Wow. I love this country and this people and the mission is awesome. I have to be quick, but I will try to include some good details.
After a long 11 hour flight of terrible airplane sleep we arrived in Argentina last Tuesday at about 10 am. It´s a bit chilly here but not too bad. Probably the same as your average warm winter day in Utah. The nights get pretty chilly.
The first hour was crazy. Our group of about 20 all scrambling through the airport. The people here are so beautiful and I could tell the accent right of the bat, it was like music to my ears haha! The people speak so fast and I had just gotten off the plane and was super tired so I already couldn't tell which way was up... the Spanish side of my brain was fried. Plus, the last few days in the MTC we had been speaking English almost constantly. Ha, we went through customs and the lady in the window started asking me questions in Spanish (at least I think it was Spanish). I said huh probably 3 times before she finally said in English *your. flight. number.* haha I felt pretty dumb. Then after customs we got out into the main lobby of the airport. A man named Javier from the Argentina MTC approached us and led us out to some colectivos. Some men helped us get our luggage in the back of the bus and we boarded. When I got on the bus I saw one of the men walking around collecting money. I figured at first that it was bus fee or something, and that he had mostly 10s in his hand. I only had a 10 and two 20's with me so I pulled out my 10 and gave it to him. Then the other man with him said *tip for me too.* ohh boy..so I pulled out my 20 and told him they could split it if he gave me the 10 back. All he said was *yes that is fine,* took the 20, and hopped off the bus before I could say anything. whaaaat? my first hour in Argentina and I'm already getting (as Ryan would say) ´swindled and pimped´ haha. shoot. I got so much crap from all the other missionaries on the bus ride.
The bus took us to another airport, where we would fly out to our separate areas. On the ride over we heard Hermana Doyel say *oh my gosh..ew.* so clearly we all look to see what the *ew* was. Out the window we see this man straight up mooning the freeway and taking a number 2. WHAT. Haha I laughed so hard. I love this country already ;)
We got to the other airport and (while keeping a good eye on my wallet and listening for the word *tip*) waited for about 8 hours for our flight to Bahia Blanca. During our wait we bought some empanadas, alfajors, and some ravioli. Yum! We (Elder Tannyhill, Elder Price, and I) also took a walk outside of the airport along this huge brown river that we thought was the ocean haha. I was super glad to find out it was a river cause at first I was like *brown ocean?? What is this world coming too?* It's still bad.. but not as bad.
We took a 45 min flight to Bahia Blanca and were greeted by our mission president and a few of the office Elders. Man it was a sight for sore eyes! I love my mission president. He and his wife are the bomb.com.
We went to a chapel and were greeted with a feast of empanadas! The Lord does answer prayers everybody. :) By this time my brain was working in Spanish again and I was chatting it up with all the office Elders. They were all like *Ohh Elder! Usted habla espanol re bien!* haha it made me feel a little better about myself after the struggle in the airport.
The next day we had a little bit of training and met our new companions! My comp is Elder Moraes and he´s from North Brazil. He´s a great guy and we get along super well. He has only 5 months left in the mission and he is a bit trunky at times... but for the most part he's a good missionary. I'm trying to set an example of exact obedience because I know it's super important. It's hard at times and I need to force myself to stay focused sometimes, but I know it will pay off. I don´t want to be a lazy missionary.
We are serving in Mar Del Plata! (Everyone who has served in Argentina is now laughing at this point of the email). ha It's a bit sketchy at times, but I love the people here and it's been awesome. We live with two Elders named Elder Pilacios and Elder Kleinman. Elder Pilacios is from Cali, Columbia and is probably the most friendly person I have ever met. He is so happy all the time and will look at me every now and then and just say *hehe...Elder Jolley..* ha! I´m never quite sure how to respond to that, but it's hilarious. It's soo weird being around people that literally don't know any English. I'm fine to speak Spanish all the time, but I'm just not completely used to it yet. There are times when I forget that I'm the only American and I just think that we are all doing a huge SYL challenge or something. There's been a couple times where in my head I'm like *ok guys jokes over... back to English for a sec.* ha, one night I asked some Elders in Spanish *does anyone here speak English* and Elder Pilacios looks at me and goes *I...am...Elder Pilacios.* Haha. That was all I could get out of him. Most people think I am from the states or Uruguay and some have thought Argentina too. Until I speak haha. My companion says I speak really well for a new missionary, but I still have that *Yankee* (or as the Argentines say: *Shankee*) accent behind it. As of right now I feel great about the language and can chat with people pretty well. It's so fun.
There are SO many dogs here. I´m starting to think that humans are the minority in Argentina haha. It's ridiculous. Most of the dogs are actually pretty friendly and cool, but every now and then you get the nasty three legged zombie dog that wants to rip out your throat. Super cute.
The food is delicious. I don´t eat as much as I usually would. Mostly because breakfast and dinner don't exist here haha. I haven't eaten anything gross at all. I am being super careful to only drink filtered water and stay healthy haha. So far my stomach is still in one piece :)
The people here are super friendly and I have loved every second with them. The people are seriously what makes the mission worth while. That's an obvious statement, but it's true. Every time I serve or teach, it helps me to forget about myself and my problems. I love it and it makes me so happy. It was amazing to be at church yesterday with all these cute Argentine members. Everyone is so positive and friendly. Even amidst their trials and the difficult conditions of their lives or houses or families. They set such a good example of Christlike love.
I´m so happy, and fairly healthy ;) (that's a joke mom.. I'm fine)
I love you all and I love Argentina.
Elder Jolley (the shankee Argentine)
Dinner at the Liquin house (members)
Me with my pals Damian (left) and Gonzado (right)
Antonela was baptized yesterday! Not my investigator, but it was awesome to witness.
Me with the familia Requelme. We did service at their house on Friday. They're hilarious. They have three kids. Franco (not in pic), Jocsan (left), and Enzo (the little guy in front). They´re my favorite.
*re loco* pic with the familia Requelme.
Selfie with Jocsan, Enzo, and Elder Moraes. These guys make me laugh so hard.