Monday, March 31, 2014

The Phlipping Philippines





yes, I have been saving that joke for like four months.  I hope you laughed as hard as I did.  So, I'm officially here!  It's been a crazy couple of days.  I don't have a ton of time, but I'll try to give a quick run down.  The last couple of days in the MTC were a complete blur.  We had so many meetings and things to do.  Saturday night we decided to do a load of laundry one last time so we didn't pack dirty clothes.  So we met with Leah one last time, and then promptly went and did our laundry.  We started it around8:30.  So in theory it should have been done around 9:30.  So we go and start packing and are doing all of that fun stuff and we go to switch the laundry to find out that one load just stopped half way through!  So we just started it, because what else could we do?  We go and contine to pack when they call us down to the information desk because there is a sister who arrived early from Kiripest (I don't know how to spell that) and she needed us to be her companions.  So we went and picked her up and started setting her up in our room.  Which was quite the challenge because  we were all trying to pack us up and unpack her.  It was a hot mess.  Suddenly there is a knock on the door, Sister Storey opens the door up and literally ten sisters from Kiripest all tackle her to the ground, step on top of her and hug the new sister.  It was such chaos.  I think I nearly died from laughing so hard over Sister Storey's face.  At this point, it was about10:40 and we needed to go get our laundry.  Mind you, lights out is at 10:30.  We had a long discussion over whether it was better to break curfew to get our laundry or break the sabbath.  We decided taht we would run and grab them then so they woulnd't be all wrinkly.  It was the sketchiest and creepiest thing to be running around the MTC that late past curfew.  We walked in to the entrance to the laundry room and it was just black.  It was supposed to be locked, but someone hadn't shut the door all the way.  So we snuck into the laundry room in pitch black, found our dryer and took the clothes out in silence before running back to our room.  Basically we are rebels without a cause.  It was really funny though.  The next day was Sunday.  It was really great.  We had so many meetings and things to do.  That night we got together with all of our elders and had one last testimony meeting.  It was really powerferful.  We are all going to different missions, so it was hard.  We ended the meeting by standing in a circle with our arms around each other singing Army of Helaman and then knelt in prayer.  (we are such cheesy missionaries oh my gosh). That night we finished up packing and got to bed around 12:30.  About forty minutes after laying there, I just hear Sister Anderson in the bunk above me whisper "sister?"  I stood up and who knows how this even happens, but we both just looked at each other and knew that we were both really nervous and scared.  Next thing I know, we both just grab all of our sheets and throw them on the floor and sleep on the floor by each other.  It was really fun, and exactly what we needed.  We just laughed and had a lot of fun until we fell asleep.  We woke up at four, finished packing and getting ready and then said one last prayer as a district in our room.  The elders all woke up at 4:30 to carry our bags and say goodbye to us.  They are the best ever.  As we were getting on the bus they all shook our hands, started to cry and sang God be with you till we meet again.  Rude, right?  Some of those boys are my best friends.  I'm really going to miss them.  Then starts the crazy.  I don't even know what happened over the next two days.  The flights were crazy for sure.  We slept as much as possible.  Sister Anderson and I sat by each other on each flight, we had a really good sleeping situation down.  We got some good sleep, and just laughed and wrote in each others journals.  We are so close.  We have really just become the best of friends.  It's unreal that in six weeks we never once fought or got on each others nerves.  We really just get each other.  Multiple times on the flight we would just look at each other and grab the others hand, or rub their back.  Something little to know that we were together and it was okay.  When we finally landed in Manila we got through customs, and as I was trying to finish up with custo,s the lady in charge started to get mad that I had so much stuff.  She didn't believe me that it was just clothes and hair stuff.  I was really scared because the rest of my group had already gotten through.  And then the heavens opened and a woman appeared from behind me and started speaking in tagolog to the lady.  And suddenly I heard "missionaryo.  18 months" and the lady lets me through.  I looked back nearly crying as the woman shook my hand and told me that she's a member and to enjoy my mission.  Tender mercies for sure my friends.  

