Monday, May 28, 2012

2012-05-28 10 Things I Learned in High School

Random Culture Note: People love yelling out ´´hello´´ when I pass by. I like responding with ´´bonjour´´ just to shake things up.

10 Things I Learned in High School

As the end of another school year approaches, I can´t help but think a year ago I was in High School. What a difference a year can make! I enjoyed (most of) my time in High School, but honestly, I am glad I am not in school right now. I was kind of burned out, so I opted out of more school to do something harder! Oh yeah! (Fist pumping action emoticon here) But, that being said, I did learn a lot from high school, here are 10 things that randomly come to mind.
  1. People are awkward. If you are going to learn that anywhere, High School is the place to learn it. For some reason I thought that would all end after high school. False, I spend all my time outside talking to people now and let me tell you, we all have our awkward moments, but that's what makes us unique. Let´s face it; a world free of awkward people would be boring.
  2. Reading helps. I was lucky enough to really enjoy reading. The random facts that I remember from reading helped in a lot of things, specifically random facts to throw into History essays and big words to throw into English exams to make it look like I know a lot. Hippopotamus. See? It works.
  3. Teachers are people. I don´t know why this was such a revelation to me, but I remember the day that I first realized that in Jr. High. (Don´t ask me what I thought of them before, teachers were, and are, teachers.) I found that when I got to know them as person, they liked me more and life was easier. Kind of helps on the mission too. People really don´t like to be looked at as ´potential baptisms.´
  4. Conspiracy Shamiracy. It´s crazy how many people   *cough*   girls   *cough*   feel like there is a school wide conspiracy against them. Everyone is there to judge you and make your life miserable. When you live with someone who is convinced every little remark is aimed at them, it makes life hard. I had to tell one of my companions to toughen up. Things got a lot better after that for both of us.
  5. Apply Yourself. Remember the kid in algebra who spent every class asking ´´When am I ever going to use this in real life?´´ Well he was right, he´s probably flipping hamburgers now. Not much math there. Likewise with the people I am teaching, I can´t force them to apply anything. This week we had none of our investigators show up to church. FRUSTRATION. But hey, they, like me, choose what they get out of everything by how they apply themselves.
  6. Be Embarrassing, Truth is, most people don´t care about your zits, they´ve got their own to worry about. So the next time you fart in the middle of a lesson and your companion and investigator start laughing, laugh with them. (I can neither confirm nor deny the aforementioned experience happening to me).
  7. It´s NOT a Big Deal. really. I remember how I got before all of these things. So I would stress and stress about little things. Homework, Dates, Presentations, Plays, Performances, etc. I got to a point in my senior year where I was doing two plays at the same time and had to memorize all of my lines in 4 weeks for BOTH plays. I kind of burned out my ability to be stressed from that. haha I got to the point where I brought a book to read during graduation after I gave a speech. You just put in your best effort and leave it at that. (I think this lesson has helped me the most on my mission!)
  8. Just Be Yourself. I remember being so obsessed with whether or not my friends liked me that I kind of lost sight of myself for a while. Trying to please everyone makes you run in circles. I have learned that when I put the Lord first, I am happier with who I am and know where I need to improve most. Everything else just falls into place with that.
  9. Friends. I don´t know how to really sum up this one in a short phrase. High School is a mess of trying to figure out who is your friend and who wants to spend time with you. After school ended, I really only hung out with Spencer. We were chill and accepted the other as they were. We had a lot of fun. I remember one weekend telling him that I was going to hang out with other people because we had been hanging out every weekend. I think that is the only weekend I remember regretting. Want a friend? Be a friend. Works miracles with companions.
  10. High School Ends. As we learn from High School Musical 3 ´´High School wasn´t made to last forever´´. Most of the activities that we are involved in this life end. My mission is going to end eventually. So just enjoy the time you have, and move on when it is over.
Congrats class of ´12. And everyone else, please excuse the lack of missionary theme in this letter. I promise to be more boring next week. ;D

Thought - ´´And so we beat on, boats against the current, bourne unceasingly into the past.´´ - The last sentence in The Great Gatsby. I LOVE that book!

(Sorry no pictures, I forgot my camera and my cord. Next week? Same time? Deal)
*Elder Taylor Ball*

Monday, May 21, 2012

2012-05-21 Strange Comparisons

RCN (Random Culture Note) - Here instead of saying "Cheese" before someone takes a picture they say "Whiskey."
Strange Comparisons

This week we went to visit one of our investigators at his work, which is basically watching a huge warehouse when no one was in it. As I crossed the field to get the other side of the warehouse I thought ´´If I had a machine gun right now this could so be a video game.´´ Probably not what most people would think when crossing a field to go to a large warehouse, but imagination is the spice of life. Here are some other interesting comparisons that I have made here in Argentina:

DOGS: There are a lot of strays here in the street. Most of them are harmless and even friendly but occasionally they are ´´perros malos´´ (or bad dogs). Yesterday when a Dog started to bark and follow us I raised my scripture case and it went running away. ´´The word is stronger than the sword!´´ I thought. A sword would have been cool to have though.

CALIFORNIA: All the houses here have bars outside of the windows. When I first got here it kind of bugged me, now I don´t even notice. But those first few weeks I just pretended that I was in the place I remember having bars outside of its windows, California. A really bad part of California. (But seriously, I feel WAY safer here than I did in Downtown Ogden.)

