Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jamie's 1st Letter from Peru Jan 6, 2010

¡Hola! I'm in Peru! It hasn't really hit me yet. Let me just tell you some about my trip, since I last talked to you. So I ended up on a flight to Atlanta of the elders-Elder Stanfield. The other elder was talking too long on the phone, and it was kind of just a mess, the doors closed before he could get on...I hope he's doing okay. I still managed to survive with only one elder. I sat next to a big black guy on the plane. He was pretty cool. He looked at me like I was crazy though when he found out that I was going to Peru for 18 months and that I wasn't going to see my family for a long time. We talked a little bit, and I gave him a pass along card. He seemed really grateful for that.

Also, on the plane to Atlanta, the flight attendants were walking down the aisle, offering menus to people who wanted to buy something more than the complimentary snacks. I wasn't going to take one, but then she told me that another gentleman was going to buy me and my friend (Eld Stanfield) something. It was kind of crazy. It was only because we were missionaries, which I thought was pretty cool.

We arrived in Atlanta with about an hour to spare before our plane to Lima was supposed to depart. The guy that I talked to on the plane was from Atlanta, so he helped us find our gate quickly, which was nice, because after the other elder missed our flight, we became kind of paranoid, and we wanted to make sure that we weren't stranded in Atlanta. We made it on okay, and soon began our 6 hour flight to Lima. I got on the plane thinking, "oh this will be nice-I bet there are a lot of people who can speak Spanish well, and maybe I can practice my Spanish some on the plane." The next thing I know, I'm being surrounded by a bunch of old Japanese women who are all part of some tour group. So much for Español. That's okay though!! After many hours of sitting and sitting and sitting some more, we finally landed in South America. In Peru. In Lima. As in, I'm further away from home than I have ever been in my life. As in, where I'm going to spend the next 16 months of my life. CRAZY!!! We made it through customs, found everybody, and eventually made it the CCM here in La Molina around 3 in the morning (1 in the morning, Utah time). I was exhausted. So I got ready for bed, and slept, and dreamt that Cafe Rio had made it down to Lima, and that I was eating Cafe Rio...It was a nice dream, until I woke up.

So this morning, I woke up, got showered, dressed (the bathrooms are nice too, btw-definitely nicer than the "dorm style" bathrooms in the Provo MTC. I do miss the MTC though. I miss being there, with my elders and my hermanas. But I know it's time for me to go out into the field. This morning, actually, a couple of people here asked if I wanted to stay in the CCM for a little while longer to practice my Spanish...I said that I would rather just go to my mission. At this point, I'm going to learn Spanish no matter what, and I would just rather do it out in the field, teaching people, than stay in the CCM longer. They said that was fine-I later explained that I had been in the MTC for 9 weeks already, and they understood.

Oh-so you know how Peru is a foreign country and I didn't think that there was really anyone here that I knew? Well, while I was waiting to go to Interpol to get the okay to stay in Peru, one of the counselors of the CCM Presidency came out, and it was Dr. Slingerland!! He's here at the CCM! I asked him if he was a pediatrician in Provo, and he said yes, and I told him that I was pretty sure that he was my doctor-I think I've changed just a little bit since I was 7, so he asked who my parents were, and I told him, and then he remembered me! He asked where I was going and everything. I just thought that was cool, and you'd want to know that.

So basically, I feel like I know zero Spanish. Well, maybe not zero, but pretty close. When North Americans speak Spanish, I can understand them. I can understand Peruvians if they talk slow...and that's unusual. So mostly I catch a word or two, and I try to respond in Spanish...I've already made some mistakes, and gotten some funny looks. I'm excited to do that more!

I'm so glad that I got to talk to you yesterday. That made me happy to hear your voices. I'm excited to go to Piura (it should only be an hour long flight, which will be nice and easy compared to my flights yesterday). Because I'm not staying here, I don't really have a schedule of what I am supposed to do today, so the president here gave me permission to email you. I'm not sure when I'll be able to email you again-I imagine it will be sometime soon though. I just want to get to my mission! Until then, I get to study a lot-which I'm actually pretty excited for.

Well, I've gotta go. But I love you all so much! The church is true!
Hermana Williams

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