September 29, 2008

Time Just Keeps Rolling Along

Well, here it is, another week. It's Transfers this week, too. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting transfered. At least, I haven't heard anything about getting moved. I've only been in the field for one transfer and I already have cracks in the bottoms of my shoes. It's not too bad because it doesn't really rain. Except for yesterday. It rained a lot yesterday. So, I came home with wet feet. Hopefully my shoes will be dry by the time I head out today.

So, it's been about seven weeks since I've had a haircut. I was going to get one today, but there was a surprise (for me) birthday party for our district leader. I had no idea that it was going to happen. Then I had no idea that the whole Zone was going to be there. So, that was an adventure. But the point of this parragraph was that my hair is approaching Derek Zoolander-like altitudes.

Not too much else to tell other than we have a family that's going to be baptized. There's a husband and wife and four children, all under 12. The children, not the parents. The dad, Favian, was smoking 40 cigarettes a day and then just stopped cold turkey. Then he stopped us on the street and said that he wanted our help. The family had a baptismal date for the 11th, but they were stopped in coming to Church this week because of visitors. When we went by to pick them up the kids were all dressed and ready for Church. So, we'll have to tell them that they'll have to be baptized on the 18th instead now.

The Argentina factoid of the week: Tile, it's everywhere. The only buildings/rooms that I have seen that are not tile or dirt (ie carpeted) are in the chapels of the Church buildings. But only of our buildings. I haven't been in any of the others.

For those concerned, I recieved two letters from two people at the last Zone Conference. I have written to both of you but for various reasons (time and financial) have not been able to send the letters. Please be patient. Thank you.

Until next week,
Elder Budge

September 22, 2008

¡¡¡Feliz Primavera!!!

[Will's first baptism]

Hello All,

Happy Spring! The first day of Spring was wonderful. The 21st of September. Except for you all it’s the first day of Fall. I’m sorry, but I’ll take Spring. It’s a much more pleasant season for me. But a hot Christmas is still going to be weird, I think.

I had a baptism on Saturday. His name is Ramiro Fierro. It was the first time I baptised someone in my life. I was very nervous, but when the time came I just said what I needed to and it went without a hitch.

I feel I should talk a bit about ice cream. There are all sorts of ice cream places here in Villa Mercedes. Apparently San Luis is famous for the ice cream. I haven’t had any yet. I’m begining to doubt if I ever will. Every day we wait for the bus across the street from an ice cream shop that looks very good. We have been offered ice cream from there before, but rejected the temptation because we were late. But then this week we met our goals for the day and would’ve had enough time to get ice cream and get home on time. So we stopped by the ice cream shop. It was closed. Clearly I am not meant to have good ice cream on my mission.

I apologize for the shortness of entry this week. I really just can’t think of what to say.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot the Argentina culture fact thing. People put dogs on their roofs. When they leave the house they put the dog on the roof so that it can walk around, but won’t wander off. So, there are dogs on the roofs all over the place.

Well, until next week,
Elder Budge

Pictures: Setting up for Church... before and after.

September 15, 2008

More email newsy stuffs

Hello All;

Well, another week here in Villa Mercedes(Viya Mercedes(like the car)). It's starting to get pretty hot here. Spring officially rolls in on Sunday, so all the trees are starting to get leaves and it's increasingly beautiful. Of course with newly living trees comes the realization that I'm very allergic to one of the most common trees here in Argentina. I'm not sure what it's called, but it has this white/grey camouflage-looking bark and it has these weird ball things from the branches; and I sneeze like none other every time I am under one.

Other than that things go well. Lunches at members' houses are delicious, albeit a little bland. But that's food in Argentina. They have this food called Milanesa. It's basically thin bits of beef fried like chicken. Similar to chicken-fried steak, a food that I was introduced to at the MTC, but better.

They have these really good kind of cookie here called Alfajor(pronounced alfahore). They're basically a sandwich cookie with two or three cookies, and in between the cookies is some sort of thing, usually dulce de leche. And the whole thing is coated in chocolate. I have had some really rich ones.

Other things... Hmmm... Ramiro is getting baptized this week. This is very exciting for everyone involved. Yay!

Well, until next week,
Elder Budge

September 8, 2008

Meh, I'll let you guys come up with a title for this one, I can't think that hard right now.

Hello again!

This week was my first Zone Conference. As such, I got my first batch of mail. I would like to thank those of you who sent me letters. I haven’t really gotten a chance to read them yet since I can’t read them until P-day and up until right now I’ve been cleaning. As for the rest of you, just so you know, I get mail every six weeks at Zone conference. It’s very fun and exciting to get mail. Especially since I can only get it every six weeks. Also, I will try my hardest to write everyone back. As I can only write back on P-day, I will always try to get something back to you so that you can, if you wish, write back before the next Zone Conference. Anyway, enough about that; more about Zone Conference.