CAMPING: I remember that one of my Coworkers at Jimmy Johns always described his mission as camping for two years. He went to a different part of Argentina than me, but I feel like I am hiking most days. About 2 to 3 times a week we walk half a mile on a dirt trail to get to a small town.

LORD OF THE RINGS: Those of you who read my first few letters probably know that I love Lord of the Rings. I love the idea of going off and having a great big adventure to fight against a vast evil army and win. I think the mission is a pretty good analogy to that. I can only hope my mission ends as well as Sam Gangee, the Mormon hero. He went, had his adventure, married and had a lot of kids.
*Elder Taylor Ball*

D&C 123:17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all
 things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

 My attempt at flan
My companion

5 month mark.

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012 Mother's Day and Why I am Not a Poet

Random Culture Note - Argentineans will start singing anywhere and everywhere, especially if they are drunk.

Mother´s Day and Why I am not a Poet

In honor of Mother´s Day I decided to write a poem about my mom, so I sat down and this is what I came up with:

I am so talented. So instead of amazing you more with my poetry skills, I decided to write about things my mom has taught my that have helped me on my mission.

  1. How to Work - The mission wasn´t as hard of an adjustment for me as it seems to be for others. I think a lot of that has to do with seeing my mom´s example. My mom NEVER stops working. I remember that we would finally convince her to stop for a while and watch a movie with us at home, but she would just fall asleep because she was so exhausted from everything else that she has done during the day.
  2. Playing Piano - It is so much fun to play piano in front of a large audience every week with 30 minutes to practice beforehand, but I definitely prefer playing to singing without a piano. My mom worked very hard to get me to play the piano. I remember hiding in closets some days to try and avoid playing, but she persevered, because she´s my mom, and now I am one of the few missionaries who can play the piano.
  3. How to Cook - This has definitely got to be the best thing my mom has done for me here in the mission. I made pancakes this last week and they were BEYOND AWESOME. haha it felt really good to make something from home. I have made them 4 times this week. Overkill? yes. Delicious? Oh Yeah. I also make a lot of other things, like today I tried my hand at Flan, which is a native dessert that is really good.
  4. How to Clean - Let´s just say I am a stark contrast from the majority of elders.
  5. How to Love Others - My mom is amazing. She is always doing something to help me or one of my many siblings, and when there is eight of us, that is no easy feat. She is always serving and through her I have learned that service is the best way to love others.

*Elder Taylor Ball*

Thought - ´´All that I am, and all that I hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.´´ - Abraham Lincoln

Alma 56: 46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012 Comics 3

Culture - This week I am going to make pancakes, but since they don´t have maple syrup here I am going to do it the Argentine way - Dulce de Leche! (Caramel on pancakes? I´ll have to let you know how that goes!)

Comics 3
Well, here I am at the end of another transfer. So here are the funny things that happened to me this transfer . . .

For Better or Worse - A member asked me what “bangs” is in English. I thought about it for about 10 minutes and couldn´t remember the word ´bangs´ for the life of me. It took me 24 hours to remember the word ´bangs.´ Goodbye English.

Pardon my Planet - We ran into one of the many borrachos (drunks) here in Salta. He stopped us and started telling us how much he liked our church. He is from Chile, which is where one of my best friends is serving. I started to get really excited, but then I realized he just REALLY hated the Catholic Church. And since we weren´t Catholic, he liked us. We started to walk away and he shouted out that his name was Alcedo, and to remember him. Well . . . now you can remember him too.

Frank and Ernest - 2 words. Nadie - no one, Nadia - name. My first week here my companion told me we were going to go visit Nadia. I was SUPER confused. I kept on thinking, why aren´t we going to visit anyone. I started to suggest people we could go visit, but my companion insisted, we have to go visit Nadia. I think it took me quite a while to finally figure it out.

Also - During the week I substituted the word judgment for Jews . . . not good.

Where´s Waldo - The only time a missionary can be separated from his companion is when he is in the bathroom. Well during the week I came out of the bathroom to an empty church. I looked around and couldn´t see Gallardo. I went through the entire church and couldn´t find him. I went outside and even ran around the chapel. While going around, I noticed a curtain moving in one of the rooms. I ran around and caught Gallardo hiding behind the curtain. That little stinker . . . haha!

Pearls Before Swine - My favorite Elder here is Elder Henrickson, my first week here he told me he was from Buenos Aires. I TOTALLY believed him, later while I was on splits with his companion, I commented that Henrickson´s English was really good. The Elder told me that if I wanted to know why his English was so good, I needed to look at his scriptures. I saw that they were in English. I was like OH so he reads the scriptures in English. The Elder finally explained that the scriptures were in English because Henrickson is from Utah. Sometimes it takes a while for me to get things.

Well that is it! Congrats to Andy and Grant for their mission calls! I am super excited for them both! Please let me know when anybody I know gets a call! I would love to hear about it!

*Elder Taylor Ball*

Spiritual Thought - I have been reading the Book of Mormon this transfer and writing down all of the most apparent promises that the Lord makes in the book, and the one most often repeated was ´´Keep the commandments and you will prosper in the land.´ (1 Nephi 2:20) I met a less active family this week that told me that the moment everything started going downhill for them was when they forgot the Lord and stopped going to church.

The fastest way to send me mail is probably pouch mail (1-2 weeks) or (end of month.)