The Real Peru
Wow. This week has been the most different, exciting, scary, tiring week of my life. I am currently in an internet cafe in the city of Pachacutec, which is a suburb of Lima. My branch is called Los Cedros (which is kind of ironic because there are no cedar trees here) and there are two companionships in Los Cedros, so our areas are Cedros 1 and Cedros 2. And also the other companionship lives in the same apartment as me and Elder Chalampuento, so that's cool.
There are 10 zones in my mission, 7 in the suburbs of Lima and 3 up the coast. So yeah, Ventanilla is my zone, and it's the biggest zone in the mission as far as missionaries. The zones in my mission are the same as stake boundaries I'm pretty sure. Elder Chalampuento is from Bogota, Colombia. He's super cool I know that I was meant to be trained by him. He is very obedient and a good missionary. His English is actually not too bad, I can tell he has been studying diligently throughout his mission. He has 13 months I think. But he rarely speaks English to me. He always has a joke to tell, which is really good because I've needed the jokes this last week.
The other two in my apartment are Elder Mamani from Arequipa, Peru and Elder Sanabria from somewhere in Bolivia. I swear over half my zone is from Bolivia and there are a lot from Colombia too. Anyways those two are the best, they are always smiling and such. South Americans are really touchy. We shake everyone's hand. Often two or three times in a conversation. And if it's someone we know we always hug, getting used to that.
Anyways so yeah we live in an apartment and it's a three story building, and the owner is this old lady who is not a member and she lives on the first floor, and then we live on the second floor, and the top floor is more of an attic. We have a sink and a shower in the bathroom but that's all the running water, no kitchen. We have a little electric stove thing and microwave, and a mini fridge so we are good. There normally wouldn't be hot water, but there's this box on the wall that I think came from the mission and heats the water just for the shower so that was definitely a tender mercy. We also have containers of drinking water.
So yeah we have a Pensionista, she is a member of the branch who lives down the street. Sometimes we eat with her and her family, but when a male isn't at her house she just gives us the food and we take it back to our apartment to eat. Lunch is usually at 2 in the afternoon. Her food is dang good though, a lot better than the CCM in my opinion. Also, we don't take time out of our schedule to eat dinner, so we don't eat dinner until 9:30 at night and it's often just bread or soup. Elder Chalampuento can cook though, he made me this Colombian pancake the other day for breakfast it was way good. Sorry I forgot my camera cord, I'll send you pics next week!
But yeah, the Peru CCM is not real Peru. This is real Peru. The main road is paved, but the rest are dirt streets. Dogs everywhere. But they're nice, they aren't threatening at all because there's always people walking up and down the streets. And if they seem aggressive all you have to do is crouch down like you are picking up a rock and they run away. My comp hasn't been bitten yet so I think I'm fine in that area. It's cool, our area is basically all one big hill, and we can see the ocean not too far away, but unfortunately we aren't allowed to go there on p-day.
Culture shock is real. My companion is learning to speak slowly when talking to me, and it's getting better, but the first few days I couldn't understand anything anyone said, and the problem is not the words, it's the speed and the accents. If someone were to talk very clearly I probably could understand them, but it's getting better. I'm at the point where sometimes I can guess what they are saying. The branch is good, I'm still trying to learn everyone's names and such. Love you all! Hast next week.