The Life of Bon: Welcome to Argentina!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome to Argentina!

***Warning:  This post is a little long.  And if you only like seeing pictures of me where I look very hot and sexy, this is not the post for you.  I repeat, THIS IS NOT THE POST FOR YOU!***

My lil sis is on her way to Argy as I write this.

That statement would also be true if I wrote this twenty hours ago.

It would also be true if I wrote it in twenty hours.

It's a long journey to Argentina, you see.

There's a lot I wished I knew before I ever set my dainty little foot in that country.  Stuff no one ever warned me about.  Lucky for Mary, I blazed that trail for her and you better believe I'm the kind of gal who shares her knowledge with her little sis.

To Mary: 
Advice for Conquering Argy

1.  The country smells like an outhouse all the time.  Get used to it.  It's just the smell of the land.

2.  Don't try to ask anyone if you can come by to teach between 1 and 4 in the afternoon.  That's siesta time my friend, and if you think those Argentinians don't take their siesta time seriously, you've got a thing or two to learn.

3.  Don't touch the dogs.  They're diseased.  If a dog starts following you, bend down and act like you are picking up a rock and that dog will high-tail it out of there. (**Disclaimer:  This trick does NOT work in the U.S.  It has been tried.) 

Oh, just a diseased dog roaming the streets of Arg.

4.  If you still don't know about the birds and bees, you will really get your chance in Argy.  Watch a couple of dogs for awhile and you'll undoubtedly understand how it all works.

5.  The dogs don't shut up at night.  Ever.  So if you think you're going to get a good night's sleep the first few weeks you can just fuhgeddabout it.  (And Hubs wonders why I hate dogs so much!)

6.  Don't flirt with the Elders (I had to include that one for dad.  Heavens knows mom isn't going to tell you that!)

7.  Oh, I'm sorry, you don't like washing all your clothes by hand?  Too bad, sista.

8.  They put eggs on their hamburgers.  Just go with it.

9.  Stand guard for the first time a woman breast feeds in front of you!  Argentine women have no sense of privacy, and  I reckon you'll see a few more bosoms than you bargained for.

10.  You're gonna be teaching a lot of bare chested men.  It's too hot for shirts around these parts.

11. These people don't own jack crap. Take that in to account when they turn the gospel down and won't give up their life to follow your message- they haven't had all the opportunities and blessings that you have had throughout your life.

The home of one of our investigators.

12.  Just because the men are drunk and perverted and cat-calling you from the side of the road, doesn't mean they can't listen to the good word!  Teach 'em girlie, and you've got yourself  a baptism!

13.  When it is sweltering hot at night in the apartment, take a shower in your garments and then sleep in 'em wet.  Or, if you have a porch, drag your mattresses out and sleep outside. It's the only way to get a little shut-eye in December, January, and February.
Sleeping on the roof in December- and a taste of ice cream before dozing off.

14.  During the day when doing personal and companion study, you can cool off by wrapping a wet towel over your head.

15.  When you see the fireworks on Christmas and New Years just love it.  You're never going to get Christmas fireworks again.

16.  Eat ice cream.  Every day.  It's dirt cheap and it blows U.S. ice cream out of the water. Eat ice cream on awful days when no one will let you in and on amazing days where you taught seven lessons in a row.  Eat ice cream when you love your compy and when you hate your compy.  Eat it when you commit someone to baptism and when someone bails on a baptism- after you've filled up the font.  I'll tell you this much, I never would've finished that mission if I didn't have ice cream to look forward to at the end of the day.

Before taking out the trash one P-day... each of these are 
containers for half pints of ice cream.

17.  When the relief society president is the same person as the primary president and the branch president doesn't have counselors and the elders quorum president is going to jail and the young mens president is inacitve, don't get depressed.  It's how the branches run down there!

18.  When only nine people show up for church six weeks in a row it's not your fault- no matter what the APs say.

20.  Take pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.

21.  There's going to be some torrential downpour.  This makes the whole country reek even more because all the sewage on the streets gets wet and smells to reach the heavens.  And just know that when it rains, no one leaves their house.  But you still have to.

22.  If you need to cry, do it in the shower where your compy can't hear you.  Cry loud and hard, and then go on with the day.  But you won't need this one, because you are tough.  Tough as nails.

23.  Don't bother trying to find a grocery store- there aren't any.  Learn where the best bread shops, vegetable stands, and meat markets are.  There is a kiosko (grocery stand with a strange and unpredictable variety of food) around every corner and when you come back to the states and have to drive two miles to the grocery store, you'll think it's a crying shame.

24.  Look at the stars.  Find the Southern Cross and don't even think about The Big Dipper here at home.  He'll still be here when you get back, but you only get 18 months with Mr. Cross.

25.  You will most likely puke more in the next 18 months than you have in your entire 21 years of life combined.  If you're puking more than once a week, you most likely have parasites.  The bad news is you will be sick.  The good news is you will lose a lot of weight.

26.  Don't feel bad when people make fun of you for your American accent.  That's part of the reason why they love you so much.  And when they call you "gringa" and "gringita", embrace it.  Because once you're back in the US with a million gringas, being a gringa ain't so special anymore.
27.  Learn Argentine slang, jokes, idioms, and nuances of the language.  Argentines are so stubbornly prideful about their language that they don't even call it Spanish, it's "Castellano!"  And it's beautiful.

28.  The first six months out there, time will crawl by and you'll think it'll never end.  The last six months will be a kind of warped time on speed, and before you know what happened, you'll be on a plane home.  Enjoy it while it lasts, honey, because it ends much too soon.

29.  When you start having dreams that you're teaching the lessons in Spanish and the spirit is strong, even in your dreams, then you've made it.  Made it to the big time, sista.

30.  Carry a water bottle around with you.  Leave the apartment without it and die.

31.  Don't worry when you're sweating like a whore in church after only ten minutes outside.  That's just the way it goes.  Make it a contest with your companion- first one who has a drop of sweat roll down her back gets a free Orange Fanta from the compy.

32.  Memorize scriptures or practice Spanish as you walk.  Because believe you me, you're going to be walking.  A lot. And a lot.

Packing to go home from the mission- looks like I'll chuck the shoes.

33.  Don't think about home too much.  We'll still be here when you get back.  Besides, it's not like we even miss you around here!

34.  Love those lazy, sleeping, partying Argentines.  They're some of the best people out there.  And the members?  You won't find 'em any stronger.

35.  Cry when you come home.  Cry and cry and cry.  Even if I didn't tell you this, you'd do it anyway, because you won't be able to help but bawl your eyes out when it's all over.

Can you tell I'm just a little jealous?


  1. Ahora yo quiero llorar! Las memorias que vinieron a mi mente mientras lei tu blog. Gracias amiga! You nailed Argentina to a T!

  2. Ok Bonnie, Your blog cracks me up and is awesome. If you don't know who I am...I am Becky's friend Melissa Potter. And one correction, you get fireworks at Christmas and New Years in Louisiana when we lived there.

  3. Ok, so I'm crying. And I'm reminded of what a great missionary you were...and I'm proud of you for that all over again.

  4. OMG the dogs would completely break my heart into a million peices. :(