will be.

Well, my creative well has run dry. Well, probably not, but my nose has started bleeding again. That's one thing I don't understand. My nose has just randomly been bleeding here. I have no idea why. It can't be the altidtude since I lived just down the street for the last eight months. Unless a few feet make that big of a difference. Maybe it's the food. I really don't know.

Speaking of food (because I don't think I mentioned it last time because I think it happened since), The MTC food is sometimes really gross, sometimes really good. But the other day I had a really gross experience. I looked in my beans and I found a nut. Yes, a nut. And not the edible kind. It was made of steel. And there was a pea inside. I found that quite amusing. I don't really know where it came from, but I decided that I had better have cereal for that dinner.

For those who wish to continue writing me here are some options:

1) I hear that this works in the mission field. I belive it costs something, same as US postage, I think. I have heard that the mission president prints them off weekly.

2) Pouch Mail-- I believe that my pouch address is on the site here. At least it should be. This is probably the most reliable way for me to get a hand-written letter. You send a one-sheet of paper letter, folded in three and taped closed with the addresses on it, to Salt Lake through the USPS. From there somebody brings it down with them to Argentina. I get it at a mission conference or Zone conference. Apparently it comes every six weeks or so.

3) USPS international mail-- This is more expensive and not so reliable. The Argentine mail is rather corrupt. They open mail, so if you send it this way, cover it with Catholic stickers, they'll respect it. Also, I heard from a Chilean teacher here whose brother served in Mendoza that the mail workers went on strike and burned all the mail, so beware.

4) E-mail-- This is definitely going to be the most reliable way to get to me. I will be able to check my email once a week, and respond then too. My mission email is: I do not know if I will be able to use any other email, that is up to my mission president. If I can, I'll let you all know.

Well, I have now, for the first time, effectively used my email time to the point where the countdown timer clock is blinking at me. Godspeed to all of you.

Next time in Argentina,

Elder Budge

Post Script: Will's travel schedule --

Delta 1735 to LAX Departs 9:35 a.m. Arrives 10:44 a.m. Aug. 18, 2008

LanChile 601 to Santiago, Chile Departs 1:20 p.m. Arrives 5:25 a.m. Aug. 19, 2008

LanChile 1447 to Buenos Aires Departs 6:25 a.m. Arrives 9:25 a.m. Aug. 19, 2008

August 5, 2008

T-13 Days and Counting...

Well, here it is, thirteen days until I head for Argentina. Yup. Not too much happened this week, so I will share some highlights/insights/commentary about other, more general things. Maybe.

Apparently there has been an outbreak of Yellow Fever in Argentina. Good thing that I could be bothered to go to the travel clinic that Kaiser told me about to get one. Yup. Fortunately it's in the north and northeast of the country, so I should be fine.

In the past few weeks they moved a lot of couches into the building where my classroom is. This was a welcome development because, quite frankly, couches are comfortable. Upon closer inspection the couches seem to be the very same couches that have been the apartments at BYU's Heritage Halls. I think I may have found my old couch, but maybe not. This must mean that Heritage has new couches. Huzzah for all living there this fall.

In other news, the time here is beginning to get to those in my district. Normally the Elders start doing wild and crazy things as a result of cabin fever. But no, it was the Hermanas. Yesterday at dinner two of the Hermanas decided to have a chugging contest. They downed the first glasses of water, but spilled all over themselves during the second round.

Today was, very likely, the last time I will go to the Temple for two years. Next week I will be meeting with the Argintine Console, and the week after that I'll be in Mendoza. Hopefully I'll be able to go before I come back to the States. If I do my job right (and they build with a mad fury) we will have a Temple in Mendoza. Or I can hope that they finish the bullet-train from Mendoza to Buenos Aires quickly and that my mission president will let us take it to go to the Temple. I would say that one is less likely to happen, but who knows. Ojala que si.

I must say, I am rather impressed with myself. I have come to this entry today with less planned out than usual, and yet I have managed to write more than usual in less time. Amazing how those things work.

I have seen several people I know so far. Most recently Billy Nixon and Paul Cunha. Neil Steinburg comes in tomorrow. We're all going to try to take the cliche pointing at the map picture this Sunday. Given that we all somehow get the word to each other in time. And, bonus in the picture, Tommy Crompton and maybe one other Elder from Northern Virginia will join us.

Speaking of Northern Virginia, there is a teacher in my zone by the name of Hermano (I don't know his first name) Caramello who is from Burke. It's always nice to see people from back home. He's really funny.

Um... Not much else going on. Really gotta go so that I can get my suit to the dry cleaners and Elder Roy can get some dryer sheets. So, until next week and the six-day mark, farewell.

Elder Budge