Disclaimer- this keyboard doesn´t have an exclamation point button or parenthasis. So this letter is an absolute mess, but here we go. Just imagine like every other sentence with an exclamation point.
My dearest family
Wow, I can´t believe I´m finally here, writing you an email from Buenos Aires Argentina. And it´s pretty much just like I imagined, in a dirty little internet café and there´s a big display of Argentine candy and Alfrejores up front. This place reminds me so much of London, it´s crazy. But here, I´m getting ahead of myself.
So there are a thousand things to tell you about and I have no idea how to do it, so I´ll just go through each day since this crazy adventure has begin and try to give you all the details. So here we go.
Monday- As I walked onto the plane, I had to squeeze past this man, so I said something to him in English and he responded in the beautiful Spanish. I looked up in surprise because he looked completely American. It was at that moment that I finally looked around and realized that most of these Americans on the plane with me were actually Argentine. But let me tell you, these are the most beautiful people I have ever seen. And Cam, you´d be interested in this. Every person on that plane had this European Indie thing going on. They´re just like the most trendy beautiful people ever. Anyways, that was my first experience with Argentine People. Then Sister Cahoon and Elder Neilson and I sat on the plane with the other 15 or so missionaries waiting for take off. We were so excited to be together again but then so sad that our dearest Elder Draper and Hna Fernley hadn´t made it. Then came the best moment of our lives when we saw them running down the aisle, and it was the most glorious reunion that plane has ever seen.
Tuesday- We got off the plane 8:30 Argentine time and I was beyond excited and nervous. There was some crazy paper work in the airport and a funny incident that I had with the immigration man. He was super grumpy and refused to speak English with me imagine your meanest DMV worker speaking ridiculously fast slurred Italian Spanish stuff and after a scrambled experience of papers I got through the gate. But once through the gate, all the other missionaries were talking about how their helper person took out their visa paper from their passport, and when I looked I saw that my paper was still there. After 8 months of waiting for that silly little piece of paper, and I had just managed to get through Argentina´s immigration system without giving them my visa. Go figure. So we went back and fixed it all and then went through the gates for the glorious moment when we met President and Sister Carter. As President gathered us all around us he said, You are an amazing sight. We have waited a long . . . long time for you. And then he broke down in tears. It was a very special moment to finally be there together in Buenos Aires.
So very first thing we got to do in Buenos Aires was go through the gorgeous Buenos Aires Temple. The open house closed a few days earlier but President managed to arrange something with the architect and he gave us a personal tour. It was absolutely incredible, and I´m so excited to be part of the rededication celebration. P.S. the Buenos Aires Temple is in our mission. So cool. Then we met the 11 other missionaries in the newbie group, the latinos, who just had to walk across the street from the Argentine MTC to go to their mission and we were off. The North American missionaries went to the mission office in Ramos Mejia and there I ate my first Argentine food, fracturas. They´re like a European, delicious version of donuts. The rest of that day was spent in the office with the office Elders giving us an orientation while the latin missionaries were out with the Carter´s. For lunch we had Argentine pizza, it´s amazing, completely different from American pizza, they use like huge slices of tomatoes and this fresh white cheese, and for dinner we had empanadas of every kind. Ham and cheese, chicken, carne. They are the most delicious thing ever. That night, Hna Cahoon and Hna Fernley and I got to spend the night in a pension, that´s what they call apartments here, together and I remember thinking, Wow, this is a lot more primitive than what I´m used to, but at least it´s clean. I had not idea what was in store for me later on. :
Wednesday: We got to go out with the Carters to tour THE Buenos Aires, like the stuff that you see in Google Images when you search Buenos Aires. I´ll send pictures to do the talking, but basically, it´s the most beautiful city and reminds me of a Spanish version of Paris or London, and a lot more dirty. For lunch they took us to this delightful little café where we had hamburgers, but these hamburgers were completely different from anything you´ve tasted. They weren´t lying when they said that Argentina knows how to do their beef. I also tried panqueques and dulce de leche for my first time, basically crepes smothered in carmel, and had my first taste of real Argentine Spanish with the waiter. Seriously guys, it was the most beautiful insane thing I´ve ever heard and DEFINITELY not what I learned in Washington from my wonderful Mexican investigators. Then we went to the Mission Home which is absolutely beautiful and huge and had interviews and more orientation. Now a moment to talk about the Buenos Aires West Mission. Holy cow. The missionaries here could not be more proud of the mission. It´s do or die here and the excitement for being part of this mission is tangible in the air. President and Sister Carter have this mission running like a well-oiled machine. It´s impressive and a little bit intimidating.
Thursday: We had the transfer meeting, and it´s the craziest most exciting thing ever. All of the missionaries in the whole mission who are getting transferred come to the office and gather in this giant gym. They show a bunch of movies from the month and then have a slideshow where your face shows up huge next to your companion announcing the assignments and everyone goes crazy. In my interview I begged President for a native companion, and my wish was granted. My companion is Hna. Castillo from Peru, she speaks just a few words in English, and she is the most angelic, wonderful girl in the world. Seriously fam, I don´t know how I got so lucky to get amazing companions . Needless to say, my Spanish has improved rapidly and although it´s frustrating at times, it´s like a fun game to try to communicate everything with her. After the meeting, we packed my stuff into a ramis, it´s like an Argentine taxi, and were off to the wonderful city of San Justo my first area.
And now I´m running out of time, and I haven´t even gotten to the good stuff. So enough of the day by day, here´s what life is like as a missionary in Buenos Aires.
Apartment- I´ve had to do a lot of toughening up in the past few days and I´m sure I have a lot more ahead of me.
The City- It´s dirty and there are huge, gigantic dogs everywhere. Like hundreds and hundreds. It´s busy and noisy and glorious. The streets are insane, and people everywhere, a missionary´s dream.
The PEOPLE- The absolute kindest, most amazing people in the world. They talk with this incredible, flamboyant Italian accent and welcome you into their homes like nobody´s business. They drink matte and are the best members in the world.
I´m so sad that I have to go, but I love you all so much and I can´t wait to tell you more later
Love Hna Leavitt