Mexico is super different than I thought it would be. The traffic here is pretty crazy. They drive cars like we would walk down a hallway at school! There aren’t really many speed limits or stop signs here, they just use speed bumps, so everyone floors it, then slows down really fast in between every bump! I’m in a little pueblo called Conejos, which is about a 10 minute drive from Atotonilco. Houses here don’t have addresses, so I can’t tell you where I live exactly, just the name of the town. From what I understand, it is kind of like the sticks of Mexico. Everyone here uses a ton of slang and has crazy accents, so it is really difficult for me to understand the majority of the people here. My trainer is Elder Garcia from Oaxaca, Mexico, and he doesn’t speak English. He can understand a little bit, but he doesn’t speak it. Luckily, he speaks good Spanish and I can usually understand him pretty well. We walk A LOT here, so I just talk to him in Spanish and ask him questions about it all the time. He is helping me out quite a bit. Right now, I feel like I speak Spanish a lot better than I can understand it. The accent here makes it really difficult. Our apartment is actually pretty decent compared with the other apartments here, although it is pretty bad if you compare it with apartments in the US. It was filthy when I got there though, but we cleaned it up a bit today.
View from the kitchen
The food here is really good for the most part. I really like the tortillas, chimichangas, spaghetti (not like american spaghetti), and rice. It is only spicy sometimes, but when it’s spicy, it is SUPER spicy. There aren’t any stores here except little snack stands, so we have to get a ride to the store once a month or so to go to Walmart and get stuff. There isn’t even a grocery store here. We have decent water, we can’t drink it, but I brush my teeth with it and haven’t gotten sick yet. Sometimes when people give us water, I have no idea where it came from, so I might be drinking tap water without knowing it. I got more sick the 1st week at the MTC than here. I have been just fine. I think I had mango, but it was in a salad with tropical fruit, lettuce, onions, pecans, and a bunch of other weird combinations. I wasn’t a huge fan of that but I ate 2 servings of it anyway. We actually have hot water sometimes, but the water and gas run out sometimes. We are out of water right now. The bugs here aren’t to bad actually. I haven’t noticed to many, but I have gotten a couple bites. The person who sent you the picture was named Brandon, and he served his mission in Tremonton in one of his areas! It has been raining quite a bit, but Elder Garcia said that is not how it usually is. It is a desert here, and there are lots of cactus plants. They are called Nopales and the tuna fruit grows on them. They eat the leaves and use the tuna to make agua de tuna. The aguas here are pretty good, they are basically blended fruit and water, and they are pretty refreshing. This week has been kind of hard because we haven’t had hardly anyone to teach and none of our investigators came to church on Sunday, and it’s hard for me to understand the Spanish here. The people are nice, but it seems like I’m mostly just listening to my companion have conversations with people, so I don’t really talk a whole lot to anyone which makes it kind of hard for me. I get to speak English on p-days though a little bit because there is an elder in our area that is from the states. He told me that the first couple weeks are always rough, so I guess I’ll just keep going and trying to understand people. A lot of people here say they are going to do something and then they leave and don’t do it, so it is super frustrating. Hopefully the next week will be better and I’ll be able to get settled into a routine a little bit. I love you!
Something weird I forgot to mention is that we pretty much just eat 1 meal a day here at about 2:00 in the afternoon, so I am pretty much always hungry, but I will probably adjust.
I forgot to mention, if you send anything it has to be regular US mail and it has to go to a different address than the mission office. It is:
Elder Jared Christian Black
Mexico, Mexico City North Mission
Apartado Postal #98
54740 Cuautitlan Izcalli
Estado de Mexico