May 20, 2013

Jason sent about 12 emails today because he was loading pictures and while the pictures were loading he would type and then send that email. He would then start another email and load pictures and type more while they were loading. I think I was able to put it all together and make the story flow.

But first off his address:

Elder Jason Mark Blanding
Oficina Mision Mexico Puebla Norte
Av. 25 Sur #907
Col. La PazPuebla, Puebla, C.P. 72160

It cost $1.10 (or three forever stamps) to mail a letter to this address.  You can purchase overseas forever stamps at the post office too. It is the mission home address and that is where we are to send our letters.  Of course you can email him at jblanding @ myldsmail.net

Now to his letter home:

So I am in Mexico now and wow do I realize just how much I actually had in the states.

I am writing this here because I am waiting for pictures to upload and so I am going to use the time instead of just waste it while I wait.

I have to say one of the things I miss the most is the food and the eating schedule. I can't stand the food here and the eating schedule is even worse. We only really have one meal here called "La Comida" (the food) and it is at about 2 or 2:30. I am hungry all the time because I only have one meal and maybe a few snacks throughout the day. I also miss the fact that I didn't have to worry about where what I drank came from. Here if you drink the water out of the faucet you WILL GET SICK! There is no doubt about it everything you drink has to either be from a bottle or you have to filter it yourself.

[Editor’s note: Elder Blanding could pack it away. He inhaled food.  After he left I didn’t change my shopping habit for a couple of weeks and noticed that I had cheese, meat, milk and bread leftover at the end of the week!! His snacks were four sandwiches and an hour later he'd asked, “When’s dinner?”]

I also miss carpet. I know that sounds strange but I have yet to see any carpet here. None! It is all either tile or concrete.

One thing I am glad about is that I am not driving here. It would be a death sentence. All of the drivers here are nuts!! No one stops for pedestrians, uses turn signals, stops at stop signs and they always cut each other off. The rule of the road here is that if you don't force your way in you are not getting in. He who has the most guts and is bigger; wins.

But either way I love the people here they are always offering us things and what not. Mexico’s economy really is reliant on the small family owned business. I can't even begin to count the amount of small stores that are on one street and whenever we go into one owned by a member they always offer us something.

It is weird to see the families that are well off their houses look the same from the outside but once you get inside they look really nice.

Some even have somewhat nice TVs and computers. The weirdest was the second to the most recent house we ate with (I think). On the outside the "house" looked like every other "house" here metal door no knob only a key hole (all houses are that way) but once you got inside the house they had nice furniture, a nice computer, a nice kitchen, the bathroom even looked nice.

But anyways the people here live very simply and so do we. We are lucky because one of the families in the ward runs a laundromat and so we were able to use a washing machine but everywhere else in the mission you have to wash your clothes by hand (not something I am looking forward to). 

Oh I had my first baptism on Saturday! Well really we stole it from the elders that were already in the ward and when we split the area he was in our part. His name was E* and he is 10 and both his parents are members but he wasn't baptized when he was 8 because his parents have been inactive for a while so it technically counts as a convert baptism. His dad was actually able to baptize him which was one of the coolest parts about the whole thing.

Also what they said about no tracting here is 100% true we don't even street contact because we have been told to focus on reactivating less actives and following up on the referrals we get from the members. I actually think that tracting should be banned in every mission because it is the least productive thing you can do and it is also one of the most dangerous things you can do.

It is hard to open up a new area because we don't have any investigators and we don't know anyone so we spent most of the week just getting to know the members and less actives. 

It is even harder when I don't speak the language but my comp tells me that I will probably know it well enough to talk with people in about a month so that will be nice. Either way I am going to probably (99% chance) be here in this area for the next 2 transfers and we are in the last week of the transfer. I should have gotten here at the start of and those 2 weren't including this one. 

Sorry if these E-mails seem disjointed I just have to keep changing messages because there is a limit on how much data you can send at once and I am trying to send you all my pictures (and for spelling the computer/keyboard are in Spanish). I don't know how much more I will send today but I will try to send as much as I can.

Anyways... there are a ton of dogs here. They just wander around and do whatever they want. I really hope that my allergies don't get the better of me and make things miserable.

Other than all of that I love it here and am so glad I was able to come here (finally). I have kind of run out of things to say and we should probably be going soon. But I will send as many pictures as I can before we leave.

Oh one more thing I don't like: the climate. It is hot here (at least it feels that way) and the air is so thin. Also it has rained every night for the past few days and the rain here is nothing like the rain in Seattle. It is closer to what we had at Disney World. Oh and when it rains there is usually thunder and lightning to go along with it. I almost feel like a traitor to Seattle because I have been using my umbrella and it makes me feel bad :( but I would rather be a traitor than be soaked to the bone.

 Well I don't really have more to write but I will keep sending pictures.

[I caught him while online and asked if he had a mailing address; this was his reply]

They actually said that if we want to actually get the mail we should have you send it to the office not to our addresses.

Also if you want to send me anything while I am here there is a list online of what the Mexican government will let though and what they won't and they said to have to check every time you send anything because it changes all the time.

[Then he replied to his dad’s email]

I arrived here right after it went off and they had already cleaned it all up so I don't have a story from it sorry :(

My area in Dallas was Sunbeck North and my area here is Alamos 2 (2 because we split the Alamos ward into 2 areas, so I am already opening a new area) my companion's name is Elder Swensen and he is from Las Vegas so he is just as gringo as I am (except he can speak Spanish and I can't).

Tell Mike and Matt Congratulations for me.