The other night Elder Rasmussen and I were walking down the street, when we saw a very drunk homeless lady dancing in the street. This was not an exceptionally weird occurrence, but it was strange enough to throw me off guard. She seemed to not care about anyone that was watching her. There was a decent crowd with at least one person taking a video. I don’t really know why I am including this in this email, but I jokingly told Elder Rasmussen I would – and I don’t want to be a liar. All I know about the lady is that she danced for at least 30 minutes. (I know this not because we watched her, but because she was very much still there when we came back that way – on our way home.) Also she was dancing to a Colbie Caillat song if you are interested.
Anyways I should probably update you all on the actual work now. I really like it here, and I think that we have some good investigators. Some people here are very very hesitant to keep commitments that we have extended to them, but that was true of my last area as well. I think that we will have to do a very good job at explaining why things like going to church are important; right now that is one of our weak points. We are good at teaching the lessons now, and can even make them applicable; but it is hard to bridge the gap. It feels like we are working from the ground up but at the same time I think that the work is going fast and that we are making good progress.
Elder Rasmussen and work well together, the companionship unity is getting better every day. That being said, we still have a lot to work on in our companionship – as neither of us are amazingly experienced. We are having fun talking to people on the street. People are amazed when two tall white guys walk down the street and have (mostly) fluent conversations in Tagalog. I think we support each other nicely, and while our teaching styles are a little different, they also fill in the gaps that the other levels.
People are surprised when they realize we are able to communicate with them. And generally, we are pretty effective at it. Also, I am still at the point where I am young enough in the mission to tell someone that I have only been in the field around 3 months and that Elder Rasmussen has only been in around 8 and they almost let us in the door on that fact alone. We just need people to keep commitments now.
This week has been pretty good and I am getting a lot more comfortable in my new area. SJ North is a fun place to live. We are supposed to get a rainy season in the coming months. I kind of hope to see a few baguio (typhoons or hurricanes) while I am here in the mountains.
Culture: Malls: so the middle class here is massive. One thing that people think of with the Philippines is the amount of poverty, which is certainly a factor. But in reality, there are an absolute ton of people and a decent amount of those fall somewhere in the middle class income bracket. That isn’t saying that poverty doesn’t exist here: that is the majority. But many, many people have cars and go to the mall. There are 3 major types of malls: Robinsons, SM, and Starmall. Robinsons is like an enlarged Nordstroms, with a few normal stores in it as well. SM is the most like anything you might see in America. Starmall is pretty decent too (it is where I am right now). They are air conditioned and have stores so people use malls to get out of the heat.
Language: Small colloquial language:
Barkada: Squad or small group of friends
Tara Na: Lets go (lets bounce)
Grabi: Intense (akin to Savage)
Magdab: To Dab
Huwag Ako, Iba na Lang: expression meaning "Don't me, others only." roughly meaning: Dont be like that to me, I’ve had enough.
If you use these enough you will sound like a teenage Filipino – I almost guarantee it
Either way the work is going well enough. I am still learning a lot, but I am also pretty happy with where I am at in the language, and in teaching. It is living proof that if you throw yourself at your problems and have the right kind of help that you can overcome a lot.
I hope that all is going well back home. Keep up the amazing.