Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from Southern Mexico!

Written by Sister Justyce Oliphant, serving in the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

(**Note to reader: Clicking on highlighted words links to additional information. Clicking on photos enlarges them. Some names have been omitted for privacy.)

I knew it would happen sooner or later...I´ve caught a bug. Well, from what I understand, it's just a stomach virus. But Friday night I was really, really sick, and all last week my stomach really hurt. Finally Friday night, after puking my guts out, our mission doctor prescribed some medicines. Yep, I don´t know what they are, but they are sure helping me feel better!

Saturday we stayed in the house and just studied, and I slept basically all day. But now, three days later, I feel awesome! I felt really bad because Friday to Sunday I was on a companion exchange with the Sister Training Leaders, and because I was so sick we didn't get much training done. But they said we will be doing it again next month.

Other than that, this week has been alright. My Spanish is definitely improving which is such a relief! I can understand a ton more...well, except when people talk super fast--- then it's still hard for me! I only pick up words. But I am loving Spanish. It's such a beautiful language... speaking it is kind of like a big party in my mouth, trying to get my tongue to move right and pronounce the words the right way. I am just glad I am not learning Tzotzil. That dialect sounds so hard!!

We had our area Christmas banquet on Thursday with our Mission President and his wife. I was at a table with two Elders from Arizona and Idaho! They both are over a year into their missions and both of them said that my Spanish is way better than theirs was! They said it took them 2 or 3 months in the field to understand as well as I do! Talk about a confidence booster! And they also said it took them about 5 or 6 months to be comfortable speaking it...and I am already starting to be comfortable! Hopefully it will keep clicking!

We practice grammar every morning as well as reading out loud to help my pronunciation. It really helps to have Hermana Perez correct me so I say it right! We also practice lessons together so that I will know how to extend commitments and ask questions! I have also been teaching English to a few people. It's really cool how we can teach English and slip in gospel principles! I have also realized how bad my English is... I don´t even know some of the English grammar principles! haha!

I get called "white girl" a few times every day. Everyone is so friendly here and we say buenos dias!, or buenos tardes!, or buenos noches!, and people will reply. It makes me laugh when they reply by saying, "white girl" in Spanish...I am not sure how to spell it, but they say, "Buenos tardes, widita". hahaha! It seriously makes me laugh every time! And then I get cat called or whistled at... it's always an adventure here. Hermana Perez has started singing "Welcome to the jungle," when they whistle at me, but I don´t think it's an appropriate song.

Anyways, yah, I stand out here. Everyone's brown and here I am, the lone white girl in the city, haha!! It's not like Utah where there are all kinds of people. But I am used to people always staring at me, especially on the bus.

Thanks for my Christmas present! (You bought me a heavier winter coat - it's tan! And a new blouse to wear to the missionary Christmas party. Thank you!!)

Well my time is just about up. I love you all! I think about you every day, and I pray for you all by name! Where  are you all reading in the Book of Mormon? I was studiyng Alma, Chapter 5 this morning. I love this chapter. Read it together, okay?

Have a very Merry Christmas. I will admit, I miss the snow!!! It's more fun when it is cold and there is snow!
I am not sure where we are eating on Christmas. We are going to ask Momma, our apartment landlady who we call mom because she is so wonderful to us. We are going to ask her tonight what her plans are. She lives alone with her son. We will see what happens!

I love you! Merry Christmas!

Hermana Oliphant

Ambulance, Police, and Fireworks

Happy New Year from San Cristobal!

Hermanas Oliphant and Perez