Hi Mom. Sorry I haven't taken any pictures in the last week, but I'll make sure to this week.
You asked about where I had to buy a suitcoat for my 6-week meeting. There are stores here called 'paccas.' Basically what happens is the clothes donated to Goodwill get sent here and given to warehouses that sell clothing by the pound in giant bundles, almost like hay bales. Paccas buy them and sell the clothes super, super cheap. There's always nice clothes for the gringos because no one else is big enough to fit in them. I couldn't go to a very big pacca to look for a suitcoat, just a small streetside one with like one room full of clothes, so it wasn't as cheap as most, but it still only cost me like 200Q (30$ I think?) I haven't had an opportunity or need to find an umbrella yet, but there are some members who will pick a good one up for me if they see one.
I don't really feel adjusted at all to this climate. It's super hot, but this is the hottest place in the mission. Yes, its really in the 70s and 80s every day. Most people in other areas of the mission leave with sweaters on in the morning...I'm looking forward to that! I haven't really noticed the humidity, and it has rained a few days in the last couple of weeks, but it's not really the season for that yet.
This area is pretty much all mountain, hiking all day, but usually paved with concrete or something. The stuff you see in the pictures is pretty much our everyday proselyting area. So people here in town build their houses out of concrete and rebar, and when they have kids or whatever, they just build another one on the side or on top. That's pretty much what makes up all of the buildings. Eventually the bottom floor front room gets turned into some sort of store that whoever is home watches, whether they sell tortillas, or work leather, or are tailors, or just like chips and soda or something. The streets are lined with them. Our apartment is like that, on the second floor. Here in Chiantla 3 floors is starting to become not too uncommon.
The soda... There are pretty much all of the same drinks down here, but they're expensive, and there's tons of off-brand alternatives. We're not allowed to drink caffeinated drinks anyway, and I can't find any diet sodas that aren't caffeinated, so I don't really drink soda. Mostly water, sometimes milk. Everybody here has those water dispensers with the giant jugs that go on top for drinking water, and they sell the jugs at most stores for like 15Q. That's how we drink our water.
I feel pretty comfortable teaching now. Sometimes I forget or don't know a word or two, but I can get my messages across and I'm told my grammar's good, I'm just still building vocab. So as far as teaching goes, I have pretty much all of the vocab I need. I haven't had to teach or talk or anything in the ward here. It's pretty big and well established, but my companion does play the piano for sacrament. Before he was here they played cds.
I've been hearing about the celebrations this coming week for awhile now. It's huuuuuuge here. Semana Santa. I'll have to send you pictures. They decorate the entire city, booths set up, all sorts of stuff all week. From what I've heard they eat pan (literally translates to bread, but they don't really have loaf bread here so they are usually referring to pan dulce, sweet bread, which is almost more toward cake.) They also call it torta. We have already been invited to 5 different houses to eat pan in the next week.
So we usually eat lunch with members every day, and take care of ourselves for the rest. And usually a couple of lunches don't happen per week. But one cool thing that has happened this week is every lunch happened, and Elder Van and I got dinner given to us 5 days in a row, not one of them planned. Like Wednesday night was ward council, and they decided to cater it with Pizza. And Thursday night we had a lesson scheduled with an investigator, and we showed up and they had dinner for us. On Friday night, one of the members here told us to come check out their restaurant that they just opened, and they gave us a bunch of food for free. (We did try to pay them.) But my point is, due to a few unforseen events, and poor planning, Elder Van and I are pretty much out of money, and I think someone knows that, and I think we know who that someone is! We definitely witness miracles, we just need to look for them.
Love you guys; hearing from you is also the highlight of my week. Can't wait until the next one.