Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 2: Estoy en Nicaragua!

Hola, familia y amigos!

I´m in Nicaragua!  How crazy is it that I´m actually here?  Oh my, I have so much to write, so hopefully I can get as much in as possible.  I wish I could just send you my journal, but this will have to suffice.

First off, everything you´ve ever heard about Nicaragua is true.  Let me list the wildlife I see every day, in order of how many there are (and sorry, I can´t speak English OR Spanish, so that´s why my grammar will be all over the place): insects, chickens, dogs, other birds, lizards, pigs, horses... it goes on.  I´m in Monte Fresco, which as far as I can tell is super close to Managua.  The ¨monte¨ part is definitely true, but I´m not sure about ¨fresco¨; I still think it´s pretty hot and humid. ;)  The roads are all dirt or stone.  We climb a lot of hills and visit people in their cement and tin houses.  I´m getting the full Nicaraguan experience... bucket shower my first day, bug bites all over my legs, huge rainstorm in a metal-roofed house. We have a member of the Relief Society who we pay to make our lunch every day.  I´ve eaten rice and beans at every meal, as well as platanos in every form (fried, boiled, sweetened, in the peel, etc.).  I´ve had some delicious juices and other drinks as well.  I´ve liked everything I´ve tried.

The people here are wonderful.  They´re always willing to stop and listen, even if they won´t ever keep their commitments.  Oh, these Nicaraguans... the first few days, I was pretty sure they weren´t even speaking Spanish, but I´m getting better at listening carefully and understanding the accent.  I can understand conversations, but for some reason when they ask me direct questions, I have no idea what they´re saying.  And every time I´m asked to pray in a lesson, I panic and forget how to speak Spanish.  Once, it was so bad I was afraid to even open my eyes, and when I did everyone was staring, and Hermana Aquian was trying hard not to laugh.  Hahaha, I look forward to the day that I am fluent in Spanish.

Hermana Aquian is great.  She´s from El Salvador and is literally a head shorter than me.  I love being tall here in Central America!  Anyway, Hermana Aquian takes good care of me on the scary jam-packed buses and when we walk past drunk men.  She speaks some English, so we can communicate with no problem when I speak as much Spanish as possible and she clarifies with English when necessary.

We live with two other Hermanas in a house that I´m told is pretty nice for Nicaragua.  Hermana Cuque is from Guatemala and is in her last transfer.  She´s training Hermana Richins from Las Vegas; Hermana Richins and I have fun talking in English sometimes to keep us from going nuts. :)

We had a baptism on Saturday!  Two jovenes, cousins Jordan and Josue.  Jordan is 12 and Josue is 9, and I can see Josh being best friends with these kids.  Josue is a mischevious little monkey, and Jordan is more laid back.  Josue´s mother is less active, but she came to the baptism and confirmation the following day with her other kids, so I´m hopeful she´ll come back into full activity.  We work a lot with less actives... people accept the gospel, they just don´t want to live it forever.

Anyway, I´m going to try to send some photos now, but hopefully I can include some funny moments and tender mercies first.

Funny moments: On the bus, there was a lady with a bag full of chickens on her lap.  Seriously, like five live chickens just chilling on her lap with their heads sticking out of a bag.  I was standing next to her and trying not to squish them.  Just another day in Nicaragua!

Tender mercies: I´m pretty sure I met one of the three Nephites.  His name is Max Arcia, and he stayed with me in the Atlanta airport when I was traveling to a foreign country all by myself.  He´s from Nicaragua but speaks fluent English, and he has a daughter serving in Nicaragua as well (but not my mission).  He bought me lunch, let me use his phone to call home, and told me everything I need to know about Nicaragua.

Okay, I could go on all day, but I want to send photos, so that´s all for now.  I am learning and growing a lot.  The days are long and hard, but I know this is where I´m supposed to be right now in my life.  The gospel is so true!  I can´t wait until I can actually share it with these people... praying for the gift of tongues down here. :)  Anyway, I love you all!

-Hermana Hansen

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