Monday, August 15, 2016
KUMUSTA! Woah, everything is crazy. Also sorry sorry for the super rambly email last week haha I was trying to fit everything in and it kept freezing and I was panicking. I'll try harder to sound like an adult this week haha. I'm literally having so much fun. Obviously it's really hard adjusting to everything and being so far away from friends and family and I've had multiple little rough moments, but OVERALL I'm loving everything and everyone and wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now.
Haha the language is coming very slowly but surely. I'm very grateful for the 6 weeks that I had in the MTC because even though it's really hard right now, I can understand WAY more than I would have without it. I can understand people when they're talking about religious things pretty well, I just have a hard time responding and putting my own thoughts and sentences together. I have a much easier time understanding people who's second language is Hiligaynon- so people who learned it either from Tagalog or English, because it's harder for me to understand native people's accents because they talk so fast (haha karma for me for talking so fast my whole life). Comprehension of regular conversation and small talk is wayyyyyyyy worse. I can sometimes get the gist from picking out some words that I know, but usually I'm just really confused. My companion is a true friend and translates for me though. Basically, however many people there are in a conversation, I'm that number wheel and I just try to listen really hard and figure out what's going on. I literally have this exact conversation at least once a day:
me: "kumusta! ako si Sister Rainey, Taga America ako, bago gid nga misyonera ako"- hi I'm sister Rainey I'm from America, I'm a new missionary
person: intyende ka ilonggo?- do you understand ilonggo?
me: uhhhh jiutay lang, una semana ko sa Philippines- just a little, my first week in the Philippines
person (to my companion)- intyende sia!! sagad gid sia!- she understands! she's so talented!
Then they keep talking and I have no idea what's going on. They are literally so impressed by my ability to understand that one sentence and it's so funny, little do they know that that's about it that I understand. Haha it's super fun trying to learn though, I've definitely gotten a lot better since I've been here with the full immersion. I just need to work a lot on my accent because even though my words will sometimes be right, it's still hard for people to understand me sometimes because my accent is so thick. I get made fun of because I still have a hard time putting together sentences so sometimes when people ask me questions I just say "nami gid!" with a really big smile and a thumbs up. I'm still really bad at teaching lessons, but I'm slowly getting better. My companion leads and I just fill in the gaps whenever she wants me to with whatever comes to mind. Gift of tongues is so real because I say so much that I didn't even know that I knew. It's so cool to be able to feel the spirit so often even when I have honestly no idea what's going on.
Sipalay is so pretty and I'm so close to the beach and I'm so excited to do some hikes and see stuff next week. The past 2 weeks we've had meetings in Bacolod so I've spent my P-days taking 6 hour bus rides up to the city which is fun. And I washed my clothes for the first time this morning! Haha domestic gid. (gid is just an emphasizer, it's like very or really). Ummm yeah, the little timer thing is telling me it's time to go. Love you all so much, hope everyone is doing well. The mission is really hard but I wouldn't change it for the world, I"m so blessed to be here with some of the most incredible people in the entire world. It's cool seeing people come unto Christ and improve their lives and grow closer with their families through our message. Love you all!!
Holy what. What a week. I've been in my area for 3 days and it's already felt like maybe 10 years. Haha you're all lucky that I'm sending this today instead of on Thursday because the 3rd world culture shock was real. Haha it's all fun and games in the Philippines MTC where there's hot water and soap and toilet paper and air conditioning. Fun fact: the rest of the Philippines is not like that. Okay I have like 0 time because I'm at a cute little internet cafe and I have to pay by the hour and it's super glitchy and annoying. I'm going to try to sum everything up as fast as I can sorry in advance if it's rambly.
