Sunday, August 4, 2013

And......She's landed! All is well!

Sister Peng made it to Taiwan safe and sound!  I have enclosed some pictures sent to me by her mission president.  She is doing well and seems to have a good start.  She loves her companion, Sis. Liu, who is a
Taiwan Native.  She is 26 years old and according to Sister Peng, very patient.  Nicholle noted an interesting thing regarding the paring of companions.  The native trainers for the most part got native/ or Chinese/ or part Chinese people to train.  All the Caucasians got Caucasians.

Sister Peng with Sister and President Blickenstaff

At the airport in Taipei, Taiwan
Hello Mum! And everyone else (don't worry, I love all of you, I just don't have the time nor the energy to write everyone's names.... cuz that would take a while.... :) )
Anyways, I'm in Taiwan!!!! Isn't that sooo crazy? I can hardly believe it! I'm not sure if it's totally sunk in yet.  I've kind of been too tired to totally take it all in.  I don't know why I'm so tired.  It's not like what we are doing is physically taxing....  I've even decided I like doing missionary work!  Maybe it's this dreaded heat....
So, first, I have to apologize.  I don't have that many pictures, since apparently we are only allowed to take pictures on our P-days, and we do emails a bit early to have had the chance to take a lot of pictures... I'll try harder next week to get some pictures... I might have a few this week... Not sure... I need to look at my camera...
Anyways, after 24 hours of traveling, I crossed the giant pond called the Pacific Ocean.  That was... fun?  Not really... I tried sleeping, but the seats were uncomfortable... The highlight of the trip was the fact that I got an ice-cream sandwich.  Yup... Oh! I l also had the chance to sit with a few strangers and worked on breaking the rule "Don't talk to strangers."  One was a lady going to Thailand with her husband to attend her husband's mother's funeral.  So, of course I shared a bit about the plan of salvation and the fact that families are forever.  :)  And then the second stranger I sat next to was a lady from Taipei.  She was returning home after spending time in America.  She likes to teach Chinese to foreigners, so I think she was just talking with me because she found my Chinglish amusing... Ah well. :)
Shao bing
Xiao long bao
So we got to Taiwan, and had a three hour bus ride.  Couldn't sleep on the bus though, because they thought it was a good time to do orientation... Blargh....  So by time we got to go to bed it was about 3:00 and then we woke up the next day at 6 so we could prepare to go running at 6:30.... yup.... Anyways, we got our first taste of Taiwan food on Thursday.  Including stuff like xiao long bao (this is a little steamed bun with a meat filling that is so juicy and yummy!), shao bing (this is a baked baked, layered flatbread bread with or without stuffing)  and you tiao (this is also called a Chinese donut in the U.S. – not sure why - deep fried strip of dough), soy milk, fruits of all sorts, hot pot, fish, duck, etc.... Yum!  I've missed Chinese food since I've been at the MTC for so long.  Heck, even the Chinese food on the plane made me happy. :P
you tiao

Hot Pot lunch
 On Friday, we got to meet our new companions and find out where we were going.  My trainer is Liu Jie Mei.  Yes, she is from Taiwan, and is native.  She is crazy awesome, and I'm learning so much from her.  She has a lot of patience and is very nice.  Cool story, trainers don't know who they are going to train.  So Liu jie mei was trying to decide if her trainee would be American or Taiwanese, so she could start preparing.  She started praying and came to the conclusion that she would probably have a Taiwanese companion, but their English would be very good.  So she just decided to prepare English materials.  Guess what! She pretty much got it right! I'm Asian and my English is FANTASTIC! Haha!  Anyways, she uses mostly Chinese to talk to me.  Which is great! Except for the fact I only understand 3/4 of what she says... Ah well... I'm trying... :)

