Wow, 200 huh? (today was Rachelle’s 200th day on her mission.)Has it gone by as fast for your guys has it been for me? well...about 365 left. I think I'll be staying until Oct 19. but that’s just a guess. maybe I’ll stay forever, if they'll let me. That’s funny Skyler gets poked and squeezed in Mexico. I get the same reaction here. I'm not red, just white. and they love white skin. All the women here have whitening lotions and do weird things. Almost Michael Jackson-ish here. Hey when did you send the camera? I looked at the packaging from the old camera and Naga got the package 7 days after you originally sent it. I have zone conference in a week so if I’m Lucky just maybe if the office knows, and has it, I might get the package. Okay so I will answer your questions!
Have you heard from sister Cluff? I have been thinking about her lately.
Yes, I heard from sister Cluff. She got reassigned and is serving in California. English speaking. She’s excited to get back out and working. She had Mono before but has recovered now.
When you go to Naga, how do you get there?
When we go to Naga, we have two options. We can go by bus...which is like a large Jeepnee. Although that takes about 4 hours because the bus stops and people load on and off along the way. Or we can go by van. If van, it takes about 2-3 hours. We go to a terminal, and wait for a bunch of random people to gather, then we all carpool straight to Naga. I have a debate in my mind which one to take each time, because ones really long, and the other is extremely claustrophobic. By van its like a clown car. Actually I take that back. Everything’s like a clown car. If you can see air, there is always room for more people. I've had kids and random things placed on my lap, for the whole trip. haha. Cory would die here. (But I’m still hoping he gets called here). Claustrophobia does not exist. Neither do social bubbles. Each time I withdraw money from the ATM, everyone and their dog is interested at looking at the screen with me. Definitely a lot of social culture differences, but that's fine with me.
What kind of meals do you and your companion prepare, and who usually does the cooking?
Ours meals consist of Rice and meat at every meal. they use red onions, garlic and soy sauce in almost everything. Honestly the meals are not that healthy, lots of carbs and cholesterol. In my other area in Daet, I was teaching 6 people who had a stroke. High Blood is a sever problem here. A lot of the meals consist of fried things. Fried fish, fried eggs, eggplant...fried anything. I've been trying to promote vegetables and fruits in our home. Although, for some reason they don't like to mix a lot of different foods because they think they'll get a stomach ache, so fruits and veggies depend on the meal. Well I should say veggies. Honestly the fruit world here is completely different. I thought they would have American fruits as well, but they don't. If they do, they are imported and extremely expensive, and old tasting. I enjoyed tasting all the different fruits here...but to be honest American Fruit win by a Landslide. Although I hear in the South Philippines they have completely different fruits that are more tasty. Here in the Bicol Region they are known for spicy food. they cook chilies in almost everything. They have this big chili, that is actually the main ingredient in the meal. They cook it and eat it like a vegetable. Spicy, but I like it. Some of my companions from different parts of the Philippines can't really handle the spiciness. I had an Illokana companion, and her cooking was by far my favorite. She cooked Pakbet and Paksiw. Pakbet is my favorite. It has squash, string beans, orcra....sorry, they have different vegetables here as well. and I don't really know their names in English. The Bicol region also has a lot of coconuts. So sometimes instead of oil we will use coconut milk. Although all this food takes time to prepare, and usually we run out of time. Sometimes we eat on the road...I like quack quack. Deep fired quail eggs, and some random sauce. oh yeah, Balut...its not a delicacy.. Its a street food. Cheap, quick, dirty and always available. But I stay away from that. I still cant get over the fact there's a beak and feathers.
Did you translate the conference talks for the non-English speaking members?
At conference I sat next to my investigators. I didn't say much, Because I wanted to keep the peace. Although after wards at their homes I recapped what was said. All my investigators were so touched by the Tabernacle choir. They all talked about their hearts burning with love.
Do you live in an house or an appt.?
I live in an apartment. Made out of cement and painted pink. We have no air conditioning, just fans. We have a wash room out back, and that’s where I slave over my clothes for 3ish hours each Monday morning. Although this morning.....I played tennis!!!! I was so happy. Last night my companion and I were walking in this neighborhood, took a short cut, and found a house with a tennis court. I guess its their business. It felt great to get some exercise, none of my companions really like to exercise, or from my perspective, its not really apart of their culture. I played 3 Philippinos, and they kept trading in and out, and they were shocked I still had energy.
On average how many lessons do you teach a week?
Lesson averages in our mission depend on where you are at. In my area, the averages are a bit lower because its more province and I have to climb mountains and trudge rice fields to get to people. But this is our average work - Lesson w/ member present-8 Lesson to recent convert or less active-9 other lessons- 18
What to you miss the most from home? (besides chocolate)
Hmm.. what do I miss from home? I miss dairy. Its rare to find a cow here. So there is absolutely no dairy. No milk, no yogurt, no CHEESE. They actually do have imported ice-cream, although its extremely expensive. As missionaries we have to take calcium pills. They do have powdered milk, so usually I’ll drink hot milk with sugar. I miss good bread. the bread here is like a bagel. Really heavy and stale because its usually imported. But I hope you asked me what I miss just for laughing purposes. I don't need any packages or things like that. I'm becoming a Philippino. and perfectly fine depending on my resources here!
Although all these things may change in my new area. I hear rumors of fresh milk in Goa. and I think there is a pizza place in Naga. Food, people, language, surroundings change in each part of the Philippines. I've seen differences in my companions too. My companions from large cities definitely view life differently than ones from provinces. President told me I’ll be transferred in 4 weeks to a new area. So we'll see what the Lord has in store for me there. Although for now I’m enjoying Daet, and taking in everything while it lasts.
Love you all, thanks for the questions. If you have more, I’m an open book. I may be sending more pics. Take care, until next week!