Monday, December 9, 2013

First Email from the Philippines! December 8, 2013

Holy Cow I love it here so much. I'm in the Philippines! It's so crazy! I think my jet lag has worn off now, I couldn't sleep for the first two nights because my schedule was off, but all is well now. And it is so hot here! I'm in this little internet cafe and I'm just sweating everywhere. But it's awesome. I wouldn't want it any other way. I expected it to be hot, so I'd be disappointed if it wasn't. It's actually bearable. I just don't think about it. We have fans in our house and that helps a lot. Our house is really nice, really rich compared to everything else. There are only little jumping spiders and lizards that live with us. Oh and frogs. There are a million frogs here! And roosters! They don't shut up. Constant crowing.. all night long!! Stupid birds. And dogs. It's so sad. There are a million dogs here. All pretty small and extremely skinny. Because I worked with dad this summer, I can look at a dog and say, "he needs a rhinoscopy, he needs an ultrasound, he needs to get rid of whatever that thing is that makes him lose all of his hair, he has fleas, etc." and all of them need to be spayed. It's nasty. They are the ugliest, saddest dogs I've ever seen. The hairless ones are the worst, the ones that have that disease; dad knows what I'm talking about. And there's a lot of cats. They're not as bad, but they're all really small. 
So that's for the animals. There's also so many plants and trees and flowers. It's too bad that you can't really enjoy them because you're too busy looking at all of the poor houses. People are soooo poor here. It's so sad. But at the same time that's how life is here. I'm in the Bacolod South area, Mansilingan 2nd Ward. If you wanted to google maps it. It's near the area with all the streets are named after planets. Some other areas that I can remember are Pana-ad and paghidaet. But yeah, it's awesome here. They absolutely love Americans. Everytime we walk down the street they yell "Guapa!" to us. Meaning "beautiful!". It's even more awkward when they try to speak English to us and say "You are butiful wimun." So awkward. Seriously, everyone turns and stares at us. We're are going to cause an accident one of these days. They stick their heads out of their cars/tricycle things to see us. But it makes sense. We are the only white people we've seen here. The other two sisters in our apartment are Polynesian. 
Anyway, what else? They provide permethrien (?) and bug lotion stuff for us. We only have to put the bug repellent on at four every day. That's when the mosquitoes come out. I've had a few mosquito bites, but not too bad. I've actually been getting bitten more from ants than anything else. On my feet. But it's ok too, not that bad. Thankfully I don't have bed bugs though. At least not yet. My companion has them, so it might just be a matter of time. But the bugs aren't that bad. I'm the bravest in our house. All the other sisters hate them so much. One sister freaks out everytime she sees a spider. She also says "Gosh dangit!" every five words. She's so funny though. I love love love the sisters in our apartment.They are so funny. And they blame me for everything because I'm the greenie. haha. 
So I spoke in church yesterday. Church is in Illonggo, English, and Tagalog. Mostly Ilonggo though, so I gave my talk (introducing myself and bearing my testimony) in Ilonggo. The person giving the talk after me was a return missionary coming back to visit the area. He was making fun of me, saying that he used to be as bad as me at the language. Then after sacrament he found out I had only been there 5 days! He totally thought I had been there much longer. Everyone does. Everyone is shocked when I say "Nagabot ako sa Miercoles lang sa Philipinas so pasensya, nagatuon ako sang Ilonggo subong" - "I just arrrived to the Philippines on Wednesday, so sorry, I'm learning the language right now." Everyone says "Sagad gid!" - "So talented". I'm learning really fast I guess. I can understand the gist of everything that's being said. It's awesome. And I am already teaching in the lessons. I just need to get rid of my American accent now. 
So we found 35 new investigators. Pretty much an entire neighborhood/street wants to hear the gospel. We hold like a class now to like 15 people. It's crazy. We're constantly finding people. No one rejects us. There is so much to do! So pretty much every morning we get up, study, take a tricycad to our area (a bike or motorcycle with a side thing for people to sit in) and walk around and find people. We don't really make appointments with people because they're always home, and appointments don't work. They never remember. So we walk around and talk to everyone we see, trying to hit our investigators and less actives all at the same time. There is a lot of walking, but it's not bad at all. Oh and I am totally going to gain so much weight in this area. We are in a ward that loves to feed us so we have a dinner appointment almost every night. Last night they dished our bowl up for us. When I saw it I literally said these words in my head "HOLY SHIZNIT, HECK NO I CAN'T EAT THAT MUCH!!" But I did. And it disgusts me to think how much I ate. It was like daddy size after he got seconds. AND RICE EXPANDS IN YOUR STOMACHE! But oh well. It was a really simple meal, and my companion hates it, but she ate it anyway. Pretty much it's all rice with an eggy mix/sauce over it with quail eggs and a little pork. Hopefully I'm really not allergic to eggs. But family home evening with them was a lot of fun. We played a game similar to big buddie (?), but instead of saying numbers to pass it we said parts of a cow in Ilonggo. They all thought it was HILARIOUS because I had to not only play the tongue twister game, but I had to learn all of those words in Ilonggo and remember who had them and what they meant and how to pronounce them and learn all the words that go in between. They laughed their heads off. But I actually did very well and learned all of the words. They are like "dang, you're fast at learning this language". Haha, it was a lot of fun. (Sorry, I'm starting to talk like the Polynesians in our apartment)
Anyway, I don't have too much time left, but this is the perfect place for me. I love the rain, (we got caught in it once and had to go back to get our umbrellas because we forgot them, hehe), I love the plants, I love all the baby chickens and duck everywhere, some of the baby dogs are cute, I love the food (even though it hurts sometimes to eat so much of it), I love my companion and roommates, the shower is cold and even though I don't love it, it's okay, I love to see all their little houses even though they are so poor and made out of garbage and sticks, and yeah, I love it when I can understand and hold a conversation with someone in Ilonggo. And yeah, everything is great! I'm going to try to finish my training in 6 weeks not 12, because that's just how I am. Um, my mission president is extremely strict, but that's okay too. He is making Sister Kumar take her nose ring out after all that we went though at the MTC. He won't call President Nally. I mean, the general authorities told her that she can keep it, but I think she's so tired of the problems it's creating she's just ready to get rid of it. So yeah, I'll see if I can send pictures now. I love you all!!!!!!
 - Love, me

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