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Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 12: Life is Fantastic...continued.

Kamusta pamillya?

How is everything going?! I still love it here. Pretty good week but we think my comp got food poisoning and I ate the same food and miraculously escaped?? He is better now but he was in very miserable shape for about 2 days :(

So here's the rundown of the week:

Monday was cool we just played ball and wrote letters then bought groceries and taught about 3 lessons that night I think... then my comp Elder Weaver (from Magnolia, TX, just outside of Houston) is the district leader so we have to do splits every Tuesday. So far I really dislike splits, there are a lot of bum missionaries, its seems like.... I hope I am just getting a bad first impression.

But Tuesday wasn't bad we taught 4 lessons after district meeting then we traded comps back because we had trainee/trainer meeting in Cauayan.

Cauayan is 3 hours from Tueguagero, which is kind of lame but sweet because we get to sleep in the bus. Oh and go to SAV-MORE (closest thing to Walmart here). So we had 4 hours of meetings or so, it was actually pretty good and I saw and talked to Sis. Martinez. It was cool we were talking about the drastic culture shock we just experienced. She said she was struggling with the language but I am sure she will do fine, it just takes some time and she said her area is awesome -- lots of baptisms and a really awesome ward that helps them and everything. Oh, by the way, she said her parents read these letters. Anyhow she wanted me to say Hi for her to her family so "Hi!!" ha ha. Going to Cauayaun was cool though. President and Sister Carlos and the Breeses are awesome! There was lots of good American-esque food!

Sav More Grocery, Philippines

So on the way back from Cauayan we got permission to stop in Ilagan at the SAV-MORE and it is pretty awesome. We found real cheese (from Wisconsin, pretty hard to find here the others told me), cereal and milk that was like 50 % real and the best thing I found was Double Stuff Oreos!!! YEA!!

Thursday we had a good day teaching a lot of lessons and then went to our dinner appointment. (We have one every night of the week always now) but this one was pretty sketchy. They bring out the rice ( they eat rice with absolutely every single meal) and a weird gulay ulam vegetable topping - in this case it was some weird red leaves and then some baked or boiled chicken. And then this stuff that looks kind of like beef brisket. Well I knew it wasn't that.

When my comp started telling them it was my favorite food... I was like oh, crap what is it?


Nevertheless, I just shut my mouth and ate all the weird stuff. The beefy stuff was actually pretty good. Then after I was like, alright Elder, what was that? And it was Dinuguan. Which is basically all the stuff we don't eat in chicken cooked in its own blood. Ya, disgusting, eh? Well I ate it. And the next morning my comp deposited it back where it belonged, and I'll stop on details from there, but he was miserable all day Friday and most of Saturday, but we still taught 3 lessons Saturday night. I felt pretty sorry for the guy. He was in a bad shape. There is some irony in that he was telling them that crap was my favorite food and then HE got sick.

It was too bad because we had a lot of lessons lined up and we were really getting in a working rhythm and had a lot of lessons and stuff lined up. I got a lot of good studying and stuff done and I wrote my talk for Sunday. Giving it Sunday was pretty scary. I just wrote down the points in English and then talked about them in Tagalog. It was about how to spiritually prepare for Stake Conference, so I tied it to how we can receive personal revelations and then I gave them 3 things from the Scriptures/Preach My Gospel on how to invite the spirit into their lives. Read everyday, pray always and sincerely live what you learn by following the Savior. I used 2 Nephi 32 quite a bit.

Anyway it was pretty scary and quite possibly the fastest 12 minutes of my life, ha ha. The only other note is our ward is kind of crazy, and it's kind of hard to get them to help us and stuff. 

OK that is pretty much the rundown for the week. Now I'll answer the questions from the emails you sent me. Feel free to send more next week – it actually makes things a lot easier because it it hard to remember all that I want to say on Monday.

Tell us more about your area.
My area is one of the smallest in the mission. It's about 4 miles. It is called Linao and is mostly residential and is a pretty poor neighborhood. On the outskirts on one side is a cool river and rice fields pretty far (I have only been there once).  On another end is a few more fields and the city airport and then one edge just leads to downtown. We are about 2 miles away from downtown and there is a McDonalds, which is like the classiest restaurant in the Philippines and a bunch more fast food chains (mostly weird ones I never heard of). There are tons of street vendors selling almost anything you can imagine and just tons of stores. Whenever we go anywhere we take a Tricycke. Which is a motorcycle hooked to this weird carriage thing and it cost any where from 20 cents to a dollar American to get almost anywhere in town. They are kind of a pain for us to get in. Built for small people.

Tricycle...not really built for Guys 6'2" and 6'5"!!!!

Are the bugs a problem?
Not really yet. I usually try to wear deet but sometimes I forget and I haven't really been bugged. It seems like the only time I get bit is at night so I'm gonna try and remember to put it on before bed. Surprisingly I haven't seen any big scary bugs or really any at all in the apartment. I guess the city is probably better off then some of the other places.
How's the food?
It's alright. My comp and I have a no rice policy in the apartment so we only eat rice at dinner appt and stuff ha ha. I found peanut butter and jelly and Top Raman so I'm set. Neither of us are much at cooking so we eat peanut butter.

Are you sweating to death?
Not yet. Some days its actually chilly at night, but in afternoons tracting it gets pretty warm. Rumor is I need to get transferred before March because Tueguagero is much hotter than the other places in the mission (I heard 100 plus).

