Wednesday, May 11, 2011

He squeezes his hands together. . .

Monday, May 9, 2011
Tangalan, Aklan, Panay Island

It's really rainy in the Philippines.  We’ve had so much rain, and it reminds me of the Seth Avett song "Rain on my Tin Roof."  Oh, by the way, I have a tin roof. 

I'm sitting next to my new companion, Elder Arrieta.  He's really smart, and is a hard worker.  We were really wet because we both didn't have umbrellas (I lost mine – more on that later) and we just ate a place with air conditioning.  My hands are basically frozen.  I can't really type fast, so we'll see how I do.  How is it that I'm cold in the Philippines?  This is the second time.  It's usually like ten thousand degrees here. 

Since I was without a companion this week, I went on splits a lot.  It was awesome.  When I was with the Numancia Elders, I had some time alone – at least by missionary standards.  They have a big apartment.  I sat on the porch outside and just sat.  It was great.  In our apartment, since it is so small, I was always with Elder Pipit, no matter where I was.  It is hard when you have to be near someone who doesn't like to talk to you.  I saw him off Monday.

I was on splits with Elder Light for a while.  We did a lot of finding.  He's an expert finder, probably because people just want to see his blue eyes closer.  Everyone here has brown eyes.  When Elder Arrieta and I went back to those same people, most of them didn’t want to listen anymore.  Man, I wish I had blue eyes!

Click to Enlarge - places mentioned are in purple
Elder Light and I went out to Jawili to teach someone.  We never go out there unless we know she's there because it's so far, so we made sure she was.  When we got there, she was nowhere to be found.  We decided to skip lunch and went to see some waterfalls.  It was pretty cool.  It was super hot, and below each of the falls, there is a natural, clear water pools.  I wanted to take a swim.  We joked about it a lot.

I introduced Elder Light to a couple songs of the Avett Brothers.  He really loves “In the Curve” and “Ballad of Love and Hate.”  I wrote them out for him the morning before we left to go back to Numancia.

I also went on splits with Elder “Puppy Dog” Solis.  He's soft spoken, doesn't wash his dishes, walks into you as you walk, sings out of key all of the time, points with his lips, and has some personal habits that would be considered gross in other countries.  Still, I loved splits with him.  He was so helpful and humble.  He's two transfers behind me.  He's really new, and about five foot four.  He falls asleep everywhere.  He even fell asleep on the ride from Numancia to Makato.  I didn't know where to get off, so I woke him up.  If I had known, I would have let him sleep.  He didn't fall asleep while we worked though.

We worked the whole afternoon in my area something, and got punted eight times.  That’s a record.  No lessons taught.  It was ridiculous.  In the evening I washed my clothes.  I don't like to wash my clothes when I'm on splits because I'm wasting another person’s time, but I was completely out of clothes.  I let Elder Solis choose what we listened to while I washed.  He had never used an i-pod before, so I taught him how to use it.  We didn't get through one full song because he was so curious.  I didn't mind.  He finally settled down when he found music that he really liked.

We worked in his area, way out in the backwoods.  We taught in unity.  It was easy to do because he is so humble.  It went great.  When I didn't understand what they were saying, he said it real quick to me.  He also took me to a giant hill nearby, where we could see all the way to Kalibo and all the way to Antique.  I took some great photos.  It was rainy, and the mist was moving through all the valleys.  When it rains here it reminds me of the Appalachians.  We only taught two lessons because he was so nervous about his new companion. 

We went to Kalibo early to pick up our new companions.  We went to eat at his favorite restaurant, Jollybee, which is like the Filipino McDonalds.  Some homeless kids outside asked me for money, so I told them I'd buy them some food and to wait.  I went inside and ordered, then gave the food to the kids.  Then I went back in and ordered for myself.  I had not sat down when Elder Solis told me it was time to leave, so I scarfed down the food in 30 seconds and we left.  When I looked at the text he had received (on my area's cell phone) it said that our new companions where in Altavas, which is about 40 minutes away.  He was just nervous.  We waited at the bus station for them for a long time, and he couldn't sit still.  Finally the sisters came to pick up their new companion, and they calmed him down.  I left my second umbrella of the Philippines at the bus station. Bummer.

Elder Arrieta plays the guitar, and he can even sing harmony. He's fun to work with.  We're only talking in Aklanon, which is what I need.  It's already really helping my comprehension.  He jumped on the “help James Templo” bandwagon and gave Brother James a hot water pack.  Before, he used a glass bottle wrapped up n a rag.  He's very sensitive to the cold – at least to what seems like cold here – so that was nice of him to do. 

Elder Arrieta came from the office, and is pretty keen on obedience.  That’s fine by me because he's at least fun to be around.  It looks like p-days are going to be more structured.  We studied and cleaned in the morning.  He’s very helpful and kind of playful.  Elder Pipit was more focused on "dignified silence" but Elder Arrieta is not.  He shows all the kids his magic trick.  He squeezes his hands together and makes a farting noise.  Maybe I'm still mentally five years old, but I think it's funny.

British people!  There where white people in Chow King.  It was really crowded and loud, but I wanted to see where they were from - it's not every day that I see white people, you know.  I went over to their table, and they ignored me for a few seconds.  Before I could even ask where they were from, a man looked at me and said "We're busy, we're having a business meeting."  I quickly said “Sorry, I don't want to interrupt, but where are you all from?"  His reply was "Yes, you are, and we're from London."  So, who has a business meeting in Chow King!?  Chow King is as crowded as a New York City subway - who has a meeting there?  If all white people were like that, I’d move back here.

We didn't have much success in our work this week.  We had zero at church, and have zero with a baptismal date.  On the other hand, there were only about forty people at church.  It was really rainy, which also means really muddy.  Also, Pacquio, a famous Filipino boxer, had a fight, so some people chose to stay home and watch that.  We'll give some more baptismal dates this week. 

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