WAS SO FUN. All of the Filipino Elders and Sisters were literally the nicest people that I've ever met and it was so fun getting to know them for just 5 days. Everyone referred to Sister Fawcett and I as the water sisters which was really cute and we made a lot of really cool friends. The highlight was when we got to go out proselyting in Manila with Tagalog speaking missionaries. Sister Fawcett and I were paired with Sister Fidow and during our first lesson we just spoke in English really slowly but for the second lesson the lady ended up being from Bacolod and knowing Hiligaynon and it was so cool because we got to bear our testimonies in Hiligaynon and kind of communicate with her and after we talked to her she started talking to the other Sister in Tagalog and was smiling and laughing and looked so happy and the Sister translated for us that she was just so happy because she never thought that foreigners would take the time to learn her native language and she loved hearing us speak it even though it wasn't perfect. So so cool to be a part of bringing the gospel to the entire world in people's native languages (even if no one knows they exist)
For our first day in Bacolod we did a ton of training with the 8 of us that came from the Manila MTC together with the Mission President who is super nice and I love so much. That night we stayed in a sisters' apartment in the city (with Sister Schneider!- a friend that I met a couple of months ago in UT that is 6 weeks ahead of me) and that's when it hit me that we were in a 3rd world country because there wasn't running water and it was so hot and sticky and gross.. but I've adjusted since then so no worries! On Thursday we met our trainers and had a little bit more training. My trainer is Sister Hermosura and she's from Cavite (like 45 min outside of Manila) and she's the sweetest. She's doing a really good job of helping me learn the language even though I'm high key helpless. She's very patient with me which is awesome. I'm in the Sipalay (GOOGLE IT) area and IT IS SO PRETTY. When I told some older elders where I was going they all said it was incredible and "para-iso" and IT IS. It's right on the coast and the beaches are gorgeous and there are rice fields and palm trees every where and I'm so happy. THE SKY IS BLUE (hallelujah I'm not in the polluted city) and it's super rural with lots of very humble and nice people. Haha it's only downside is that it's a 6-ish hour busride south of Bacolod... it's almost at the very bottom of the mission- there are only 2 other areas below me and only elders go there because I think they're more sketch. Literally dream area, wish I could stay here my whole mission
It's been a little frustrating the past few days just because I've never felt so dumb in my entire life and I literally just sit through lessons and try my hardest to understand what's going on but the speed and accent throw me off so much. Probably the best thing that's happened to me since I've been here is when I bore my testimony on Sunday in front of my new ward and I started with how I was sorry I wasn't very good at Ilonggo but I was trying my hardest and then I said what I could and when I sat down afterwards these two little 8 year old girls that I love so much put their arms around me and said "tudloan namon" which means "we'll teach you" and my heart literally melted. Haha later that day we were at their house and I had like 6 little girls surrounding me for my Hiligaynon lessons and they would point to things and tell me the word and if I said it right they all applauded and hugged me and it made me so happy. They are so sweet and I love them so much. The young women are also the best and the 12 and 13 year old girls help me try and have conversations and when I say words right they nod their heads really hard and get so excited for me. Everyone is so nice and compliments my Ilonggo even though I have no idea what's going and they're all so supportive and helpful it's crazy. Filipinos are literally the nicest people I've ever met in my whole life, I haven't met an exception.
THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES
-It rains on the daily... it will be sunny and then 2 seconds later just POUR. Haha people here like rain puns even more than in America and they're always applicable because it rains so much...So I get lots of comments on my name
-ITS SO HARD TO NOT BE DISTRACTED DURING LESSONS BECAUSE 1.I DON'T KNOW THE LANGUAGE AND 2. THERE ARE BABY CHICKS AND PUPPIES AND LITTLE KIDS WITHOUT PANTS RUNNING AROUND AND SOMETIMES GIANT CARIBOU/COWS JUST WALKING AROUND. But it's so fun and it keeps things exciting
-Trikes are my new favorite mode of transportation we literally take them everywhere
Shoot I had so much more to say but I'm out of time. I'll try to attach pictures but who knows. Just know that I feel SO blessed to be here. I'm so grateful that I get to serve here and I'm so happy that this mission isn't about me because if it were about me I think I'd be in a much worse mood with the weather and the living conditions and just about everything because I am VERY out of my element. But I'm so happy for the opportunity to be here serving the people of Sipalay right now- they are some of the most special people that I've ever met and it's only been 3 days! Can't wait for the next 16 months! (this Wed I've been gone for 2 months- what?!) Also I don't have time to respond to everyone's emails but I'll eventually catch up. Everyone write me snail mail- I think my mom might have the directions for pouch mail or I'm sure you can find it on the church website somewhere.
SO MUCH LOVE FROM THE PHILIPPINES HOPE YOU ARE ALL DOING WELL<#