Saturday, May 2, 2009

Email April 20th, 2009

Hello, I checked my balance account in order to be safe and I am fairly sure I didn't use it all up...that's why I checked it, I just wanted you to know why my money is suddenly missing, we bought things for our apartment. We didn't have enough money here at the end of the month and after transfer day travels to buy all the things our apartment was lacking or that were disgusting like our mold covered half broken plates, so last preparation day we went to the mall and we bought plates and a shower curtain and a trash can and rags to wash dishes with etc. and we cleaned our apartment up all nice, it's very livable now. Don't worry, all the money I spent is refundable and the mission will give it back to me -- I just thought I would explain the great reduction in my account. In truth, it's a super nice apartment. It's my first apartment with a flushing toilet and a shower head, and there is very strong water pressure. The shower is still cold water but that's okay because we are in the deep heat of summer here (I can't believe it snowed only last week there! It's supposed to be April showers bring May flowers not April snow to kill the flowers, grabi).

Okay -- my last companion was very malambing which means very close or touchy or warm and fuzzy like, you know. As for calling each other by our first names, that's not allowed. We also are not supposed to call each other by only our surnames -- yet sometimes the American's in my district would do that and then I glare at them and ask if I am on a football team, and sometimes the Elder's in the office will call you by your first name because they see your mail and everything else all the time so they know all our first names -- but it's not really something we do or should we are Sister's and Elder's. As for my companions, let me try to remember their first names --

Sister Glazier-gay Mabalot
Sister Julie Odo
Sister Michelle Victorino
Sister Shanda Thompson
Sister Naomi Pasi
Sister LuDevina Jagnas
Sister Ruth Garcia

Sister Garcia is very good and obedient, extremely good at teaching and interacting with people (in part I expect due to having been a professor and teaching college students all day long), and loves to cook -- but we don't usually eat hot-dogs in the morning, yet we still eat hot-dogs. She is short, but not extremely short, and is from another Tagalog speaking region in the Philippines. It's nice to have a companion who speaks "real" tagalog, although hers has a lot of English in it because she's very good at English Tag-lish...because some of my other companions have different dialects and their language is also different -- but that's just what you get here if you want a truly common to all language it is actually English, the language of their government, schools, etc. and yet not even everyone knows that or is fluent in it. She corrects me when I'm wrong, which is helpful, but also tells me that I'm fluent now -- this I don't believe due to so many words I still do not know, but what makes you "fluent" anyway? There are tons of words I don't know in English and I also use incorrect English grammar and in fact probably understand Tagalog grammar better at this point than English grammar due to studying it -- hmmmm.

Did that answer all of your questions? We take a jeep or a bus if we go to district meeting and sometimes a trike if we go to far away areas but mostly we walk, as you said. I weighed myself last transfer day and one of the Elder's looked down at the scale and said "what, are you a philipina!" haha...except I'm still quite a bit larger than all of them and throughout my mission I have gained or lost eight pounds continually, I also have a bit of a gut more than before which in fact Andrea's brother warned me of because eating so much rice will go straight to your tummy even if that is not the regular palce in which you gain weight. I think I was at about 123 last I checked. So far they feed us a ton here and my companion likes cooking so I might come home with long kind of scraggly hair in need of a good styled hair cut, a slightly blotchy red face from a freakish break out that's been taking place along my jaw line for the past two months and a bit chubbier around the stomach but for the most part not really fat :) hehe who knows just don't be too shocked when you see me, I just don't know!

It's still so very far away so maybe my face will get worse or maybe improve and maybe I'll gain a lot of weight or just lose more than before due to some strange sickness I could pick up from the new area (let's hope I don't get sick) and maybe I will get so sick of my hair I'll get it chopped off at David's Salon where one of our ward missionaries works (but let's not bet on that, haha) anyway this is a lot of speculating about my appearances and kind of hilarious -- look where your question of my weight has taken us! hehe.

What is the best thing I have eaten? The cottage cheese the couples found and gave me, haha (joke) except it was really good. Ummm, there is a form of sticky rice that I really like, and pancit is okay -- I don't know if I could say I'm overly in love with their food style in all truthfulness it's not super tasty to me but it's not terrible either, I can't however think of any specific favorite dish. I really like Buchi, which is like a round ball of something sweet and also Shainghai which is deep fried pork or sometimes vegetables (kind of like an egg roll I guess) and I really like the bananas in wrappers, also deep fried. Oil is a big deal here and I expect to go back to not using it when I go home so as to help out my body a bit, haha, but I do like the things they cook using it. A fruit that I like which we don't have in the states -- rabutan which is red and has spiky like looking things on it and it's kind of like a huge grape.

Sorry -- I think I can't answer the question of whether I have enjoyed one companion more than another etc. but you can just think about it and guess for yourself and one day when I'm not here maybe I'll tell more stories, haha. We are going through our challenges of building up our investigator base and teaching lessons one all day long, but it's all good and the member's give us a lot of support. I really love our Bishop's family. We had family home evening with them last week and played games and Bishop gave a lesson then gave us an opportunity to share whatever we would like then we had dinner. After games there is a punishment. You have to give a talent if you lost. The Bishop's family loves music so they were all playing the guitar and singing and playing on their keyboard etc. -- it was very fun, I love music and playing and singing (even if I'm not particularly good at singing I love singing along and having OTHERS sing, haha).

Thanks for the letters and emails and support and hopefully all continues to go well for you there despite any trials that our economy or the evils of the world in general may bring -- we are safe in the church if we "follow the prophet," since we are "in a world where people are confused, if you don't believe me just go and watch the news..." I'm glad that is a part of a primary hymn by the way. Have you ever heard the hymns "The Time is Far Spent" or "Truth Reflects upon our senses" can I just inform you that they are two of the favorites here in the Philippines. It's very interesting, they have their own set of favorite hymns here and many are ones I don't know at all and in turn they are not familiar with some of my favorites like "Be Still My Soul." Okay, good bye for now

Love, Sister Landrum