We made it! 3 hours of church in Spanish. I'll admit that the sweet, sweet man that translated for me (I think I was the only one with earphones) during sacrament meeting, really made my day! I owe him BIG!
I was a nervous wreck. The whole way there I kept thinking that I should have taken a freakin' Xanax... The kids were fine. Greg fine. Me - a basket case.
We were greeted by a few familiar faces and many others who had 'heard we were coming'. The family that moved out on Friday (the people we bought transformers & heaters from) gave everyone a head's up that we were here.
Typically, there are 4-5 other gringo families, but most are on holiday right now, so only a few gringo husbands remained (someone's got to work). We had met several people back in April when Greg and I were here house hunting and everyone remembered us and welcomed our little family with open arms.
The Young Women's (our group for teen girls) president and Relief Society (our women's group) president (both Chilean) came and introduced themselves to me right away. The YW president was disappointed that we didn't have any daughters as there are very few girls in our ward. The RS president brought her 4 teenage boys over to meet us. They were adorable and spoke English. They asked both of my boys to help pass the sacrament right out of the gate and I think that helped them immediately get acquainted.
I think Andrew was grateful they didn't ask him to bless the sacrament. He needs to learn that prayer in espanol. :)
All of the youth meet together for Sunday School and then all the boys meet together for 3rd hour Young Men (the group for teen boys). There are several boys who speak english and all were very friendly and welcoming. I guess the whole community (kids, adults, neighbors, etc) come together every Wednesday evening at the church for soccer. [They told my boys that they have a field. Come to find out, that "field" is a couple of soccer goals on the outdoor basketball court.] The boys are totally excited. Mutual is Thursday night and they have an outing planned for this Saturday where the boys will go and serve at a home for the elderly. They had a great first day.
Having the first meeting translated was a welcomed relief for me. The boys didn't take advantage of the service (maybe they're too cool for the headphones). The sweet lady that spoke today is moving next week to Tuscan, AZ. She is from the states, but previously lived in South Africa before coming to Chile 18 months ago. She talked about her desire to be able to speak to the people of this ward but her inability to really do so. The language still eludes her and she expressed her gratitude for the kindness shown to her. Crap. She didn't get it after 18 months? I only have 1 year... Her emotions were exactly what I felt. The isolation and desire. It was great for me to know that I am not alone in my feelings.
I tried to follow along during 2nd hour Sunday School. Greg sat with me and they asked him to read something right away. Thank goodness they didn't ask me. I'd hate to have to say no - but I wouldn't be able to do it. I eventually spaced out a little and watched the clock most of the time.
Third hour was a little intimidating. I had to go at it alone. Greg couldn't go with me to the class for women. Well maybe he could have, but that would have been weird (trust me, I thought about it).
They tried to introduce me at the beginning and I had no idea that they were talking about me for a minute. Finally I got the drift and told them my name. Tammy is hard for them to say. It's more "Tommy". They wrote it out on the white board for everyone to see "Tamy" I corrected them with my spectacular spanish "dos m". I really just repeated the sound they made for "m" and added a "dos" in front. Whatever, I impressed myself with that little tidbit.
I think they talked about visiting teaching reporting and that they wanted us to fill out some paper in the binder (yes, they have binders they pass around in Chile too). The lesson was from Jeffery R Holland 2012 conference talk. I'll have to print it out to re-read. They were looking up scriptures and the sweet newly baptized sister (who was confirmed just today) spoke a little english and helped me along. The two sisters who spoke a little english immediately flanked my sides today in class. They helped me along as much as they could. The teacher put the word "Mateo" on the board and I had NO IDEA where in the scriptures "Mateo" was. They helped me find "Matthew". I guess I should have known that.
I sat through the lesson and got a vague idea after reading from "Matthew". I tried to smile when others were laughing. The Chilean people are very animated in their gestures and I love that - it was interesting to watch.
At the end of the lesson, the RS president asked if I could follow along at all. I lied and said, "a little". From now on, know that whenever someone from another country moves in - NEVER believe them when they say that. We don't have a stinkin' clue what is going on.
I truly feel like the best way to be a part of a group is to serve them. Kris Olmstead always says that if she feels in a funk, she gets out and serves. Great advice. So I signed up for our family to clean the church and also to feed the missionaries. We'll be cleaning the church on the 21st of July and feeding the missionaries on July 4th! With 4 of the 5 missionaries from the US, it will be a great way to celebrate our holiday here in Chile.
They have also asked if I would lead the music in RS next week. No big deal right? Well, they do not have a piano in the RS room, so the person that led the music today sang the first line, counted to 3 and then everyone started singing together. YIKES! They will call me later this week with the song # so that I can practice. Not sure if that is the way it always goes, or if this is just a one time thing. I'll have to ask that - but will she understand me??? Crap. I've got to get this Spanish language thing under control. I'm too social not to be able to communicate. :)