16 December 2013

Letter 7 (Pito): Christmas is almost here?

Dear Panimalay and mga Abyan

I'm going to apologize now, the L key on this key board doesn't work very well (I have to hit it fairly hard) so if there are a bunch of L's missing from this letter, it's because I've gotten lazy.

Alright, here we go! So things I won't miss in 17 months:
1) Laundry by hand
2) The smel of drying fish
3) That sweat on your upper lip that never goes away.
4) No Toilet paper in public CRs
5) Actually, Filipino CRs (Comfort Rooms)

and. . . that's pretty much it! I truly can't emphasize how much I love it here! Sure it's hot (and this isn't the hot season. . .) and when It rains it cools down!

I had my first District Meeting, and it's nice to see other missionaries and see that you're all going through the same things. They get punted (you can't find anyone to teach), you get punted, and you're al in it together!

My district is really awesome, they're all American, and most are from Utah! (hahaha) Poor Sister Marticio, she's the only Pinoy in the entire group.

Let's see. . . What to say? Friday was a Service Project. We got a text from the Zone Leaders, "CSP At --- 8:00 am, President wants everyone to be there." umm... Thanks for the 45 minute warning? So we went! We had to ask 3 jeepneys for directions (and they all replied with a "Meh" attitude), and it wasn't until two nice ladies in the back of the last jeepney gave us better directions. We then asked a lot of security guards (There is one at the door of all the larger stores) the way. Eventually we got there! We were abe to see why no one bothered to give these two American teens complete directions, there were way to many lefts and rights and long strait distances. But we actualy were the first ones to arrive, and on time!
We scooped rice into bags for families for about 3.5 hours, for relief of Typhoon Yolanda efforts. It was pretty fun! I saw Sister Jenkins (She's in my zone) and her Nanay (Trainer) was companions with Sister Massé in the MTC!

We went back this morning to do more, and because we got blisters from the rice cups, we decided to open the bags instead! (How's that for the easiest job?)

So it's been Christmas here for 3 months (Any month that ends in -ber is Christmas Season) So It's weird to think that Christmas is in 9 days! Friday we also had the Ward Christmas Party (We didn't do much Teaching Friday, as you can probaby tell) and we went with two of our investigators (Cherish and Camille. They both are Tagalog speakers, so we do this mix of English and Hiligaynon and it sort of works. All our pamphets are in Tagalog or English here, so that's nice for them.) Also, another one of our investigators, Reynier, came and it really looked like he was enjoying himself. He participated in one of the relays, talked with members, and ate food! But then he had work on Sunday *sigh*. . .
Relay Games!
Ward Parties are definitely very different than from in the states. Louder music for one thing. It also started 1.5 hours late (that woud be why we came 1 hour late). "Thank you for all coming early" pfft! Mormon time does not even compare to Filipino time!

There was a call for "Someone sing a song!" After a few moments of waiting around (Not silence, as it was never quiet) I heard a "SISTER SMITH" and the next thing I know, a Primary boy is pulling me up to the front and I've got a microphone in my hand. Yep, they really like music here. Like our neighbors, who I'm pretty sure were having a drunken, tone deaf karaoke party ast night.(it's so endearing that they have no shame that they're terrible, they just sing because they love it. I love that they're like that. Even if it does make me cringe sometimes)

Speaking of drunken karaoke, we were teaching to an older couple, and they're son came in drunk. Goodbye lesson plan for Baptism and the Holy Ghost, Hello Word of Wisdom Lesson. Yeah. That was an interesting experience.

I ate a CRAB! I actually liked it! I may actually like seafood after this. Sister Marticio had to teach me how to eat it. She helped me a lot.
Crabby the Crab
"Sister Marticio, Do I eat this part?" *I hold it up to my mouth, and put it in my mouth."

"Not that."

Yep, learning experiences. I also ate my first fish here. Yep, it was whole, had eyes, and was looking at me. You just sort of pull the meat off the bones with your fingers, feel for any small bones you missed, and add some rice to it and shovel it in your mouth. That's the only time you ever really eat with your hands here (and with the crab).

Mangos are DELICIOUS! (Namit Gid!) They're so great. I love them (Too bad they're like 25 or 30 pesos. for reference, an apple is 10, and a small/medium sized orange is 5) Oh yeah, everything fresh is sold by weight here. It's a good system, I like it. Buko Juice (Baby Coconut) is great too! it's sweet and has the shredded coconut meat in it. Ice Candy is good too. It's like a snow cone, but with more syrup, and less ice (way more syrup. But not so syrupy, more juicy in concentration)

So food gets really hot here, really fast. Maybe that's because it's a gas stove, and the Philippines doesn't have so many strict safety regulations as the states. . . Hm.... Yeah, I only have to wait a minute for my water to boil for my oatmeal in the morning.

Speaking of food, Hey Mother Dear? Will you do me a favor? (it doesn't have to be now, as you're busy with babysitting for Madrigal Season, and Forgotten Carols and such. Just when everything crazy is over. So it can be in a month, I really don't mind) Can you find me some recipes? Stove top. Dairy is expensive here (But I do have evaporated milk) Please and thank you!

Also, if you haven't sent the family pictures yet, can you send some pictures of my paintings? Or just one of your wall of art. (but don't bother if you've already sent the family pictures. I'll be fine without them.)
 I'm going to have a lot of pretty flowers to paint in 18 months
We watched the Christmas devotiona last night! We had a Member working with us (Sister Shirly, who is awesome) and she was able to show us the way, because we didn't know how to get there. I saw Dad! I love that!

More random Filipino Information: Everyone writes in CAPS. No one really understand Lowercase, so it's all uppercase. So when we fill out our progress records and such, we do it Uppercase, so that the Filipinos can read it.

I shoud write some spiritua things, shoudn't I? Well, it's hard to get investigators to come to church, they say they're shy, or they have work (and so many peope work on Sunday) and to be baptized they have to come 4 times in a row. Yesterday Brother Sulficio came to church ALL BY HIMSELF! We later taught him in the afternoon, and he was absolutely beaming with happiness. His family (of few of his grandchildren) have been in the hospital for various illnesses like pneumonia, and he's so concerned for all his family. But he's committed to baptism and I think he know that this decision will really bless his family. Tani (Hopefully) He continues to come to church.

Salamat for the time zones, Mom, because Sister Massé and I were wracking our brains trying to figure it out. (Her brother will also be skyping home from Africa, so we had to pick a time that didn't interfere with his.) So I'll be Skyping at 8:30am the 26th! So You'll see me Christmas day at 6:30 pm! Sigi? Rumor has it that President has given permission to skype for 2 hours! (And that rumor is from the Sister Training Leaders, so I'm sure it's pretty valid.)

I LOVE YOU ALL (Palangga Ako Sa Inyo!)

- Sister Smith

PS. Don't the power lines just make you cringe? (this picture isn't even the worst of them, because it's on a main road. The poles in the neighborhoods are even worse) Maybe I'll become an electrica engineer instead and come back and fix all the brown out problems. . .
Power LInes

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