Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week One in the Philippines!

Week one in the Philippines is officially over! It's crazy how time is here! Each day feels as long as week, and each week feels as short as a day! Haha, but I love every second of it!
There is seriously so much to tell you, but I don't know if I can remember it all! I'm going to try though!
So, plane ride first. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be- at all! I slept a lot of the time. The other part of the time I talked to this man from Laoz who had never heard of the church! First missionary experience-whoot! It was really fun and he had SO many questions for me. I tried my best to answer them like a good missionary should- I hope he's interested to know more. It sort of seemed like he became interested in me towards the end... good luck finding me in the Philippines, mister! Haha!
The plane food wasn't too bad either. My brothers would be sobrang jealous! I had salmon, a chinese rice soup with chicken, and some delicious tropical fruit! My only mistake was thinking that the grapefruit slices were watermelon! Whew, that was pretty tangy!
So then, getting to the mission home. We got off the plane and literally, I felt like I just climbed out of a swimming pool. It's actually been pretty nice weather here so it wasn't too bad. But the humility, man. It's intense. I'm always wet, I feel like! Anyway, we got off the plane and exchanged money- for just under a hundred dollars I got 4,200 pesos. They are so poor here! Then we started the trek out of manila on some church authorized cars. It was pretty intense. Manila drivers are crazy! At one time our little bus was sharing the lane with a bigger bus and a motorcycle- no joke. Oh yes, and many of the policemen carry around machine guns- no biggy. After that bus ride of near-death experiences, we got onto a bigger bus for about 2 hours. I was so tired but I couldn't manage to fall asleep so I spent most of my time trying hard not to look at the movie playing on the big screen at the front-haha.
Just when I thought that I wasn't going to make it, we got there. I love the president! He's so amazing! He's very understanding,humble, but also bold. One of his many mottos is, if you want to go home- you can't, I've got your passport. Haha, don't even worry president. There is NO WAY I want to do that! Anyway, they fed us and dropped us off at a hotel for the night. The hotel was a little comical and I had my first experience with a non flushing toilet. It was the classic bucket full of water action- just my luck to because I had to go to the bathroom like 6 times that night! I drank SOOO much water because I was afraid of dehydrating- probably didn't need quite that much.
We took our first jeepeny ride which was just the coolest thing ever! I really love jeepenys! They are just so fun! Then we had breakfast at the Presidents house and met our trainers.... so, guess who mine is????? Sister Williams from my MTC district!!!!!! Crazy, right? Yes, she's wonderful and we were both just so shocked to be companions. My mtc kasama was there and she just kept staring at us and shaking her head. And guess what else? President didn't even know that we were in the same district when he assigned us! Crazy, right? Heavenly Father's plan, in the works.
So my area is Batangas City and it's in the City. It's not as bad as you would think- nothing like Manila. It's actually clumps of houses and stores everywhere with palm trees and jungle life in between. The only city like trace is the smog- which unfortunately is pretty thick. They burn garbage here- plastic, paper, everything. It always smells like burning garbage, sewer, and plant life- it's a strange combination. The water tastes like cloride in our apartment but I think I'm already used to it.
Oh, my apartment!! It's really nice actually. It's blue on the inside and has two rooms upstairs, a kitchen, laundry area, and bathroom. And... drum roll.... flushing toilets and shower water! The shower water is bitter cold though. I always have to work up the courage to jump in- just like a cold swimming pool. It's not very pleasant, despite the humility. Hopefully, I'll get used to it.
The food is really, really good! I love it all! Actually, except their sweet spaghetti. Literally, it's sweet. It reminds me of the spaghetti on Elf. Ewww. Sister Williams made fun of me forever when I told her how much I dislike it. Apparently, they serve that a lot here. Along with food, our bishop is the greatest. He's fed us twice and gave us a ride home from the store. His food is really, really good. Hmmhmm.
So now, the people. I really, really love the people here. They are so friendly and sociable. They always stare at us because we're so white. I still don't see how we stand out, but according to them, we are very very white. Everyone really stares at us, and everyone can't wait to say, Hello Po or Morning Po! We always try to respond in Tagalog and it shocks them. They really can't believe we know it. Everyone always stares with big eyes!
Speaking of big eyes, I think I made a little Filipino wet his pants. He was just staring at me, not moving as we passed, so I smiled. I looked away, and then I looked back and he was standing in exactly the same position, with even bigger eyes- and he had peed his pants. So then I smile again, and made a face like "Ooops!" And then he started balling. Poor thing. But the kids here are so cute, family! I just love them all! There is this little girl named Ashley that is just my favorite. She always comes up to me and shakes my hand really hard. I always act surprised and say, "Malakas Ka!" (You are strong!) She always giggles at that. And she was just itching to see what curly hair felt like, because as soon as I bent over, she grabbed some and started running her fingers through it. Then she took a piece and let it boing. Haha, cute.
Oh yes, and before I forget- there was this family from India that we ran into. They invited us into their street shop and gave us soda. They weren't interested in hearing the gospel- they have a Sikh temple they own- but they were really interested in us. We left really soon afterward, because it was potentially going the wrong way. Anyway, one of them was drunk and took hold of my hand and kissed me saying, "I love you so much. You are so beautiful."
Afterward, we went to the COMPLETE opposite side of town. Don't worry too much family, everyone says we're beautiful here because we are white and I have tight curly hair. And lots of people even tell us that they love us on the street- mostly boys as a joke. Anyway, it's pretty common here. One man, actually from Africa, even went into deep detail on why I was beautiful- "beautiful skin and hair- I love your eyes. Your eyes are the best feature." Yep. It happens all the time, so don't worry. It was more funny than anything.
Okay, last but not least- the investigators. This area is a really, really good area- apparently one of the best in the mission. We have 8 investigators with a potential baptismal date- they are just so ready here! Almost everyone that we talk to is interested in hearing more. Finding time to see them is the issue. There is the wonderful investigator that we taught yesterday who wrote on her door "Pick a religion, decide now." She is so close to knowing that this is true and it's wonderful. She really has a strong desire and is diligent in reading her scriptures. Haha, but when we were teaching her it was so hot that I was sticky from it all night! She has a one room house so it was already tight with air and a blocked window. The door was shut and the fan was literally two inches from my face. Whew, I thought I might die during the lesson. But don't worry- all is well now.
So, that's all I have for now I guess. I love my companion, love the area, and seriously love, love the Philippines. It's so beautiful here- even the rundown city life of Batangas. I wish you could be here to see it. So come and pick me up in 17 months, okay?
Love you all so much! Hope you are having an amazing week at home, everyone!
Mahal ko kayo!-Sister Beaumont

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