Monday, October 13, 2014

6:30 Sunshine in Costa Rica‏

**We got several pieces of "an email" this day so I did the best I could to put it into some sense of order - we have been lucky enough to email back and forth a few times so you will see "answers" to questions at times. I will try and put the question in prior to his answers to help it to make more sense.

Okay, so for starters this keyboard that I´m typing on is really terrible and the spacebar hardly works so I´m honestly trying my hardest, especially to dodge all the Spanish keys ñ¿çñ¿ç¡. 

So, this week actually went by really quickly. Everyday we wake up, make a delicious breakfast of eggs and random other things. This week's extras included refried beans (it comes in almost like a juice carton but different, I´m not sure how to explain it). So, eggs + refried beans, white bread, hotdogs, or quesadillas. Usually it´s one or two of the additional things because cheese here is super expensive and we get sick of the hotdogs pretty fast so we try and mix it up so we´re not eating the same stuff every morning. After a killer breakfast like that we get straight to our studies! (Typically, we keep having things to do in the morning that kind of breaks up our studies, but we try).
gallo pinto brought to us from Diego
Gallo pinto is yeah, basically white rice and blackbeans just cooked together, with eggs typically and some sausage. We think that was horse meat but I´m not sure. No, it´s not spicy. I haven't had anything spicy here yet. Elder Parker said ticos are wimps. There´s two main peoples here ticos and Nicaraguans. Parker and Solis are my trainers, but Solis leaves on like the 30th for his home. Parker is from Hawaii. He´s been to Washington a lot, loves the buffets. Solis is from California, from Fresno I think. I actually haven't had that much rice and beans. We eat chicken (fried like KFC) pretty often, or just like the same state of chicken (all bone in) in like a crock pot, but not like a ton because food is expensive. Then we have like salads and hmm.. I don't know, we don't eat at members' or with people often, besides our cook. 
(Side note, the computer is telling me that every word I type is wrong because it´s in Spanish!)

After breakfast our days typically are planned with a bunch of lessons (I really don´t want to type because this keyboard is so terrible). Typically, we try and get a member. We´ve been using Diego or J. Diego is a convert of about 7 months and J was born in the church, and we go and do divisions. Divisions means that one of us goes with the member and the other two (because we´re a trio) goes off on their own, that way we can cover more ground.

Just gunna suck up how bad this keyboard freaking is,‏

only sending this to you because the keyboard is complete garbage and as such my message will be very poor grammar and such so I will let you fix it if you want haha. 
So, I don't know, I honestly don´t really have any highlights from the week. We went out and worked. I guess someone that I contacted last week we finally had the opportunity to have a lesson with but he basically told us he was locked out of his house so we did it at like a bus stop and I didn´t really teach much because with how my Spanish is it is hard to try and teach good principles like my companions. I´m not really that fond of how the older comp. teaches; it doesn't match mine too well, but I´m trying. Depending on who talks, I understand 100% of the Spanish, if they talk really lame and laid back though I don't get much of it.

*question: How much money do you get on your church card a month? How much do things cost?
uhm.. so I got about 140k colones because I didn't have to pay for the apartment rent. They gave that to my companions and then took care of it so all I had to do was buy food, pay for the laundry, and pay for water. Laundry is 10k each, water was only 3k, and food is pretty pricey. It´s mostly more expensive than the states, and anything that is imported from the US is super pricey. Living here is not cheap. 

Our cook cost us 75 mil, so 25 mil each; that was a pretty big hit to our money. I think my companion got like 240 for rent, so rent is over 100 mil. I think they both got 240 so it´s like 200 mil or a little over that, so like $400 maybe? I can´t remember.

**question: How does the money compare to the American dollar? What are the increments? Is it coin or bills?
mil is just how the money works. So 500 colones is a dollar, 1000 colones is a bill, it´s called 1 mil, and then it goes 1 mil, 2 mil, 5 mil, 10 mil, 20 mil, 50mil. Those are the bills, then they have coins for 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 colones. 5 is a silver coin like a penny size but thinner; it is worth about a penny and you really hardly use them unless you ride a bus that costs 255 colons. 10 is 2 pennies and it´s similar to the other but slightly bigger. 25 and 50 are like goldenish looking coins about the size of quarter but bigger and slightly varying in size; 50 is bigger. 100 is like the size of 2 quarters or so, it´s pretty big and it's gold too, and 500 is just bigger than the 100.  I don't have a 500 but here's the other coins:

