Monday, August 29, 2011

basically poison

Monday, August 29, 2011
Sibunag, Guimaras Island, the Philippines

I hit my ten month mark.  If I were to go home at this point, I would look back on the mission and think “Man, that was a really long, hard vacation.”  I wouldn't really feel like I lived in a different country.  Time flies pretty darn fast.  I'm sure the mission is hardest on mom.  I'm sure it feels the longest for her, but for me, I'm almost a year!  That's crazy!

Anyways, on to important news!  I got some corduroy pants.  They are way cool.  They’re brown, and I feel like a UPS man.  In our last district meeting, they had me stand up, before the spiritual experience, and give the fashion statement.  That’s kind of weird, but I made it pretty funny.  I talked about inside pockets, as opposed to outside pockets, and stuff like that.  I just winged it, but by the time I sat down, everyone had decided to get corduroy pants made.  I can get custom pants for about 10 bucks.  If y'all send me measurements, I can get them made that way.  You'll have to wait two years.

Last Tuesday, we had an FHE with Elizabeth.  She isn't going to move to Qatar for a while, but not because of Elder Conjelado - it just fell through.  We had a blast.  We shared a little bit, but nobody was engaged until we played games.  Man, Flipinos go wild when we play the simplest games.  They can't stay seated.  They get excited too easy.  We played a few games that are too hard to explain, but if you lost, got coal smeared across your face.  I didn't lose, so I stayed clean.

I really don't have much to write about.  We had a nice week.  It rained on us almost every day.  Elder won't buy an umbrella (maybe because if he does, we'll have to work when it rains?)  So the rain slowed us down a little but, we did at least get three lessons or more everyday this week.  We also gave out two more baptismal dates.  None of the ones from the past have been going through.  It's as if we give them a baptismal date and then they run off.  We taught 21 lessons this week.  Before Elder and I got here, the average was 10-15.  We broke 15 and haven't been under since.  So the work is progressing.

It's santol season right now.  It's a kind of fruit they only have in the Philippines, i think.  It's so good.  They can be kind of sour, but I'm getting pretty good at telling if they are sour before I actually taste them.  They are everywhere right now.  Whenever there is a season of a certain fruit, they are everywhere.  Next season is pomlello fruit, so I'm looking forward to that.  Mango season was last April.  It’s a bummer that one is over.  Anyways, we have a santol tree in our yard, so we have quite a bit.  I'll try to send a picture of my comp in a tree getting santol.

This week we went to a former investigator and we were getting ready to actually teach.  After talking for a bit, I looked out the door and saw a really old lady approaching the house.  I ran to her and she held my arm and I helped her in the house.  Apparently she isn't this person's mom or relative, but she's just a neighbor.  She was such an old person.  She only spoke old Hiligaynon, and with no teeth, so neither Elder nor I really understood her.  Still, she was pretty cool.  I have never really had the opportunity to literally help an old person cross the road before.

I was happy for that, but here is the best part: she gave us candy that she had made herself.  I have had some pretty bad candy since being in the Philippines, but this candy really took the cake.  It was orange-red, with sesame seeds.  So, yeah, it was basically poison.  I ate it with a smile.  Sometimes smiles are hard to muster.  Elder didn't eat his until after.  I told him not to because he'd die, but he did anyway.  And he spit it out.  At least I swallowed mine.  So the lesson learned is: Don't accept candy from old people unless they are Mr. Hart.

Elder Conjelado and I are doing pretty well.  It's hard just because I'm American and he's Filipino, but we make it work.  I really do like him.  Here are some good things about him: He always does the dishes before I can get to them.  He always helps me with the language, and he's really close to the members.  When we work with members, he makes sure they have a good time.  I can't really hold a conversation for more than 15 minutes, but he can hold one for however long they work with us.  We're a good crime fighting team.

Also last Tuesday, we hitch-hiked an ambulance.  It was the same one that we took when Elder Conjelado was dying.  We caught a ride late on Tuesday with that old guy.  It was of course free, and of course a bumpy ride.  How cool is it that I can hitch-hike an ambulance?  For the most part, hitchhiking is way safe here, and I can hitch anything because I'm a white guy.

Being tall really stinks in the Philippines.  I'm always hitting my head.  Last Monday while running out of the rain, I ran into a low ceiling.  I almost knocked myself out.  Usually, as a missionary, I can control my tone and stuff, but some people were laughing at me and I yelled at them. "gamay tanan kamo nga pinoy, hindi maayo and pungsod nyo para sa akon!” which means "all of you Pinoys are small, your country stinks for me!"  They laughed about it even though I pretty much yelled at them.

I'm getting pretty good at teaching.  In my first area, if I could teach at all, I felt like I did well.  Now I really can teach to people's needs, and make it important for them.  In my first area, I didn't care what my comp said because there was no way I could do any better.  Now I actually get upset about what my comps say during lessons.  That's a sign that I'm getting better, huh?

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