Monday, December 12, 2011

Feliz Navidad! This is my island in the sun, oy oy!

If you can name that movie, I'll give you a candy bar in two years.

Okay, so I'm trying a new method of correspondence today, individual-style. It turned out to take more time than I wanted, but I like it. So I'm going to probably do this from now on. But first, I just want to mention a few important things, about Chile and such.

In Chile, they have these things called Completos, which means full. They're like hotdogs, only huge and amazing! The bread is toasted and gourmet and it's filled, along with the hotdog, with usually some combination of tomatoes, guacamole (which they call palta here), sourkraut, mustard, mayo, and ketchup. It's the best thing ever. By the way, I love tomatoes now! Aren't you so proud of me?? All it took was eating them every single day! Chileans eat tons and tons of tomatoes.

They have these spiders here, everywhere, called Rincones, or corner spiders. They make little web tunnels in cracks and corners of houses, door frames, etc., mostly outside, THANK heavens. And they are frightening. They live in their tunnels and wait for something to get near the tunnel opening and they super quickly jump out and attack the victim like a rattle snake or something. I've heard, but don't know for sure, that if you get bit by one big enough, it can be deadly. We like to lure them out of their webs with pens and bugs.

The food in Chile is extremely similar to the States, but better! I don't know why. They have a lot of the same things, but they taste so much better. Especially the milk. It is incredible. I think it's because there are less preservatives. Here as well, pan, or bread, is huge. Everybody eats pan, all day, everday. Everdybody knows how to make it. There are stores dedicated to pan. Pan like in the states, sliced and all, does not exist. Here, it is 10 times more delicious, and it makes all the Gringos fat! So yeah, I love the bread. I'm going to get fat. Oh well.

Chile is FILLED with dogs. Dogs everywhere. And everybody I've met has at least one dog. And with dogs come fleas, or pulgas. Everybody has problem with pulgas in the bed, and for the past two weeks, I don't
know that I've ever had so many bug bites on my body. I have some spray that I need to try, and hopefully after a while I'll just get used to it too.

BIG NEWS!!! GET READY!! For Christmas, in this blessed of missions, we are not only allowed to call home, but we can SKYPE!!! So yeah, I get to see all of your lovely faces! It is right now 2 o clock as I send this so figure your time accordingly. It will be either the 25th or 26th. I don't know for sure yet, but I'll let you know. I'm looking forward to it!

Dear Jenn,

Wow! I'm am certainly grateful that my experience was not like that Elder in France. Things definitely could have been a lot worse for me. Super great to hear from you, as always. I know I say it all the time, but your mission experience is so special to me, and I always know that you know what I'm going through, both the hard things and the good things. I love you, sis, and your wonderful family as well.


Perhaps I should have explained better my situation last week haha. I was in kind of a rush. In Chile, they don't eat very large dinners, or dinners at all per se. Their huge meal of the day (and I mean huge) is Almuerzo, or lunch. In the evening, Chileans "tomar once," or take/eat eleven. No one knows why it's called eleven, not even the Chileans, but it's simply a light meal or snack taken in the evening hours. Don't worry about purse or scrip for me. Luckily, by the time I was robbed, I had already withdrawn my monthly allowance of cash and it's sitting in my room in our apartment. Yay! As for the mission home, I really don't know why communication is so difficult. I wish I could help! I don't know much either! Please do not send anything to my apartment, only to the mission home!!

Thank you for your apology about rural Chile haha. It's definitely not as humble as Nicaragua, from what it sounds like. As it happens, I think my impression of Chile was actually kind of flawed, Carahue being my first and only sector. In the past week with some time spent in Temuco and surrounding areas, I've found there are actually some very, very nice living circumstances! Still, nothing compared to the States that I have seen yet. But it is comforting to know that my mission will have a good bit of diversity to it. Super humble huts to comfortable city apartments. Interesting that you should mention the indians in Chile. In fact, there is a group of indigenous peoples here in the southern part of Chile called the Mapuche, who, in addition to Spanish, speak their own unique, very wildly different, language of Mapudungun. We have one Mapuche sister in our branch, and somehow she does indeed look more native.