**So, if I'm understanding the money right then 1 mil is roughly $2 US? Just trying to figure out costs then there.
Yeah water for 3mil. I think we pay electricity too but I´m not sure as of yet. Cereal is pretty expensive, just food in general is expensive. We don´t buy fresh fruit because you get sick. The only thing I can really talk highly of is that you can buy fried chicken for cheap.. which I´m already kind of sick of and there are like bread shops that sell breads filled with stuff like ham or a custard for Ç600 which is like a $1.20 and they´re pretty decent, so if we´re hungry we go and buy one of those. My companions kind of said that you will kind of learn to be hungry because in different parts in the country like Guanacaste and stuff its more expensive for living and you don't get as many store options like a Walmart or a PriceMart (kind of like Costco, costs 15mil for a membership for a year) and you have to buy all your food from a pricey place.

**Are your companions Zone Leaders? I saw a picture of you and Elder Parker that was posted on Elder Moss's blog.
They aren't zone leaders. Not sure where that Moss elder got it from; they´re just normal missionaries. Parker was a zone leader in the MTC like me.

**How do transfers work? How often are they?
Typically transfers are 5-6 weeks, yeah, but apparently the first week is 4, second is 6, and third is 8 for new missionaries.

**So a member cooks your do you do the laundry? Or does a member do that as well for you? 
Yeah, we have a member that cooks our lunches on certain days and a member who does our laundry.

**question: How much does a backpack cost? (he had previously stated he needed to buy one.)

I can get cheapy ones with bad zippers for like 8-12 mil I think, so like $25, and D thinks that you can get one with less bad zippers for like 20 mil, so $40. I´m going to look into it in the next coming weeks, probably after we go take our money out late at night next week. I will take some off my debit card. I´m pretty steller at sewing, I think. Elder Parker borrowed a member's umbrella and it ended up getting like broken and I sewed it and it looked almost perfect. He had string and needles that he took from his dad, his trainer. So I might buy some needles and thread in a few weeks, make my pants and everything last forever with my mad sewing skills! 

I got a picture of me at the mission home today because we had to go there for breakfast, so we had to ride buses for like an hour and a half almost. We had pancakes then took pictures, then we´re back in Heredia now. 
Elder Parker, Elder Solis, Elder Lohberg
Totally an Aaron pose ( :

**Are you going to be okay for money then? Food? Should I mail you something? Did you ever get the letter I mailed to you? I sent it I thought early enough for you to have it when you got to Costa Rica - sad you didn't get it ) :
Yeah, I think we´re okay with money right now. I´m not like a spendoholic, but I´m also not going to save the church's money if it means I have to go hungry haha. I will buy food as needed. I think we´re okay here in Heredia; we have good options store-wise. Don't mail food. I wouldn´t mail anything. Apparently tons of things get stuck in customs if they even make it there and then they want duties, taxes, and they just end up keeping what you send. I think we both know I can go a long time without food. :) Also, I only can check mail when I'm at the mission office or the district leader, and then they bring it back with them. I will be there next Monday, I think, so I can check for that letter. 
view I think from his apartment window - they are on the 2nd floor
**this was a random email we got from an email he was sending to his MTC district people I think and he thought we might think the info was cool too.
That´s the same thing with me too haha! Either super quiet, or super fast, names are the worst for me. I hardly get their names. And all addresses go off like pointing and then meters, or like this ´There´s a McDonald's, you know it? 100 meters south of that and then on the right across the street, it´s a black house with 2 small trees in front´, that´s if you´re lucky. Otherwise they just say `´alla!´´ and point in some random direction and they act like it´s super good instructions haha. (I sent this to my district people and I realized you might find it interesting too. It began by talking about our Spanish, and he talked about how they talk super quiet in Oaxaca, Mexico.

**question: So is it hard to find stuff then with those directions? How do the people react to you asking for directions? Are they willing to help you (friendly) or irritated like how the people were in France?
I need to go mom, love you so much! Only houses are hard to find; they all look similar. Stores are easy to get directions for. The people are like happy to practice Spanish with me. I say, ¨Hey, I´m learning Spanish. Can I practice with you?" they smile and say sure, and then I talked a tiny bit about who they are, what they like, where I´m from, and then I explain why I´m here and start trying to teach them. =) Sneakin´ em into heaven. That´s a joke, but typically everyone lets me practice with them unless they know the missionaries. I have had 2 people say no so far haha out of like 30+ 
I will write more spiritual stuff next week hopefully with a nicer keyboard! 
**mom: cyber {HUG}
  =) hugged back

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