Sunday, September 29, 2013

Transfers! Livin' it up in Laoag

Hello all! Gotta love how CRAZY life gets during transfer week! I can't even describe it, like, really. It's so frustrating! I just want to say everything that I have experienced but there really isn't even words. I'll try, haha, but wow, it's such a weird transition. So here are some of the things I actually remember from the past few days: 

  • Our apartment. Is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. It is brand new, never been lived in (not counting the bugs of course) and is huge! Two stories, complete with a balcony on the second floor that would be PERFECT for yoga.There is a stained glass window of Japanese cherry blossoms and blue birds in the bathroom door. I don't think I will ever live in as nice of an apartment in my life. Granted, we don't get running water until about noon, there are frequent brown outs, and the bugs are massive, but hey. Can't really complain. Plus, it's just Sister Diamond and I, so it's just great! There are five units in the building, and four of them are rented by sister missionaries. I think there are.. 14 of us that live in the building. and out of that, I think there are 4 Filipinos. So crazy!! So many Americans in one spot! It is so different from my last area. 
  • So our area is about 6 streets wide, and not very big at all. I think there are 5 barangays when in my last area we had about 30. We are also in the very heart of the biggest city in the mission, so we have everything we could want in our area. Pizza places, McDonalds, KFC, Huge grocery stores, literally everything that you can think of. Well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but just about. We walk everywhere, of course, since it's so close. We don't even live in our area! Also, the church is right down street from the apartment complex. It's a shorter walk than it was going to church at BYU! 
  • The members here are so wonderful!! They literally walk up to us and ask when they can come work with us. They are so excited about missionary work! The Ward Mission Leader is an RM, and his wife is too. They met on the mission actually, I guess that's sort of common out here. There are 8 missionaries in the ward, us, and the 2 pairs of office elders and the AP's. As well as President and his wife! We see them every week! So weird. But great! I love them so much. 
  • Tracting here is so great! Everyone is so open, and since it's a rich area, they aren't really weirded out to see Americans. We still get treated kind of funny, but it's a totally different atmosphere. We had one older man wave us over and told us all about the time he and his wife vacationed in Utah. He said they went to some place called Angel's Rest? I think that's real. Anyway, he had pictures and everything! It was a bit surreal. We are not having a very hard talking to people at all. I can anticipate some problems with where they live though, there are a lot of people who visit Laoag or who commute everyday. We will probably get a lot of referrals for other areas, especially since there are about 20 to 25 areas just in the city itself. 
  • We met this one member, she has two children. One named Anti-Nephi-Lehi, and the other named Diati De Dieticus. I know I spelled that horribly, but it's the Greek translation of Doctrine and Covenants. That threw me for a loop. All I could think of was that poor child in kindergarten learning how to spell her name. Cute kid though. 
  • We even got a brand new refrigerator. So nice! But.. well, I don't even know how to describe what happened. I was rinsing something off or something and went to put it in the freezer. Well, my finger brushed the bottom of the freezer and totally stuck. IT HURT SO BAD. I have this little circle of frostbite on my finger tip now, and it is unbelievably painful. I don't really know what to do about it though.. But I have such a deeper appreciation for the pioneers now. Thinking of crossing the plains with frostbitten extremities sounds so much worse than it ever did before. Kind of a stupid experience, but it resulted in a stronger testimony. Kind of cool. haha, no pun intended. 
  • Our landlady has a pet eagle. It's so scary. It's a crested serpent eagle I think? We accidentally locked ourselves out, and went to ask for keys, and it just stared at us from it's cage. I guess it was a gift to her? So weird and just.. terrifying. 
I know that's not it, but that's all I can put into words. Really, it's the weirdest feeling. I am having such a good time here! Our lessons have been really good from the start, and it is a good feeling to feel the Spirit testifying of truth everywhere you go. I am so excited to be here working with Sis. Diamond! Wow, this mission. So fun. 

I love you all! Thanks for everything. :) 

Sister Amy Porter

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

Well, in rolls September, and with it, the official Christmas season! Masayang Pasco to you all! 

Here are a few highlights of the week: 

  • Exchanges! We had them 2 days in a row, one for our companionship and the next for the other companionship in our apartment. Both days we couldn't go out and work because of the monsoon rains. So much rain! May mga baha kahit saan! (floods everywhere!) We had to get pretty creative while sitting in our apartment. So much language study, my poor Tagalog brain is fried. 
  • Bats, bats and more bats! Except this time, they were about as big as seagulls. WHAT. so scary, and they just fly super low and you can hear their wings flap and it's GROSS. I guess there's this superstition here about witches that split themselves in two and become two bats or something? Way creepy. 
  • Ward activity! SO FUN!! We had a talent show, and the missionaries were supposed to put something together. I taught the other sisters the Hawaiian chant that Mom and I learned in choir, and we sang that. Then, I played Song of the Ocean by Jon Schmidt. It was way hard since the piano was so out of tune, and little kids kept running back to the piano and watching super close, but I did it! And, we won the most unique award for our Hawaiian chant! Yeah! haha. Our prize was some snacks wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. :) 
  • Christmas! Yesterday, a woman brought her dog to church dressed as Santa Clause. Haha, I'm excited to see how much celebrating actually starts. How you can celebrate one day for 4 months is beyond me. I'd run out of things to do! 
  • Speaking of dogs, we hit one while in a tricycle the other day. Just bumped it since it wouldn't move, but I still felt WAY bad. :/ It was sad but a little funny at the same time because it looked SO confused, haha. 
I think that's about it for now. Sorry this is short! I love you all, and am so grateful for all the support! We're going to go shopping in Laoag now, we're allowed to go on the first week of the month. Yay, field trip! They have some American food there, which I am grateful for! 3 cheers for Special K and Nesquik strawberry milk! haha. :) Ingat kayo! 

Sister Porter

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