Thursday, July 31, 2008

Taiwan Journey-- Thursday, July 30, 2008, Part II

Thursday, July 31, 2008 (Hualien) Part II
So I probably mentioned several times before we had the Sister Missionaries to dinner, they were supposed to arrive at 5:30 but they were a little late. I was in my room when they got here; Brooke came and got me from my room. I walked into the kitchen was introduced to Sister Wood from Arizona and Sister Ni from Taiwan. We sat down to a wonderful dinner of Caesar salad, green beans, garlic bread, and cut mangos (all that Brooke had prepared). It was so relaxing and enjoyable, we at first just asked them questions about their mission and some of the experiences they have had. Eventually the conversation moved to our families, where we are in the family, and our trips that we took. It was just a fun evening. I was quite impressed with both the Sisters, Sister Wood actually came out on her mission at 20, she goes to a military school (I think maybe Airforce Academy?) and she said that you can’t start your 3rd year and then leave, so they allowed her to come out a year early. I was also quite impressed with Sister Ni, she has a younger sister and of course her parents but she is the only member, she joined the church when she was 15 years old. I think that is so impressive, I don’t know if I were someone not placed in a LDS home if I would have joined if given the opportunity, especially being the only member in her family. After dinner they asked if they could “leave us a message,” theirs was a bit different then most missionary messages. First we sang a song (I Believe In Christ), I love that song, it is so beautiful and expresses so many truths, after we sang the song they read us the scripture 3 Nephi 12:15-16, I don’t know how many times I have read that scripture but it was extremely nice to hear it last night. Sister Wood told us how that became a particular favorite of hers when she was in high school, she had read it and realized that she had better shape up as there are lots of people watching her, and she applied it to us, and said that we may not know it but we are being watched constantly while we are here, both by members and not. Every week she translates for us during church and told us that she was extremely grateful that we choose to go to church each week, even when we don’t understand most of what is going on. She said that sometimes when people have “trouble” coming to church she says look at these girls, they come every week without fail even when they don’t know Chinese. I guess going to church is something that I would have never questioned, no matter where I am. I think that at first it might be a little difficult, but I think that it might grow to be a comfort to hear it in Chinese. I especially like that it doesn’t matter what language it is being spoken in, you will always be able to feel the spirit.
I was standing outside after the missionaries and looked out into the sky, and there was an absolutely beautiful sunset. So of course I had to go and grab my camera and take a picture. Strangely it worked better without the flash. Brooke told me that she thinks, no matter the weather or time of the day, the sky is beautiful around the mountain that is next to us (and no Mom, I still don’t know the name of the mountain ;D). Here is some of the pictures that I took last night and also some that I took this morning just to show how beautiful it is, no matter the time of the day.
Brooke and Natalie have both been more than willing to help me learn to do things and show me where stuff is. They knew that I needed to go to the grocery store and get stuff, but as yet I had not worked up the courage to go. So finally last night I worked up the courage and rode to the grocery store. It was an experience, I think that I may have laughed at half of the things (I know, I know, not the kindest), it was quite fun though, they had a lot of things that I think that I will eventually try and many things that I am sure that I will never ever try. Some interesting things that I saw, they don’t keep their eggs cold (though Brooke told me that as soon as they get home they refrigerate the eggs), I could buy beer and cigarettes if I felt like it (:D—don’t worry I’m not planning on it), and they have a lot of American companies-all coming with Chinese “subtitles.” So if you want bread you don’t get it at the grocery store, you go to the bakery, I was kind of wanting some bread for breakfast as I don’t have leftovers to have today (wow I can’t believe that this is only my 3rd day but I kind of feel like I have been here for awhile in that retrospect), so we decided to head for the bakery, as it was kind of on the way home the other direction. Just as we started to head out it started raining, Brooke asked me if I wanted to go on (she said that we would probably get some interesting looks as we weren’t wearing any jackets), I told her lets go for it as I am quite comfortable with rain. The rain continued to get harder but we made it to the bakery (only 12% dry that is :D). We parked our bikes and walked in, Brooke kind of gave me a tour of the store and some descriptions of things that she knew what were. A lot of it sounded interesting and some things not so much. I bought this “sandwich” thing, it was bread wrapped around chicken tenders, ham, lettuce, and mayonnaise – the strange this is that they keep it on the shelf all day, not refrigerated; Brooke was telling me don’t be weirded out by, you won’t get sick from it or anything (the sad thing is I don’t think that I would have even noticed/realized unless she had said something to me about it). I paid for my bread and we headed back to the apartment, right after we left the bakery an ambulance came by, we pulled over to get out of its way, but I guess they had passed where they were headed or something as they all of sudden started backing up towards Brooke and almost hit her. After the ambulance was gone we continued on back towards the apartment, I followed Brooke most of the time as I have no clue where I am, at sometimes that can be quite funny- we were going along when all of a sudden she swerved and then disappeared, I was so confused what she was doing; I guess she had been trying to tell me to turn and her handlebars took a mind of their own, we got home without any other harm or accident the rest of the way. When I got home as we were going up the stairs my legs did sort of feel like jelly, it didn’t help matters when I walked into the kitchen and I got my foot stuck on the metal part of the door and the other half of my foot slipped because they were wet, I had no chance and fell straight down. Now it is quite funny, at the moment I felt like I really was drunk or something.
Brooke and I had both bought some juice and so we sat down at the Kitchen table and were just talking while drinking our juice (and she ate the rest of the salad and mango—it was kind of funny she was eating the salad because she knew if it was left to today it wouldn’t be any good, after she was done eating it she said that it definitely wouldn’t have been good today as it wasn’t good when she was eating it then), I got apple juice (stick with comfort juice :D) and Brooke got Asparagus juice, she didn’t really like it; I thought it was funny though as when we were talking Natalie came back in and had bought the same Asparagus juice and she wasn’t so impressed with it either. So when Natalie came in she was all dry, I was like how are you dry, I guess where she was it wasn’t raining (totally not fair!!)
After we were done with our snack Brooke asked me if I liked to play card games (of course I do!!!), she was wondering if I wanted to play some, so we went to my room and played a couple of card games, mostly we just talked for awhile. It was kind of funny, earlier when we had gotten home and I had trouble walking up the stairs I said that I felt like I was drunk (of course she wanted to know how I knew what it felt to be drunk—don’t worry Mom I never have) and then when we were playing cards I had told her to hit me again and then asked for another shot, ok so it may not be as funny to you but It really was last night.
After we had played for awhile she went back to her apartment and I jumped into the shower (probably not literally jumped as that would hurt a little :D), it was kind of disgusting, I scraped off layers of either dead skin or dried sweat off my legs, but now that I have done that they are a lot more smooth :D.
When I was done with my shower I went into the kitchen to get a drink of water, Natalie was in there eating watermelon and she invited me to join her. She was right, it is yellow inside but it totally tasted normal and yummy! We talked for awhile, making plans and ideas for the next few months. I think that tonight we are going to buy watermelons and carve them? Sounds fun. Saturday we are going to help with this Children’s art camp at the Buddhist (I think) College. And last night Natalie found this festival where they have tons of stone stuff, I think that we may be going back to there also; she said that there was a ton of really cool stuff and that she thinks we would really like it. I am super excited for next Saturday also, it is the Relief Society activity and I guess we are tie dying either sheets or table cloths. It is almost 7:30 I should probably jump into the shower, I will write more later.

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