Monday, July 6, 2015

First Week in the End of the World

Well I arrived safely here in Punta Arenas only to discover that it's pretty much a mini United States! The last week has been absolutely crazy, we spent the night in Puerto Varas Monday and Tuesday, packed up everything in Frutillar, and left for Puerto Montt in the morning on Wednesday. I don't think I'll ever forget that experience. It was 7:00 am, pouring rain, and since the 4 of us who were leaving had too much luggage to take a bus, we had a member help us out. The son of one of the members, Yerson, who is 18, picked us up in the van that they use for their fruit stand. Though I was still half asleep I just remember sitting in the back of a van, with Elder Peterson, with all this seat belts or anything, and just having all these vegetables and old fruit fly in my face as we ascended and climbed the bumpy city of Puerto Montt. We were also really late, so we may or may not of been speeding...But anyway, the flight went great, and after a short time being stranded in an empty airport, somebody finally came to our rescue. 

Though we had a couple hiccups on the way, I know you are all probably dying to know about Punta Arenas. I'm not going to lie, it's bizarre but this place feels like a different mission, it even feels like a different country. That's how a lot of the missionaries describe it, because everything is different. It's kind of luxurious, and parts of it are very rich. My sector where I'm serving has a great view of the Straight of Magellan, and Porvenir...yea...the Straight of Magellan. It's pretty interesting here, and actually this past week the weather hasn't been so bad. It was bitter cold the first day, then it rained, and now it's snowing. 

Here's a list of the differences here:
  • Everything runs off gas here, so heating our house is almost like heating a house in the US.  We have unlimited gas in our house, which is such a blessing. We have a similar estufa like we did in Frutillar, but there is just a gas pipe in it. Sadly, we can't leave the gas on at night - due to safety hazards, so it gets really really really cold at night. 
  • Some of the houses here heat their house with their stove, just imagine lighting all 4 burners of your stove and just letting it go for hours and hours, definitely something different. 
  • Almost all houses here have an electric doorbell and loudspeaker.
  • There are so many classic cars laying around on the streets and in people's backyards. Nice cars too, which makes sense because of the port city
  • The downtown here looks just like San Francisco, I often wonder if I'm even in Chile.
  • We pretty much just wear sweat pants and rain coats to proselyte, its really nice. 
  • Our ward is really different too, last week we had an attendance of 13. The members here, though there are very few, are strong and devoted. It's actually really amazing having such strong members in our ward, they want to help us as much as possible. 
This week Chile won the Copa America, and we actually got to watch it. After the game ended, the streets erupted. I have never seen so much chaos before! Everyone stormed downtown and ran outside screaming in the rain. These people have pride in their country, and soccer. I wouldn't be surprised if they made July 4th a holiday in Chile too, because it's the day they won the Copa America. 

I honestly don't have a lot of pictures, because it's too cold to take my camera out. More will come :) 
With love,
Elder Haddad

This is downtown Punta Arenas

Snowy day today with Elder Salgado my new companion. I know...not a great photo of him, but it's all I got at this moment. He's from Texas, has 14 months in the mission, has been in Punta Arenas for 6 months, and is an amazing missionary. 
The great zone of Puerto Varas, which has now been taken away. It's arranged by time left in the mission, by the way 

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