Yes, mother. I am sad to say it is spelled Hola, not Ola. But I am thrilled that you are teaching spanish to the niños in the ward! I can just imagine you, in every music time, doing a show. I miss your endless enthusiasm. Well, I don't have much time, it turns out, to write this e-mail, because it took me a while to read all of your wonderful, marveouls letters (seriously, thank you), and we are at a member's house using the internet, breaking all kinds of rules being here this late, because today has been all kinds of different. I'll start with the good news, then move to the bad news.
Good news, or rather, things I am grateful for today (I wrote this list in a Hospital waiting room while Elder Poulsen had his wrist checked, reflecting on the events of the day)
My companion (Elder Salas, not Elder Poulsen as currently, although he does fall well at me. That's a Spanish expression)
The MTC, my teachers there, and my district
Kindness, meekness, and mildness
A little late for Thanksgiving, but I'm glad I did it. I made me feel better.
The bad news:
I've been robbed. Today (Monday) is P-day, and this monday we had a zone activity in Temuco, playing football and basketball and having an asado (BBQ). Some of us had our backbacks with us outside by the side of the building and others (including me) had ours inside the Chapel of the church building. While outside eating food, aparently some kind gentlemen wandered into the Chapel and stole three of the 5 backbacks sitting on one of the pews there.
So now, I am missing a back back, my wallet (including 9,000 pesos, or 18 dollars, my visa, and my mission debit card, and my ID, as well as other various cards like BYU and such), my Spanish scriptures, sadly my camera along with all of the marvelous photos I was going to send today, and my towel which I had only just recovered one hour earlier from one of the missionary houses there in Temuco (back to using a t-shirt to dry off!), and the keys to our apartment in Carahue.
So yeah. This was the state, more or less, of three unlucky missionaries today. We filled out forms with the local police and went on our way. Elder Salas and I headed back to Carahue where, luckily, the branch president (indeed Dad, Pdte. Bulaleo) had an extra pair of keys for our apartment. We got haircuts, woo! Showered and changed at our apartment, and headed to Nueva Imperial where I got off and am now with Elder Poulsen and two others. This is because Elder Salas, our DL, has a conference in Los Angeles tomorrow. After meeting them, we headed straight to the hospital, because Elder Poulsen messed up his wrist by falling today during futbal. Luckily, it's not broken, only sprained. But we spent the remainder of the day waiting in the waiting room. Afterwards, a nice family here in Imperial brought us to there house to take once and write emails. So here we are. An odd day.
But I don't want to focus this e-mail on the negative or how strange things have been. I'm going to try to answer your questions as quickly as I can. (Anna, I sincerely apologize that I was not able to write you once again this week. It's been kind of a crazy day. But your email made me extremely happy. Thank you for writing me :)
1. I live in an apartment complex. Los Notros, Villa Imperial, Block D #32, Carahue. In Google Earth, they should look like long skinny building. I think there are four? and they overlook a small valley type thing where there is another población
2. The Sandisk red? I don't know. Sure, send it along! Maybe with a new camera...?
3. For Christmas...I really don't know. Anything would be wonderful. Maybe a new towel? The ones I bought in Carahue are terrible and shed
4. I'm really sorry, but I still don't know what scripture or hymn. I promise promise promise I will email it next week!
5. We indeed do have a branch in Carahue. We meet in a home, converted into a chapel, with a bath tub type thing serving as the baptismal font. You'll be happy to know that I do indeed play piano on the little electric keyboard for our church meetings! And I am accompaning the niños in our Christmas event next week! The Branch is interesting. There are problems that Elder Salas and I are working very hard to change. Like most of Chile, inactivity is a serious problem here. In the Carahue area, there are over 200 baptized members of the church. Yesterday in Sacrament meeting, we had 14.
6. In terms of sending packages and such, send them to the mission home. I believe we only receive them during mission conferences and stuff anyway. If you ever send anything valuable, don't say it's something valuable on the forms, as it will most likely get stolen, so I have been told. Say it's a calculator or something if it's a camera, for example. As for regular letters, I'm really not sure. I think you can send them to my address?
7. My body feels fine! My feet hurt, but not in an unhealthy way. I think I might be getting a little sick again, as I've been terribly congested the past two days, but we'll see what happens.
The Spanish is coming. Dad, your story is dead on. I am indeed the only English speaker in Carahue basically. I get to speak English once a week at district-zone meetings in Temuco. It's very strange when I get the chance! Jennifer, yes. Spot on as well. I have to promise people here that I do in fact have a personality. I'm out of time, but I want to tell you all that being here, doing all this, is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Harder than I ever imagined. It is also the best. I haven't had any crazy awesome experiences yet, and things are still miserably difficult, but I KNOW I am in the right place, and I KNOW that I am doing the Lord's works, in my meager attempts. I know Christ lives. I couldn't have come this far without him. I look forward to the good times to come. Thank you all for your support. I love each and every one of you. Good night!