"I don't know about you, but I'm feeling twenty two!"
Yes my friends, it is birthday week. It was magical and wonderful and I am obviously wiser and older and very changed in the space of one week.
This week was so wonderful. It was a whirlwind. On Wednesday we finished up emails and I decided I wanted to eat at Burgers and Beer again. I ordered a delightfully giant cheeseburger. It was a real life American cheeseburger with fries and a coke. I was in complete and utter heaven. We went to go grocery shopping and I found the two best birthday presents ever. One, a pair of spandex pants with are you ready for this, THE AMERICAN FLAG all over them. I bought them for 100 pesos and I regret nothing. I now have two pairs of them. Ya'll better watch out for when I get back home to America. This patriotism cannot be contained. Ashley told me to try to find something gold for my golden birthday, so I found some hideous gold sandals. Hideous. I bought them and wore them with such pride. As we were walking out of the grocery store, I was putting something in a bag when a woman walked straight up to me. Like, directly to my face and looked at me with such urgency. She asked me if I was a missionary. I told her yes. She grinned from ear to ear and asked if we could teach her right there. We had to go, so we tried talking to her for a minute. She has a hard situation. No phone, we can't go to her house, and we don't really have a way to contact her. But she looked at me with so much urgency, so much intensity, and said she has been looking for mormon missionaries. Her name is Ivy. I bore my testimony as hard as I could to her, and begged her to come to church on Sunday. There was something so different about this woman. It was like she knew me, and I just couldn't get her out of my mind. We have a woman in our branch who owns a salon, so I went there to get a pedicure for my birthday! THey thought it was the funniest thing when I told them that you weren't allowed to turn 22 if you didn't have cute toes. They laughed and laughed. They love that mom and I have that tradition. They bought me drinks, and bread for my footspa. THey were so excited that I was doing that for my birthday. That dang woman worked hard on my poor ugly feet for an hour. And they were glorious. She also had some rockin gold nail polish that she put on them. It was amazing. And then for my birthday they gave me a huge bottle of lotion, so that my feet will stay cuter for longer. I love these people so incredibly much. That night after a lesson, I felt something hit my head. I didn't think too much of it, until twenty minutes later someone looked at my head and screamed. There was a giant centipede in my hair just roaming around. Awesome. I'm glad it liked the jungle of my mane.
Thursday: We packed that morning and then went out and worked for two hours. Some little girls braided my hair in the middle of a lesson. It was so ugly. I looked like Pippie Longstocking, and I kept my hair like that until we left that part of our area. Sister Bateman could not keep a straight face for the life of her. We went and grabbed out stuff and headed over to the port to get on the ferry. We sat on the top deck of the ferry, at the back of the boat. Right where mom and dad love to be. We stayed up there in the sun the whole ride. I cheated and opened my birthday presents and cards a little early. I just wanted to open them as I crossed the ocean haha. I love them. Thank you so much. The ring and the necklace and the cards were so so sweet. We saw a ton of dolphins jumping in the ocean. It was really incredibly picturesque. We got to Cebu Island, and then got in a van for two hours to Cebu. We got to the temple complex and it felt so good. That place just feels like home. The spirit there just lifts you. We pile out, and Sister Tandiman (she was already there) looked at me and just grinned and said "guess who is inside?" I threw my camera at Sister Bateman and I sprinted inside and tackled Sister Anderson. It was adorable. We both cried. It had been five months since we had seen each other. We talked forever and just caught up. It was so great to talk to someone who is at the same stage as me. The little cutie somehow aquired Reeses for me for my birthday. And! While I was there I saw a ton of people from Kamputhaw, including Mikmik! It was so so so good to see them. They all just talked to me and died over me. I can actually speak Visaya now. They just kept telling me I looked so good and that I had such good language. We had Macdos for dinner that night #blessed. And we were able to sleep in a hotel! It had aircon! And I met a kid that lives in Cebu and he just got his mission call to Salt Lake City West. AKA MAGNA. He leaves next month. I promised him I would take good care of his people if he took good care of mine. I'll go visit him next year and speak Visaya with him and be in heaven.
