Dear family and friends,
I can think of so many things I would like to tell you, but I never seem to have enough time. Everything thing here seems to take at least twice as long, often three or four times as long. Nothing happens quickly in Argentina. For example, the other day we were trying to get the utilities changed into our name. We went to Camuzzi first, the company for the natural gas. We had looked up the information online and knew that they needed our passport or DNI (Argentine national identity card) and a copy of our apartment contact. We had sent the original apartment contract back to Comodoro since Pres. Rogers had signed that one, but we did have a copy. We walked the mile plus and found the place, that in and of itself was amazing. So far so good. We got in line (it was amazingly short) and waited our turn. When we got up to the desk and told the employee what we needed to do, he asked to see our documents. Feeling prepared, we proudly pulled out our documents only to be told that we needed to have copies made that they could keep on file. They couldn't make copies, we had to bring them ourselves. We asked where we could get copies made and went off to find the copy center. Luckily it was only a couple of blocks away. We had two copies made of each document since we knew we had to change the electric/water/garbage bill into our name as well. We went back to Camuzzi, waited in line again, turned in our documents, and the changes were made. All in all a simple process that only took about three hours out of our day.
Changing the other bill is a much longer story so I'll save it for another day.
Finding a copy center had been one of our goals since Elder Merkley wanted to make copies of a Liahona article from Brad Wilcox, "Su gracia es suficiente" ("My Grace is Sufficient"), to give to people. On another day, Elder Merkley downloaded this article onto a thumb drive, and we set off to find the copy center again. We showed the employee our thumb drive and were told that he couldn't use that. We left to find an Internet café where we could print off the article first, then bring the one copy back to the copy center to have copies made. (Copies are much cheaper at the copy center.)
When we arrived at the Internet café and plugged in the thumb drive, Elder Merkley couldn't locate the article. (He later realized that he had two thumb drives in his pocket and had plugged in the wrong one.) He got online, found the article again, and printed it off. We got in line, paid for the computer time and the four page copy, and headed back to the copy center. At the copy center, we asked for 10 copies. The employee printed out the 10 copies, forty pages, and then proceeded to collate them by hand. Once they were collated, he stapled each copy. Then he went back and manually tightened each staple since the staples only loosely held the pages together. Watching him work, I felt like I was in a time warp of about thirty or forty years. We left the copy center proudly holding our ten copies, feeling like we had successfully navigated another mystery in Argentina!
This email seems long enough so I will close for now, leaving the reason for the copies for another day. Please know that we feel of your prayers.
Love Sister Gwen Merkley