December 30, 2008

Greetings From San Juan!

Hello again,

Not too much to report since Christmas. I still hate travel, but it wasn’t too bad because I got a direct bus. Oh, I’m in the province of San Juan now. The province that is famous for its heat. Yesterday wasn’t too bad, but today’s heating up nicely. Keeping on the positive side of things, I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to the sun. I’m in an area called Rawson, Boulevard, and Progreso. A ward, branch, and branch. Yup, three Church meetings that I get to go to. Fortunately there’s just one building. But the area is huge. Makes sense since it’s really three areas.

My companion is Elder Sime. His name may be Welsh, but his is from Peru. This is his last transfer so we’re trying to work hard and have lots of fun.

This is really the first time in my four and a half months in Argentina where I have seen any of the Elders from my MTC district. There are two of them in my Zone now.

Thanks for the picture [of the jackalope]. I’ll be sure to use it.

Don’t really have that much more to say. More next week.

Elder Will Budge

December 23, 2008

¡Felices Fiestas!

Hello again. Merry Christmas! ¡Felices Fiestas!

Felices fiestas. Happy parties. Yup, that’s Argentina. Continuing to take Christ out of everything including the Catholic Church.

It’s been really rainy lately. This seems to be because of the Calle Angustia festival. The story is this:

One day they moved the Virgin of the Calle Angustia. She got upset. So, now it rains every year during the festival so that nobody can party.

Fun story. I don’t think I’ve seen so much idolatry in my life. Well, with actual idols and all. I was reading the Bible Dictionary and something in the entry for Diana struck me as very familiar. You should read it. The description of the shrines for Diana is the exact description of every single Virgin that is outside every single house in Argentina. Maybe Paul needs to come here too...

Anyways, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, it’s Tuesday. It’s because my zone had the Christmas party in Mendoza yesterday. That was pretty fun. Santa came. We all got ties with cuff links and hankies. Too bad I don’t know any missionary with french cuffs. Maybe I’ll have to punch another hole in one of my long-sleeve shirts.

I got the package all right. Spent $70 on it. That’s pesos. I don’t know the current exchange rate, so you can figure it out. The CD made it fine. I was listening to it this morning. Some of the songs are not happy. Some on the Barenaked ladies one, the last three on the Rockapella. I don’t know what else. But thanks anyway, it’s great to have some Christmas music in this time where the only indication of Christmas (for me) is the fact that it is December 23rd.

As for the phone call, I’ll be calling at about 8 PM Argentina (not Buenos Aires) time. So that will probably be at about 6 or 7 your time. I think 6 with the time change, only Buenos Aires changed. Really they want the parents to call the cell phone in the pench, but that’s complicated and I don’t really know how it works. Cell phones in Argentina have really weird numbering things that get very complicated when calling one from outside Argentina. So, I’ll just go to a Locutorio and call you guys. I’ll be able to talk for about 45 minutes.

Oh! I would like a picture of the jackalope. I’ve been telling investigators about them and they want to see proof of their existence.

Other than that, I don’t think there’s much other news. The President confirmed that I’m out of Mercedes next transfer, but I don’t know where yet. So, the next time you hear... get an email from me it’ll be from somewhere else. That will also be on a Tuesday because transfers are on Monday.


December 15, 2008

Rain, I Don't Mind. (Five points to who can get that quote)

Hello again!

Well, it was another long week. And a wet one too. Turns out that I bought shoes out of a leather that just lets the water in. But that’s actually a good thing for how much rain we’ve had. Each time it’s rained like that the streets have turned into rivers. A couple times we were up to our knees. And the thing with shoes that let the water in is that they also let the water out. But we are off to the Center today to buy Grandma’s shoes, and we will make sure that those ones are waterproof.

It was the Stake Conference last Sunday. That was really cool. President and Sister Lindahl spoke. Then there was another guest speaker: Elder Zivic of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and of the Area Presidency. They were great talks. Elder Zivic was sure dropping a lot of cain on the members about retention and reactivation. But that’s good.

I’m glad that you all seem to be enjoying yourselves. And I’m glad that Andrew Yip is thinking about a mission. Last I talked to him he wasn’t.

Mom, a favor please. I could do with some recipes. Specifically your chocolate chip cookies. And your email made me think that your peanut butter balls would be good too. Of course that one depends on being able to get peanut butter. I bet I could use crema de Bon O Bon, though...

Anyway, it’s time to move on. We’re treating the rest of our district to Sloppy Joes today, and I want to see the Argentines freak out because it’s too spicy (Argentines would think that the mildest Taco Bell taco without any sauce would be too spicy). But maybe they’ll like it.

Oh. There’s an Elder in my district from Buenos Aires and he looks just like Billy Nixon. Weird.

Well, that’s all for this week.

Elder Will Budge

December 9, 2008

Argentine Christmas Traditions?

Hello again!

Whoops. Better turn the language setting on Word to Ingles so that I’m not dealing with all sorts of red squiggles.

There we go.

So, this week has been full of travel. Did you know that I hate traveling? I love going to all sorts of places, I just hate the travel. It was another Zone Conference this week, so another trip to Mendoza. And there’s another trip there in the works for the 22nd for a Christmas Party. It’ll be fun there, but before and after, not so much.

Don’t really know what I’ll do for Christmas here. Argentina seems to have no Christmas traditions of its own. Mostly they’re all stolen from the US. There are tons of Santa Clauses with elves and snow. In Argentina. It’s summer here. So, Santa Claus and Christmas trees here are not an adopted tradition from European immigrants like they are in the US, but are stolen from TV and movies. But they do have one inherited Christmas tradition that does not exist in the US. They have panetone. Only here they call it pan dulce, or sweet bread. They have the traditional kind with fruits inside, but they also have kinds with chololate chips or almonds or other things. They also have smaller, pound cake-sized versions called budin. I have a goal of getting a taste for the fruity kind so that I can help you eat your yearly panetone, Dad. So far I’ve only had a chocolate chip budin.

There’ll be more next week.


December 1, 2008

¡Feliz Cumple Villa Mercedes!

Hello again!

Happy Mercedes Day!!! Yup. Today is Villa Mercedes’ 152nd anniversary. So, I really don’t know what working tonight will be like.

This past week Elder Opheikens and I got a special visit from one of the four Assistants to the President. That’s right, we have four of them. And they all have companions who are not Assistants. Weird. It’s mostly because President Lindahll has a bad back and can’t travel that much, so they have to do all the traveling for him. It was a good time working with them. We worked extremely hard. Found some new people, taught some older people, baptized someone. It was great.

The baptism was a bit of an adventure. Everything went pretty well. Until the font was mostly full. Then both of the water tanks at the Chapel went dry. But we still had enough water for the baptism. And the water was back by the end of the day.

Not much other news. Zone Conference this week. I got some letters this past week. One of them was in a fun plastic sleeve with a note from the Argentine postal service telling me to get upset at the USPS instead of them for bashing up my letter.

I am going to go ahead and get myself an early Christmas present today of an electric shaver. I’m out of razor blades, and they don’t sell my razor here. And an electric one will make traveling for things like Zone Conference much easier.


Elder Budge