She’s in Taiwan. –Lisette
Oh. My. Word.
Taiwan is real. It’s teeming with life. And is a little bit crazy. So crazy, in fact, I don’t even know where to start. How about the basics?
We landed about 10pm local time, picked up by the Assistants and the Mission President +wife. They are excellent and very understanding of our ragged, jetlagged state. We drove back to the Mission Home (across the street from the Taibei temple), settled into Temple Patron Housing, and promptly fell asleep. Well, that’s a lie. I stayed up until I was absolutely tired and then slept through the night. Everyone else went straight to bed, but woke up two hours later. Tsk tsk. Greenies. 😀 6:30 the next morning, we went for a run around Chiang Kai Shek memorial park, which was gorgeous! President Grimley gave us a bit of a history lesson (former history teacher and Taipei missionary), then we ran to his favorite breakfast shop. Excellent morning!
The bulk of the day was spent in orientation meetings. Not as boring as it sounds, I promise. Elder Calvert (Sister Calvert’s husband) is the mission financier and an absolute riot. He gave us money and told us to stay healthy. I think we were all still in a daze, beacuse we asked no questions and absolutely flew through orientation. That night, we got set up with “baby sitters” to do some street contacting around Taibei. It was incredibly uncomfortable…. but once I realized that I, indeed, could carry on a conversation in Chinese, it was fine and we had a hilarious night. My “baby sitters” took me to a Boba shop before we returned to the Bu (Mission Home) and it was delicous. Such good food here!
Friday morning we trucked up to the Grand Hotel and the Dedicaton Site for Taiwan. It was a beautiful, if rainy morning. Great spiritual moment, to boot. Don’t worry, I have photos… I just forgot my adapter, so those will have to wait until next week. I’ll throw some in the mail, though, as post cards this week. 🙂 As we returned, we got to meet our Trainer. Her name is Tan JieMei and she’s super cute. From California, short, curly-haired and feisty. I’ll be her last compaion, and we’ll be in ShiLin for both transfers (I believe). She’s been in this area for quite a while and knows it like the back of her hand, which is so useful. Already, we’ve hit up the best noodle shops, the cheapest cua bing, and later today are headed up the nearest mountain / temple site for a look-see. Within moments of returning to ShiLin on Friday, she had me out working. Apparently, my Chinese is solid enough that she often leaves me to my own devices when contacting. We’ve taught a few lessons, and even had Family Home Evening with the Relief Society President, a recent convert, and another solid family in the ward. They are incredibly gracious! Even better, Dad, they love my name. Yes, the whole thing is on my tag and it is quite the conversation starter. You’ll have to send some photos of you and your students outside the University.
Given all the whirlwindness of being here, I haven’t really had a chance to breathe… until last night. The Liu Family invited us over for dinner with the Elders also serving in that Ward. They are solid and love missionaries more than anything else in the world. Brother Liu loves my name, says it’s incredibly Chinese and a good name. He also laughed when I told him my best friend calls me “Peanut” and continued to call me the for the remainder of the evening. I can tell this is going to be a great relationship! The Elders who ate with us are local Elders, serving short term missions. Elder Chen is from NeiHu and actually, as of today, is no longer a missionary. Our ward is having a baptismal service on Saturday, though, and he’s coming. No joke, he’s my favorite. He speaks no English and puts up with my bad Chinese. 😉 The entire evening was excellent food, excellent conversation, and just felt like home.
So now….. haha…. I’m in an Internet Cafe in the middle of Asia somewhere, hearing all kinds of weird sounds from computer games going on around me. It’s quite surreal but I love it!
I love you all and expect to hear about all the incredible things you’re doing! God loves you!