Tuesday, March 3, 2015
From Provo, to Portland, to Tokyo, to Manila, to Cebu, to Toledo. (jet-lag included)
Wow oh wow, good thing I have my journal with me or else I would not remember everything that happened since I wrote last... Almost 3 weeks ago. They kept having us travel on P-day so we were missing the chance to email. Hmm soo the last day I wrote was.. Friday the 13th, how apt. Haha anyways, I'll start there.
2/14 - Valentines Day, obviously! And So much fun. Thanks Debbie for the valentines, every one in my zone got a pin and they loved them! They wore them for days afterwards! And the branch presidency wife from the Thai zone gave Sister Soleta and I stress ball hearts that say Lock Your Heart on them. GENIUS! So whenever we feel ourselves unlocking our heart, we're supposed to squeeze them. Oh crazy story, I don't remember how it came up, I think we were asking about what Manila was like and Sister Soleta told us a story about how when she was a kid, a group of squatters took her dog and ate it. Insane, common i guess. There was another sister in the MTC who said that happened to her too.
2/15 - Sunday, we sang God Be With You Till We Meet Again in Sacrament meeting and everyone was crying. I have a really emotional zone, it was really tough. In Relief Society we heard a talk by a woman who's daughter has a rare blood clotting disorder and when they were all on family vacation, (her daughter was pregnant at the time) had to be rushed to the hospital, and while they were there they wanted to do random acts of service so they were taking flowers to everyone on the floor, and there was one woman in a dark room by herself, who was also pregnant that they tried to give flowers too and she wouldn't accept them because she didnt have anything to give in return and they just told her, its okay we're doing this because we love you, and so the woman picked up her violin from the corner and played my favorite hymn 'how great thou art' on it, and they showed a video of it, and it was BEAUTIFUL! I was so touched.
2/16 - Someone in the Tagalog branch had a birthday party so there were a ton of balloons. They gave me one and I drew a face on it, and I made the mistake of leaving it in the classroom when I went to the bathroom, and when I came back its balloon corpse was lying dead on the ground outside the classroom. Elder May popped it because he lost at what are the odds. I was so mad, I got another balloon and drew a face on it, and then they spent the rest of the night trying to pop it, but I ended up popping it, so they wouldn't. It was all very dramatic. Sister Allegretti informed me that my spirit animal is a koala bear. I agree. We had a family home evening as a zone, it was awesome, we all bore our testimonies and Elder Dapat was saying compliments to every one and he looked at me and said "Sister Dunn you're my disney princess!" I was so touched, best compliment EVER! They all know i love Disney here.
2/17 - I got the final package from Debbie! It took approximately 1 hour to finish off all the chocolate in the box. We got to sing Consider the Lilies for choir and it sounded gorgeous. I'd never heard that song before, but it is so pretty! We said our goodbyes to the branch presidency, I cried I'll admit it. It was really hard to say goodbye. They were like our MTC mothers.
2/18 - We got the new districts going to Cebu, and there is a Sister from Tahiti with the longest name. I love her, and it took a few minutes but I finally was able to say it. Sister Tatarata-Maheahea! She was sooo sweet and amazing! I had to send more stuff home when I was doing last minute packing. I sacrificed the peanut butter and left it behind, but i refused to sacrifice the nutella (don't worry it's safely in my fridge in the apartment). Last meal, there were mint brownies and milkshakes. Perfect! We said goodbye to our teachers, we love them so much. I cried again. And then following tradition the whole zone gathered in room 219 on the last night and we bore our testimonies, and sang Lay Down My Dear Brother, and God Be With You Till We Meet Again. And literally, everyone was crying. It was so touching, we really were like a family. When I said goodbye to Sister Henshaw it felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest, I love her so much. She was like my sister.
Back at the room we did last minute packing and we discussed candy and notes, I came up with some of the best ones. Fruit roll up - roll up your sleeves and get to work. Good & Plentys: Do good works and plenty of them. Twix- Betwixt with your eye single to the glory of God. I felt like a champ.
2/19 - We got up at 2 in the morning. We showered and lugged our suitcases to the travel office. We picked up our tickets and then got on a bus that drove us to the train station (Kaylyn we drove by your favorite temple - provo city center- it was gorgeous). There we caught a train that took us to Salt Lake, where we then took Trax to the airport. So It's not even 6 in the morning and we've already ridden a bus, and two trains. Kill me. My bags luckily weighed 49 and 50 pounds respectively. I rock. We discovered we had a layover in Portland, which was good. We needed the break. When we were going through security all the Elders had to get their hands checked for bomb residue, but none of the Sister's did and I said it was because sister's are more trustable and Elder Mapel just looked at me and said "You're wearing a pink owl pin on your shirt how dangerous can you be?" He had a point.
This is the point where I called you mom and tried not to cry. I'm sad I didn't get to talk to you longer. On the plane I was stuck between Elder Beretara and Elder Frost and they both slept and I was squooshed. And all the elders sleep with their mouths open it's hilarious. There was this adorable baby behind us named Ames, His mom let me take pictures of him. He was perfect and so adorable.
In Portland we ate at Burgerville (so good, first non MTC food and it was perfect). Then I tried to call Dad, but the calling card stopped working and I basically broke down almost in the middle of the airport. I managed somehow to hold it together. The Portland airport is so empty and sad, it reminded me of the Everett Mall.
On the flight to Japan Elder Beretara was so excited because they feed us on the flight. We were all kind of sitting near eachother except Elder Jennings, we couldn't figure out where he was. It was really slow the first half of the flight, but eventually everyone wanted my seat because I had a great view of the ocean, so they kicked me out of my spot and I moved to sit by Elder Jennings, we eventually found him. He had his own row and plenty of leg room so of course I moved up there. Oh and a flight attendant spilled red wine all over me, so i had to soak it in club soda and get to the Manila MTC smelling boozy. Luckily the stain came out.