I'm super excited for my package!!! It really doesn't feel like Christmas here, with all the heat, it being full on Summer. If it weren't for our lovely little lighted tree in our apartment and the constant stream of Christmas music as we study, I wouldn't even know Santa Clause was on the approach. You will be happy to know, however, that we frequently listen to Il Divo's Christmas album, courtesy of E' Salas, and I love it!

As for forming a choir, as lovely as that would be, I'm afraid that would be against missionary handbook instruction. Besides, with only between 14-35 members attending regularly and the rest who knows where, there's not much of a resource pool. The members that do attend can't really sing either. The 20 year old Church here in Carahue having gone most of its existence with the exception of Elders such as myself without accompaniment, has trouble finding or carrying a tune. After every sacrament meeting, we practice as a congregation learning a few new hymns to sing in the coming Sundays. Luckily, we do have a wonderful, musically gifted, branch president who is super dedicated to his branch. Like a great shepherd, he knows his sheep.


The mission home address is indeed correct, and all parts are necessary. As to why Google maps doesn't like it, I have no idea. But I do know that all the addresses in Chile are kind of a mess anyway. I'm not sure how anyone gets by with the correo here. My address is a little more complicated. To be honest, I'm not really sure what it is either. I've seen about 3 different versions printed in different places with different names and such. However, maybe this will help.

I think our aparment complex is called Mont(t) Block? - I can't remember how many t's there are The street leading up to it is definitely Los Notros, Try leaving out Villa Imperial And as for a zip or something, I don't think Chile uses them. So try this:

Los Notros
Mont(t) Block D #32
Carahue, Chile

But regardless, DO NOT send anything to my address. I have been informed that it's not a good way to go. The best is just sending whatever to the mission home, and it will get to me every few weeks at mission conferences and such. As for finding it on Google maps, near the east entrance of Carahue, with all the trains. Go a little farther west, and almost directly above that main vein road, there should be 3 or 4 long skinny, yellowish apartment buildings. We live in the northeastern most.

Hope all is well in Georgia, with the practice and the house and Hamish and all. I'm glad you're still supporting my Alma Mater.If you ever get a chance, let Men of the Mill know that I miss them greatly and still think about all of our amazing experiences together. That group has left a deep impression on my life, and I know it will do the same to anyone that puts their heart and soul into it. Keep singing! Love you Dad, I miss running with you, and can't wait to shoot your sweet new gun!

Dearest Ashley, sister of mine.

Don't worry about the DearElder thing, I should have let you know. And like you said, I'll get them all the same, and I can't wait to read them. Thank you for keeping in touch :) I'm sorry to hear that everything is so tough with school right now. Just hang in there, and I know you'll succeed, like you always do. I forgot you had a car! Woah, what's that like, driving and all? It's gonna feel super weird when I start driving again. Thank you for your encouraging words and support. I'll be thinking and praying for you as you go through your
last hoorah. Love you sis.

Joseph man,

I'm really sorry to hear that you haven't gotten your call yet. The Lord loves you, more than you can imagine, and he's so proud of you for your desire to serve, as I am. I can't wait to see the amazing things you'll do as one of the Lord's representatives. Hang in there. I pray for you frequently. Your friend, Elder Wilcox

Well, that's it for this week! Sorry I didn't share many personal stories or anything. I felt like I really needed to catch up with responding personally to everyone, as you are all such a huge part of my life, as well as the mission. I love you all dearly. Thank you for writing. Till next week! Chao!

Elder Wilcox
 Enjoying the summer in the southern hemisphere
With companion, Elder Salas
 Beautiful Carahue
 Eating delicious Completos
 Baptismal font in Carahue?
 By the beautiful sea.
 Christmas decorations, mission style
"What are we eating in that picture with Elder Salas? I'll give you a hint. We were just horsing around."

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