Si, after 6 months of waiting I am in Buenos Aires Norte, serving the Argentine people. I know everyone says that serving a mission is hard, but I didn´t really understand what that meant until I got here. Argentina is an entirely different world, with different customs, foods, language, and way of life. I think I can safely say I´ve experienced culture shock coming here. However, Argentina is a wonderful place, and I´ve already enjoyed being here. I´m serving in Parque Patricios right now, which is in the city.
(Mallory was unable to get the computer to upload her photos today so I have added stock photos of Parque Patricios from the internet of things she mentioned and the area there.)
It´s a lot like New York in some respects. Looks of taxis, buses, people, and shops. Everything, clearly, is in Spanish, and although I learned Spanish for 6 weeks in the CCM I´m nowhere near fluent. Everyone who has heard me speak says that I speak very well, which I think is kind and somewhat generous. I can speak well enough to get my point across and bear my testimony about the gospel and about Christ, and that´s all for now. My ability to speak actually isn´t the concern: it´s understanding Argentine Spanish! Some accents are almost impossible for me to understand, while others I can understand good portions. Finding the courage to open my mouth and speak to strangers in the street in Spanish is also challenging for me. I´m not always the most outgoing person in English, but in a different country and different language I can sometimes be quite shy, although I´m working through that.
(Example of an apartment bldg. in Parque Patricios) Mallory has been here and says it is called Torres.
However, Hermana Downs and I took the little subway to terminal C and found some payphones that worked. We then ran back to terminal F, where we boarded our international flight. The plane was huge! 2 seats on the left, 3 seats in the middle, and 2 on the right. The entire plane was mostly missionaries. 70 of us in total heading to Argentina. Sitting right behind Hermana Downs and myself was a lady and her two little boys. We ended up talking to her about the gospel and gave her a Book of Mormon with our testimonies inside of it. Talk about getting down to business! The flight went from 8 at night to 8 the next morning, or around that, and I tried to sleep, although I really wasn´t successful. Then we went through customs, got our luggage, and were greeted by President and Hermana Ayres! How nice it was to see Americans who spoke our language and knew their way around! They took us by the temple, the Casa Rosada (the Argentine version of the White House, but pink), and a beautiful Catholic cathedral. Then it was off to the mission home. There I got my new companion and said goodbye to three of my very best friends: Hermana Johnson, Downs, and Hawkins. I usually do ok during goodbyes, but I couldn´t help but be emotional. So much was new and everything that I was used to was gone or waving goodbye. One of the Hermanas was getting ready to leave to return to the states and was crying too. She said it was harder on her end, as she loved the people and didn´t want to leave them. Then we were literally off to put my bags in the apartment and go off and teach. The first day was very long and emotionally rough, and I couldn´t wait to take a shower and go to bed.
Life here is very different, and it´s going to take time for me to feel comfortable here, but know that I love you all and prayers would be much appreciated.
Much love,Hermana Mallory Dickson
(I had asked Mallory some questions which she answered in her emails to me.)
(What is the bathroom like there?) There are 2 toilets. I use the one that looks like the kind we have there, there is also one that looks like a sink, I have not used that one. (probably a bidet)
(Is it cold there?) It was cold when I arrived and then warmed up, now it's cold again. Don't worry they gave me blankets. It is starting to be Spring here!