The new missionaries and their companion
So right now, I'm in my very first area: Ping Dong.  It's the furthest south area of the Taizhong mission.  Which means it's the hottest area in the mission... Lucky me! (Yeah, I wanted to go somewhere cold...) Anyways, Liu Jie Mei says that when I get reassigned, all of the other areas will be mild in comparison in relation to the heat.  I hope so, because it feels like I'm sweating a river!  I've never had sweat pour down my face before... Anyways... This is a gross topic... Moving on!
Our apartment is bigger than I thought it would be.  But a bit different that what you would find in America.  The floor is all tile.  Oh, and the bathroom... yeah, so the shower is just a spout on the wall, and the water just goes onto the floor of the bathroom.  There is no dividing thing between the shower and the rest of the bathroom.  It's a bit... te bie (special).  Still adjusting, but yup!
Ping Dong County - City of Ping Dong is along the coast
My bike is great, I think. Rode it for the first time this morning (I've been borrowing a different bike).  It's very light though, so I don't know if that's good or bad.  We'll see.  We are going to the store to buy stuff for it later today.
Anyways, I'm going to go back to the topic of my area.  The members here, along with other people are awesome! Everyone is super nice! Well, except for those people who turn you down when you knock on their doors.  (They say they are just about to leave... when they walk back into their house and don't come out... yeah...)  I've been worried about being judged for my accent.  But yesterday, my accent actually got us into a house! A nai nai (grandma) opened the door, heard me speak, and ushered me in so I could practice my Chinese.  She is super sweet! She is Catholic, but she said that we could come back to visit!  Hopefully visits will end up being more than just me practicing Chinese...
So, Chinese... Yup, I don't know what's going on most of the time.  I've been learning the language of smiling nodding, and giving confused looks.  I'm trying to understand, and I can talk about a few simple things, such as the gospel (:P which isn't that simple), but as to every day stuff... like people talking about life... wo ting bu dong (don't understand).  Ah well, man man lai (slowly come).

Oh! I totally forgot about the Dan Jones Experience!!!  So on Thursday, we went to go eat dinner which had a ton of yummy stuff. :)  Then, afterwards they started taking us over to a night market.  They didn't really explain what we would be doing, but I had already heard/seen pictures of the Dan Jones experience.  For those of you who don't know, Dan Jones was a very awesome missionary!  He was probably responsible for converting 5000 people in England to the church.  He was known for standing on a box and preaching.  So, that's what we had to do.  I finally had to push myself out to go and stand on the stool they had for us.  It wasn't that bad.  It was just pouring rain, and there were a lot of people staring at me.  Anyways, after I got down, I was whisked away by a Sister Smart who took me to get my first taste of contacting people in a Night Market.  I actually placed my first Book of Mormon within 4 minutes! Ahhh!  We talked to a lot of people, most were probably just trying to appease us.  But we actually did get the information of a couple of people, and other people were interested in the English class.  Sister Smart is funny.  Apparently some times, she'll go and get really close to someone and say sorry.  If the person says sorry back in English she'll say "Ni hui ying wen ma? (can you english)  And then she'll start going off about the Free English classes missionaries give.  She was supper nice and super funny! :)

Here's the link to the Dan Jones video:  Dan Jones Video - Missionaries at the night market

Funny Story: 
So everyone just assumes I'm Taiwanese.  But then I start speaking and they are like: "Wait, where are you from?"
Like there was this cab driver and we got into his taxi and he said: "You're missionaries?"
And Liu Jiemei said: "Yes"
And he said:  "I thought you always travel with foreigners"
And Liu Jiemei said: "I am traveling with a foreigner"
And he was like:" Really?"
And then I said "Yup! I'm from America!"
And he looked like this o.O

Anyways, I've written a novel once again.  Pretty much, I'm doing great! I love missionary work! I love the people! Love the food! Learning to love the heat!  Yup! 
Love you all! See you next Week!
Banquet dinner
Love Peng Jie Mei
P.s. Oh, no pictures... forgot my converter... sad...  Here, picture me smiling.  Or go onto my Facebook.  I still look about the same... just darker...

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