Friday: MY BIRTHDAY. It was such a good day. I woke up to the sound of the city. Jeepneys and taxis. It felt good to be home. Kamputhaw just feels like home. I had a hot shower that morning. As in, my skin was melting off of my body and I was in bliss and didn't even kind of care. It was in and of itself, the best brithday present. I got out of the shower and all the sisters in our room started singing to me. We got out the door, and I navigated us all through the city and rocked that big city jeepney life. Man, I love the city. We got to the conference and I just clung to Sister Anderson. We were inseperable all day long haha. We had delicious lunch. Sister Tandiman and Sister Minguez surprised me with a birthday cupcake and they sang to me during lunch. And then Kamputhaw ward had totally decorated the ward announcement board for my birthday. I cannot believe how much those people love me. I was only there for six weeks, and that was months ago. And I barely spoke the language. But they love me, and my heavens I love them. And then in runs Mikmik! She is holding this delicious chocolate cake. She took her lunch break to come visit me on mybirthday and give me cake. Once more, I love these people. We finished up, they shipped us back off to Negros. We got off the bus, and of course, I had birthday dinner at Macdos. All the elders gathered around me (about twenty of them) in a very crowded Macdos and started singing happy birthday at the top of their lungs and got everyone in the restaraunt to join in. It was basically every seven year olds dream. We ate by the play place. We headed back to Negros and we all sat at the top of the boat in the back at sunset. It was so pictureesque. I just talked to all of these wonderful people and looked at the sky, the stars, the ocean, I was with people from all over the world. The Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, and all over America. It was not at all how I thought I would spend my 22nd birthday, but I would change it. I was with some wonderful wonderful people. I will admit, I missed Tonna calling me at the crack of dawn singing, and my mom singing happy birthday backwards, but it was such a wonderful birthday. I will always hold 22 real close to my heart.
Saturday: Back to work! We walked up to the house of one of the men we are teaching, and he was just sitting in front of his house reading his Basahon ni Mormon. My heart was so full. Also, while we were walking around I heard that dang song from Witches Night Out "you can do magic" and I was furious. And then I heard another one of the songs that always plays in October. No thank you. That music brings me instant stress hahaha.
Sunday: Sister Bateman and I were standing outside of the chapel, and I turn around just to see Ivy come walking in the doors. I don't know how that happened. But she came. She sat next to me in sacrament, asked me millions of questions, and loved it. I don't know what is going to happen with this woman, bt she ismighty miraculous. In the Philippines it's a tradition to eat sweet spaghetti for any celebration. Especially birthdays. So we made sunday dinner and had spaghetti. And then it was a brownout so we ate by candle light. We're fancy, it's fine.
Monday: We got up at 5:30 (!!!!!) and went and played ultimate frisbee with the branch. I'm not a morning person. I'm not a frisbee person. But alas, sometiems there are random sacrifices on a mission haha. Sister Bateman and I are known as the American Sister here, because we are the only Americans in our District. And as we were walking the other day, this random man on a trike just looked at us and started singing "Hey sister go sister flow sister " you know, that song by Christina Aguillera? We cried from laughter.
Tuesday: I was able to go on splits. I went and worked with Sister Tandiman. I love that little Indonesian. It was such a good day. I learned so much. She's a really good missionary. She's really bold. And it helped me to catch a vision of what I want to accomplish. I had this cool moment where I was discouraged with my language. I just feel like I haven't been progressing much with the language, and sometiems I still can't understand people, and it's still really hard. Language study can be really hard, and I don't know how to study and learn this langage sometimes. And then I remembered how my great grandma beyer learned english. By reading the book of mormon in english. So that's what I'll do. I'm going to trust that if it worked for her, it can work for me. And I'm just going to read the book of mormon in visaya and trust in the promises. It was such a great week. I can't believe I'm 22 and in the Philippines. I don't know when any of this happened. I think back to a year ago, and I never would have guessed I would be here now. A year ago, I was not even thinking about a mission yet haha. Life happens fast. I'm really excited for what 22 has in store for me. This year is going to be one of the best ones yet. I love you all so much. Thank you for making my birthday so special. Thank you for the endless love and support. I love you.
Sister Carlee Beyer