Is there anything you need? want? are missing from home and would like to get (that fits in a tiny box and can be shipped around the world?) -- (so you can't put me – mom!!!) Do you have a Frisbee? I couldn't remember if you ever got one. Do they have those there? Do you want one? There are absolutely no Frisbee or footballs in this country at least that I could find. I have the awesome football and that would be sweet if you sent me a Frisbee at some point. But seriously I don't want you to send packages. That's way too much. I am pretty set here. When you do send a package they said to us US postal services. The other ones try to sneak in hidden fees and junk. Seriously though. I would much rather receive real letters than a package.

1. Do you get to play sports/workout. Are there a lot of basketball hoops around?
Ya every P day we usually play ball with the district and if we get up at 6 we are allowed to go play ball till 7. We have been lacking motivation but we are gonna do it at least one day during the week. We were actually gonna go play ball the day that my comp woke up sick.

2. I have your city on Google maps, but don't know where you live. What's your address? Linao is the section of town. We are kind of close to the airport and part of our area is called Annafunan.
3. Tell us more about your comp. What part of Texas? Was he an athlete, etc.?
HE is pretty cool, from just outside of Houston. No he isn't an athlete, but he is tall 6'2”. We are pretty good friends and he was gamer before his mission so we talk about old video games sometimes ha ha. HE is awesome. He has 4 months left so he gets a little trunky every once in a while so I have to slap him around.

4. What do you eat on a daily basis (breakfast, lunch etc.)?
breakfast- usually some orange juice mix, and some lousy fake milk and cereal. or pb and J.
And then for lunch we have pb and J, top ramen, or some thing random. Sometimes we actually make rice, but that is pain and makes a big mess.
dinner- Every night at 8 we have a dinner appt at a member's house. It's usually pretty good. That Thurs night one that my comp got sick from (we think) is the most sketchiest.

5. Do you tract a lot or street greet or what?
When we don't have appts we either talk to people in the street or if we see them doing laundry or working or hanging out we talk to them and sometimes help them with what they're doing and see if they will let us teach them. Lately we have been looking for former investigators from the area book and seeing why they stopped investigating and if we can teach them again. We have picked up a few promising investigators that way.

6. How's your apartment? Do you have a bed that's big enough? Do you have to duck all the time?
Surprising the apartment and bed are long and high enough that I don't hit my head. We have a 2 story appt. with a fridge, real shower and toilet (no hot water though, ya it is miserable getting in there in the mornings.)

7. When's transfers? Every 6 weeks, the next comes the week of the 6th or 12th of February...I think . How long do they usually leave greenies with their trainers?I don't know, I've asked around and I've heard all kind of different answers. Anywhere from 1 to 3 transfers. From what you hear, how does your area compare with other areas? A lot smaller and mostly city unlike most others. Our area is actually rumored to be one of the tougher areas right now. Supposedly they used to have a bunch of stupid missionary's that screwed around a lot and the last 6 months or so President has been trying to fix it with new people that are harder workers. Do you guys walk everywhere or have bikes or cars or what? walk everywhere except when it is kind of far then we take a tryce. If we leave town, we take the bus.

8. Any chance you can get some pictures to us, either electronically or otherwise? Ya i can plug them right in to the computer but I am scared because everyone who has has gotten tons of viruses on their camera that can delete the pics and stuff. But supposedly I can take them to the photo place, get a CD made and try to take the pics from the CD to the email. Or just snail mail the CD but it would take a month at least.

9. Do those cold showers feel good or no? Not yet. During the hot season they will for sure. Now they just are miserable in the morning. Least favorite part of the day.

10. You good for money? Do they give you a mission credit card or what? Ya we are set for money, we have card and we just go to the ATM. The only time I use my money is when I want to buy cool stuff. I can get money out of the ATM from my card if I need to, its like a three dollar fee or 200 pesos.

11. Is the electricity funky there? Does your iPod work? The electricity is fine except that there are brown outs like 4 times a week. They haven't been very long though. And my iPod works great it is awesome to have music back after 2 months of drought in the MTC, ha ha. Of course, church music only!

12. Do you need us to send you anything? nope

13. Is there really no milk? What about goat's milk? No ice cream either? What about powdered milk? Why don't they have cows?
McDonald and fast food has ice cream, and the drug store has weird ice cream that is alright. They have milk that is imported from New Zealand that is like half real/half powdered. but it is expensive and pretty lousy. Same story with powdered. Expensive and lousy. I don't know why they have no cows. I have seen a few here but the cows are like all skin and emaciated and disgusting. They have caribous literally everywhere, even in the middle of town so I don't know why there are no cows.

Filipinos call this cow-like animal a carabao

14. Any other sports updates you want?
Na the only thing it sounds like I am missing out on is BYU basketball.

Well I gotta run,

I love the people and the country and the work
And most of all I love you family!
I pray for you every day, God be with you.


Elder A.J. Griffin

1 comment:

  1. Hi A.J. This is your Dad's Aunt Pat. I'm maried to your Dad's Uncle Don. We are the ones from NJ, although we live in Utah now. I loved reading your post! What an interesting life you are leading! Glad you didn't get food poisoning. I had it from eating at a Del Taco a few weeks ago and it was terrible! Good luck and keep smiling. You have a great attitude.