Monday, September 16, 2013

You know you're in Azua when....

Dear wonderful family,

Thank you so much for your loving and supporting letters this week! I look forward to reading them all week! I'm glad that you are all doing well, and as always, thank you for your prayers for me - I know that help me every day!

Mom: Thanks for sending me a copy of your talk. It was fun to see what excerpts from my letters you chose to share :) Also, we tried that pasta recipe that you sent us and we absolutely love it - we can even buy all the ingredients for it from the colmado downstairs for only 170 pesos! And of course, a million thank yous for the package that you got together so quickly! You're the best! And I do think that DHL gets it here quicker. Also, I heard that smaller packages (like the sizes you've been sending) have a better chance of making it here quicker as well. 

Jessica: It sounds like you are enjoying Louisville, and I'm so glad for that! I'd love to read your speech about the London street markets - good times :) And those huge wasps sound pretty cool. And I already sent you a photo of the outside of our apartment, but I'll try to remember to send some photos of the inside (its not really that interesting though). Love you & be safe <3

Dad: Thank you for your letters and your support! I'm glad you have been able to have a few weeks at home. I like hearing about what you're thinking of doing with the lot that you bought. When you get the plans drawn out, you should send them to me. I had a dream a few nights ago that you bought that lot and built a house on it. In my dream you proudly showed me through every room and talked about how Grandpa helped with some of the details. I know that it will look beautiful :)

And to everyone who has been praying for me this week, I can fervently say that your prayers can and do make a difference. My foot is healing amazingly fast, I never got an infection, I was able to wear a shoe again on Tuesday, and returned to work that same day. Since then, I haven't had any problems with working as normal this week, and it looks as if I might not even have much of a scar. 

So... since my last two letter were probably a bit hard for you to read, I thought I'd send you something fun to read this week. It is a funny list that the other three hermanas and I have been working on, titled:


1. When your shower is a pipe sticking out of the wall, or more often than not, a bucket (cold water other way).

2. When one of your reserve water barrels has worms, but you still have to use the water to flush the toilet.

3. When you have to move your bed when it's raining so the leak in the roof doesn't drip on it.

4. When you use your last 7 pesos to buy chocolate cookies for breakfast.

5. When you see a naked baby rolling around in the dirt.

6. When you only own 4 plates (and one isn't even technically a plate).

7. When you apartment is permanently open to the outside, so that you can't prevent the cat from coming in each night to eat your trash (because you can't afford a trash can). 

8. When eating any type of vegetable automatically constitutes a gourmet meal. 

9. When part of cooking includes picking the bugs out of the rice.

10. When you're unable to do laundry if (1) you don't have water, (2) you don't have power, (3) someone is showering, (4) there's a storm, or (5) there are already clothes on the line.

11. When you buy your produce out of the back of a truck.

12. When you've seen most of your investigators without a shirt on (women included).

13. When you forget what it's like to not be sweaty.

14. When you don't hear music playing, then you assume something must be wrong. 

15. When you see a family of six all squished onto one motorcycle.

16. When the butcher shack across the street scares you blowing its meat horn every morning. 

17. When watching the construction of a building is considered quality entertainment.

18. When sitting under a mango tree is considered "busy."

19. When produce and livestock are shipped together in the same truck.

20. When stray dogs almost outnumber the people. 

21. When any house that has 4 walls and doesn't have a grass/tin roof is considered fancy.

22. When you have to smell the yoghurt to make sure it didn't go bad during the daily power outage.

23. When you have to resort to using baby wipes to clean your body because the water has been out for so long. 

24. When you walk down the street and are shocked if you don't hear: "Americana!", "Rubia!", or "Que linda!"

25. When all your lessons fall through and your first 5 contacts become new investigators. 

26. When your mosquito net is held up with string, masking tape, and super glue. 

27. When its 95 degrees in your house and it feels good. 

28. When getting caught is a rainstorm is better than taking a shower. 

29. When 4 hermanas have to share 2 desks. 

30. When seeing trucks full of hundreds of bananas is regular sight. 

31. When you're trying to say your nightly prayers and you keep slipping around in the floor because your knees are so sweaty.

32. When you get super excited when you find out one of your investigators can read. 

33. When getting peanut butter and cereal from the capitol is like Christmas.

34. When you can't get internet at the internet cafe because the power keeps going out. 

35. When wearing sunscreen is pointless because you'll just sweat it off in the first 10 minutes. 

36. When people and/or vehicles use the street and the sidewalk interchangeably. 

37. When you see an old Tootsie Roll wrapper on the ground and start freaking out: "What? Where did that come from?"

38. When an investigator is eating her dinner during your lesson and you're pretty sure it includes a beak and a brain. 

39. When everyone you talk to promises to be at church, but no one actually shows up.

40. When you see a guy in a button-up short and think, "Wow! He must be loaded!"

41. When you can make a decent meal of rice and beans for 4 people using under 50 pesos (about $1). 

42. When your baptismal font doesn't drain, so you have to fish out dead cockroaches and tarantulas with a trashcan.

43. When vendors roam the streets yelling what they're selling at the top of their lungs: "Aguacate!", "Panadero!", and "Nuevo SkimIce!"

44. When you have an 'everything rag.' Literally.

45. When you have to walk to another area to go to the "grocery store."

46. When you're slightly grateful that the water is out so you don't have to empty the leak buckets in the bathroom. 

47. When the barbershop is simply a sign on a house that say 'We cut hair,' and the car wash is just a sign and a hose. 

48. When you don't know anyone's real names, and sometimes, they don't either. 

49. When you have to pour vegetable oil into your locks once a month so you don't get lcoked out.

50. When people sweep their dirt floors with a homemade broom.

51. When most of your investigators are missing about half their teeth. 

52. When your area isn't even on the map of Azua and you have to resort to drawing your own map. 

53. When one of the members don't know what a reindeer is, and tells you that Santa's sleigh is pulled by donkeys. 

54. When there are chickens in the house.

55. When there is a goat in the house.

56. When excuses for not coming to church include, "My pants got wet," "My chicken ran away," and "I was there, didn't you see me?"

57. When the prelude music is sacrament meeting is Adele. 

58. When you get to take your Branch President through the temple to get his endowments.

59. When people think you and your companion are twins, even though you look nothing alike. 

60. When the cheese you buy at the colmado doesn't actually melt. 

61. When your investigators can name every player of the Chicago Cubs, but don't know who Beethoven is. 

62. When you're walking down the sidewalk and accidently interrupt someone's bucket shower. 

63. When it's not uncommon to find out that your investigators have anywhere from 18 to 30 siblings. 

All my love, 

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen

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