Zone Conference was really cool. We left Villa Mercedes at 7 PM to get to San Luis at about 8:30 PM. Then we slept there. For about four hours. We got up at 2 AM so that we could get on our bus to Mendoza at 3. We got to Mendoza at about 6:30, a surprisingly short trip. I suspect the bus driver was going way too fast. But I somehow managed to sleep on most of it, so it was all good.

The featured speaker at the Conference was Elder Aidukaitis, a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Second Councilor of the South America South Area Presidency. He had a lot to say. He made it seem like we will soon start working during the Siesta, but President Lindahl hasn’t said anything about that yet.

Elder Neibaur was diagnosed with strep on Tuesday. He’s doing much better now, though.

We were stopped on the street this last week by a kid who told us that he has problems with all sorts of drugs and wants to change. We invited him to Church and gave him a book of Mormon with a chapter marked for him. He said that he’d come. He didn’t. Oh well, we can only hope that he’ll show up one of these weeks, we foolishly didn’t get his address.

On Tuesday we’re holding a special Family Home Evening for our investigators/new converts/less-active members. It’s going to be one of those play out the Plan of Salvation type things. I know that the Mt. Vernon Stake had one of those last year. We’re very excited for it.

And now, some Argentina Fun Facts. Okay, really just one, but it’s a good one.

This fact goes out to all those Utahns and people who just love that perfect blend of ketchup and mayonnaise: Fry Sauce.

I bet you all thought that it was an invention of Utah. You’d maybe be wrong. I only got this information off of the back of a bag of Helman’s Salsa Golf. Fry sauce exists in Argentina too. Only here it’s called Salsa Golf, or golf sauce. Anyway, according to the back of the package, some Argentine invented it as he was sitting around at the golf club in 1973 or something like that. I really have no idea who really made it, or what the circumstances were. But fry sauce, or salsa golf, is everywhere in Argentina.

So, until next time,
Elder Budge

September 1, 2008

Another Week, Another E-mail

Well, now I've had another week to acclimatize myself to Villa Mercedes. As of last night we have officially ventured to every part of our Area. At least I think so. I'm not positive, but it's close. Still not used to these Spanish keyboards.

The Spanish that people speak here is kinda different from what I grew up hearing. That probably has to do with the fact that I grew up hearing Mexican Spanish from the teachers and El Salvadorian Spanish from the kids. This is Argentine Spanish, or Castellano as they call it. It's slightly different. The "ll" and "y" make a "sh" or "jh" sound. It's hard to describe in writing. They also use quite a few Italian words. The ones that I have noticed the most are "ciao" and "basta."

The people here are really great. In my ward, Hipolito Yrigoyen, there are some new members, a father and a son named Moyano. They are really cool and both love music. Jorge, the father, plays the accordion extremely well. So well that it´s to the point where I want to learn how to play the accordion. Marco, the son (age:24), plays guitar, bass guitar, and some piano. Dad, I think that you would really like them. They're both very strong in the church, and know more about some of the deeper, cooler stuff of the Gospel than many who have been in the Church for their whole lives. Every time we go over to their house they always keep us there a little longer than we should be because we always end up singing hymns with them and they always ask for one more. Mostly we go over to their house to talk with Marco's friend Bruno. Except that we've only seen him there once...

We have two other investigators with baptism dates. Both related (genetically and not) to another new member named Gabriela. First is Alexis. He is Gabriela's 13-year-old nephew. He was actually supposed to get baptized this coming up weekend. Then he was sick and missed a week of Church. Then he missed this week too. It's sad. I hope he keeps coming and gets baptized.

The other is Ramiro. He's Gabriela's on-again-off-again boyfriend. But he came to Church this week and really likes it. He's very smart. I'm not used to having someone pay so much attention to me when I'm talking. Granted, I'm still not talking all that much. It would seem that the new language has brought about a return of shyness that I have overcome in English.

My companion is Elder Neibaur. He's from somewhere in Idaho. Near Boise, I think. He's pretty cool. He sure knows what he's doing. I don't know if there's ever been a companionship with both names that are very hard for the locals to pronounce like ours are. Yesterday we were talking with a couple older men, and one of them stopped a couple of girls who were walking down the street just to see if they could read our names.

Well, there are lots of dogs here. They're everywhere. Some are pets, most are not. They just hang around. Follow you sometimes.

Please send me mail. I get my first batch of mail on Wednesday, we have a conference with Elder Aidukaitis and then we have Zone Conference. I would love to get mail then. Remember, you can send mail through USPS, through Pouch, or through Dear

Oh! Yesterday, being the fifth Sunday, there was a combined Priesthood/Relief Society. They gave us a tour of, but the Spanish page. It looks really cool. I can hardly wait two years before I can play with it myself.

Well, I have attached a video giving a wonderful tour of where I live. [The clip he attached actually was two seconds of MTC footage. I don't know what happened to the attachment he intended to include - JRB]

So, until next week,
Elder Budge