Even though we were half a world away in London, we got to talk to Josh on Christmas Day. He sure sounds the same and it's hard to believe he's been gone for eight months. Here are the things we talked about:
First of all, I asked why it took two months for him to receive his Halloween package. He said that customs is very strict about packages coming into the country, so each person is only allowed to pick up six packages a day. He doesn't know how often someone from the mission home goes to pick up packages, but it's certainly not every day. So all the packages coming into the country for all the missionaries are put in a list just waiting for it's turn to be picked up. So it looks like packages need 2-3 months to get to him in time. Luckily he received his Halloween package just in time for his birthday and Christmas, looks like his birthday and Christmas package should be there just in time for Valentines Day!
I asked Josh if he was eating enough food because he looks so thin. He said that he's skinny because he's walking 20 miles a day and doesn't get any junk food. So now we know the secret to losing all body fat...who knew? Josh said that the areas were recently split and their apartment is no longer in the area they work in. He said it is a very fast 30 minute walk in each direction just to get to where they're going each morning. In fact, his only complaint is that his new companion doesn't walk fast enough so that they can get more done. He also works out in his apartment, push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks etc.
As you noticed from Josh's last letter, his new favorite food is onions. I know, hard to believe, but it's true. He said that he just loves them on everything. He made himself a birthday meal of hamburgers with plenty of onions and ketchup. He said that eating bizarre things is more normal than not. Just last week he had cow heart and tripe (that is the lining of the cow's stomach in case you didn't didn't know, and please don't tell Josh in case he doesn't know). Josh and his companion were at a member's home for dinner when he noticed a bone attached to his meat. Upon closer inspection he noticed that it was a rib cage. They instantly wondered what they were eating that could possible have such a small rib cage and later found out that it was a frog. Apparently, they eat anything in Argentina. All of the Elders got together for Christmas dinner at a member's home, but they still don't know what it was that they were served. After dinner, they went to the church to make their phone calls home to their families. That is the only phone available for them to use.
Josh said thanks for all the money that was given to him. After he got an email from Grandma Wanda that she put money in his account, he went out and bought a very nice rain jacket. It was 400 pesos, about $100. He said that it will make it easier to work instead of having to carry an umbrella. His area is so remote and humble that there isn't a lot of shopping, just things for basic needs, like food. He did say that with his gift money he also purchased a soccer jersey.
I asked Josh if he would like some shoe polish as his shoes look so dirty in his pictures. He said, "Mom, the whole county is dirty." I told Josh that we like the buzz he's had in his pictures and asked who cuts his hair. He does! He's been cutting his own hair the whole time he's been in Argentina. I asked if there are member who are willing and know how to cut hair and he said that there are not a lot of people wanting to serve the LDS missionaries.
Josh said the kids hate Americans because they think we start all the wars, and the adults hate Britain. If you are reading this and don't know the history between England, Argentina and the Falkland Islands, look it up. Funny enough, the people of the Falkland Islands want to be British and part of the British Commonwealth.
That's most of the story, I told him that we're all so proud of him, he is truly a good example to all who know him!