Diyos da fugao!
Diyos da fugao is Ibanag-the dialect they speak here so I figured I'd switch things up with the subject. Everybody speaks Tagalog still, but most people here also switch into Ibanag at a moments notice. I only have picked up a few words just for kicks and giggles. Its a good way to get on people's good side and makes a good conversation starter. I still am finding myself Taglishing a lot, but thats okay. Most people understand what i'm trying to say. Several members have said my Tagalog is already better than the last newbie that came through here.
It has been one crazy busy week. Elder Tangi is the district leader, so whenever he has a meeting or interview, I have to go with him. On Wednesday, I had to go in a 3-sum companionship with 2 other newbies in a different area in my zone because there was a leadership meeting in Cauayan that all District and Zone leaders had to go to. Luckily one of my comps for the day was a fillipino and spoke just as good english as he did Tagalog, so we were able to get through the day just fine. Then on Thursday morning we went back to Tuguegarao for a zone conference. By the time we got back, the day was already gone. It was a good meeting though and the food was amazing. President Carlos is awesome and Sister Carlos is a great mother from another mother. Haha. On Saturday there was a half day mission in our ward. Basically, we tag along with several members and visit the less/inactive people in the ward, which happens to be quite a bit. One of the people was actually someone Brother Cypher from the home ward baptized. The members here still talk about him because he was in this area for a while and loved him. They thought I was pretty awesome when I said he was in my home ward. Later on saturday we went back to Tuguegarao because Elder Tangi had to do a baptismal interview and then there was a baptism, and he has to attend all baptisms in the district. There should be another baptism in Tuguegarao next saturday. I was volunteered to sing at it by Elder Tangi, and I told him if I'm going down he's coming down with me, so it should be an interesting duet. Its great to see how joyful these new converts are because of their new knowledge of the Restoration. This coming week should be another busy one. I get to go on splits again on wednesday with a fillipino that doesn't speak much english. Gotta love having a DL companion as a trainer!
Well it hasn't cooled off at all here. We do quite a bit of walking each day and my sweat rag is constantly being pulled out. I used to keep my planner in my front shirt pocket, but after I pulled it out and it was soaking wet because of my sweat, I decided I wouldn't put it there anymore. All of the members, and most investigators, always treat us with a marienda. A marienda is just a snack with the cookies and crackers that can be bought at the stores, along with juice and some kind of soft drink. Its a fillipino way of saying thank you for coming by, so we get snacked and watered sufficiently each day. Depending on where we are in the city, we can get a fresh cup of cold Buko or Mango juice for only 5 pesos, which is about 8 cents in US. The fresh juices are delicious. The cost of living here is awesome. Everything is so cheap when compared to the US dollar.
I had my first encounter with a bakla (gay person) this week. There are a lot of them in the Philippines. Elder Tangi and I were walking back from an appointment at night and the bakla was standing on the side of the street-in the middle of a not well traveled neighborhood-and as we passed him he said in the most Feminine man voice you can imagine:"Hey.... Hey! I'm still a virgin..." It gave me the creepy shivers up my back. We just ignored him and kept walking faster. I can't help but hope he stays that way too! Haha.
When we went to church yesterday, I was selected to give a talk. I had about 3 minutes of preparation time to talk about whatever I wanted, so I chose missionary work. I tried to get rid of the misconception that Elder Tangi and I are the only missionaries here and without their help, the ward won't function. I was pretty bold and straight to the point and only spoke for maybe 5 minutes. When I sat down the 1st counselor told me it was good but pretty short. I almost said something to the effect of not having much preparation time, but I refrained. The bishopric is all really young.
Elder Tangi and I went to a lunch party for a member and I had my first experience of trying to get something edible out of a platter that had chicken legs-claws and all-and a variety of other bones. I asked a member which piece to take and they pointed to something, so I put it on my plate and tried to figure out how to eat it. I was having a hard time finding any meat on it to eat so I asked Elder Tangi what the best approach was and he laughed and said, "You know thats a chicken head, right?" After looking at it closer I could see the dark fried brains inside. I decided to put it back and stick with my beans and rice. Rice is a staple here-breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thats really the first weird food encounter I have had so far. Everything else has been pretty good. Most of the food is sweet.
The sky and sunsets here are always beautiful. The sky is always very clear and the clouds are puffy and vivid. Kind of weird to explain, but its beautiful scenery.
It poured rain last night for a solid 3 hours straight. We were in the bush going to an appointment when the power went out and it was pitch black (there is usually enough light from houses to light the way). Luckily our cell phone has a flashlight on it. Trying to teach the lesson was interesting trying to yell at each other because the rain was so loud on the tin roof.
Sounds like things are going great at home between all of the interviews and baby stuff. Pretty exciting that dad finally has his stitches out! Now you should go back to Lake Powell for a round 2 now that you can actually get in the water. Haha. And mom, I don't really need anything yet. The mission office gives the ensigns out for free, so there is no need to send those. The only thing I can think of is just little stuff to give out to groups of little kids.
Well, thats it for this week.