So we go to a hotel, and it's just this tiny tiny room where there are five mattresses on the ground.  us four sisters shared a room with a random Filipina sister who is getting ready to go to Texas on her mission.  We got to bed around 12:30 and then were up again at 4:00.  We get to the airport and Sister Anderson and I are trying to check in and they just can't seem to find our passes.  Come to find out, they had moved our flight and didn't tell us.  So we had already missed our flight to Cebu.  They take us away from the rest of our group and start trying to find a way to get us to Cebu.  I truthfully thought we weren't even going to get to say goodbye to our district.  After some talking, they found a way to get us on the plane with the rest of the group.  We got through security and all that jazz and found our district so worried.  We then tried to find a way to call the mission president to let him know we were coming.  It was an adventure.  We got a hold of the AP's before it kicked us off the phones.  We got on our plane to Cebu and all was well.  We landed, got our luggage, and walked out and there was President and Sister Schmutz.  President walked right up to me and gave me the biggest hug and welcomed me.  Naturally, I just started crying.  We said goodbye to Sister Storey and Kaumatule, and Elder Ika and Nelson and got in the car.  We have a really small batch, the smallest one ever in this mission.  It's only me, Sister Anderson, and two Filipina sisters.  They drove us through the City to the mission home.  The mission home is right on the temple area.  It was a little bit of a drive.  Driving here is insane.  I'm for sure in quite the culture shock.  We got to the temple and it is so gorgeous.  They took us inside and fed us and did some good orientation stuff before giving us our trainers and our area.  I'm serving with Sister Rugg from Tooele.  She's really sweet.  Our area is Kamputhaw.  It's right in Cebu City, and we have the temple in our area.  We live with the Sister Training Leaders about a five minute walk from the temple and the mission home which is nice . (p.s. can I say again how much I adore my mission president?  He's so great) Last night was a blur.  We went and walked around and got on about six jeepneys.  Seriously look up what a jeepney is.  They are just these buses that they cram as many people as they can on them.  nd you just get on and off in the middle of a busy street.  There aren't traffic laws, and you just walk across the road when you can.  Life is sometimes like a giant game of frogger.  We walked around and taught a lesson last night to a less active named Isa.  I have no clue what they were saying.  My companion asked me to talk about enduring to the end.  So I did my best.  And then they asked me to bear my testimony at the end.  They said I did good though.  We went back to the apartment early because President said he wanted me to get some sleep.  My companion warmed up some Filipino spaghetti for us to eat, and we ate some of mom's rolls.  Then I busted out my sheets (which smelled like home.  it was so weird) and I was asleep by 9:00.  Its so hot, you can't even have a sheet on you.  There is a fan  that we have in our room that is seriously a godsend.  I woke up this morning at about six and the thermometer said that it was 87 degrees.  Holy heck it is hot here.  Because we share our apartment with the sister training leaders, they had a meeting last night.  So there were ten sisters staying at our apartment, but they all got back after I was asleep.  So they all came in this morning and played show and tell with me.  It was pretty overhwleming.  But they are all really nice.  We ate some rolls for breakfast and I had my very first cold water bucket shower.  It was quite the experience.  And then I attempted to brush my hair for a half an hour.  So, we're gonna figure that out at some point haha.  We did all of our studying and planning, and then went to this yummy restaurant and I had my first authentic Filipino dish.  It was pretty dang good.  It was chicken adobo with rice and a fried egg and you just mix it all together and eat it with a spoon and fork.  I'm so dang good at eating with a spoon and fork.  AND I had my first mango experience.  I ordered a mango smoothie from the restaurant.  They cut up a mango right then and made it.  It was so dang good.  After this we are going to go teach some lessons and such.  I'm not all the way sure, I'm just kind of going with it.  But, I get to commit someone to baptism tonight.  In Cebuano.  So hopefully I don't mess that up too bad haha.  All the sister training leaders this morning said that my cebuano was actually pretty good.  They said that they were surprised that I could say what I could.  And my trainer said that usually every tries to speak in english in the lessons, but I was all in cebuano last night.  So I'm pretty proud of that.  One crazy thing about the Philippines is that there are geckos EVERYWHERE.  In all the houses on the streets, they are just everywhere.  And they make weird noises.  There are also ants everywhere.  I was studying today and I looked down at this tiny trail of ants working their way across my desk and onto my arm.  You can't even do anything about it.  Oh, and there was a cockroach in my bathroom.  I'll rage on these  creatures.  Cock fighting is huge here in the Philipines, people bet on it and they get a lot of money.  So there are just roosters, huge roosters chained up everywhere.  Seriously, we probably passed three dozen chained up today on a ten minute walk.  They are huge!  And they put razor blades on their talons and then boxing gloves on those when they aren't fighting.  It's a weird thing.  There are also so many stray dogs and cats that just roam around.  My favorite thing so far are the kids.  They are so freaking cute.  Most of the adults here don't talk much to me, because I don't look like I speak Cebuano, and then they'll try to speak to me in English.  But the little kids are the cutest and will speak Cebuano to me.  We had a nine year old little boy walk with us for about ten minutes last night and talk to me in Cebuano.  There are so many naked children running around haha.  We have some pretty poor neighborhoods in our area.  Just kind of squatters in random alleyways.  There are some very humble people here.  During lunch today, part of the roof just fell on us and the table, so that was fun haha.  Um, I think that's about it.  I really miss Sister Anderson.  It's weird to not be with her after being with her for 24/7 for six weeks.  I miss her for sure.  Anyways, I think that's about it for my first little bit here.  It's only been a day!  Ahh!  I'm for sure in some culture shock and just kind of overwhelmed.  I'm just going with it.  I've got some gnarly blisters happening already, but it's good!  I'll see if I can send some pictures tody, if not I'll send them next Wednesday.  I love you all so much.  Pray for me!  haha.

I won't be seeing any beaches for a while because I'm in the city, but MANGOS!  (oh I also ate a banana yesterday.  so.  good.)

STAY STRONG!

Love, 
Carlee

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