July 21, 2014 (Week 7)

I know you guys said you were in the Este area of Chile, but I would be amazed if you were where I am now. I mentioned earlier the term ¨flite¨ (pronounced flight-eh). It basically means gang-banger. And it fits this area amazingly. We are in one of the poorest areas of the Este mission. Of course, the este part of Santiago is in general richer than, say, the sur part, but it is definitely the poorest place I´ve ever spent an extended period of time in. It´s not like it´s dangerous, or anything. Please don´t email the president. Trust me, I´m safe. But the houses are real small and there are dogs EVERYWHERE and dog poo EVERYWHERE and cars doing whatever they want. It`s actually pretty hilarious. I`m trying to describe it, but there just is no way. The differences are too subtle and too numerous.

Our pension is tiny. I mean, it somehow feels smaller than my apartment in school. There are four of us living together, serving the El Castillo ward in Santiago. Elder See and I do part A. Elder See is a good guy. The missionary jargon for trainer here is ¨Papá¨and I´m his ¨Hijo.¨ He´s been out on the mission for 10 months now, and he had his 19th birthday yesterday. He wants to work hard, although he occasionally gets a little sleepy. He´s quite a bit like me and how I imagine I´ll be in 10 months. He can speak fluently, he loves the people, he talks slowly and he is SUPER sarcastic. Like, I´ve heard it´s hard to tell if I´m being sarcastic, but he is way more sarcastic than I am. I honestly have no idea when he is serious or not.

Mostly, it is just good to be out of the CCM. I mean, the area of ugly and dirty and sad, but it`s way better than looking at those same four walls for another set of two weeks. However, just as I had a lot of the same emotions leaving the CCM as I did leaving from home, I am now having a lot of the same emotions in my first week in the field as when I first left for my mission. The mission jargon is ¨trunky¨, which means the emotional state of a missionary when he is thinking about home or wanting to go home, in it`s varying degrees of severity. And I´ll admit, I´m definitely feeling it. Every day, I understand a little more, but it´s so hard to pay attention that I tune out and start thinking about home and family and school and skiing and art and whatever else, and before I know it I´m feeling trunky and depressed and like I don`t want to be here anymore.

Elder See went through the exact same thing, and he is doing his best to help me through it. He said I should expect it to be hard for a month or two, and then I´ll start understanding more and I´ll have something to pay attention to, and by about 6 months everyone says I´ll be speaking fluently. Looking forward to it.

Basically, the last week was tough, but not impossible, and it will only be getting better.

Elder Mathewson

PS. My favorite scripture is currently 2 Cor. 4 16-18
PPS. The way mail works is you just keep sending it to the mission home and they send it to the Stake Center, and we pick it up during out district meeting once a week, or when we go to the Este Mission home, which is fairly often as a new missionary.




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