2/20 - I'll start a new day because of times zones. When we touched down in Narita we were so excited! It was Sister Snyder's first time on a plane for these flights so she wasn't doing so hot. We had to re go through security in Japan, (which i didn't realize how necessary this was until I saw how lax the security was in Manila on the way to Cebu). We all bought Ramen, and laughed at the toilets there because some of them were in the floor. Just small box like things in the floor.
We explored the whole airport (and almost missed our flight because of it), and I bought two nindot kaayo keychains, so that I would have a japanese souveinier. I don't know how to spell that. They have the funniest ads there. And we went into this origami shop with the CRAZIEST ORIGAMI! They had dinosaurs and forests, and even the entire Cinderella scene. ballroom and all. There was this one store we went into where there was a giant samurai hanging from the ceiling, it was hilarious. I slept on the flight from japan to manila, but it was awful because the guy in the seat in front of me had his seat reclined the whole time and kept squirming around. they had carts for the luggage in Manila which helped a ton! We met a church representative who took our passports (we wont be seeing them till our missions are over) and then we exchanged our money and got into vans. This is where I experienced the craziest car ride of my life. There really aren't lanes... or traffic laws... or police officers (no seriously I've been in Cebu for a week now and I haven't seen a single police officer). It was so funn though. We drove close enough to other cars that I was able to fist bumb elder Grey out the car window. We got the Manila MTC and had a quick orientation where they informed us that we were allowed to sleep in a whole extra hour the next day. (i'm still exhausted and recovering) one hour is not enough. but its something. I'm grateful.
2/21 - Manila is gorgeous! Poverty stricken, but beautiful and warm. The MTC campus is so pretty. Palms, and huge flowers and vines. I cant describe it. It's like Eden. And we get to have class outside all the time! I quickly discovered that the rice at every meal is not a joke. We had rice for breakfast. Interesting to say the least. I felt nauseous the first few days i was there though. I'm still adjusting to the food.
An elder told me I looked like tinker bell, haha, i guess maybe. He was like "You look like that fairytale, the show my sister always watches, the fairy, tinkerbell".
We got to go proselyting in Manila (Quezon City technically) and people stared at me SO MUCH! They weren't even being discreet about it, just openly pointing at me. We got to ride 2 jeepneys, they were so much fun. And we visited the poorest house i have ever been in. I can't describe it. But they are so happy here. Everyone is so happy.
We saw a group of Bayut's playing volleyball in the street, it was funny. They are the nicest people.
When we were talking about proselyting later in the classroom, Elder Beretara was telling his experience. All the kids were pointing at him while he was walking about and yelling "MATABA!" which is Tagalog for fat, and while he was telling us about this his chair broke, we all died laughing it was so funny! The teacher says "The chair testifies!" Fat in Visayan is Tambok.
2/22 - We discovered there is a large number of people from Australia at this MTC with beautiful accents. :) We had an orientation about the Philippines and there was a sign from MCDonalds in the presentation that said "Number 1 in the world except for the Philippines where we can't beat that stupid fat happy bee" they were talking about Jollibee, which is the philippines major fast food place. They are EVERYWHERE!
We were allowed to do planning outside in the garden, and it was great until the mosquitoes came out. We ran inside but some of the Elders stayed and came in later talking about how toads showed up, so we ran back outside and there were tons of huge toads hopping around, Elder Mapel picked one up and started taking pictures with it. Also the bumble bees here are HUGE! They remind me of tracker jackers from hunger games, no lie they are the size of hamsters.
Ok I've got to hurry I'm almost out of time. So We did get to go to the Manila temple it was gorgeous, it felt like a house, the ceilings were low and it just had a nice family feeling to it (BTW I HAVE NOW BEEN TO BOTH TEMPLES IN THIS COUNTRY) awesome. We had to go to immigration and we sat there for 3 hours, no fun but we did get to go to the 7/11 and the have kinder eggs! I was so excited i bought one. On the drive through the city the elders had a competition on who could pass out the most pass along cards out the bus window. They passed out a lot.
The night before we left all the elders from Samoa and Tonga did the Haka and it was INSANE! IT WAS SO COOL! Very loud.
We had to get up early for our flight again, 3 am. The flight to Cebu was only an hour. and the security at the airport was a joke. not kidding, a joke. in Cebu we split up from the Cebu east people, it was sad because we love them so much. I didn't want to say goodbye to sister Mumu.
President McCurdy is the coolest. he has such a great sense of humor. We spent the day at the mission home and got to go to the cebu temple, prettiest temples ive ever been in. no lie. it was like beauty and the beasts castle, when it was pretty. not the scary one. We stayed in a hotel that night and met our trainers the next morning. Sister Conjelado, who is amazing is my trainer. We took a bus to Toledo, 2 hours by bus. These two people kept asking if i was married, and other weird questions. In toledo we ate at MAng inasal, delicious. and then we visited a lot of families. I love the Catubays, they are the cutest kids. I love them with my whole heart. We've seen them every day since I've been here. They cooked dinner for us last night. Ok I'm officially out of time. I'll give the rest of the details about Toldeo next week, oh and there is a lizard that lives in our apartment. I've named him Bong (legitimate name here) pronounced boe-ng and he hides behind the fridge/ and the dish cupboard. Last night though i came home and he was chilling in the bathroom. Also ive been eaten a live by mosq. I'm probably going to get Dengue. Anyways, love you all!